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Full and Fluffy Pettiskirt


I used to love to dance around in skirts as a young girl.
And I always wanted a pettiskirt.
My childhood friend had one, and we would wear it, then trade, then dance, then trade, etc.
What a pain…….but I loved that thing.
And wished it was mine.
So making my little girl her own, was kind of like fulfilling that childhood dream of having a full and fluffy pettiskirt, all my own.  Ha……forgive me!
What could be better?  A full pettiskirt to dance in, twirl in, pretend in……
All of the ruffles, all of the layers………they will bounce right along with your free-spirited little girl.
With all those soft layers, girls of all ages are bound to feel happy and free….
Made my heart so happy to watch this little lady enjoying the fullness and fluff, every bit as much as I did so many years ago.  (Why didn’t I know now to sew when I was a teeny little girl?)


Would you like to make one too?
I found a video on Martha Stewart here a while ago, where a guest came on and showed how to make her pettiskirts.
I wish she had more time to share….but such are TV segments.  Short and sweet.
So I watched the video several times, adjusted the measurements given (just a bit), and came up with a step-by-step tutorial…..just to help explain the process a bit more.
And before we begin, make sure you purchase a non-fray chiffon….you don’t want to have to finish off every edge.  WAY too much work.  I found my chiffon here.  And actually purchased rolls of it, in the exact width that I needed, here.  There are many colors to choose from and the prices are great!  (If you don’t buy it on rolls, get ready to make lots of 2 inch and 5 inch wide strips that have to be sewn together to make longer strips.  But it can be done…..don’t worry!)
If you’re making a size similar to mine (about a 3T/4T….maybe even big enough for a 5T) I followed the links above and purchased one 2 inch roll (light pink) that was 60 yards long and one 5 inch roll (bright pink) that was 30 yards long.
Also, you will need to purchase a 1/4 yard of satin, some 7/8 wide elastic, and some ribbon.
Now, to get a visual of how the skirt is made…… is a 3 tiered skirt, with a ruffle around the bottom.  The 1st tier is satin, the 2nd and 3rd tiers are 5 inch wide chiffon, and then you use the 2 inch wide chiffon as a ruffle along the bottom.  And then you actually make the chiffon section of the skirt twice, and put them together and make a 2 layered, 3 tiered skirt.  Make sense?
So first, I measured and cut enough strips of chiffon to make the two separate skirts.
The hot pink layers are 5 inches wide (though they look a little scrunched) and the pink layers are 2 inches wide.
The top chiffon tier is 180 inches (5 yards) long, the 2nd chiffon tier is 360 inches (10 yards), and the bottom ruffle is 1080 inches (30 yards).  Then do that twice……so you can make the 2 separate skirts.
Then, I learned a little trick on my Bernina to help the process (because I don’t have a ruffler foot but may invest in one after making this pettiskirt).  I adjusted the stitch length to the longest it would go…….
And then adjusted the tension wheel so that one thread was being pulled tighter than the other…….creating a ruffle in the fabric.  And then I tried it on my old machine……and it worked great too.  (So increase your stitch length like you normally would to create a ruffle, but then play around with your tension on some scrap fabric and watch as it ruffles your fabric.  Don’t backstitch at either end, and then you can still adjust the ruffle by increasing or decreasing the ruffle.)  Great, right?  It saved some time.

After you have practiced this technique on some scraps, stitch down the center of your 2 inch wide fabric, creating a nice ruffle.  See all of those ruffles?  That’s how ruffly the machine made the strip without me even trying.

