Tiered skirts are a wardrobe filler for me, and they never fail to get me rave reviews. Every time, I say, "you could make it - they're super easy! Just rectangles!" and I see the eyes glaze over. So, today I'm putting up a very thorough tiered skirt tutorial. This is for the version with an elastic waist - this skirt can also be made with a traditional waistband/zipper if you prefer a smoother finish.
Notes on the math: I am 5'2", there is about 37" between my waist and the top of my foot, which is where this skirt finishes. Should you want a different length overall, or a different length of any tier, just adjust as you see fit.
Maths given are for 55" wide fabric - one wants plenty of room to go 'round one's biggest part with plenty of sitting ease.
This is what MY math looks like: The top tier is 7" deep, I cut one. (You could cut 1.5 if you were using 42" fabric, which is getting popular in quilting cottons these days. There's not much need to increase any of the rest of these, you'll still have a very full skirt). (I have a very short top tier for figure flattery - you do NOT want the seam line to cup under your belly or behind).
Second tier, cut 2 @ 10"
Third tier, cut 3 @ 9"
Fourth tier, cut 4 @ 16" (I like this to drop from about knee height for drama/proportion, but you certainly don't have to do that).
I use approximately 1/2" seam allowances. (You can see this on my sketch).
I use about 3.5 yards of fabric for an unlined skirt. Fabrics? I like a light-weight cotton, nothing too stiff, flow is important. I've used cotton gauze (about the only thing I'm willing to use cotton gauze for), quilting cotton, lace, and the fabric shown, which is an embroidered voile.
cutting strips - my cutting board makes this easy, but you can simply draw lines on the fabric
tiers, cut and ready to go, I fold them together to keep them straight. Had a yard left over - I'd bought this fabric for a piggier project.
|Always sew a quick test to check your stitch length and thread tension. And to see if your needle minds going through the sequins. It didn't.|
|French seam. First, sew the two wrong sides together, at 2/8".|
|Press again, with right sides of fabric together.|
|Stitch w/right sides together, creating completely enclosed seam allowance on wrong side of fabric.|
Then sew a gathering stitch at the top. I sew a gathering stitch for the length of each panel, then cut my threads and start a new one, so four sets of stitches on the bottom tier. Gathering all that fabric is too much with one thread! Manage your insanity.
Set bottom tier aside.
|The bottom tier ... it's HUGE. That's why I do it first.|
|Fold over a narrow hem, iron. Pin.|
Sew the pieces of the third tier together, using french seams.
Gather the bottom tier, pin to the third tier. (This takes a while). Straighten/fluff your gathers as needed, then sew the two tiers together, with a regular seam.
Finish seam... do NOT use a french seam here, you'll go nuts. For this skirt, I chose to trim my seam allowance, press it down, and then sew over it with an embroidery stitch (even using embroidery thread) that my sewing machine has. Most do, these days. If you choose to use embroidery thread, you must use an embroidery needle or the thread will fray. You can use regular thread for loose embroidery stitches like this one - this is my favorite stitch, and I use it frequently. You might also choose to cover the raw seam allowance with a ribbon and stitch that down, or just pink it and call it good.
|Embroidery needles - have a smoother eye than regular, so your rayon embroidery thread doesn't fray. It will with regular needles, causing great frustration.|
|This simple leaf stitch is my fav. Open stitches are faster/easier for this kind of thing.|
|Finish seam (inside, where it's ugly)|
Sew the pieces of the second tier together. Attach the third tier to the second tier, see above instructions.
For the top tier, I prefer to insert the elastic before attaching to the rest of the skirt. Sew the two pieces together, using french seams. Then press a large hem/elastic casing over, and sew that down.
Insert elastic. Close the seam. Attach first tier to second tier. Finish seam. You're done!
|elastic casing and elastic - your casing should be big enough for your elastic to feed comfortably.|
|Feed elastic through, then make sure it's not twisted and sew it together thoroughly|
|Close the seam|
This is a good beginner seamstress project.