Twirl Skirt Tutorial

At long last, I’ve finished detailing how I made the super cute twirl skirt featured in my last post. It took a lot longer to write it up than I ever expected. In the meantime, I  whipped up another one of these little skirts on Friday night to give as a gift for a Baby Shower I was attending Saturday evening. It’s really nice to have a go-to pattern that you’re comfortable making in short order.  The picture of that skirt and matching appliqued onesie is at the bottom of this post.

Disclaimer:  This tutorial is written for a beginner sewer, so please be patient with it, if you’re a bit more advanced. It’s my first tutorial, so I welcome all comments, questions, suggestions for making it more useful. I’ve also included it as a downloadable .pdf for ease of printing – the link is at the bottom of the post.

So, without further adieu, here is the Twirl Skirt Tutorial!


Supplies:

2 coordinating fabrics, washed and ironed

1″ elastic (or other width of your choice) – washed

Matching thread

Rotary cutter, cutting mat, and ruler (or Fabric Scissors)

Pinking Shears (or serger, if you have one)

Seam Gauge

Pins

Fabric marker (or any marker/pen)

Sewing Machine

Iron and ironing board

Step 1:  Measuring Your Fabric

I made this skirt with 2 different coordinating fabrics.  I wanted a finished length of 9″ and decided the top panel would be 6″ and the bottom panel would be 3″.  You’ll just be cutting simple rectangles for each panel.  Here’s how I calculated how much fabric I’d need:

Decisions/Calculations you need to make:

  1.  Finished length of your skirt – how long should your skirt be from top to bottom when you’re completely done.
  2. Length of top panel – how much fabric do you want to show on the top of the skirt
  3. Length of bottom panel – how much fabric do you want to show on the bottom of the skirt
  4. Width of elastic (this tutorial uses a 1″ elastic)
  5. Measurement of your child’s waist

(Note:  the length of the top panel + the length of the bottom panel should equal the finished length of your skirt)

Fabric Length – Top Panel:

Choose what the finished length of the top panel of your skirt will be.  Decide what width elastic you’ll be using.

I like to use an extra wide casing for my elastic so I can stitch around the top to make the top of the skirt stand up.  To create the waistband, you’ll take your finished length and add ½” to fold under the raw edge (to make the skirt look finished and keep the raw edge from fraying) and another 2″ to create the space where you’ll insert your elastic. You’ll then add an additional ⅝” to account for the seam allowance where you attach the top panel to the bottom panel.

I decided I wanted the finished length of the top panel to be 6″ and I’ll be using 1″ wide elastic, so my top panel fabric length is:

6″ + ½” + 2″ + ⅝” = 9⅛”

So, your formula is:  Top panel finished length + ½” for fold + 2″ to create waistband + ⅝” seam allowance to attach top panel to bottom panel = Top Panel Fabric Length

Fabric Length – Bottom Panel:

Choose what the finished length of the bottom panel of your skirt will be.  You’ll fold the fabric for the bottom panel in half to create your bottom hem, so you’ll double your finished length.  You’ll then add 1 ¼” for the seam allowance (this accounts for a ⅝” seam allowance, which you’ll double since you’ve folded the fabric in half and you’ll be sewing those two ends to the bottom of the top panel.)

I decided I wanted the finished length of the bottom panel to be 3″, so my bottom panel fabric length is:

3″+ 3″ + 1 ¼” = 7¼”

So, your formula is:  (Bottom panel finished length x 2) + (seam allowance x 2) = Bottom Panel Fabric Length

Fabric Width:

Measure your child’s waist.  Take that number and double it.  Then add 1 ¼” for the seam allowance (this accounts for a ⅝” seam allowance for your side seam – you double it, since your side seam is ⅝” and you’ll be sewing the two ends of the fabric together.)  My daughter’s waist is 17½”, so my fabric width is:

17½” + 17½” + 1 ¼” = 36¼”

So, your formula is:  (Waist x 2) + (Seam allowance x 2) = Fabric Width

You’ll cut your top panel and your bottom panel the same width.

