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Home » DIY Tutorials » DIY Sewing » Sewing: Clothing » Baby Clothing » Basic 3 Tiered Skirt: With Hidden or Exposed Seams (measurement chart included)

Basic 3 Tiered Skirt: With Hidden or Exposed Seams (measurement chart included)

 

I have an addict in the house.  (Well other than me and my addiction to sugar.  But we’ve talked about that many times.  Haven’t we?)

 

This addict is four years old and 11 months.  She loves noodles.  Hates the dark.  Adores playing “mommy”.  Is pretty ticklish.  And can usually be found playing dress-up or creating dialogue between 2 of her favorite dollies.  But her true addiction……..is to skirts.  She loves them.  And hates to go anywhere without one.  And will slump over in utter disappointment if I tell her all of her skirts are dirty that day. 

 

So I have been meaning to make her more skirts for months now.  And finally did.

 

And rather than just a plain old gathered skirt……this one has 3 tiers.  Why make the 3 tiers?  Well, this allows the skirt to be more full and flair out without adding more bulk and gathers right around the waist.  (This is especially helpful if you’re making a skirt in your size.  Too many gathers around your waist = bad.  Got me?)

 

These can be made in any fabric……however, I made one for my 4 year old and my 8 month old in knit.  Stretchy and cozy.

IMG 0278

 

 

And since it’s cooler……just match the skirt up with some leggings.  (Okay, even when it’s warmer she wears leggings with her skirts.  She loves those too.)

skirt

 

 

And luckily, a skirt like this feeds her addiction.  And makes her happy.

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And because she likes to help me pick out her little sister’s outfit for the day……..I needed more baby skirts for the little one too.  Done.

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Can you blame her?  Skirts make spinning and dancing that much more fun.  Okay, I get it. 

tiered skirt

 

 

 

Would you like to make a 3 tiered skirt for you? 

Or for your daughter/niece/granddaughter/friend?

 

First of all, like I mentioned above, you can makes these skirts in a variety of fabric.  I used jersey knit for mine but plan on making a few 100% cotton ones as well.

 

The first step is to decide how long you want the skirt, from the very top, down to the bottom hem.  Once you know how long you want it, split that number by three.  For each tier, you will add a little extra to the top and bottom length, to accommodate for the waistband, the seam allowances, and the hem.  And to figure out the width of each tier, you need to measure the waist of you model.  The first tier width will be the waist measurement multiplied by 1.5.  The second tier is the waist measurement multiplied by 2.  And the 3rd tier is the waist measurement multiplied by 2.7.  I know, 2.7 is a weird number but it keeps the ratio even between tiers.  Just go with it! 

 

 

Here’s a chart to keep all of that straight:

3 tiered skirt2

(And keep in mind, if you want the skirt fuller, add some fabric to each width.  If you need help figuring that out, keep the width of tier one the same but multiply tier 2 by 2.5 and tier 3 by 4.2.  That will make it even fuller.  Do what works best for you though and the amount of fabric you have.)

 

So, for example:  My little girl’s waist is 20 inches.  And I measured from her waist down to where I wanted it to end, and that was 10.5 inches.  So I first divided 10.5 by 3 and got 3.5.  So each finished tier would measure 3.5 inches tall.  Then, I knew that after adding the extra measurements to each tier height (as shown above), they would measure 5 inches tall (1st tier), 4.5 inches tall (2nd tier) and 5 inches tall (3rd tier).  Then, since her waist measurement is 20, I knew the tier widths would be 30 inches (1st tier), 40 inches (2nd tier), and 54 inches (3rd tier).

 

**Please note, the measurements don’t have to be perfect.  You can round up or down so you’re not trying to cut something that is 6.78 inches wide.  That would be annoying.  This skirt is forgiving since it gathers in and doesn’t have to be perfect.

