Sew an adorable and flexibly sized skirt with this double twirly skirt tutorial. This is a very easy skirt to sew, but it does use quite a bit of fabric.
I’ve got something new for you, though! If you are like me, you love a good twirly skirt! With some fabulous fabric, a single layer twirly skirt is awesome. However, nothing compares to the fullness and twirl of a double twirly skirt! My daughter loves them! I love them. She looks so adorable and girly in them. They make her look more graceful (though they don’t actually make her more graceful).
I can also make them longer, meaning they’ll fit longer and don’t look like some of the tiny clothing they make for 4-year-old girls these days. (Seriously, why is it so stinking hard to make clothing for little girls that makes them look like little girls? Why do they need to look like sassy teenagers (or worse)?)
Though this skirt looks complicated, it is simple. Super simple. Only sewing in straight lines simple. This is a great project for beginners, since your only pieces are rectangles. Easy! And the end result looks so… fancy and fabulous! (Couldn’t decide which word would best describe it!)
Supplies for Double Twirly Skirt Tutorial
Here is what you need for the project:
– sewing machine
– something with which to mark on fabric
– ruler and/or yard stick (I use both.)
– fabric (I used 4 different fabrics in my version, but you can use just two if you’d prefer.)
-You’ll need a double length of the under layer fabric. (I made my under skirt 15″ long, so I needed 30″ of fabric.)
-You’ll need a double length of the over layer fabric. (I made my over skirt 11″ long, so I needed 22″ of fabric.)
-You’ll need 6″ of your waistband fabric.
– If you MAKE a tie, you’ll need 4″ of fabric for that. You can also use ribbon, rope, twine, shoestring, whatever. You can also use double or triple elastic if you prefer. The double skirt is kind of heavy, so it needs something more than just some 1/4″ elastic holding it up.
Cutting Your Fabric
Decide how long you want to make your skirt. If you are making a skirt for an infant, you only want to use one width of the fabric, instead of two. (Having just one large rectangle, just one small rectangle, just one waistband piece, and just one length for the tie.) Anything over a 2T, keep reading.
Your under layer should be AT LEAST 2″ longer than the over layer. I typically keep it between 2″ and 5″ difference, depending on the fabrics. (And sometimes depending on how much of a fabric I have.) For my skirt, I made the under skirt 15″ long and the over skirt 11″ long. My model above wears a size 5 in little girl’s. So, the length you decide on will determine height of the rectangles you’ll cut.
From you under layer fabric: Cut 2 rectangles 20″ x the length of your skirt on the fold. (When you open the rectangle up, it will be 40″ x length.) (Mine were 40″ x 15″)
From you over layer fabric: Cut 2 rectangles 20″ c the length of your over skirt on the fold. (When you open it up, it will be 40″ x length.)(Mine were 40″ x 11″)
From your waistband fabric: Cut two strips 20″ x 3″ on the fold. (Opened they will be 40″ x 3″ each.)
From your tie fabric: Cut two strips 2″ across the length of your fabric.
You can decrease the width of the skirt, taking some of the “poof” out if you’d like. I don’t recommend any less that a total of 40″ circumference. You can add poof by using all the fabric all the way to the edge, but I prefer to cut a bit off to make sure my measurements are even. Some fabrics may say 44″ wide, when they are in fact a bit more or less.
Let’s Sew a Double Twirly Skirt
Working on the under skirt first, place the right sides of your two fabric rectangles together and sew the short sides. You’ll want to go ahead an finish your seams. I serge mine. You do whatever it is you do to yours. (Zig-zag, french seam, whatever.)
Once your side seams are all sewn up and finished, you’ll want to go ahead and do the hem. Hem in however it is you hem it. I serge mine, then turn the serging under and sew. You can do a double fold hem, or whatever hem it is that you like.
Put the under skirt aside.
Now, we’re going to do the same thing with our over skirt (the short layer). You’ll sew the short sides of the rectangles right sides together. Finish your seams. Hem the bottom. Now, you have both the top and the bottom layer done!
Sewing the Waistband
Now, turn your attention to the waistband. Sew the short sides of the two strips right sides together. I serge mine, but you really don’t have to finish the side seams of the waistband. The seams will be hidden inside the waistband of the skirt, so you can skip the finishing. I’m just weird. Instead of hemming the bottom, you’ll finish the top. I just serge mine, since it will be on the inside of the skirt. You can zig-zag over the edge if you prefer, or just do a single fold hem, since the unfinished edge will get enclosed in the waistband.
For the tie, I like to place a buttonhole on my waistband. It seems easiest. Some people like to leave a portion of their waistband seam open, but I always mess that up somehow. A buttonhole near the side seam, toward the bottom of the waistband works out perfectly for me. Place it low enough that it will be on the front of the skirt, but high enough it won’t get caught in the seam. You can do the button hole horizontal, instead or vertical, but the placement is a bit more tricky that way.
Putting the Double Twirly Skirt Together
Putting the under skirt and the overskirt together now. With the wrong side of the over skirt facing the right side of the under skirt, align the tops of the skirts, matching the side seams. Baste around the top of the two skirts. (Basting is sewing a straight line with the longest stitch setting.) You’ll want to baste the edges closer to the edge than your seams normally are. (If you sew with a 1/2″ seam, baste at a 1/4″.)
Now, you’re going to attach the waistband to the skirt. With the wrong side of the waistband facing the right side of the overskirt, sew around the bottom of the waistband/top of the skirt. Here is why it was important to baste closer to the edge than you normally sew. You’ll want your basted line hidden, and it will be now!
Press the waistband up. You’ll want your seam toward the top of the waistband. Believe me, this step will help the next go smoothly.
Fold the waistband over and sew down. I line up the top line with the sewn line on the skirt. Don’t fret if your line is not completely straight on the front of the skirt. No one will really see it.
