Glue a ribbon around a boring hat to match an adorable dress.

How to Sew Ribbon Onto Kid's Clothes

by Rosenya Faith

If you've got a pile of boring clothes at the back of your kiddo's closet, they may be begging for a makeover. Sure, they're functional but they need more flair. Dress up a simple cotton sundress with an adorable ruffled ribbon trim around the hem. It'll look better than brand new by the time you're done with it! If ruffles aren't your thing, add a few ribbon bows to the sleeves of a plain, old T-shirt and voila! – a fancy dress shirt.

Ribbon Ruffles

Cut a length of ribbon (at least 1-inch wide works best) to at least 1.5 times the circumference of the clothing item. Ribbon 1.5 times the circumference creates loose ruffles; 2 times the circumference creates tight, wavy ruffles.

Sew a straight stitch down one long side of the ribbon. (A straight stitch is simply one stitch directly in front of another, all the way down the ribbon.) When you're done, stop, but don't tie off the thread just yet.

Yank on the thread until it's about a 1/2-inch longer than the circumference you need. Now you've got some nice ruffles and you can go ahead and tie off the thread.

Slide the gathered edge of your ribbon just beneath the clothing's edge. Use straight pins (also called sewing pins) to attach the ribbon and keep it from wiggling out of place. The ends of the ribbon should overlap just a little bit because of that extra 1/2-inch.

Sew a straight stitch all the way around the gathered edge of the ribbon. That's it! You've added a ribbon ruffle trim.

Ribbon Bows

Pin the ribbon onto the clothing. If you're adding more than one, go ahead and pin them all in place at the same time so you know they're exactly where you want them. For example, pin a row of little ribbon bows all the way around the neckline.

Sew your first stitch through the center of the bow from inside the clothing. Sew through most of the layers of the ribbon, but stop just before you reach the top layer. Now your thread is nicely hidden, but the bow is firmly attached.

Sew some more stitches (at least five to 10) through the same area of the bow. Each time, stop just before that top layer to keep your stitching hidden.

Items you will need

  • Ribbon
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Straight pins
  • Ribbon bows


  • If you're sewing the ribbon around a waistline or anywhere else you want some stretch, use an elastic thread instead of regular thread.

About the Author

Rosenya Faith has been working with children since the age of 16 as a swimming instructor and dance instructor. For more than 14 years she has worked as a recreation and skill development leader, an early childhood educator and a teaching assistant, working in elementary schools and with special needs children between 4 and 11 years of age.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images