11.05.2008

tiered skirt, aka the twirl skirt

I have received a few requests to explain how to a simple tiered twirl skirt. The patchwork skirt uses the same method, but here are the distilled instructions for a tiered skirt for you.

A tiered skirt is constructed very simply: a tier is created with a rectangular piece of fabric, sewn into a loop. The tier below it is larger, typically 1.5x, which gives it the twirly factor. The tiers are sewn together with the top portion of the lower tier gathered into the same length as the tier above. You can have as many tiers as you have the fortitude to gather for.

Now, a specific project: To make a three tiered skirt with an elastic band waist (1” elastic), begin with a hip measurement and the desired length. Your fabric choice is up to you, keeping in mind that lighter fabrics are much easier to gather. If your materials are of different weights, use the heaviest ones on top. You can go with one type of fabric for all or mix it up with different patterns.

To determine the dimension of the first tier, add some inches to the hip measurement (suggest about 4” for a child, 6” for an adult) so that the skirt can be slipped up over the hips. Do not forget to add seam allowances on all sides (this goes for all tiers!) This is the long side of the rectangle for your first tier (measurement A on diagram below).

The short side of your first tier will be the desired length of your skirt (from waist down to wherever) divided by 3, plus 2.5” (for the elastic waistband casing). Cut the fabric to this size and then form into loop by sewing the two short sides together.

The second tier down will be your measurement A x 1.5 by the desired length divided by 3, which we will call measurement B. It is quite likely that you will have to piece this rectangular loop together in order to make up the measurement B length as most fabric does not come wide enough.

The third tier will be your measurement B x 1.5 by the desired length divided by 3.

With all of your fabric cut and sewn into loops, take the second tier loop and gather in the top edge to be equal in length to measurement A. Sew the gathered edge onto the bottom of the first tier.

Gather the top edge of your third tier to be equal in length to measurement B. Sew the gathered edge onto the bottom of the second tier.
To make the waistband casing, fold the top of the first tier in about 1 3/8” (finish the raw edge with a zig zag stitch, serger, or a double fold). Sew close to the finished edge (about 1 ¼” from folded edge) almost all the way around – leave enough space to insert an elastic, cut to a comfortable length. Sew edges of elastic together to make a loop. Finish sewing casing closed.

Hem the bottom edge of the skirt.
Once you have the method down, tiered skirts can be altered, embellished, and redesigned to create many different styles. Have fun with it, and don't forget to twirl.

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This is a free tutorial and I encourage you to use the information in any way you need to (check the disclaimer at the bottom of the page). If it works for you, please consider supporting my etsy shop by purchasing a Little Print Design pattern or toss a dollar or two in my paypal to show appreciation and to encourage me to offer up even more quality patterns and tutorials.






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37 comments:

  1. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Can't wait to try this out! I appreciate it!

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  2. Very nice. I especially love the example dress with the brown and attached (or at least it looks attached) top. Thanks!

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  3. I did this when you posted the quilted version. Thanks for the directions!

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  4. Great tutorial, as always. My daughter and I have two tired patchwork skirts on the go. I'll let you know when they're ready to twirl!

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  5. This is a great tutorial, thanks so much!

    Very sweet skirt,

    Marqueta

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  6. These skirts are so beautiful! You are so talented and you have a wonderful blog!

    Jolly Mom

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  7. Long-time lurker. :) Now, I have to come out of hiding to ditto the comment about the top picture. Please please please share instructions for the dress. :) I have 4 girls in need of that exact dress...and maybe one for me if I can figure it out. hehe

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  8. lori dupre jackson,
    The top dress is just a regular dress pattern bodice top (I think it's a new look pattern) with a twirl skirt sewn to it and a sash added. oh, the buttons were additions too. Very simple. Just find a regular dress pattern that uses a separate pieces for the bodice and skirt and substitute a multi-tiered skirt on the bottom.

    here's another pic of the dress if it helps:
    http://vegbee-peripheralvision.blogspot.com/2008/03/tiered-twirl-dress.html

    I hope that gives you what you need :)

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  9. Beautiful color combo, what a sweete!

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  10. Thankyou, Thankyou, Thankyou for sharing. I've been looking for a twirly dress to sew for my niece and this is perfect!

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  11. I have your blog saved in my favorites and I'm glad I stopped by today! How kind of you to share tutorials like this! What a very beautiful dress and skirts!

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  12. wow, thank you for the tutorial, i shall try one for my daughter.