 But if you don’t like that technique, you can always sew a basting stitch and then do all of the ruffling on your own. (Need help? Visit this post here.)  Or you can just gather with your fingers and slide it under the needle as you sew. 
 But this way, you can’t adjust the length of the ruffle when you’re done.Whatever you’re most comfortable with.  But get ready, you have 2 really long strips to ruffle.
Now, lay your ruffle down next to one of your 360 inch long layers. (The second 5 inch chiffon layer.)  You want the ruffle to be the same length as this layer……so pull on the end thread of your ruffle to adjust or release the ruffle a bit.
Then sew the 2 short ends of your 5 inch wide layer together, making a large circle.  Also, be sure that the fabric is not twisted at all.  Then attach the ruffle to right side of the bottom edge of this layer, attaching the ruffle about 1/4 inch up from the bottom.  And sew right down the center of the ruffle.
And when you get back to the beginning, just overlap the ruffle just a bit and backstitch several times.
The whole layer, with the ruffle along the bottom.
Next, you’re going to sew a basting stitch around the top of this bottom layer, a 1/4 inch from the edge… that you can gather it before attaching it to the next layer up.  I split this in half and sewed a basting stitch only along half of the top, stopped, left long thread ends…….and then made another basting stitch around the other half of the top.  This way, I could gather half of the top edge at a time.  And I used the same technique that I shared above, and adjusted the tension.  Then I didn’t have to gather as much…
Then grab the 180 inch long layer of chiffon and sew the ends together the same way as you did the longer layer……….and lay the two layers down next to each other.
Place the two layers together, with right sides together.  And adjust the gathering if you need to so that there is an even ruffle all the way around.  Pin the layers together.
All pinned along one side, ready to pin the other half.

 Then sew the two layers together, right along that original basting stitch, about 1/4 inch seam allowance.  (Maybe a 1/3 inch seam allowance to hide some of the basting stitch.)
Do the same thing with the other layers you have cut, attaching the ruffles and creating gathers.  So now you have 2 identical pieces……….each with 2 tiers and the bottom ruffles.  Whew, lots of gathering.
Next, you’re going to cut a piece of satin that is 8 inches wide by 40 inches long.
On the wrong side of the fabric, iron on a piece of fusible interfacing that is 1/2 x 40 inches to each long edge of the satin.
Then sew the piece of satin together into a tube with right sides together.  Use a 1/2 inch seam allowance to sew those 2 ends together.  Then sew another seam, just to reinforce…..or zig-zag.  Whatever you’d like.
But be sure to leave an opening along the edge that is 1 inch wide.  This satin is 8 inches wide and will be folded in half to make the waist band.  So I measured in 4 inches, placed a pin, measured over an inch to the left, placed another pin, then made my seam……..but left the space between the two pins open.  Then made the next seam the same way, leaving the 1 inch space open.
The I folded the fabric down on itself in half, making a waistband, and making sure that the 1 inch opening was on the outside.  So this is a tube below, with a fold at the top and the raw edges at the bottom.
Then I ironed that top fold in place.
 Then I measured down an inch from the top, all the way around the tube and put pins in as my markers.  (You could use chalk too.)
Then I followed the pins as I made a seam all the way around the tube….creating a casing for the elastic.
Then I cut a piece of elastic that was 6 inches shorter than I needed.  My little girls waist is about 20 inches, so I cut a piece of elastic that was 14 inches and 2 piece of ribbon that were 18 inches each.  Then I heat sealed the ends of the ribbon (with a lighter) and then sewed one end of each piece of ribbon to each end of the elastic.  Now the waistband is adjustable with a ribbon, yet allows for a snug fit from the elastic.
Then attach a safety pin to one end and slide the ribbon through the casing of the satin piece.
Pull all the way through, gather in the fabric, tie in a bow…….see how it works?
 ***And see how there is an outside layer and an inside layer to the waistband?
Now, untie the ribbon and just pin the ends to the skirt so that they’re not in the way during the next step.  Or just don’t even put the ribbon in until later.
Now, grab one of your ruffled layers and make a basting stitch along the top (1/4 inch seam allowance), just like you did above.  And make two separate basting stitches, halfway around each, like I explained above………it helps while you’re pinning.
Now pin this layer to the bottom front edge of the satin waistband……with right sides together.  But only pin to the outer layer of the waistband.  Make sure the inner layer of the waistband is out of the way.  Adjust the gathering where necessary and make sure that the gathers are evenly distributed around the satin layer.
Then sew into place, using a 1/4 – 1/3 inch seam allowance.  When you flip down the ruffled layer…….you will now start to see your skirt.
Now, gather the top of your other skirt layer the same way as the first one.  Turn the skirt and waist band inside out so that the other layer of the waistband is on the outside. 
Now pin the wrong side of the chiffon layer to the right side of the satin layer……and pin in place.
Pin all the way around.
And sew into place, just like above.
Now, sew a top-stitch along the bottom edge of the satin, folding the raw edges (that are underneath) upwards, towards the top of the skirt, as you sew.  You will be sewing through the top layer of satin and then the little raw edge underneath as well.  So two layers of satin and some chiffon too.  Do this to both edges of the satin.
See the top-stitch along each edge of satin that is next to the chiffon?  (The seam in the middle is just the casing for the elastic.)
Are you still with me?  
That’s it.  
You’re done.  
No more gathers or ruffling.  Whew.
Great work!
Now, really, wasn’t that all worth it?
Just look at all of that pettiskirt goodness…..
………secured in place by a sweet little ribbon on the hip.


