top of page

Button-Back Ruffle Top

Spring weather calls for light, airy tops with delicate details like this ruffle-hem, button-back top! Follow this step-by-step tutorial to make this easy, breezy spring top.


  • 1+ yard lightweight fabric. I used this crinkle rayon silky fabric, but any fabric with a soft drape will do.

  • Matching thread and bobbin

  • A small- to medium-sized button

  • Scissors

  • A measuring tape or ribbon + measuring tape combi to take your measurements

  • Iron (optional)

Step 1: taking your measurements

You're going to need a few measurements for this top: waist, neckline, preferred shirt length, and strap length. Here's how to measure each:

Waist: find the top of your hip bone, then wrap your measuring tape or ribbon* around your body once, keeping the tape/ribbon moving in an even line, until you meet the start of the tape/ribbon again. Record that measurement somewhere you'll be able to reference back to.

Shirt neckline: decide where you want the neckline of the shirt to hit on your chest. I chose a few inches below my armpit. Along that horizontal axis, wrap your measuring tape or ribbon around your body and record the measurement.

Shirt length without the ruffle: starting at the axis you decided on for the shirt neckline, measure from your neckline to where you would like the shirt to hit without the 2" ruffle hem. I chose my waist for this, but you can choose your own measurement. Record the measurement.

Strap length: hold one end of your measuring tape on your body where you decided the neckline would be, and toss the other end over your shoulder. Arranging the tape to lie where you would like the straps on your top to sit, measure how long the straps will be by noting the length of the measuring tape from the neckline on the front of your body, to where you would like the back of your shirt to hit. Note that we will cut the neckline of the shirt to hit at roughly the same place on both sides, so take that into account when deciding where the back strap will hit.

*If using a ribbon to measure, use the ribbon as you would a measuringtape, mark your measurements on the ribbon, and compare them to your ruler to determine the length you just marked.

Step 2: cutting the fabric

This part involves some math, so get your calculators out...

Double your fabric over so that you're pinning and cutting two layers at once. Measure out the following shapes, tracing with a pen/pencil or pinning to mark your measurements:

Note that the measurements below do not include seam allowance, so add about 1/2" around each shape when cutting.

Shirt panels:

  • Shirt top: neckline measurement + 1"

  • Shirt bottom: 1.5 x waist measurement

  • Angled side length: shirt length


  • Two rectangles that are 2" by strap length

Seperately, measure and cut fabric for the ruffle and button hook on one layer of fabric, not the doubled, two layers we used in the step above:

Ruffle: a rectangle of 4" by (waist x 2)

Button hook: a rectangle of 1/2" by 3"

Step 3: get sewing!

Sew up the long sides of the straps, connecting the two layers of fabric of both straps. Turn them right-side-out and iron them down to finish.

Now, pull out the button hook rectangle. Fold both long-ways sides of the rectangle in to meet in the middle. Iron down. Then, fold the strip in half again to hid the raw edges of the fabric entirely, and iron down. Sew a straight stitch along the folded edge of the thin strip to secure the folds closed.

It's time to sew together the two shirt panels, sandwiching in between them the straps and button hook.

Start by laying one layer of your shirt panel flat, with the "right side" of the fabric facing up. Take the button hook and fold it in half to make a loop. Pin the ends of the loop to the top of one of the angled sides of the shirt panel, angling the loop part in toward the center of the shirt.

Now for the straps. To know where to place the straps on your shirt, use the following measurements, or measure on yourself.

Pin the straps to the fabric layer, making sure they're not twisted, spaced according to the above measurements.

Place the second layer of fabric ontop of the first layer with the "right side" of the fabric facing down, sandwiching the button hook and straps in between the shirt layers. Pin around the neckline and halfway down the sides of the layers, being sure to include the straps and hook in your pinning.

Using a straight or zigzag stitch, sew along the sides you just pinned, being sure to include the hook and straps as you sew. Turn the fabric right-side-out and iron along the sides you just sewed to press them down.

On the edge directly opposite the button hook, sew down the button in line with the hook.

Now, time to work on the ruffle.

Fold the ruffle strip in half longwise and iron flat so it's now 2" wide. Pin along the open side and sew a straight stitch to connect the open sides. For the straight stitch, set the stitch length as long as possible. Don't knot the ends of the thread when you've finished sewing.

To ruffle the fabric, knot off one end of the seam, and move to the other end of the seam. Take the top thread of the seam – the one that came from the needle, not the bobbin – and gently pull the fabric against the top thread until it begins to ruffle.

Continue to pull the ruffles down the fabric until the whole strip is ruffled. Line the ruffle up against the base of the shirt to know when to stop ruffling. Once you've reached the length you want with your ruffle, knot off the thread you used to pull the ruffles to secure them in place.

Pin and sew the ruffle to the bottom of the shirt, making sure the seam ends up on the inside of the shirt by sewing along the inside.

The last step: connect the ends to finish the shirt!

Fold the shirt in half so that the straps are on top, ruffle is on bottom, and button and hook meet on the side. Meet the sides below the button and hook, and pin alon that side from the base of where you stopped sewing the sides together when we sandwiched the straps and hook between the two layers of fabric, to the end of the ruffle hem. Sew along this line.


Turn the shirt right-side out and enjoy!

If you try this project and post about it, don't forget to tag us on Instagram and Facebook!

Have fabric leftover? Try making this easy D.I.Y tote bag!

619 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
bottom of page