Saturday, December 4, 2010

Vertical Ruffle Skirt

Christmas Dresses!  Always a time of great fun.  My daughter however, is very picky, and while she LOVES anything fancy and dressy, she hates things that are uncomfortable.  Give her a fun knit skirt and shirt any day and she will live in them for years until I finally throw them out from being completely worn out.  So, this year I decided to combine her love of comfort and love of fancy into one adorably wearable outfit.

Warning!  This is a LONG post, but I wanted to make sure I didn't forget anything.

Also, this is my first make it with no pattern attempt.  While I love the way it turned out, I'm going to include a couple things I would have done slightly different.

Gather your materials.  While my daughter is almost 7, we'll call her more the size of your average 5 year old. I used 2/3 yard of knit, about 1 yard of non fray chiffon, and enough 1 1/2 inch wide elastic to go around her waist.  I actually salvaged this elastic from one of her previously mentioned favorite knit skirts.  I ordered my chiffon from here.  
 Fold the knit in half, then in half again so you have 4 layers.  This makes it easier to cut as my knit was 60 inches wide.  I also used my cutting board, ruler, and rotary cutter to make all my cuts for this project.
After the fabric is folded, trim the top so it is even across the width of the fabric.
 Next, determine your measurements.  Her waist is about 21" wide, I then added 5" making the top 26".  I wanted a little a-line to the skirt, so the bottom I cut at 30".

Here is one place I would have changed it a little.  I would do a little more gather and a-line, probably around 28" on the top, but closer to 36" on the bottom, just to give it a little more fullness.  It is 15 inches long.  This is plenty long, but I figured I'd rather have room to play with the final length then wish I'd had a little more.
I refolded the fabric at this point so it was only double folded over enough for the width I needed.  Remember that you only need to make your measurements half 1/4 of what your final outcome will be.  I cut mine at 6.5 inches and 7.5 inches. Mark your measurements and cut out.   You'll end up with two identical pieces at this point.

Next, cut your waistband, making sure the stretch of the knit goes the length of the waistband.  The width is 4 inches, the length is the same as the top measurement of the skirt, so in my case, 26".
 Lay your skit pieces right sides together, sew the side seams together with a 1/2" seam and press.  Set aside.
Now it's time to cut your chiffon.  Lay it out as shown below.  I also folded this in half, then in half again.  The first cut you want to make is the length of your ruffles.  Make them twice the length of your skirt and 2 inches wide, I did them 2x30".  VERY IMPORTANT!  make sure the length of the ruffles goes parallel to the selvage, so they stretch across the 2" width.  They ruffle much nicer this way.
Cut until you have 1/2 the width of the bottom measurement of your skirt, mine was 30", I have 15 ruffles. 
 Now we start ruffling them.  Set your top tension as high as it will go, and your stitch length to the longest it will go.
 Now, as you sew, it will naturally start ruffling your strips.  I did have to ruffle a little more after, but it was quick and easy.
 Ah, look how cute your little ruffly strip is.
 After all your strips are ruffled, if you have an odd number of ruffles, pin one down a side seam on the right side of the fabric, if you don't, skip this step.  Gather your ruffle so it matches the top and bottom of your skirt. Sew down the center of your ruffle with a regular stitch, remembering to backstitch at both ends.
 Next, you need to evenly space the rest of the strips around the skirt.  I recommend doing this one side at a time, not in a full circle.  It keeps things lined up much nicer.  I tried the full circle first and have one skwampy ruffle, but luckily you can't really tell.
 After you've marked your top and bottom measurements, pin your next ruffle on, gathering it as well, and sew down the center of the ruffle.  Continue until you have a circle of ruffly goodness.  This does take a little time and I found laying the skirt on a flat surface, putting something hard (like a book) between the layers of skirt and then pinning the ruffle down was easiest, that way I could lay it in place, then easily slide the pins in without having to pick the skirt up.
   After all ruffles are on, baste around the top, laying the ruffles flat.
 Now, set that aside and get your waistband.  Fold it right sides together and sew halfway up the side using a 1/2 " seam.  Press.
Next, fold it in half, wrong sides together and pin it to the top of your skirt, making sure the open seam in facing away from the right side of the skirt. 
 On your machine, figure out which one is the "stretching stitch".  Mine is pictured below.
(I didn't even know this stitch existed until this project, you learn something new everyday.)

Using this stitch sew around the waistband and skirt together using 1/2" seam, making sure your elastic will fit in the casing.
 Thread your elastic through the casing, zig zag the ends together and hand stitch the waistband closed.  We are almost done.
 Determine the length you want it to be and fold the hem under.  Using little loops, only attach the hem to the seams created by sewing the ruffles on, this hides your stitches completely.  I just wove the thread through the bottom of the skirt to get from ruffle seam to ruffle seam.  I hope you can see what I mean on my picture, the thread blends in really well.
  Pair it with a cute shirt (I actually made this one with my new silhouette, I got it on Tuesday and my house shows it.  Is it abnormal to sleep with an electric gadget as a teddy bear?)
Then, to get a half decent picture of your child wearing it who HATES having her picture taken, tell her to pose like they do on Next Top Model and giggle to yourself at the resulting poses.
I'm repurposing on of my sweaters into a little sweater vest for her to wear with it too, that is if it works out.  If not, good thing we live in Phoenix so she doesn't really need it to be that warm!

Phew!  All done.  I hope I didn't lose you.  Please feel free to ask any questions you may have.


  1. AWESOME skirt and such a cutie pie model..LOL!! Thank you for sharing with us and for the great "How TO". I think one of my nieces (who is 5) would just love this for a gift. Inspiration..LOVE IT!!!


  2. Hi! I saw this link from I heart Naptime! Very cute skirt...i'm thinking of making it for myself! lol

  3. This is very sweet! Thank you for sharing the tutorial!
    Thanks for linking up to Making It With Allie! I can't wait to see what you have for next week!

  4. Adorable! So festive! Would love for you to come visit me at Sew Chatty and link up to Made with Love Monday!

  5. Wow. That's really cute. I'm going to make that in "mom" size!