  1. The Nelson Family says:

    Thank you!! I can't wait to make my girls some! Did you make the flower clip to?? Its adorable!!!

  2. * a i s y a h * says:

    Insanely beautiful! Love every bit of it! Thank you so much for the tute!

  3. Amanda says:

    I cannot say thank you enough for this tutorial. I made a pettiskirt for my daughter for her 1st birthday last Sept. using Martha's info. I was able to make it but it was definitely not as easy as it could be. I swore I would never make one again. After seeing this, I am ready to attempt one again! YOU ROCK!

  4. Mochi Needlecraft Home says:

    THANK YOU SOO MUCH for the amazing tutorial. I soooo want this pettiskirt for my daughter.

  5. Jared & Tristan says:

    That is absolutely amazing!! WOW!

  6. Aleisha says:

    THANK YOU! I have had the fabric for this project for a long time, I saw the same MS segment, and have been searching around for a long time for a tutorial on how to make this. This is going to be great!

  7. The McGraths says:

    I've seen LOTS of pettiskirt tutorials and this is BY FAR the EASIEST one I've seen! Thanks a bunch for posting it!

  8. Photo Booth Girl says:

    Awesome! Thank you so much for doing this. I too have seen the Martha video, but this gives me the green light to go ahead and make one for my little *loves to twirl* girl.

  9. Melissa says:

    M'kay, now I just have ot get me some no fray chiffon and we'll be off to the races! Fabulous skirt, and post. Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. Bethany @ The Paper Pony says:

    So cute! Thank you for all of the many hours of work you undoubtedly put into this awesome tutorial! Just lovely!

  11. The six of us! says:

    I saw that Martha show and could not figure it out, thanks for making sense of it in detail!

  12. Gail says:

    Ack! That is so sweet!! My daughter would be in love with a skirt like that. Thanks for the great directions. I might have to make one for her.

  13. Alicia says:

    This is a great tutorial! I'm bookmarking it to use later!

  14. Twyla Gariepy says:

    if you can't get tulle on a roll, then what? how can you translate that to fabric store items?

  15. Wendy says:

    This is when I WISH I could sew. I can't even thread my machine. Yes. I have a machine. Don't know how to thread it. Boo for me.

  16. lorchick @ ON{thelaundry}LINE says:

    awww, sadface, I was so near the end of checking out to buy that stuff, very impressed that it was like $15 for the supplies, but then shipping it to canada suddenly brought my total up to $37 :( If I ever find a way to buy this stuff without paying enough in shipping to practically just buy the skirt itself, I'm totally making this!

  17. Kylie says:

    You're my hero! Thank you so much! I looked at the Martha tute but was still at a loss. I feel some pettiskirt Christmast pressies coming on!

