Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tiered Skirt Tutorial

Well, I think I may have just made the cutest skirts I’ve ever made for my girls! I wish I dreamed this up on my own, but I cannot take the credit. I’d been wanting to sew some tiered skirts but didn’t have extra room in the budget to go out and get coordinating fabrics. So my love-hate relationship with Walmart tips to the LOVE side this week after I scored some AMAZING deals on sets of fabric. My local Walmart got rid of its fabric cutting area and now sells pre-packaged sets of fabric , some in kits. So I found these kits of 3 yards of fabric (1 yard each of 3 coordinating prints) that I knew would make perfect tiered skirts for my girls! And the kits were $1!

I found this wonderful idea at Chica & Jo .
http://www.chicaandjo.com/2009/05/28/sew-a-tiered-ruffled-skirt/ They included great pictures and easy instructions- but the best thing about their site is the skirt measurement calculation tool. This skirt requires several cuts of fabric in different sizes, but all I had to do was enter the waist measurement, desired length of skirt, and number of tiers. And it gave me the exact measurements to cut my fabric! So easy!!!

Here is the tutorial. Enjoy!

First, Go shopping! Have fun picking out a few coordinating fabrics. The possibilities are literally endless!

Once you’ve picked a few (3-5) fabrics, you can get started! Use the skirt measurement calculation tool to measure and cut the fabric for each layer. You might want to number you layers with a pencil in an inconspicuous area of the fabric.

Start with your second tier. You will prepare your waistband on the first tier later. The second tier on the skirt will need to be gathered on one long edge, so that it is ruffled. To do this, start by adjusting your sewing machine so that the stitch is as long as possible.

Then sew right down one long side of the fabric. When you’re done, pull one end of the thread to gather the fabric up into a ruffle. Keep pulling as needed until the finished width of this tier is the same as the finished width of the tier above it.
Now line up the first and second tier, and make sure that they are the same width. If not, adjust the ruffling on the second tier as needed.

Lay the second tier on top of the first, right sides together, and match up the top (ruffled) edge of the second tier with the bottom (unsewn) edge of the first tier. Pin in place.

Sew along the pinned lines, making sure that you sew inside the previous ruffle stitch, so that it doesn’t show through on the finished skirt. Unfold it and see that you’ve got the start of a skirt, with the waistband on top and a ruffled tier on the bottom.

Add the third tier
Take the third piece of fabric and sew along one edg
e as before, then pulling the bobbin thread to make a ruffle. This time, the final width of the fabric should match the final width of the second tier above it. Just keep adjusting the ruffling until you get the widths the same.

Then lay the third tier on top of the second, right sides together, with the ruffled edge of the third tier lined up with the unsewn edge of the second tier. Pin in place.

Now sew along the pinned line, again being sure to enclose the previous row of stitches so that it won’t show. When you’re done, unfold it and admire your progress.

Add the remaining tiers
If you’ve still got more tiers to add (this part is up to you!), go ahead and do them now, following the same method as before. My skirt had 6 tiers, so I had quite a bit to add, and the skirt got nice and full by the time I was done!

Finish the hem
For the hem, start by folding 1/4″ of the bottom tier over and ironing it. Then fold the entire seam over again and iron again and sew in place, securing the hem and hiding the rough edge. Be sure to use a matching thread on this second seam, because it will show on the finished piece.

Sew up the side
You’ve got this pretty ruffled piece of fabric, but it’s not a skirt unless we sew the ends together to make a loop! Line up the two ends of your fabric, right sides together. Pin in place, then sew the seam.

Create the Waistband
Measure a piece of elastic to that is the right length to fit comfortably around your child’s waist, with one extra inch to spare. To attach elastic and finish your skirt, find the seam at the side of the skirt. Now take the elastic and make a loop leaving ½ inch overlapping at the ends. Place the overlapping section of elastic over the skirt seam about 1 ¼ inch from the top of the fabric. Sew from the top to the bottom of your elastic. For the elastic casing, fold the top of the fabric over the elastic and sew underneath the elastic around the entire circumference of the skirt. You will probably be stitching over the stitch you sewed for your gather.
Voila! You're done. Trim, press well and let that little girl put on her new skirt!


  1. *sigh* those are so cute! One of the things I've always wanted to learn was how to sew. I think I've decided that when my kids are old enough to learn, as part of our homeschool curriculum, we'll just take some classes together and I can learn along with them, since I don't really have the time to do it by myself now. One of the fun things about homeschooling!

  2. I love this! I'll have to check my Wal-Mart to see if they have those fabric bundles- what a great deal!