Toddler Skirt Tutorial

Today's tutorial is for a super easy-to-make toddler girls' skirt. You will need:

  • Fabric (1/4-1/2 yard - see chart below)
  • Coordinating thread
  • 3/4", non-roll elastic (child's waist measurement + 1")
  • Rotary cutter
  • Self-healing cutting mat
  • 6"x24" Omnigrid ruler
  • Thread clipper/scissors
  • Safety pin or bodkin
  • Seam gauge
  • Sewing machine
  • Serger (optional)

(Don't let the exhaustive list above scare you. This project could also be done with regular scissors and a yardstick, although using a rotary cutter makes the job much easier and your cutting more accurate.)

To make the skirt:

  1. Wash, dry and iron your selected fabric. Don't skip this step! By washing and drying the fabric first, you'll ensure that you can later throw the garment into the wash without worrying about shrinkage.
  2. Measure and note your child's waist size in inches.
  3. Match your child's waist measurement to the "Finished Waist" measurement in the chart below.
  4. Waist Measurement Size Finished Length Cut Fabric Size
    17 2 10" 35" (17.5" from fold) x12"
    18 3 11" 37" (18.5" from fold) x13"
    19 4 12" 39" (19.5" from fold) x14"
    20 5 13" 41" (20.5" from fold) x15"
    21 6 14" 43" 21.5" from fold) x16
  5. Fold your fabric, selvage to selvage, and carefully align the fold with the the 1"-1" point on your cutting mat (I use 1"-1" so I can still see the numbers on the side of the mat).
  6. Place the Omnigrid at the correct fabric width plus 1" (since you started at the 1"-1" point) measurement according to the chart above (use the "on fold" number). For example, if you are making a size 2 skirt with a 17" waist, place the Omnigrid at the 18.5" mark.skirt1
  7. Cut to the appropriate width.
  8. Ensure that your fabric is still lined up at the 1"-1" point on your cutting mat.
  9. Place the Omnigrid at the correct fabric length +1" measurement according to the chart above (use the final measurement). For example, if you are making a size 2 skirt, place the ruler at the 13" mark. skirt2
  10. Cut to the appropriate length.
  11. Sew (using a 1/2" seam allowance) and serge the side seam. If you don't have a serger, you can also use a zig-zag stitch (cut close to stitching afterward) or pinking shears. skirt3skirt4
  12. If you have serged or zig-zagged the seam, press it flat to one side. If you have cut it with pinking shears, press it open. skirt5
  13. Press under 1/4" to begin forming the bottom hem of the skirt. skirt6
  14. Press under another 1/2" to hide the unfinished edge on the bottom hem.
  15. Stitch close to the upper part of the fold to form the bottom hem. skirt7
  16. Press under 1/4" at the top of the skirt to begin forming the elastic casing.
  17. Press under another 3/4"+ (use your elastic as you iron to see how much you should fold down). Be careful not to make the casing too small, or your elastic will not fit properly. skirt8
  18. Start stitching to one side of the back seam. Stitch around the circumference of the skirt, but leave a 1" opening to thread the elastic. skirt9
  19. Add one inch to your child's waist measurement, and cut the elastic in that length. For example, if your child's waist is 19", cut the elastic to 20".
  20. Using a safety pin or bodkin, thread the elastic through the casing. Be sure to attach the free end to the skirt so you don't accidentally pull it all the way through! skirt10
  21. Make sure the elastic is straight (not rolled) through the casing. Overlap the ends 1/2", and stitch several times for added durability. skirt12
  22. Complete sewing the casing. skirt14
  23. "Fluff" the elastic through the casing by stretching out the waistband and letting it fall naturally. Stitch in the ditch (stitch through the casing and elastic at the back seam) to prevent the elastic from rolling. skirt13
  24. Stitch in the ditch (stitch through the casing and elastic at the back seam) to prevent the elastic from rolling. skirt15You're all done! But wait; don't stop there! Now's the time to embellish the skirt with appliques, hand-stitching, buttons or ric-rac. Let your imagination be your guide. I chose to do a cute flower applique using an upholstery fabric sample, some embroidery thread and a vintage button. skirt16I hope my future niece, Natalie, likes her skirt!