  18. Mrs. Doodle says:

    Okay I feel like I should be sending you some cookies? brownies? a pound cake? SOMETHING!!! I mean WOW! You are awesome. I always love your stuff but this is over the top awesome! I will be making one now BECAUSE I now understand what that 5 minute segment on MS was trying to say! ha yours is so much better than anything else out there. Thank you for making this a free tutorial. Let me know what you would like in the sweets category:)

  19. Lori Thompson says:

    I have always wanted to learn how to make those adorable skirts! THANKS for the great fun post!

  20. Brenda says:

    As cute as this is….I'm soooo glad my daughter is 23 now! PHEW!

  21. Cara says:

    Wow, this is just precious! Would you mind sharing how you made the headband too? Or maybe that's a post to come?!?! :0)

  22. Michelle Evans says:

    thanks! i've been wanting to do this for awhile and have seen martha's video too, but didn't trust myself to do it without more info. you've given me the go-ahead! thanks!

  23. Mormishmom says:

    Stop it! This is so much more logical than the tutorial I paid for on Etsy. Thank you so much for posting this! Maybe I'll actually finish the one I started 6 months ago :)

  24. Leah says:

    Adorable!! Can you post a tutorial for the headband? So so so cute!!

  25. Daydream Believer says:

    What a beautiful skirt! Thanks for sharing this awesome tutorial! :)

  26. Judite Martins says:

    I love your site!!!

  27. Angie says:

    That is so adorable! Your daughter is just the cutest little thing!

  28. Cleverly Triple says:

    you are AMAZING!!! it looks beautiful! Wish i had the time and patience to make one for my little girls!

  29. GaMtnScrap says:

    Wow, an awesome job-both on the skirt and the tutorial! Your little girl is one lucky girl to have a mom so crafty as you! She definitely looked happy with her skirt in those pictures!

    My mom made one of these for me many years ago because we wore them under our clogging dresses. If you're not familiar with clogging, it's a form of dancing–kind of like square dancing with all the whirls and twirls but add in some fancy footwork, too! Anyway, we wore these under our short little skirts to make all that whirling and twirling even more fun and pretty. Most everybody ordered theirs, but my mom said, "I can make that!" Well, bless her heart, she did and did a great job of it, and that was in the day before internet tutorials so she was totally on her own! But, it was definitely alot of work. No wonder when it came time to get another one (due to a color change in our "costumes") she just ordered one like everybody else! Ha ha!!

    I always love coming to your site!

  30. Kari @ Ucreate says:

    Ashley…all I can say is GORGEOUS!!

  31. Heather says:

    LOVE THIS!!! THanks for the tutorial.

  32. The Robinsons says:

    I am IN LOVE. I can't wait to make this for dance (and twirly skirt) obsessed 4 yr. old daughter!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  33. Matt and Rachel Bowden says:

    Wow. You are amazing. I've been looking for a good tutorial on this for about a year and yours is so clear and easy. Now maybe I can make one for my niece! Your little girl looks so cute and happy what a good mom!

  34. Taking Terrible ouT of Toddler says:

    She looks so happy. I love to indulge my daughter too. Sometimes there are just some things you don't want them to miss out on! Ok, so I am really not a good sewer, but I am going to try. Thanks for the tutorial.

  35. The Harwood Family says:

    Whew! I guess that explains why they cost so darn much at the store. One day, when I'm feeling ambitious, and my little lady is older (and will appreciate it more!) I will be making one of these. And, if you made that adorable headband, I would love to know how!

  36. LeAnn says:

    Oh yeah, I agree with the others that the MS tutorial was specifically designed to make you think you can do it, and give up and buy theirs.

    I've been making petti's for a long time now too. It takes a lot of work but your tutorial is very well done.

    I use yardage for the tiers and the pre-cut rolls for the fluff on the bottom. I found this way saves me time and money. It's hard to explain why it saves me time, but let me just say that the way the rolls are cut, the gathers act differently. and when they are cut from yardage, they are easier to sew together.

