Saturday, January 7, 2012

Twirl Skirt Tutorial and a Cheat (shhhh!)

There are probably about 843,000 simple twirl skirt tutorials out there, so I thought, "Let's give the world one more!"  For better or worse... I'll try to make it fun and exciting.  And if you're just starting to sew, this is a great place to start.  You're only working with rectangles.  Easy-peasy!

This pink on pink on pink skirt is for one of our dear little friends.  So Bella, the surprise is ruined, but you have something to look forward to! 

Bella is a pink fanatic, so I rifled through my stash to find all my cutest pink options for her.   I came up with four great ones. Behold this wealth of pink goodness!

So lovely, huh? 

For my skirt, I wanted it to be roughly 16 inches long and have a 20 inch waist.  If you want yours longer, then cut your rectangles longer (but you can keep them 10 inches wide).  With the 10-inch width, you'll get a nice, full, very twirly skirt.  Oh man, it's going to be great!

Four different fabrics, cut into 10 inch by 16 inch rectangles-- two each (total of eight rectangles)
One strip of fabric, 4 inches by waist measurement plus 4 inches
Dritz Wonder Tape
1/2-inch elastic, the length of your waist measurement
Basic sewing gear


Cut out all your pieces (rectangles).  Then sit and admire the beauty of the fabric.  Sigh...  It's so gaw-geous.

Decide how you want to arrange your fabrics then start sewing the long sides together.  I finished each seam with a zig-zag stitch.  When you get to your last rectangle, sew it to the first one, so you get a nice big loop.

On the bottom edge, fold over 1/4-inch and press; then another 1/4 inch.  Press. This is your hem

Stitch this up.  Now you've finished one raw edge.  Only the top to go!

Sew a gathering stitch along the top (raw) edge.  Remember, you have about 80 inches of fabric to gather, so I like to do it this way: I grab the top thread of both sides and gather simultaneously.  Since your skirt is made of panels, you know where the center is.  By gathering both sides up, it's easier to get your gathers even.

See how, when I fold it in half, the two sides are the same length?  

You want to gather your skirt until it's the waist measurement plus 4 inches.  (Oops!  This pic shows my waist measurement plus 2.  That works, too.  It just gives a little less room for squeezing in.)

I also like to trim off some of those extra frayed edges that happen when you gather.

Take your waistband strip and sew short edges, right sides together, to make a loop.  Pin it, right sides together, to the top of your skirt.

It looks like this...

 ... then when you flip it up, you have this.

Now fold that top raw edge in a 1/2 inch.  Press.

Here comes my waistband cheat.  Ready for it??  Okay... see how you have two lines of stitches at the top of your gathered skirt part?  The top is the gathering stitch (which you can pull out if you want, but it will be hidden, so I wouldn't waste my time).  The bottom is what's holding your skirt and waistband together.  Focus on that one.

You want to enclose all that gathering and stitching in your waistband, but you'd also like a nice, non-wonky stitch on the outside of your waistband.  So how do you fold that waistband down and ensure it stays in place, so you can stitch, looking at the outside of the waistband?  WONDER TAPE!!!

Take your Wonder Tape and run it along that bottom line of stitches.

Then fold your waistband over and press it down onto the tape, so it's just covering the stitches.  You don't want to see those stitches.

Now flip your skirt right side out and top stitch the waistband, close to the skirt, leaving an opening through which to insert your elastic.  When you finish, you'll see the Wonder Tape has allowed you to catch both sides of the waistband.  You didn't have to mess with pins or picking stitches because you missed the back side of the fabric.

I guess cheating does sometimes pay off. ;)

At this point, I like to press the waistband and topstitch the top.  It's not necessary, but I think it looks nice.

Then take a safety pin and thread the elastic through your opening.  (You probably have Wonder Tape keeping it semi-closed.  Just pry it apart.)

When you get the elastic through, stitch it together.  I like to use a zig-zag stitch and backstitch a bunch of times.  It doesn't have to be pretty; it just has to hold.  Then close up the opening and you are finished!!

Go outside and take a picture of the finished product because it's January in the Chicagoland area and it's amazingly mild, and you need to take advantage of it! ;)

Again, Bella, I hope you love it.  Send us some pictures of you twirling in your new skirt!

Linky parties!


  1. Easy enough! And I actually have some of that fabric! Would you please share this with our readers for fun stuff fridays?

  2. You do the most detailed tutorials! I love how you include instructions such that it can be made for different sizes. Such a cute little skirt! It looks easy to sew and I can utilise small pieces of fabric. I'm pinning this one.

  3. Great tutorial and who would ever guess about that cheat? :0 Thanks for sharing on Motivated Monday at BeColorful

  4. You have been featured on a +30 little girls skirt round up- thanks for your great tutorial!


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