This skirt tutorial has now been superseded by my rotary cutter skirt pattern…
I have kept this free tutorial because the methods for making it are different, but if you are interested in a similar skirt but with a more professional finish and all of the cutting sizes for sizes 1-7 years then you can find my pattern for sale here…
Buying the pattern is especially useful for making skirts as a gift where you don’t have the child in front of you to measure!

Otherwise please continue to read for my free tutorial 🙂

* * *

These twirly skirts are easy peasy and I hope you’ll love them as much as me. They are fast too – my second one only took me 40 minutes including the applique top!
So here goes, lets make a cute skirt together.

Before we start I just want to say a few things – Since I’m a quilter not a seamstress, my way of making this skirt is pretty different to others I’ve read about – because I made it the easiest/fastest way for me. My method is less fiddly for me – I constructed it all in a straight line and then simply sewed the side seam.
However – I need to note here, and it is a really important note! – this method, while easy, does require you to make really even width seams. So make sure you keep this in mind while you are making it to make sure that you don’t end up with one side way longer than the other and a really wonky skirt to boot! There are a few things you can do to avoid this – but you just need to be aware of that fact that’s all.

Ok so lets get started…

Materials required:
Length of elastic big enough to go around child’s middle (the elastic I used was about 2/3 inch width)
Main skirt fabric
Coordinated fabric for the band at the hem (your quantities will obviously vary depending on what size you choose to make)
Matching thread

Step 1: Work out what size of everything you need…
Take the child’s waist measurement and then the measurement of the length I wanted for them.
This was the result –
Hannah (size 3)- Waist 19 inches, length 12 inches

So these were my fabric measurements:
Size 3 – main body of skirt fabric = 12 inches x 42 inches (Width of my fabric)
hem band = 3 inches x 42 inches (WOF)
elastic = 19 inches (waist measurement) long

I basically used my WOF available to me for the width – therefore my size 1 was just slightly more gathered than my size 3 – not a big deal to me but you can trim a bit off if you happen to be making 2 and want them in exact proportion. And I also made the length of my main body fabric the total length that I wanted the skirt (even though we’re a band measuring 3 inches) and my elastic the waist measurement of my girls. This is because I’m using french seams and a lot is lost in the seam allowance. I also was using very firm elastic without a huge stretch – if you use very stretchy elastic you can probably make your length of elastic a bit shorter.
If you are going to overlock or zigzag rather than french seam then you will not need to make any of these measurements as long, so adjust your measurements accordingly….

If you are making one for a much larger child then WOF probably wont’ be enough! For full cutting measurements you can buy my skirt pattern here.

Step 2: piece together the band & the main body…
So once you’ve determined your size and cut your fabric, we next want to piece together the hem band detail & the main skirt fabric…
Take your two pieces of fabric and lay them on top of each other wrong sides together with two of the long sides together. Yes really, that’s not a typo – I really do mean wrong sides together.

Tip – if you have a one-directional print for either or both fabrics – make sure that you are sewing it together so that the print will face up the right way!

Sew a very scant 1/4 inch seam all the way down

Now flip your fabric over and press so that the right sides are now together

Sew a very generous 1/4-1/2 inch seam – you will need to make sure that this seam is bigger than your first so that you don’t trap any raw edges in your seam…

Press open so that your seam is facing downwards towards the bottom of the skirt.

Topstitch about 1/8th inch from the seam, on the bottom side of the band. This will add a professional finish as well as securing your underneath seam down nicely.

Step 3: Making the hem…
We are now going to make a rolled hem so that it’s nice and neat.
Using your iron with lots of steam, press your hem over 1/4 inch. Make sure you are nice and even with this! I use a special scoring tool with my ruler to mark 1/4 line first. You could just as easily do this with a pencil or tailors chalk. You could also make a mark of 1/4 inch on thick card and use that to measure as you are ironing along. Whatever you decide just make sure that you make an even roll…

Now iron over about 1/3 inch so that you should have a double roll…

Check it’s the same at each end by folding your fabric over on itself and making sure the bands are the same width at each end.

Sew about 1/8th inch from the edge of the roll…

Yay, hem done!

Step 4: Making our elastic casing…
To make our elastic casing we are going to essentially be making a rolled hem like we did on the bottom, only this time our second roll is a lot bigger – about 1 inch.
So make your first roll about 1/4 inch…

See how my 1 inch line is already scored. That’s thanks to my great scoring tool. You can see what it looks like in the materials photo. I just bought it at my focal fabric shop.

Then roll over another inch…

Again check that your seam is even by folding your fabric in half and measuring them up against each other.

If it’s not then fix it up. We’ll wait…

K now stitch 1/8th inch from the seam edge

Elastic casing done!

Step 5: Feed through & secure your elastic…
So using a safely pin in 1 end to give you something to grip,  feed your elastic through your casing. I use a really technical method to stop the other end going through – it’s called holding the end in my mouth. You could also use a pin. But either way, you don’t want to lose that second end in as well.

Elastic all in? Great – now we want to secure it at each end. To do this I sew about 1/8th inch from the edge of the fabric. Do this at each end –

Now you should have a nice long ruffly “almost skirt”…

Step 6: Sewing the side seam…
This is the part where we get to see whether our seam allowances have been accurate!
We’ll use the same method again to sew the side seam as we used to join the ruffle to the skirt.

Place the two ends that we’re joining to make the side seam wrong sides of the fabric together… Since it’s all ruffly at one end pin it all the way down, making sure that you match the seams carefully.

Sew a very scant 1/4 inch seam. I find it easier to sew from the bottom. Make sure you also secure your stitches really well by reversing at each end with these seams.

K turn inside out and give it the seam a good press with your iron.

Sew a very generous 1/4 inch – 1/2 inch seam, again securing your stitches well at start & finish, and making sure that your seam is generous enough that it does not trap any raw edges.

Turn right side out.
Press press press

And TA DAH… you have a beautiful twirly skirt…

She proudly posed herself I’ll have you know…

Inside seams all beautifully nice & tidy…

Perfect for running about and getting into mischief having fun in the sun…

Love my two cuties!

Let me know if you have a go – I’d love to see! And have fun twirling!
(Contemplating making one in my size – I’ll let you know how I go…)

Linking up today with our creative spaces. 


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  1. My 4 year old refuses to wear anything but skirts these days. I can’t wait to give these a go!! Love the fabric you used. Thanks so much for the tutorial 🙂

  2. Great tutorial. Such a gorgeous skirt (and super cute models). My little lady loves skirts so I must have a go at making one for her. I’ve not tried making clothes before (it’s a little scary).

  3. When I cut the material for the skirt are they both just rectangles that I cut in the size of my child. Would love to make matching skirts for my 4 princesses.

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