    A ruffler and serger are also big helpers on a project like this.

    My daughter LOVES her skirts too

    Good job!

  37. meredith franklin says:

    wow that was a lot to take in! but i do want to attempt it! you did such a great job! man u are so talented!

  38. Amy says:

    I sew a ton, but I have been SO intimidated by petti skirts. I have also watched the MS tutorial, I was very disappointed. You have given me a renewed interest and ease of mind. I think I can do it now!

  39. Serena says:

    Thank you for taking the time to make this tutorial!

  40. Braden and Cheri says:

    I have made 15 of these skirts and did a ton of research before starting. I watched that horribly done Martha tutorial (I think the lady wants home crafters to fail), read tons of others, and finally figured the whole thing out on my own. But your tutorial is by far the best I have ever seen. Absolutely phenomenal. I wish I had seen this a year about before I attempted my first…

  41. DeLiGhT says:

    great job on that skirt! …and look how happy she is to wear it! (so adorable) I only have boys :( but maybe… if I make a blue one??? nevermind. the headband thing is super cute and would love to see a closer look.
    keep up the good work, Ash.

  42. Emily says:

    Thanks for clarifying the Martha tutorial. Your little girl looks so happy! Maybe you should make one for yourself- you know, for dress up with your little girl. :)

  43. Anonymous says:

    so cute! love it! I just order some chiffon, I showed your picture to my 3 yr old and she said I want one like that!!

  44. Hoffmann Family says:

    Darling! I want to also know how you make the flower headband!!

    1. ranger mom8 says:

      there is a tutori on youtube about how to make chiffon flowers you make 4 rows of circles starting with a spool of thread and then a little larger until you have 4 different circles cut one edge of circle , use a candle to burn round edges then use glue gun to layer them its a beautiful flow made of nylon the directions came up when I looked for the petti skirt good luck

    2. ranger mom8 says:

      the site is How to make beautiful silky flowers God bless Happy Mothers Day

  45. rebekah says:

    I bought a pattern to make 3 for my girls for Christmas, and it wasn't explained half as well as this. You have managed to ease some of my hesitance to start. Thank you! For those considering buying a pattern, don't bother.

  46. Melanie says:

    Wow, now I know why they cost so much on etsy! Crazy! The fullness is awesome.

  47. Aubrielle says:

    Thank you Thank you Thank you!
    I've been looking for a tute for a skirt like this!

  48. Anderson says:

    Holy cow! What a project! But what a result, too! (Sorry for the excessive exclamation points, lol.) Thank you for posting this tutorial. it must have been a ton of work! Now I just might attempt a pettiskirt- where I otherwise would be way too intimidated. Thank you!

    !! :)

    1. Anonymous says:

      It looks like there is LOTS more than just two layers?!?!

    2. Anonymous says:

      How much did it cost you to make this? And is there more than two layers?

    3. Beth says:

      If you use tulle to make a tutu version, I spent around $25. Price out the Chiffon on the website she posted. Shouldnt be more than $30. It is only 2 layers! Its sorta hard to sew – but you get the hang of it super quick!!

    4. Anonymous says:

      Yeah it’s two layers, but the bottom tier (the bottom part with the ruffle attached) is done twice for each layer, so technically there are four bottom parts, which is what makes it look so fluffy ^_^

    5. alicia says:

      is there a video that I can see how to make this skirt???? and what are the things I need to make the skirt???

    6. Anonymous says:

      I follow the instructions but instead of 8 by 40 I did it 12 by 50 because my girl is 8 years old just two layers and it looks really fluffy.

    7. Jen Allen says:

      Well done on producing the most accessible tutorial on the net on how to make a pettiskirt. I’m halfway through mine for my 6 year old but I’m stalled because I can’t find satin the right colour. I have chosen the same colour scheme as yours and I went to your recommended suppliers but cannot make out the exact shade of satin to buy. I don’t suppose you could recommend a shade please? I’m so ready to finish this now:)

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

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