Monday, 15 September 2014

Sew it - Girls Gathered Skirt Tutorial

A little friend of mine, Keira, who turned 5 a matter of days ago, saw my crazy cat dirndl skirt and fell in love, well you can't blame her! As a cat lady in training herself (she has 'adopted' a scruffy black cat who lives down her street called Rosie, they are now the best of buddies, aah!) I decided as I had a little fabric leftover from my version I really ought to make her a skirt of her own, so that we could be crazy cat ladies together!

~ Girls Gathered Skirt ~
This skirt is as easy as pie to make, there is no need for a pattern just ready your tape measure, and in about an hour you'll have a skirt fit for a princess!

20" (51 cm) of 2/8" (7cm) Wide Elastic 
About 1/2 yard 45" wide Cotton/Polycotton Fabric
Matching Thread
Sewing Machine & Pins
Tape Measure & Scissors
Elastic threading needle or Safety Pin
Iron & Ironing board

Measure & Cut: 
Waist measurement x 2 = Width
I followed the similar principles to making the adult dirndl version, this will make the skirt nice and full, but as children don't have hips to contend with you could easily add less, it all depends on how much gathering you want and how much fabric you have! 

Waist to Hem + 5 inch = Length
To get the length measurement simple measure from the child's waist to where you want the skirt to fall, above/below the knee, and then add 5 inches to this measurement, that will give you plenty of fabric for the waistband and hem.

Sew It: 

1. Measure out and cut your fabric to size as described above, then zigzag or overlock/serge all of the raw edges of your fabric.

2. Fold the length of fabric together right sides of the fabric touching and sew the side seam within the 5/8th" seam allowance. Using a cool iron (if using polycotton or anything that might melt) open out the new seam and press it gently flat.

3. On the top edge of the hoop of fabric you have created, fold the fabric over twice to enclose the raw edges and to create a tunnel for the elastic this will be your waistband, pin in place as you go round.

4. Zigzag stitch around to secure removing the pins as you go. Start your stitching just past the first seam you created and ending a little before, this will give you a nice little neat gap to thread your gathering elastic through.

5. Thread an elastic needle or safety pin with 0.5cm wide elastic and thread through the hole in the waistband. Work the elastic around the waistband until you have returned to the beginning.

6. Once out the other side, gather the skirt to the required width, ensuring there is enough stretch still left in the elastic for the comfort of wear and ease of getting it on and off! Knot the elastic securely and tuck up into the waistband.

7. You will need to check whereabouts on the leg you want the bottom of the skirt to fall before pinning the hem. This will determine how much of the lower edge you will need to turn over to reach this measurement. 

8. Once you have found your measurement, hem the bottom of the skirt in the same way as you created the waistband, turn the skirt inside out and double fold the raw edges under. The only difference is, this time, leave no gap!!

9. You can either sew the hem with a zigzag stitch as the waistband or if you prefer a  simple straight stitch will do the job just as well.

10. Lastly, give the hem a quick press with your iron (same temp as above) and you are done!

Kiera's skirt was fashioned from a leftover fabric panel which was 44" (112cm)  x 17" (44cm).  I had to guess Keira's measurements as I didn't want to spoil the surprise, luckily I was not too far off, as you will see in the top picture it is a little bit big and I could have easily added less fabric to the width (waistband) of the skirt to make it a little less 'poofy', but if nothing else it will give her room to grow as the elastic can easily be let out when needed, so it should last her a few months at least! I also love the fact that this pattern could easily be scaled up to fit adult measurements, though it would be wise to use a thicker gauge elastic to avoid the waistband from digging in!

By all accounts, Keira seems to love her kitty skirt and on being given it choose to wear it straight away over the skirt she already had on!

A Success I'd Say!

Wendy x


  1. utter cutie! And that fabric is ever so adorable....not enough mad cat ladies in the world if you ask me! Have a fabulous week ahead my dear!
    may xx

    1. Thank you May, you're right definitely should be more crazy cat lovers out there! xx

  2. Good to see another crazy cat person! Thanks for showing us how :) x

  3. This is so cute. My girls would love this, especially in a cat fabric! Definitely going to give this a try. xxx

  4. That is an adorable skirt! No wonder she's pleased with it x