Monday, March 4, 2013


I finally finished this skirt I started TWO YEARS AGO!
It was one of those last minute purchases at the fabric store just as I was leaving town after visiting family in Utah.  I bought this adorable fabric by Riley Blake.  I just did a quick search online and found the actual line!
You can find it HERE with Fabric Pixie!
Anyway, I didn't quite buy enough for the twirl skirt.

I cut my usual amounts, ruffled one to another, and totally came up short.  

I tried to add this scrap from the top tier of fabric, but in the end, it just didn't work!  I have picked up this skirt several times over the last two years, looking longingly and those darling forest animals begging me to free them from the To-Do box.  Alas, I came up blank every time, completely unable to figure out how to make it work.

This past two weeks my bestie Mary has been out here visiting me from Arizona.  Between filling orders and running kids all over the city we had a sewing party.  I was determined to empty one of my three sewing to-do boxes.  She flew home last Wed. and I still hadn't gotten through half of my box, but last night I drew the skirt out determined to make some progress!

I ended up unpicking the entire skirt and just starting over.  I had enough of the top layer for the yolk {after unpicking the scrap I sewed into the second layer-my girl has grown a bit over the last two years :0}.  There wasn't enough of anything else, but I had purchased some coordinating fabrics that could be patchworked into the skirt.

Here is a rundown of how I cut this style of  skirt.  I probably confused you more than anything else.  Sorry about that, but if you can make sense of this mess you will never need to buy a pattern for a skirt again!  I basically have three layers, and a ruffle added between the bottom two layers.

Typically I cut the top and bottom layers twice as long to keep from having to hem anything.  It also makes the skirt more substantial and give it weight so it hangs nicely and looks more professional {in my opinion}

With that said, the first step is to measure the waist.  I can't remember what Emmer's is, and she is at school right now, so let's just say it is 24".  I don't want a full blown twirl skirt, so don't do the normally 10-12" in addition to the waist length.  I just add 5" to the waist measurement to make sure she can pull it on and off and to give room for her to grow.  I always make my skirts just a little long, just past the knee, so that they will fit for a few years.  If you go to all the time and expense of making such darling clothes, they should get some wear out of them, right?

OK, so to put that simply, for a 24 inch waist, I cut the fabric 24+5= 29" long.  Add 1/2" seam allowance, and you have the first layer 29.5" long

Now for the length.  I found the following charts thanks to Children's  You can judge for yourself or follow measurements like Children's Place's found below.

I also threw in clothing size charts just in case you are guessing on the waist measurement.

Alright, I had to modify my skirt since it was cut to be a shorter skirt, but now that I finally got to it years later it needs to be longer.  Normally the top tier of fabric would be cut twice as tall, plus .5" seam allowance, but here I had to use what was there and just fold the top down to make a casing for the elastic.

Here, let me get that picture up again...
Essentially I made the first tier 6" finished, then 6" for the forest animals, 4" for the bottom underskirty looking thing, and added the 1" ruffle between those layers.  The chart above should actually say, for the first row to be 6", you want to cut it 12.5" so you can fold it in half and sew it to the second tier.  

If the length for the first row is 29"finished, you should have the next row 1.5 x's as long.
29 x 1.5 = 43.5, plus add the seam allowance, so 44".
That works perfectly for a strip of regular length fabric!  You just need a 6" piece the length of the bolt and you should be good.

That was where I went wrong.  I think her waist is now 26 or something.  Just a couple inches and we are off by a foot after ruffling.  I ended up taking the forest animal strip and cutting into three sections, then adding the blue plaid in between panels of forest animal fabric.  That gave me enough fabric to ruffle to the top portion.

When adding that 1" ruffle, you will want to almost double the measurement of the second layer.  If we made that second layer 44", you will want two 44" strips, 3" wide and sewn end to end.  Go ahead and fold that in half lengthwise, iron, then sew a running stitch across the open end to secure both sides of the fabric together.  The running stitch step is REQUIRED if you are using a ruffler foot to do your ruffling.

Mine looks kinda like this.  You can search "ruffler foot" on my blog to see more posts where I have used this attachment.  I would rather go without food than my ruffler foot.  Seriously!

I ruffle the strip of fabric first, then sew it like the meaty part of a sandwich between tiers two and three.

Tier three is the same length as tier two of the skirt.

That is basically it.  You can totally patchwork the skirt like I did.  Just sew the pieces together and then trim it down to the size you need.

I sew the first tier to the second, second to third, then sew up the back to sew the skirt shut.  Be sure to leave an opening to add the elastic to the top tier.  I like to stitch a line about 1.5" from the top of the skirt, then use a safety pin attached to the end of your 1" elastic to thread elastic through the skirt.  Sew the elastic ends together, then sew the skirt closed.

That is it!  No pattern.  It seriously is easier than I made it sound!  
You will have a totally fabulous skirt that will make your little princess feel even more beautiful!

Twirl baby, twirl.

For a fuller twirl, double the length on each tier as you go down the skirt.  Then your girlie will have a full circle of fabric yumminess as she spins :0)

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