Sunday, May 11, 2008

Tiered twirl skirt tutorial :)

************Added 8/8/08 -- I see this entry is getting a LOT of hits.... I'd love to hear comments from anyone who reads. It is clear and easy to follow? What would you like to have seen that I didn't explain or show clearly? I'm working on a couple more tutes and I'd love to hear what y'all think of this one.... and if you made a skirt from this one, I'd KILL to see it :) :) :) Link me! *****************

This will be a LONG post, so if you're not into sewing, just skip it, LOL!! And if you're a by-the-books sewer? For your own sanity, you'll probably not want to read any further. It'll drive you crazy!

OK, I took lots of pictures (I'm adding them in the blog small, but you should be able to click on them to see full-sized ones, I think), and I hope that they help. This skirt has three tiers and a ruffle on the bottom. The waistband is built into the top tier. I made this one for HRH, who has a waist measurement of 20 inches. She's 36 pounds and 41 inches tall. It hits her mid-to-lower calf. Not ankle-length, but not knee length.

I used these fabrics:

I got them at Hobby Lobby. Seersucker/plisse is awesome for summer! I like to use a rotary cutter and mat to cut my fabric, but you certainly don't need one. However, if you're going to make many things like this, you may want to invest in one. You can go to Hobby Lobby's website and print a 40% off coupon and use towards it :) I do that for anything over $10, lol!

This is a three-tiered skirt and ruffled bottom. My top tier and ruffle are the same fabric, the blue floral. My tiers are all going to be 5 inches tall un-sewn. I'll add two inches to the top tier to account for the waistband. So, I cut a 30 inch by 7 inch strip for the waistband. Then I cut a 45 inch (top tier x 1.5) by 5 inch band for the middle tier out of the pink paisley. Then a 67.5 (middle tier x 1.5) by 5 inch band for the bottom tier of the stripe. The ruffle is 135 (bottom tier x 2) by 4 inches. I know that sounds tell for a ruffle, but there's a no-hem trick coming up later :)

You start at the bottom and work your way up. It's easier to attach the gathered layers, and also you get the hardest part out of the way first! Win-win!! To make the ruffle, you're going to fold it in half, wrong sides together, you *can iron it, but you don't have to. I don't if I'm working with anything other than a cotton woven.

You're going to set your sewing machine's stitch length as high as it can go (check your manual, it's different for all machines. I told a friend to set hers to 5 and she almost drove herself crazy trying to figure out what the heck I was talking about. Turns out, hers isn't measured that way, LMAO!). Technically, you SHOULD sew TWO gathering stitches, but I never do. Don't tell anyone. The reasoning behind this is that if your thread breaks mid-gather (and it will one day if you do this enough times, trust me!), you'll have the other one to keep going, instead of having to start over from scratch, which sucks (again, trust me! LOL!). You'll sew a straight stitch (set on the longest length) to close your little folded ruffle. Sew it about 1/4 inch from the edge.... a quick guide is that on most machines, you'll have just a teeny bit of fabric showing out of the edge of the sewing machine foot. I just use the edge of the foot as my guide. You'll notice that my fabric is coming out already a little ruffled. You can do this if you adjust your machine tension as high as it can go, I turn mine to 9. The only thing you need to remember if you do this is to turn it back to normal immediately when you're done.

This is what I ended up with.... the ruffle snake, the girls call it.

You're going to gather this and pin it to the stripe, which is your bottom layer. Here is a great tutorial from YouTube about gathering and attaching:

Explains it MUCH better than I could. Doesn't she sound sweet? LOL!

In order to gather more evenly, I attach the middle of the ruffle to the middle of the stripe, and gather my way in, pinning every few inches. This is best done while catching up on your DVRed Deadliest Catch, in my opinion. While your children run around you shrieking "EW! Crabs! They're yucky! Ack! They'll PINCH you!" and you have to pause every three seconds and throw yourself across the fabric to keep them from stepping on a straight pin. Tip of the day? Teach them a new song and a little something else to keep them occupied. Today was the "Lollipop" song, complete with making the popping sound with your finger. Good for 15 minutes of sheer gathering heaven aloneness.

Now, you need to sew this together. Set your stitch length back to normal, mine is 2.2. If you forget to do it, it's not the end of the world, but you'll need to go back over it one more time with the shorter stitch length. I try to sew right over my gathering stitch. Try being the operative word there, I can never get it perfect, but hey, let's be real.... I'm not a perfectionist, as I'm sure you know by now :)

You'll need to finish off your edges so that they won't become an unravely mess through wear and washing. I'm going to serge mine, but you can just as effectively do a zigzag stitch over the edge of the fabric: (you won't be able to see this probably, unless you click on it to enlarge it.)

This is what you have so far, if you look at the right side of the fabric:

Now you'll do the exact same thing to the next tier. Make a gathering stitch (or two) (don't' forget to reset your stitch length as long as it can go!) in the striped fabric and then pin it to the pink paisley fabric.