 

So, if you have a tall 4 (almost 5) year old like I do, who has about a 20 (or 21 or even 22) inch waist (and who normally wears size 5…..no longer 5T), you can use my measurements.

 

Tier 1 = 5 x 30 inches

Tier 2 = 4.5 x 40 inches

Tier 3 = 5 x 54 inches

 

Here they are after I serged each long edge.  (Not necessary to serge or zig-zag the edges of knit but I did it anyway to see if it would help it stop rolling.  Nope, didn’t help. Ha!)

IMG 0193

**As a side note, I can’t remember where I got this fabric.  I bought it a couple years ago.  Maybe Hancock?  Or Hobby Lobby?  Sorry…….I just can’t remember. 

 

 

Now, fold each tier in half width-wise with right sides together, and sew the ends closed.  (Use a 1/4 inch seam allowance.)  This will give you 3 circles of fabric.

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Then, grab your top tier of fabric and fold over the top edge towards the inside of the fabric, one inch.  (If you are using cotton or other fraying material, you may need to add another 1/4 inch or so to your top tier measurement so that you can fold over the top edge a 1/4 inch, then an inch.  This is necessary to keep the edge from fraying.)  Sew this down really close to the bottom edge of the part you folded over……..but leave about a one inch opening for your elastic.  Set aside.

IMG 0204

 

Now, grab your 3rd tier and place a basting stitch all the way around the top edge, a 1/4 inch from the top.  (I always place a basting stitch along the front half and then another stitch along the back half.  It’s easier to gather in 2 sections rather than all the way around with one seam.)  Gather it in until it’s the same width as the bottom of tier 2.  And line up the side seam in the back.  (Need help with gathering?  Click here.)

IMG 0212

 

Now place the top edge of the tier 3 and the bottom edge of tier 2 together, with right sides together, and pin in place.  Make sure that the gather is even all the way around. And no, this isn’t a ton of gather……just slight.  Then sew in place, using a 3/8 inch seam allowance.

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Now, place 2 basting stitches along the top edge of tier 2 and match it up with the width of the tier 1, just like you did with the bottom 2 tiers.

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Place together with right sides together and pin in place.  And line up the side seams in the back.

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And sew together, just like you did before.

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Now, fold under your bottom edge an inch (or however much you gave yourself for a hem allowance) and sew in place.  I used a double needle to get a nice double seam from the front…….and then a sort of zig-zag on the other side.  (Need help with the double needle?  Click here.)

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Now, thread some 3/4 inch elastic through the waistband (that’s the same length as the waist measurement), overlap the ends by one inch, sew ends together, and then sew the opening of the skirt closed.

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Now, if you’re wanting to leave the seams exposed, like the grey skirt……..instead of placing the tiers together with right sides together, you’ll just overlap the tiers about a 1/2 inch (with the right side of the fabric facing outward) and sew them in place after they’re gathered.  I serged each edge for a finished look but you can leave knits plain and raw.  If you’re using cotton (or some other type that frays), you’ll need to fold over each long edge a 1/4 inch, then another 1/4 inch, and then sew in place so they won’t fray.  But keep in mind, you’ll have to add some length to your measurements to accommodate that extra fabric.

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And that’s it.

 

All ready to be worn.

 

And since that came together so quickly, make like 5 more for your little skirt addicts.

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Enjoy.

 

 

Comments

  1. annie valentine says:

    I think you are my four-year-old’s new favorite person. Over here in Germany I’m having a devil of a time getting my hands on reasonably priced skirts (euros suck) and this tutorial has possibly saved my life and sanity. Three cheers for clean skirts!

  2. Shelley says:

    I just made this skirt for my little girl due in March. It only took a little over an hour so I got to finish it while my boys were napping. Thank you so much for the tutorial. It was so well written!!! Love your blog!

  3. Andrea says:

    Thanks, I was just searching Craft Gossip for a skirt tutorial for making a new skirt for my own skirt obsessed daughter, Thanks for such a great, easy to understand, tutorial!