Elastic Width:

Take the width of your child’s waist and add 1″.  My daughter’s waist is 17½”, so my fabric width is:

17½” + 1″ = 18½”

Step 2:  Cutting Your Fabric

Take the measurements you figured in the steps above to cut your fabric.  Here are the measurements for my skirt:

Top Panel:  9⅛” x 36¼”

Bottom Panel:  7¼” x 36¼”

Elastic: 18½”

Use scissors or a rotary cutter and cutting mat to cut 2 fabric rectangles with the measurements you figured.  Here’s what your fabric will look like.

Step 3:  Attaching the Top and Bottom panels

Lay the top panel down with the right side facing up.

Lay the bottom panel on top of the top panel, aligning the long side edges with the wrong side facing up.

Fold the fabric on top in half lengthwise and align the edges.

Pin the three edges together.

Sew all 3 edges together with a ⅝” seam allowance.

Trim raw edge of fabric next to seam with pinking shears (or serge, if you have a serger).

Press open seams with an iron and press folded edge of Bottom Panel of the skirt.

Here’s what the right side of the skirt should look like so far.

Step 4:  Sewing the Side Seam

Fold your fabric in half lengthwise so that the short edges of your fabric are lined up, right sides together.  Make sure the seams attaching the top and bottom panels are aligned.

Pin the pieces together and sew together with a 5/8″ seam allowance.

Trim raw edge of fabric next to seam with pinking shears (or serge, if you have a serger).

Press open seams with an iron.

Step 5:  Creating the Waistband

With the skirt inside out, fold down the top panel 1/2″ and press all the way around.

Fold the top panel down another 2″ and press all the way around.

Pin, marking a 2″ opening near the side seam (this is where you’ll be inserting your elastic).

Sew on the inside edge of the bottom edge of the fold you just made.  I used the left outside edge of my presser foot as a guide, which equates to about a 1/4″ seam allowance.  NOTE:  DO NOT SEW BETWEEN THE PINS MARKING YOUR 2″ OPENING!

To make your waistband stand up, sew on the inside edge of the top of the fold.  I use the inside edge of the right side of my presser foot as a guide, which equates to about a 3/8″ seam allowance.  You can sew all the way around for this one – no need to leave the 2″ opening.

Step 6:  Inserting the Elastic

Take your elastic and cut it to the length you determined in Step 1.

Take a fabric pen (or any pen) and mark and “X” on each end of one side of the elastic.  Securely fasten safety pins to each side of the elastic.

With the “X” facing up, thread the elastic through the 2″ opening you left in the waistband all the way around through the other end.  When done, you should see an “X” on each side of the elastic – this helps ensure the elastic didn’t get twisted while you were threading it through the waistband.

Overlap the edges of the elastic 1″ and pin.  Once it’s securely pinned, you can remove the safety pins.

Sew a box and/or an “X” across the overlapped section of elastic.  It doesn’t need to be pretty, just securely fastened together.

Pull the elastic fully into the waistband.  Sew up the hole you left open, being careful not to sew on top of the elastic.

Turn the skirt right side out.

You have the option of being done or adding a top stitch to the bottom edge of the skirt.  It gives it a little something extra, so why not?  You can use a straight stitch (shown below) or a fun decorative stitch – it’s totally up to you!

And, voila!  You’re done!  How cute is this?!

Completed Twirl Skirt

Mix and match fabrics.  Pair it with a shirt with a matching applique.  This is the outfit I made last weekend for the Baby Shower gift.  I cut the butterfly out with my Silhouette Cameo – much easier and faster than cutting by hand – and sewed it onto the onesie.  I love how it turned out!

Download the .pdf of the Twirl Skirt Tutorial here.

4 thoughts on “Twirl Skirt Tutorial

  1. Pingback: Overly Ambitious « There's No I in Clare

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