Then you sew the gathered stripe tier to the pink paisley tier. Don't forget to set your stitch length back to normal! Finish it off by zig-zagging. Here's where we are now:

Now we're going to attach the top tier, we're going to make the waistband after we attach everything. Do it exactly the same as the other two tiers. Make your gathering stitch on the top of the pink paisley. (Set stitch length long!) Pin to the blue floral. Then sew together (Reset stitch length!) Finish off by zig-zagging. And presto! We're almost done!

Now we need to close the skirt. You'll sew a seam down the side (right sides of the fabric together, wrong sides facing out), making sure to catch the ends of the fabric so there aren't any holes (voice of experience speaking here!). Finish that seam off by zig-zagging. (Mine looks just a little different b/c I serged the seams, but you get the general idea).

OK, waistband time. Fold over about 1/4 inch of the top of the material, and press with an iron.

Then fold over about an inch and press again.

Now we're going to close the waistband, except for about 2-3 inches of it. You have to leave that open to put the elastic in. Stitch the waistband closed, leaving that opening.

Cut your elastic. I like to use non-roll elastic, for this one, I used 3/4 inch. HRH's waist is 20 inches, I cut the elastic 19 inches. I generally do about an inch less than the waist. Get a large safety pin to use to thread the elastic through the waistband.

When you get close to the back end of the elastic being pulled through, I usually get a straight pin and secure it, b/c you don't want it to go through the waistband yet.

Pull the elastic all the way around, the fabric will gather as you do this.

Now you need to stitch the elastic closed. I overlap about an inch or so.

Then I sew it together with a zig-zag stitch.

pull the waistband to get the elastic back in the casing and stitch it closed.



Flo said...

OH MY GOSH. I'm going to cry. This looks very hard....and here I thought it was going to be easier! : ) OK. I can do this. THANK YOU SO MUCH for taking the time to do this for me. I really am going to sit down and follow your instructions word for word as soon as I get a few hours alone. Well, really I'll need an entire day! haha....

I appreciate it and will let you know how it all turns out - may the tears come on!

A is for Angela said...

can't wait until Flo tries this. It is waaay over my head!!

Regi S. said...

Yea, um, why don't I think of pinning my elastic end to the skirt ? :X I kinda have this hold it between my teeth manuever LOL !

*~~*Inger*~~* said...

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh, master!! Thank you for that zig zag to finish the inside seams - I'm such a dolt! So doing that tomorrow! lol

Alex said...

wow!! u'r awsome!!!!!!!! THANKS SO MUCH!!!!!!! for the time to put this up is so DETAIL and the lots of picture helped me so much!! I am new in sewing so this is explaines in an excellent way to understand..thanks again for the time and shering u ROCK!!! :)

WHM said...

thank you so much for this! I just made my daughter and her little dolly each skirts using your tute. I'm a novice when it comes to sewing and this was very easy to follow and do, thanks!!!

Quiltin' Jenny said...

This is a fantastic tutorial. I love these little skirts and have been wanting to make some for my daughter.

But, if you want it to be even EASIER on the waistband, check out this blogger and her addiction to fold over elastic. No casing for elastic, no pushing it through, nothing. Just zig zag it on.

I have made this 5 minute skirt (for me) and it is cute. If we combine these two tutorials it is the best of both worlds!

I hope it is okay to post this. I have no affiliation with Amy except that I read her blog and put two and two together. I HATE dealing with elastic and was so thrilled to figure this out.

Thanks for the instructions. I'll send pics when one is complete.

The Duckworth Family said...

I didn't make this exact skirt, but used many of your tips and tricks on the one I made and they really helped me so thanks! I think your instructions were clear and easy to understand and I'm not a seamstress or anything. I'm going to remember them when I want to make a tiered skirt. I haven't posted on my blog yet the skirt I made today, but will by next sunday so you are welcome to link to my craft labels and check it out then! Thanks for taking so much time to help all of us clueless people out!

Hunsaker Family said...

Thanks, That was really easy to understand! Much better than the others I have found! I am a seamstress, but I mainly do quilts, so getting into clothes, is a little different for me! But i'm having fun! Thanks for making it easier!

Rebecca said...

Just finished making one for my daughter literally using stuff I already had on hand. Went together very easily and she loves it. Here's a pic:

The Poulters said...

Love the ruffle at the bottom! Nice touch (especially since I HATE hemming.)

Our Family said...

I love this pattern! can't wait to make it for my little sis!! She is excited about her new skirt to be.

Could you make a "printer friendly" version of this post? I would like to print it. Thanks so much!

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Haley said...

This was the first tutorial that came up when I typed in "tiered skirt tutorial" and I don't need to find any others! Boy, I wish I had a serger, but I think I'll do okay with the zigzag stitch. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this! I'm going to check out the rest of your blog now :) and I'll certainly send you a pic of the finished skirt when I'm done!

FlorDeLunaCreations said...


jessica said...

I did this pattern, minus the ruffle at the bottom. It turned out adorable. I would post pics if I knew how but i dont lol. If you would like to see pics of my finished product on my model then you can email me and I can send it to you. Thanks for the tutorial!!!

Vanessa said...

Wishing there weren't pictures missing... *sigh*

Butterfly said...

I love the tutorial! Could you post some twirl pictures though?

Mogulinteriordesign said...

I want to thank you for showing me how to make this skirt. I love your site and I hope to see more ideas in the future!!!!