  4. Crystal says:

    Plain cotton looks great with the “exposed” look. Only there’s no need to hem it at all between layers. It naturally frays a bit, and adds to the charm of the peasant skirt – which is my favorite. I have several, but not enough, of these skirts with the little frays between layers and I adore them. I just made over a couple of mine that I shortened over the summer, but are now too short for the cold winter, to fit my littles aged 6 and 4. They like a very full skirt so the adult size was fine. I just made a new casing for smaller elastic at the top and was done. It hits mid-calf for them.

    I love your blog!!! :)

  5. Kate says:

    Great skirts. Can’t wait to try some for my little skirt addicts!
    Also wanted to say thanks for making your posts so easy to pin – the image you include with the name of the tutorial and your blog details means I don’t have to type anything! Love it!

  6. Bree says:

    Ashley, how would you cut the fabric if it wasn’t 54″ wide? I’m hoping to make a few of these out of corduroy that I’m pretty sure will be 44″ inches. Thanks!

    1. Ashley says:

      If needs be, you can sew fabric together to get the appropriate width. Once it’s gathered in, you most likely won’t see the vertical seam, so it’s shouldn’t be a problem.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Good luck!
      Ashley

  7. Shari @For the Little Doll In Your Life says:

    I have some skirt loving girlies in my house. Now I just need to get over my fear of knits. LOL

  8. Brandi says:

    Awesome! I just finished one in less than two hours. Now I’m off to cut out a knit to try the exposed seams version. Thanks for the great instructions!

  9. Amber says:

    Thanks so much! My 5yo is also addicted to skirts and I was just thinking I needed to make more. She LOVED the chiffon ruffle skirt I made for her from your site before – you have such cute stuff. By the way – I love the collar on the shirt she is wearing. Is that something you did post purchase or did you get it that way?

  10. Ziva says:

    Thanks so much Ashley, you make the most beautiful things. I am going to try it for my little girl. I have way too much fabric lying around.

    1. Ziva says:

      Okay, it’s done. I tried it but as I’m really lazy and my daushgter was asleep when I made it I guessed instead of measured, this is the result. https://notsosupermum.blogspot.com/2011/11/skirt.html

  11. robin@thesweetestpear says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! Can’t wait to whip one of these up!

  12. Leanna says:

    I love this tutorial! My daughter is in major need of some new skirts, too. I just have a couple questions, though…

    How did you find a knit long enough to go all the way around the bottom tier without having to piece it together? The knit fabric I have in my stash is only a width of 36″, but I’ll need it to be wider for that bottom tier. Or maybe my real question is, can I cut the width of the tiers in half and make two pieces of each tier?

  13. Denay W says:

    I am going to go home tonight and make up a ton of these for my 4 year old skirt addict! I have been just doing the basic gathered skirt, but this tiered one is so cute! Since this is the first time I’ve commented but I’ve been reading the blog for almost a year now, I just wanted to say that I love your tutorials! Thank you so much for sharing!

  14. Becky says:

    Darling! One question – your instructions say multiply the 3rd measurement by 2.6 but the diagram says 2.7 – just checking.

    1. Ashley says:

      Ooooh, thank you. It’s 2.7. Sorry about that! (I just changed it.)

      Ashley

  15. Liz says:

    Thank you! This is exactly what I have been looking for! I want this for my DGD and have three different Christmas prints showing candy canes and peppermint candies, etc. in red and greens. Can’t wait to make her a Christmas skirt to wear with red or green T-top and leggings. I figured this can be made w/o pattern but I’m not gifted in getting it done by myself. I really appreciate the timeliness of your tute! Thanks again…..

  16. Ms Kate says:

    Woo hoo, I made one! https://blog.mummybrain.com/2011/11/upcycle-3-tshirts-into-3-tiered-skirt.html My daughter loves it! Linked to your blog in my post of course!!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh, it turned out so cute! I love the different colors in each tier. And way to use up old knits. Perfect!

