How to - The Ruffle Thong

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

With the gracious help of Anna, from Mrs. Depew Vintage Pattern, my ruffle thong pattern has been fully digitized!  Digitizing is a breeze when Anna does it! :)  

I'm really excited about this pattern because it is super easy, quick to sew, and is a great way to use up scraps of fabric since it takes only about 1/2 yard of fabric + a small scrap of cotton jersey, and regular, ol' 1/8" elastic that you can get at any fabric store.  This pattern is designed for wovens, so you can use cute quilting cotton prints, woven silks, whatever your heart desires!

First thing's first, you'll need the Pattern, 1/2 yard of woven fabric, 3 yards (or a hank) of skinny elastic, and thread to match.  You can also pick up some ribbon for bows, or lace to trim the edges. 

Print your PDF File, selecting “none” for page scaling in your Print Options window.

Tile your pattern pieces on a large table, using the Alpha-Numeric Key to help you align the pieces.  Trim off the excess margins along dotted lines, and tape your pieces together.  You can now either trace out your pattern pieces onto tracing paper, or use the printed pieces for your pattern.  ½” Seam Allowance has been added, so do not add seam allowance.

Cut your elastic using the measurement guide provided in the pattern. Double check the length by wrapping it around your waist, and leg (and inseam, where the thong would sit). Pull the elastic snug, but comfortable.

Fold your fabric on a 45 degree angle to the selvedge, this is the "Bias".  Place your front and back pieces on the fold, and cut out.

 Cut 1 Crotch piece in jersey lining & your self fabric.

 You have a total of four pieces - 2 crotch pieces (one lining, one self), and a front and a back.

 Layer your crotch pieces, wrong sides together.  Treat them as one piece from here on in.

 Stitch your back crotch seam to the back thong piece, and the front crotch seam to the front thong piece.  I serge mine.  You can straight stitch, and zig zag.  Optional, you can topstitch down.

Finish your leg openings with a rolled edge, pearl stitch, OR simply fold under and zig-zag stitch.  You can also zig-zag stitch stretch lace around the leg openings.

Now it's time to apply your elastic. Take your shorter length of elastic, and pin along the leg opening, ½” to ⅝” away from the finished edge.  The elastic is considerably shorter than the leg opening - this will create the ruffle effect.  You will want to pin the elastic to the start of your leg opening (on the wrong side), at the end of the leg opening, and in the middle, so that the thong will ruffle evenly the whole way around.

Using a narrow zig-zag stitch, and pulling the elastic evenly as you stitch, sew your elastic onto the wrong side of the thong. As you sew you will see that the elastic gathers the fabric, creating a ruffled effect. Finish both leg openings in this manner.

The Elastic is much shorter than the length of fabric you are sewing it on to  

Once you have stitch the elastic onto both leg openings, you should have something that looks like this - all scrunchy and ruffled.  This is a good time to give it a press with a hot iron. 

Now, Stitch ONE SIDE SEAM ONLY, making sure that your finished edges line up, and your elastic stitching line matches up.  I sometimes make a small thread tack so that the fabric doesn't shift- works better than pins!

To finish, pearl stitch your waist band (or zigzag, add lace, etc), and sew up your final side seam.  Top with a bow, rosette, or leave plain.

Ta Da!


  1. Hi Sarah, my biggest problem with sewing underwear is the elastic. How do you spread the elastic evenly? I got that you pin it in 3 places, abut what do you do in between? If you would do a video of this it would be amazing. (p.s.- did you write craftsy and offer them to teach a course? you know they are open to suggestions.)

  2. Hi Sarah, I tried your thong pattern last Sunday :o). I am a beginner, but your pattern and your How-To helped me a lot, so the result is not that bad !! To be honest I had problem with sewing the elastic too (I tried to pin it regularly but it was not easy to have a nice ruffle effect, a side of my thong is more ruffled than the other one). Anyway, now I can't wait to make another thong :o)

  3. Whenever I sew elastic into a garment first of all I pin the elastic at regular intervals, first at either end and half way. I then pin at the half way point of each upinned half , and so on, until there is about 4 inches (10 cms) between each pin. I then tack all along the elastic by hand, stretching as I go. It doesn't take that long once you get into the rhythm of it. Then I take the pins out and I sew it on the machine. I've found it's the best way of getting an even gather and keeping the elastic straight. Plus there's no danger of breaking your needle on the pins!

  4. Wow..its simply awesome..I love the making of it, but it would be more appriciable if you can make a video including a title like "how to make ruffle bikini with some simple steps"


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