So, I've pretty much had a crush on all the tulle skirts I've been seeing online for quite sometime now. They are just so flirty and fun, and I love seeing them worn with a casual t-shirt and a leather moto jacket for a twist on the fancy vibe they usually have. I've seen a few pretty ones while shopping, but they are always way more money than I'm willing to spend. So I thought it was a good chance to get back into making clothing items from scratch (sounds scary, right?). I used to actually make a lot more items from nothing when I was in high school, but since then there's been a pretty long drought of that sort of thing. This project seemed like a good one to get back in the saddle for. Plus, making it myself was so much less expensive. and I was able to customize the length and layers to really make it fit the way I wanted it to. Ready to make one with me??
With Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores being far and away our favorite fabric shop in Springfield, it's only natural we're teaming up with them on this post. If you don't have one nearby, we highly recommend checking out their online shop.
OK. To find the dimensions you'll need for your pattern, first decide on the length you want your skirt to be (let's say for our example you want it to be 22" long). Then measure the fullest part of your hips (the skirt opening has to be big enough to go over your hips when you put it on), and divide that number by 3.14. Take that resulting number and divide by 2. So, for example, if the widest part of your hips measured 40, the equation would be 40 ÷ 3.14 = 12.73, and then 12.73 ÷ 2 = 6.36. That number would be your hip measurement number for your pattern (just round up to the nearest 1/4" of an inch to make it easier).
Use craft paper to cut a large square. Then measure your hip measurement out from one corner (just keep pivoting the ruler to make lots of marks and connect the dots at the end to get your rounded edge). Repeat the process from the same corner to find the bottom of your skirt line, but add the waist measurement to your total skirt length for that number (so if your length is 22" and your waist measurement is 6.5", then measure out 28.5"). Cut out your pattern paper.
Cut squares of tulle that are big enough to fit your paper pattern when the the square is folded in half, and then folded in half again to make a smaller square that is 1/4 the original size. Using the example numbers above, you would need a square that was 57" wide (28.5 x 28.5 = 57) when unfolded. The number of squares you have determines the number of layers your skirt will contain, so buy your fabric yardage accordingly. If you can't find a tulle wide enough to get a square as big as you need, you'll have to sew two pieces side by side first before cutting your square down to size.
Fold your large square in half, and then in half again, and place the pattern so that the corner with the middle of the square is near the waistline of the pattern. Use fabric scissors to cut along the waistline and bottom hemline. Unfold the tulle, and you should have a giant tulle donut!
Make as many tulle donuts (layers) as you want, and cut one extra with your pattern out of a lining material for the bottom. If you are going to hem your lining layer, I would cut it the same size as the tulle so it's a little shorter on the bottom when hemmed. If you are going to use a serger to finish the edge (or if you bought a fabric that doesn't need to be hemmed), start out by cutting it a little shorter to begin with. I think these skirts looks best when the lining is a little shorter than the tulle. Stack your layers together (with the lining as the bottom layer) and put a few pins near the waist to secure.
To make your waistband, pin the elastic around your natural waist so that it feels snug but not too tight. Wiggle out of the elastic and sew it together at that point. Trim the ends to 1/2" long, fold the ends down, pin in place, and sew those down to flatten them.
Use marking chalk to mark 4 equal sections on the waistline of your tulle circle. Do the same with the inside edge of your waistband. Use the marks to line up your waistband with your fabric and pin with 4 straight pins at each mark (you'll pin the bottom inside edge of the waistband onto the top of the fabric layers.
Since your elastic waistline is probably smaller than your fabric opening (that's measured to the widest part of your hips), you'll notice that there is some gapping where the sections of tulle are longer than the elastic. In that case, just pin the middle of each gap to the middle of the elastic section so you now have 8 pins total holding your layers together.
To sew your layers together, turn your skirt inside out and sew a few stitches near where a pin is holding the layers together. While the needle is in the down position, pull your elastic towards you until the fabric gap straightens out and sew along the waistband with a 1/2" seam allowance on the fabric layers. Continue this process of pulling the elastic and the fabric straight and sewing until you get all the way around the waistband. Once you're done sewing, that's it. You can try on your new skirt!
I would say my biggest tip from making my own is to make sure you have all your layers pinned before you sew the waistband on. If you don't, you'll have parts of layers that weren't sewn dangling lower on the bottom and you'll have to tack it on by hand or remove the waistband and start over. Count your layers to make sure they are all pinned first!
You can pretty much do as many layers as you want on this skirt without much added cost at all! I used 14 yards for my 8 layer skirt and the tulle only cost $10.36 total because it was on sale that week. Not too bad at all!! Like any other puffy/girly skirt, it's so much fun to walk around or twirl in this. It's definitely a clothing item that really puts you in a certain state of mind as soon as you put it on. Hope you decide to make your own too! xo. Laura
Credits// Author: Laura Gummerman, Photography: Laura Gummerman and Elsie Larson. Photos edited with Stella of The Signature Collection.