The Busy Bean

Gathered Skirt Tutorial

It might be a month late… but here’s a quick tutorial for the Easter skirts I made my girls.

I hope this makes sense. If you have any questions, just let me know and I’d be happy to answer them. Seriously, this is a super easy skirt to make, only slightly more involved than making a basic twirl skirt. Here we go.

Materials Needed
approximately 1/2 yard of two different prints (mine is from Riley Blake, Farm Fresh by October Afternoon)
3/4″ elastic
basic sewing supplies

Step 1 – cut your fabrics. How much fabric you need will depend on the size you’re making. To figure it out, all you need to do is measure around the waist and the length. For example, my girls’ waists are 19″ around. (Yeah, both of them. Lottie is a little small for her age, and Kelsey is a little big. So, at 16 months apart… they even out in size. Lottie’s just an inch taller.) Anyway… back to the tutorial. Next you decide how long you want the skirts to be. I wanted them to hit just below the knee, which turned out to be 15″ long. You’re not going to add anything to the length here. No accounting for elastic casing. Just cut a piece of fabric about twice as wide as your waist measurement and the exact length you want. I cut mine 15″ x 42″ (the width of the fabric). If you want it more poofy, or if your girl’s waist is bigger, just cut two pieces and sew them together to get the width you need.

You will cut two of these, one for the “underskirt” and one for the “overskirt” or gathered piece. In my pictures the underskirt is the brown dot, the overskirt is the floral.

Step 2 – Right sides together, sew each fabric to itself along the short edge. This will create a very wide tube.I used my serger, but you could just use your regular machine and finish with a zig zag stitch to prevent fraying. This is where you also want to finish your hems. You could go all “finished looking” by turning it up and then turning it up again. We all know I’m kind of lazy… so I just did a rolled hem on my serger. If you do decide to turn it up, take that into consideration on cutting your length.

Step 3 – Sew your layers together. This is probably the most confusing part, because it seems like you’re doing it wrong. With both layers right side out, put the overskirt inside the underskirt. Sew them together along the top edge. So the right side of your overskirt should now be sewn to the wrong side of your underskirt.

Step 4 – Now you’re going to turn it so the overskirt is on the outside, leaving 1″ to sew a casing for the elastic. This will make it so the seam is on the inside of the elastic casing, leaving no itchiness around the waistline. Once you turn it and press it, stitch in the ditch around the top, but leave about 2″ unsewn to insert the elastic.I think it’s easier to understand when you see the picture.

This is why we didn’t have to add any length to account for a casing. You’re making the casing from the overskirt fabric only, which allows the underskirt to hang 2″ below the bottom of the overskirt. Nice, right?

Step 5 – Sew a gathering stitch through the overskirt. I did this about 3″ to the side of center. The seam is in the back, which gave me a nice center line (where the fabric was folded on the bolt). I just eyeballed a line about 3″ to the side (marked in red in the picture below). Set your stitch length to a nice long setting and sew through the overskirt only. Don’t backstitch at the beginning or end.

Once you sew the line, pull on the bobbin thread to gather it as much as you like. I only gathered a little at first, but decided I liked it much bunchier. I gathered it quite a bit.

Step 6 – Attach ribbon. Cut a length of ribbon that will cover the gathering stitch from the waistband to the hem. Pin it at the top and bottom, and sew along both sides (make sure you set your stitch length back to its normal setting for this). This will hold your gather in place and add a nice little accent on the skirt.

Step 7 – Insert elastic. Cut your 3/4″ elastic 1″ shorter than the waist measurement. I like the non-roll underwear elastic. It’s quite stretchy, and if I don’t take a little off the length, it falls right off my girls. They have no butts. You can use a safety pin or a bodkin (love love love it) to thread it through. Overlap the edges about 1/2″ and sew it together. Now sew the opening in your casing closed and just like that, super cute gathered skirts.

I added fabric covered buttons to the tops of the ribbon, just to finish it off a little more.

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One Thought on “Gathered Skirt Tutorial

  1. Marilyn Stauff on August 11, 2013 at 11:14 pm said:

    I am attempting this with a skirt for my daughter but I want to do several gathers. Should I need lots of extra fabric for the overskirt? One tutorial I read was for a twelve month old and she used like 52″ of material. I am anxious about this one and any help you can give would be greatly appreciated

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