Monday, August 20, 2012

Tiered Skirt With Exposed Seams: A Tutorial

Heyyyyyyyyy there!  Hope y'all are doing lovely on this lovely day!  (okay, not really that lovely as in pretty outside, it's overcast...but lovely as in it's no longer 98 degrees outside!)  The other day, I attempted to put together a tutorial for how I made a tiered skirt.  I used to be frustrated when girls didn't do enough pictures in their tutorials, but now I understand...You just kinda get on a roll, and you have a hard time slowing down!  Anywho, enough's the tutorial.  *Note: tutorial assumes you have a few basic sewing skills, such as sewing in a straight line, hemming, finishing raw edges, etc.*

Tiered Skirt Tutorial

 You Will Need:

a yard or two of fabric.  I used a large, lightweight jean sheet I got at a thrift store for a couple dollars. 
sewing machine
measuring tape
marking tool.  I used a disappearing ink marker, but you could use a pen, pencil, chalk, etc.

Start with some measurements.  The circumference of your waist (or wherever you want your skirt to sit.  For me it was a few inches below my waist), hips, and how long you want the skirt.  Write down measurements.  Mine were: waist = 30 inches (my actual waist is 27 if you wanted to know), hips = 37 inches, length = 24 inches.

For your waist measurement, times it by approximately 1.5.  IOW, mine would now be 45 inches.  I rounded it up to 50, since I like extra fabric.  Hip measurement, times by about 2.  I rounded mine down to 70 inches.  And for the last tier, I just chose 80 inches.  So I have 50, 70, and 80 inches.  I think next time I'll make the bottom tier 85 though, since it wasn't quite as gathered as I would've liked. 

Okay, got those written down?  Time for length.  It depends on how big a hem you plan to add how much length you need to add.  The waistband at the top adds another inch in length, so you can minus that out of your length measurement.  That gives me 23 inches.  Then I wanted a narrow hem, so I just added about 1 inch back in.  Easy.  Back to 24 inches.  However, larger hems often make skirts drape better, due to the added weight, so you could add a larger hem if desired.  Just do the math.  Look up another tutorial if need be.  I don't have time to go into it. =)

For how tall the tiers will be, take your skirt length measurement and divide by three, then add one inch for seam allowances.  Mine was 24 inches, divided by three is 8, plus 1 is 9 inches tall.  Easy peasy. =)  For the waistband, just cut a strip the length of your top strip by 3 1/2 inches.  =)

Now we have four pieces.  Time to cut them out!  I don't feel the need to go into all that, except CUT ON THE FOLD!  It halves your cutting time.  Just make sure you put pins EVERYWHERE!!  =)

Just because I like this picture.. =)

Run a gathering stitch along the top of your second strip, a half inch from the edge.  Lay atop first strip and begin gently pulling top or bottom thread to gather until they are the same width.  Evenly distribute gathers, and begin to pin two layers together.  Make sure the edge of the fabric from first tier (the ungathered one) goes a half inch past the stitching of the second.  Sew down the gathering line using a standard straight stitch to attach layers.  Repeat with third tier.
See the two stitching lines?
This is the back of the skirt.  See what I meant about the first tier going a half inch past the stitching of the second?  Finish raw edges with zig-zag stitch or serger.

You should now have a long piece.  Match left and right raw edges together, pin, and sew together at 1/2 inch.  Split layers apart, and finish raw edges with zig-zag stitch or serger.... so.

Now sew the short sides of your waistband together at 1/2 inch.

Place skirt inside out on surface, with seam in center.  Place waistband "tube" around top of skirt, matching up seams (my waistband has two seams because I accidentally cut it too short at first! Try to ignore that!), right side of waistband to wrong side of skirt.  Pin all along the top edge.  Stitch together around the whole "tube" at 1/2 inch.  Finish edge if desired (I didn't since it would be completely covered anyway).

You still following?

Flip skirt right side out (waistband will seem inside out).  Iron seam up toward waistband, and iron down top of waistband 1/2 inch.
Fold down top edge of waistband to meet previous stitching line.  Press.
Stitch 1/8 or 1/4 inch from edge, leaving a 1 1/2 inch opening at back seam.

Sorry, no pictures of this next part! 

Wrap a piece of 1 inch elastic around your waist (or where you want the skirt to sit), pulling it comfortably tight around you.  Now minus an inch or two (the weight of the skirt will make it feel looser).  Attach a large safety pin to one end of the elastic, and begin feeding it through your casing, making sure not to let the other end slip through.  Make sure your elastic isn't twisted, and overlap the ends.  Stitch together well.  Push inside the casing all the way.  Now continue stitching casing shut.... in this very bright picture.  =)

Hem your skirt, add any cute embellishments you want, and you're done!  You just made a quick, easy, fun skirt all by yourself!  

I hope this tutorial wasn't too confusing.  I never knew how difficult it was to explain something like this with pictures and words...

Have a lovely day, lovelies!! =) =) =)

Jaime Lynn


  1. Cute! Do u think it could still look cute if it was a little shorter length? :) I love your blog... it's adorable!

    <3 Isabelle <3

    1. Hi! I'm so happy to "meet" you! Thanks for following my blog! =)

      I think it would look great it a shorter length or a longer one. That's one of the greatest things about tiered skirts...they look good at any length! Blessings!

      ~Jaime =)~

  2. I love it Jaime!!! AND YOU won my giveaway so go see!!! :)

    Love you!

    p.s. I saw that you are Marianne Dashwood.... I think that's funny cause I don't see that in you! :)

  3. Thanks, That was really easy to understand! Much better than the others I have found!