      Ashley

    2. karomanah says:

      Although I am very curious to knew the reason but never mind my dear.I am addicted to your site anyway and I will keep coming .Ashley you inspires me .God bless you

    3. karomanah says:

      Although I am very curious to knew the reason but never mind my dear.I am addicted to your site anyway and I will keep coming .Ashley you inspires me .God bless you
      sorry I posted it to number 33 instead of 29 sorry :S

    4. Ms Kate says:

      Thank you for your answer! I love your blog and idolise you just a little, so am smiling just simply because you answered me :)

  17. dannyscotland says:

    Want to come over and make a bunch of these for my daughter? ;-) Ha ha! They are adorable! My little girl has been very tomboyish but has just recently made the switch to being very princessy, so I guess some twirly skirts are in her future! If her mom can just stop being so lazy!

  18. Jen says:

    Adorable! LOVE the fabric! Thanks for the tutorial :)

  19. Sheena says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! My daughter who is 7 LOVES skirts. She will not wear pants period. She needs some new skirts sooo bad but I haven’t been able to find any that I like. She has many that are made likes these but she has outgrown them. I will defiantly be making her some skirts now. =)

  20. karomanah says:

    hi Ashley! here is the skirt as I promised
    let me know your comment ,it really matters to me

    1. Mara from Argentina says:

      …beautiful! Another “to do” in my doughter´s big list

    2. karomanah says:

      thanks my dear :)

    3. Ashley says:

      Awwww, it’s so darling! I love the fullness of the skirt and that fabric you used is gorgeous! Thanks for the link!

      Ashley
      (I couldn’t leave a comment over on your blog for some reason.)

  21. Tammy says:

    These are my daughters favorite type of skirt! Unfortunaltely she doesn’t like wearing a second layer (shorts or leggings for playground modesty!) any tips on adding shorts underneath to make them “skorts”?

  22. Dawn says:

    adorable! my 5 year old is the same way with skirts/leggings-she’ll love this!

  23. Tatjana says:

    I loooove your blog! I have already recreated a number of your sweet little things – and this will go on my list – subito!!!
    Thank you for sharing your ideas!
    Tatjana

  24. Anonymous says:

    Another thing for my to-do list–for me! My belly’s getting big enough that my normal clothes are starting to look pretty silly–and feel pretty uncomfortable. I’m thinking one of these with a nice, thick waistband…Thanks for the great directions!

  25. Jennifer T. says:

    My daughter is the same way. Ask her to get dressed in the morning or change after school and the girl immediately goes for the skirts and dresses. It doesn’t matter to her that it is 40 degrees outside – she has to be Miss Diva. I am quite the opposite so it has been an interesting journey for me, but I have learned to accept it. These skirts are absolutely darling and I will most definitely be adding this to my list of things to do. Thank you for sharing!

  26. Sonya Burton says:

    Love this tutorial!!! I’m such a beginner I can’t even figure out how to stay in a straight line with my machine. Lol. But one day I will give this a try. Thanks a bunch!!!!

  27. Melissa says:

    Thank you!! I think this is written so well that even I may be able to do this :)

  28. Leigh Ann says:

    Bless your sweet heart! I just love elastic waist skirts! I will wear this tutorial out!

  29. Tara says:

    These are so cute, my little skirt lover would adore some as well! Now to find some cute fabric…

  30. Teresa says:

    Love a good tiered skirt. I have made them using differant coordinating and contrasting prints before as well.

  31. Anonymous says:

    So, so cute! Thanks for taking the time to share this tutorial! Perfect for my 8 and 3 year old daughters! And love the orange/grey floral knit – I can never find knit that cute!!

  32. Debbie says:

    I love these skirts! I have never used knit fabric before – is there a different needle I should use, or does one treat it the same as cotton?

