Easy tiered skirt

Recently, I came across an amazingly simple way of making a tiered skirt in one of my 70's opp shop sewing books. What so great about this method is that the skirt can be made to fit any body size, so what works when making a girls skirt will be the same when making an adult size skirt. This style of skirt would also lend itself to using up offcuts of different fabrics, creating a mix and match skirt. It is also super fast to whip up!

To start off with, you will need to decide how long the finished skirt is going to be. I made this one for my 7 year old and was after a length of 40cm. To this measurement, I added 5cm for the top hem/casing, 5cm for the bottom hem and 3cm for the tier seams, equalling a cut out length of 53cm. Jot your number down in your notepad.

Next, the waist measurement of the skirt's recipient will need to be taken. To create a nice full gather, a width 1 1/2 -2 times the waist measurement will need to be used. Jot your increased waist measurements down on the paper and draw a rectangle  (not necessarily to scale) detailing your calculations:
Decide where the second tier will begin and how high it will be. Draw a horizontal line through your diagram detailing this.
Bottom tier will need to be1 1/2 -2 times wider than top tier (not illustrated in diagram).
To make life easier when cutting out the fabric, I used my measurements to draft two pattern pieces out of some old newspaper. The second tier will need to be 1 1/2 -2 times the width of the upper tier, to create enough gathers to puff out.

Both the paper pieces were cut half of the width measurement and then pinned on the fold of the fabric (centre front),  and cut out.


Gather lower (2nd) tier by stitching with a long stitch 1.3cm along upper edge. Pull up threads to gather lower tier to fit upper (1st) tier.

With right sides together, pin gathered edge to top tier.

Stitch (1.5cm seams). Remove pins and finish seam with a zig-zag or overlock stitch.

Press seam towards top of skirt.

With right sides together, stitch center back seam finishing with a zig-zag or overlock stitch. Press seam to one side.

Using the upper hem allowance, create a simple casing to hold the waist elastic. Fold 5cm of the upper edge over and press, then open out and fold under 5mm along the raw edge. Press. Fold the casing back in place and stitch close to the folded edge, leaving a gap to insert the elastic (3/4"-1" wide):

Cut the elastic to fit the waist with a small overlap (10-12cm shorter than waist measurement). Insert into casing through opening and stitch ends together. Stitch casing closed close to folded edge.

Hem the lower edge and you are all finished!

This skirt was made out of an old sheet. I'm looking forward to making some more with different fabrics for the tiers. If more tiers are required, just follow the same procedure, making subsequent tiers 1 1/2 -2 times the width of the previous tier.

And here is the skirt being worn for the first time.


  1. Great skirt. You make it look easy...I wish I could sew.

  2. Thanks for the tutorial, I'm going to give this a try :)

  3. Chris, gorgeous skirt. When I used to make them (for myself in the 90s, and for friends' daughters) I used clear swimwear elastic for the gathering - have you tried that? You cut a piece of elastic the length of the fabric the gathered piece has to join on to, plus an inch for a handhold.

    Then you sew the piece to be gathered to the elastic - stretching the elastic to fit as you go, holding onto the extra inch. When you've finished stitching, the elastic will shrink back to exactly the right size for joining onto the body of the skirt.

    Does that make sense? :)

  4. Thanks, LJ!

    Fantastic, Jay. Let me know if you post a pic on your blog so I can add a link to you :)

    Ahh, yes, thanks Celia that makes sooo much sense. I haven't seen clear swimwear elastic in the shops though....? Would need to hunt some down but not sure where to start looking.


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Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

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