Making The Drawstring
If you are making a tie, you’ll need to sew the short sides of one side of the tie strips together. Just one side. Otherwise, it will be quite difficult to use.
Press the seam open.
Fold the strip in half and press. (See the picture for the correct version of half.)
Fold one edge toward the center and press. This is simple, though it does take some time to press down all 80″ of tie. Watch your fingers! Get them too close and you’ll suffer burns!
Press the other side in toward the center seam. Now, you have what looks like double fold bias tape, which would be exactly what it is minus being cut on a bias.
Sew down the middle of the tie. You CAN just do a straight stitch. I prefer to do a zig-zag.
Or if you happen to have a machine with some fancy stitches that you never get to use, you can use one of those. Ties are a great chance to use those stitches, and if you mess up, no big deal, it is just a tie.
Adding The Elastic
Now, grab your piece of elastic. (You want the skirt to fit snug, but not too snug. The elastic really isn’t going to do much holding the skirt up, it is just for shape and keeping you from having to regather the thing every time you wash it.) Pin your tie to your elastic with the tie on the front. Also put a pin on the end of your elastic so it doesn’t just shoot straight through the skirt. The tie is long enough that you don’t have to worry about it.
Finishing The Double Twirly SkirtTotorial
Thread the tie and elastic through the waistband. Sew the ends of the elastic together. Pull on the tie and get it even on your skirt. The elastic will probably pop right into place while you’re messing with the tie.
Cut your ties to a manageable length. (That length depends on the waist of the wearer and how long you the tie to hang.) Tie the ends of the tie in little knots.
Tie the tie in a bow and you’re done! One of my favorite things about this skirt is that it lasts forever! (I’m updating this in 2023. The little girl in the pictures is now 16 and her 4-year-old sister is wearing this skirt now!) This thing will fit your little princess for a very long time! It will fit until it is too short, no outgrowing the waist on this thing! My daughter’s favorite thing about this skirt is that it is SUPER twirly. She loves the princess-like fit. Enjoy!
Like all my patterns, you can do what you wish with this. You can make skirts for you, neighbors, friends, kids… You can sell the skirts you make. Just don’t claim the pattern as yours, cause that is just wrong. And feel free to share this tutorial!
Hey there!!! I came across your site quite some time ago and bookmarked it, but I had lost all of my bookmarks when my phone decided to go to cellular-heaven. I am SO happy to have found you again! Anyway, I LOVE this skirt! It is adorable! My daughter is now begging for one. I’ve been sewing since I was just a little girl, and normally I just draft my patterns as I go along and end up making my projects much more complicated than necessary. This looks so easy!!! I can’t wait to try it! So I have. Few questions (some related to the pattern, some completely off-topic LOL). First of all, assuming you and I have similar sewing experience, about how long do you think this skirt takes to make from start to finish? Second, I would like to make “matchies
Oppsss, accidentally published that first comment before I finished writing it. Continued:
Second, I would like to make matching skirts for my 5 year old (almost 6, wears a size 6, quite tall for her age) and my 18 month old (wears size 12-18m, but nearly fits a size 18-24m, which is so exciting because she was a tiny preemie!). What length do you recommend for the layers of the younger ones skirt? Your measurements above will be fine for my older girl, but not sure where to start for the little one.
Third (OT)- in several of your photos above, there is an incredible greenish/blueish paisley-looking material underneath your working project. What is that? Is it a fabric? If so, would you be willing to tell me where I can get some? Those are my absolute favorite colors, and what a GORGEOUS print!!! Heck, I’d make a twirly skirt for ME with that print! Hehehe
And lastly- what kind of machine are you using? Obviously I can see it’s a Babylock from the photos, but what model? It looks very similar to mine! Do you have a Babylock serger as well?
Finally, I just wanted to thank you! I’m stuck in the winter blues right now. My sewing/embroidery machine and my serger have been sadly collecting dust for months. I used to have such a passion for my sewing and used to sew like a mad woman on a daily basis. I’d almost forgotten what joy it brings me, and what a wonderful way it is to refresh and recharge the Mommy in me. I’m blesses to have come across your site today and I just wanted to say thank you for inspiring me to find my passion again.
(you can email me if that’s any easier to answer)
Thanks for reading, Nicole! I would have to say that the skirt usually only takes me a couple hours start to finish. They really aren’t very time consuming at all. Really, the only thing that takes time is hemming the bottoms of the top and bottom skirt because each one is about 80″ of sewing. That can take a little time to do. It isn’t difficult, just takes a while to make it all the way around those bottoms.
For a 24 months size, I’d probably do around 10″ long for the under layer and 7″ for the top layer. Around a 3T, I make about 12″ long on the under and 9″ on the top. It really depends on how long you want the skirt to be. I like them around or slightly below knee length. I once made a 10″ long one for my daughter when she was around a size 24 months and it fit her until she was almost in a 3T. Technically, she could still wear it, but it’d be awfully short!
The green and blue paisley is my ironing board cover. I got it from TJ Maxx, but here is one just like it. I also found a very similar fabric at Joann’s at one time, but it was slightly brighter. Here it is.
My sewing machine is a BabyLock Crafter’s Choice. They’ve made several that are pretty much the same as the Crafter’s Choice. I’ve really liked it. I do also have a BabyLock serger. I have the Lauren serger, which is one of the lower end of BabyLock sergers, but I have found it easy to use and not too intimidating!
I can completely understand about loosing your creative spark. As a mom, you get busy, so the first thing to go are those little things you enjoy. I love sewing and don’t get to sew as much as I’d like to, but at least I have little ones to sew for! I’m glad you are enjoying my blog and enjoying making things for your little ones. One day, they’ll remember your passion for creating special things just for them!