  33. Mary @ Redo 101 says:

    That is just the cutest skirt, and I like baby’s skirt too! You will like this: So I was wandering around blogland, feeling a bit bored and looking for something, just anything, new and different. So while I was linking up to Thrifting Decorating’s link party, I glanced over at her sidebar “blog roll” and saw that you had a tutorial on making a tiered skirt. :) My daughter (15) has been asking me to make her a tiered skirt. So I jumped right over to your blog and am very excited to have the instructions to make this, because there is *no* way I am going to pay pattern prices! And that, my friend, is what happens when you’re bored and start wondering around Blogland – you find wonderful posts like yours that meet the need of the hour! Thanks for sharing!

  34. Emily says:

    Perfect! Must make ASAP.

  35. Natalie says:

    This is AWESOME! I’ve been wanting to make some of these for forever! This tutorial ACTUALLY makes sense! Hahah! I’m SO using this one. :) Thanks so much!

  36. Melissa says:

    I am so excited!! We have two skirt addicts at our house too and I was just plotting using some of my stash to make a skirt like this! Now I don’t have to do the math! :)

  37. Mara from Argentina says:

    Hi! I am now sewing the paper bag skirt and needed some tips and when I enter here voila! I love you so much because next in my little doughter to do list was one of this and I was trying to figure it out how could be done! Excuse my english, I am so happy and excited! I would send you pics when all is done! Love from the south! Mara

  38. alisha says:

    Oh man, where was this tutorial a month ago??? I made a tiered dress for my little girl’s birthday and it turned out OK…this tutorial would have made it fabulous. :) Thanks for the tut…maybe I’ll make a fabulous one for her for Christmas. :)

  39. Ripleigh says:

    That grey one looks like it came out of a store! Seriously!?! NICE GOING! I’m totally going to make DD some of these. She has a serious skirt addiction going too.

  40. Hilary says:

    Awww…So cute! Simple, easy, fast, adorable. I am sold. Going to the basement to make one now for my one year old before I run out of motivation. I am going to use old t-shirts and have some funky graphics show through. Thank you for the inspiration.

  41. Angela says:

    ah this is christmas presents for my sister and a few cousins! along with those cute leggings you blogged about!

  42. Rebecca says:

    This looks really simple and easy! I think I can pull it off. :) Love the fabric choice, too!

  43. Candee says:

    Where did you find that cute knit fabric? The skirts are adorable.

  44. Shannon says:

    Where did you get your fabric for the flower skirt? LOVE IT and the striped leggings!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh darn, I just mentioned above that I can’t remember where I bought the fabric. It’s been a couple years and I can’t even remember where I snagged it. But the leggings are from Old Navy and I bought those at the end of the summer.

      Ashley

    2. Lisa says:

      You make the cutest things from knit! Do you usually purchase the knit fabrics at Joann’s, Hobby Lobby, or Hancock? Any particular time of the year do the stores have more printed knits in stock? I can never seem to find cute printed knits in the stores, especially a nice variety. My 10 year old daughter really picked up sewing this summer and made herself a cute tiered skirt, but with regular cotton. I like the knit look though, adorable!!

  45. Natalie says:

    Must be the age … I have a 4-year-old niece who would probably wear a skirt every day if you let her. Along with all her “jewels” (jewelery). Oh, and she would steal her little sister’s leggings when she (the sister) was a baby and try to wear them herself. Love those little girls!

  46. Amy W. says:

    I live with a skirt addict too and since I am a skirt addict myself, we get along swell!

  47. Amie says:

    Where did you get that patterned fabric?? It’s gorgeous!

    1. Ashley says:

      Dang, I can’t remember. It’s been in my stash for a couple of years. Maybe Hancock? Or Hobby Lobby? Gosh…….I seriously can’t remember. Sorry about that!

  48. karomanah says:

    amazing! I have done one month ago but it is not as neat as yours :(
    I will post it on my blog and show it to you.

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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