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  13. ur explanation is really helping me compare with others.. will try this out and get a matching skirt with my lil girl. Once I done, will let you know...psst to make u proud :)

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  14. Thanks for these great tutes. I just started sewing a few months ago and my main interest is sewing for kids. I bought some sewing for dummies patters and they don't even simplify it like you do. check out my site I will be posting some of my newly finished projects soon.
    http://allthingscolorful.blogspot.com/

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  15. This is the first time a tute has explained the need to gather the layer to match the hem above it...makes sense, but I am not good at making sense on my own, hehe..thank you!

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  16. THis is EXACTLY what I was googling for! thanks so much for sharing this information so I cna make a pretty skirt or dress for my daughter! :)

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  17. I love your skirt - it's absolutely gorgeous! Makes me wish it was summer soon. Greetings from a cold and wintry Sweden...

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  18. Back at you, h, from a dark, freezing canada :)

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  19. I love your projects! They are amazing. Thank you for sharing your sewing astuteness, they sure do come in handy.

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  20. What a fantastic skirt!
    I have three munchkins that will just love twirling in these :D Thankyou.

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  21. Hi, just found your site and I love it! I think I'm going to make a skirt for myself using this tutorial :)

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  22. I want to thank you so much for sharing. I am a mother and a beginning sewer and you have made my sewing expeince fun instead of scary!

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  23. Don't know if you read comments this far back but I just had to say: that brown dress is absolutely stunning.

    The color combo.
    The bodice style. (When are we going to get a tute for THAT?!?!)
    The twirl factor.
    The fitted waist.

    Oh my goodness. It is drop dead gorgeous.

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  24. I have recently started sewing clothes for my daughter, and I love, love, love your site! I just made the twirl skirt for my daughter and it came out so cute! I also made 4 (yes 4) of your corset dresses for her, they all came out so cute too. I am even making one for my cousin's daughter because she loved the ones I made.
    I just love all your tutorials and will be trying a few more, especially that circle skirt made from button downs... It is so pretty!
    Thanks again!

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  25. Thanks so much for your tutorial! It was a big help while making the first twirly skirt for my daughter:
    http://muffinsnmore.blogspot.com/2009/09/twirly-skirt.html

    I put a link to your tutorial in my post!

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  26. Thanks SO much for your tutorial! I just made THREE Valentine's day skirts for three little girls who LOVE to twirl...

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  27. 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!!!! P.S. pic of my skirt- http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=2005101&l=c4813f8e30&id=1546480865

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  28. I saw this tutorial months ago and wanted to make the dress, not just the skirt and so I finally made it this weekend and wanted to let you know that I referenced your site for the how to. Thanks for the info. Here is the link http://craftsredesigned.blogspot.com/2010/03/twirly-spring-dress.html

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  29. THANK YOU!! My daughter, 3, loves to twirl. I made her a couple of little pillow case dresses and she wouldn't wear them because they don't TWIRL. This was SOOOOO easy to follow and she is one VERY HAPPY little girl now. I took this pattern and shortened one of the pillow case dresses and attached the skirt to its top and it is oh so cute. Thank you again and keep up the great work.

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  30. I just finished making this skirt for my daughter. She loves horses, and anything having to do with cowgirls, so this skirt will be her cowgirl skirt. We added a little fringe to the bottom, and it turned out great. Thank you so much for the easy to follow directions.

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  31. Thank you so much for sharing this fabulous pattern! My three year old has been wanting a twirl skirt for awhile now, and I finally had time to make one today. She loves it!

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  32. Here's something that helps when gathering. You will need string that is heavier than thread; crochet cotton is what I use. Lay a long string of it where the gathering is to go. Zigzag over it using a very wide stitch, and being careful not to catch the string in the stitching. Pull on the string, and your strip will gather beautifully without the frustration of the thread breaking at the very end.

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  33. Thanks for this :D I made it for my wee one for her birthday - going to make myself one next :)
    http://shelikestosew.blogspot.com/2011/05/more-about-birthdays.html teehee too cute!

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  34. Ah! I needed this a few weeks ago..http://mstoothfairy1.blogspot.com/2011/10/so-ive-thought-about-blogging-about.html.

    Love these skirts! Thanks for tutorials they're great.

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  35. This post is awesome! It's been featured on Fantastic Finds for the Fam{ily} for Scouting Sunday! Feel free to grab a button!

    http://fantasticfamilyfinds.blogspot.com/2012/05/scouting-sunday-new-and-improved.html

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