First of all..... you need to determine how big of skirt you're making. :D

Measure your dd. Measure from her waist down to however long you want it. This gives you "total length".....see my REALLy cool graphic.... 

Then you break out your math skills or your handy dandy calculator and take the 'total length" and divide it by 3. This is how tall each section of your skirt will be. I named this number X, just to impress my dh.

The top and bottom pieces need to be 2 inches taller than X to account for the seam allowance and hem/waistband (don't worry, that's REALLY not confusing, just trust me!)

Now.... for fabric...... Go to Walmart, your bin of cute fabrics in the closet, Joann's, any other fabric store and find two or three coordinating fabrics you like. I let my girls pick out the latest bunch around here and um....they're rather BRIGHT! Joann's has some fun, bright cotton prints called Tutti Frutti---like these:

and they're great to work with and not too expensive at all.

How much fabric do I need?
If you're making a toddler to about a size 3 skirt, buy 1/2 yard of 3 1.5 yards total. (or if you're using 2 fabrics, buy 1 yard of the main one, .5 yard of the other (I know, that's obvious....) :D

If you're making a skirt up to 36 inches long (about a girls' size 8) buy a yard of 3 fabrics, so 3 yards. You'll have some left over, but that's okay. Room for error's NOT a bad thing!

The Tutti Frutti fabrics were on sale at Joanns for $2 a yard, so that'd make a skirt for under $6. Even if you buy $4 a yard fabric, you're at $12. :D

What else should I buy?
1. A seam ripper (just do'll need it!)
2. a good pair of scissors (a rotary mat and cutter are REALLY great to have, but not really necessary) If you don't have the rotary mat, buy a marking pen or marker (or you can borrow a WASHABLE fine line marker from your kids' art supplies))
3. Thread to match your fabric. I prefer Gutermann thread, it's a bit more expensive, but IMO, worth it!
4. Elastic for the waistband. Buy 3/4 inch 'non roll' elastic. Buy 1 yard, that will be MORE than enough. You can either buy it in a premeasured hunk at the store or buy the kind that they measure for you. Either is fine.




We begin by cutting out our fabric.


Determine how big around your top tier needs to be.  Basically, take your childís waist measurement times 1.5 to determine how long the first strip of fabric needs to be. Remember, you already figured out how wide of strip to make when you calculated X in Lesson 1. :D


The second tier is going to be 1.5 or 2 times the length of the first tier.  The third tier?  1.5 or 2X the length of the second.  See the pattern?  You can either do them all 2X (fuller skirt this way) or do 1.5 times.  Or you can mix it up, if say, you get to the third tier and realize youíre out of fabric!  LOL :D


SoÖ.for example.  If  my dd has a 20 inch waist, Iím going just make her skirt 2X that which is 40 inches. BUT the fabric comes in 45 inch wide strips and Iím lazy, so that makes my first tierÖÖ45 inches wide.


My second tier is 2X that  or 90 inches.


My third tier is going to be 135 inches which is only 1.5 times the second tier but itíll still be cute.  See?  Thatís how I did this one on my 8 yo above.


The easiest way to cut the fabric is with a rotary mat and cutter.  If you donít have oneÖkeep reading!  LOL :D


Fold your fabric in half so that the edges that are finished (the selvages) are together.

Opposite them is the fold.   Line the selvages up carefully so that your fabric lays smoothly.   


Now, line them up against a straight edge or the edge of the counter top.


 Use a straight edge (yardstick, ruler, box, cutting board, dowel) to show a straight line across the fabric.  The edge where the nice cutter lady at the store cut your fabric may not be a straight line.    Draw a straight line near the edge your fabric w/either your fabric marker or one of the kidís WASHABLE markers to even up the cut if you need to.


Now that you have a nice straight cut edge,  measure and draw your second line wherever your need it to be (4.5? 5? 6 inches or so, depending on what your X measurement is.  Use your good sharp scissors to cut your first strip.


Marking for a 6 inch strip:


See the blue line?  Iím going to cut on that to make a 6 inch wide strip:


You need to follow these steps on each of your fabrics to cut out as many strips at whatever widths you figured to begin with. 




Now weíre going to each strip of fabric and turn it into a tube.  Take your ends (the short sides) and sew them together w/a 5/8 inch seam allowance.  You put the two short ends together, so the pretty sides are touching (right sides together is the technical term).  You can pin them, just make sure your pins go into the fabric perpendicular to the edge. Then you can sew right over them and donít have to pull them out as you sew.  5/8 is the standard seam allowance and there should be a mark on your machine showing you were this is.  You like the cut edges youíve pinned together up, put them under your machine so the edge is lined up w/the mark on your machine and sew.  J


Repeat this with EACH strip so that you wind up with three tubes.



Take  the middle tube and starting at one side seam, you will run a gathering stitch (set your seam length to the biggest number probably a 4 or a 6) about ľ to 3/8 inch in from the edge (aka 3/8 inch seam allowance).   It looks like this---see how far apart my stitches are?



I like the stitch each tier in two parts, so I go from one side seam to the other side seam, then I cut my threads and start again.  This lessens your chance of the threads breaking when you pull on them to gather the skirt.  You donít HAVE to do this, but it really makes it easier.  Do NOT back stitch when you run gathering stitches and try not to make your lines cross each other.  They can overlap at the beginning and ending, but try not to tangle them up. 


Also, for really nice looking gathers, you run a row of gathering threads ľ inch AND 3/8 inch and pull both to make gathers.  For ease, weíre only running one row (Itíll look fineÖtrust me!).  :D


Now run gathering stitches along the top of the bottom tier.


Now both are ready to be gathered and weíll startÖ.




The purpose of gathering is to make the middle tier fit the top tier.  To gather, you pull one set of threads and the fabric will start smooshing together, like this.


First, lay out your pieces so that the top tier is right side out and the middle layer is inside out: (hard to tell in this picture, but like this basically)


Then, youíre going to pin your side seams together with the top tier inside the middle tier.  Pretty (right sides) are touching here:


To make it easier to gather evenly, I like to also find the midpoint of the tiers and pin those together. 


To gather the picture above, I would pull the thread on the right and gather towards the center and once that side matches up and is pinned, Iíd do the left side.  Then you flip the whole mess over and do the other side the same way.


Here are some more pictures:

Slightly gathered, see how it almost fits the bigger print section, so itís almost gathered enough and my gathers are evenly spaced out:


Hereís how it looks partially pinned. I use a LOT of pins. See how all the pins are put in perpendicular to the edge?  Make sure you pin thru from the gathered side so they donít get caught in your machine:


Hereís the whole skirt gathered and pinned and ready to be run thru the machine:


Then, with the pinned/gathered sided up and making sure you keep the bottom side flat and smooth, SEW!  Make sure you set your stitch length down from where you had it for basting (2 or 3) and sew with a 5/8 inch seam allowance.   Go slow and hold your fingers under the fabric so you can keep the bottom edge smooth.


When youíre done, take out the pins, unfold it and itíll look really goofyÖlike this:


When youíre done with the first tier, sew the last tier onto the second tier and youíll be done with the hard part!  :D




Before doing these last steps, you might want to run a zigzag stitch in the seam allowance of your tiers to prevent fraying.  Or you can use pinking shears to prevent fraying.  Or you can just continue and trim any lose strings as they appear---unless your fabric is REALLY poorly woven, we used big enough seam allowances that it shouldnít TOTALLY fray away and leave holes.  :D


Finishing the tiersÖ


On the outside of your skirt, youíre going to sew the gathered edge onto the upper tier of your skirt.  You do this just as a finishing step, to make it look a bit cleaner. You donít HAVE to do this step, but I always do. This is what it will look like


Line your presser foot up CLOSE to the edge, making sure your inside seam will be caught in the stitching, since thatís the whole purpose here.



Take the top of the skirt and fold it down 1 inch. 


I do this on my ironing board, ironing the fold down.   Go around again folding down 1 inch.  This will be the casing for your elastic.


Now stitch close to the bottom fold, leaving a 1 inch gap so you can get your elastic in there.  See my gap?


Now, cut a strip of elastic the same size as your ddís waist measurement, run a safety pin thru one end and thread it thru your waistband casing.  I donít need to say Ďhang on to the loose endí.  LOL 


 Once itís threaded thru, sew both ends of the elastic together (make sure your elasticís not twisted inside the casing before you sew!) and then sew shut the gap.


Now for the hem.  Fold up 1 inch, pressing as you go, then fold another inch, pressing again, then sew along the foldline, just like you did for the casing.


Thatís it!  :D   Youíre all done!   :D