Thursday, January 24, 2013

twirly dance skirt tutorial

If you're visiting here for the first time....welcome! I'm glad you found your way to my neck of the woods. Be sure to check out my other tutorials, craft ideas for kids and recipes.

I have a lot of plans for this new blog. I have all sorts of craft ideas running through my head, family favorite recipes to share and fun giveaways, so be sure to follow me to stay up to date!  

Today I'm going to show you how to make one of the easiest skirts ever, which is basically just a different take on the lovely circle skirt.  (Wouldn't this make such a perfect Valentine's gift for the little dancer in your lie?) 

I've been making these for several years after seeing posts about them on Craftster.  I used to go to that site everyday! 

I've made these for my girls, for myself and even for my neighbors. I've shown a whole roomful of teenage girls how to make them. Yep. They're that easy. 

There were loads of tutorials for these on Craftster, but I kind of smooshed them all together and came up with my own way (which there are probably loads of tutorials for now!)

Alright, two things before we get started. 

*You'll notice I use a serger to make this skirt. BUT before I had a serger, I made these skirts using the zig-zag stitch on my machine. I even did the hems with the zig-zag. I made the stitch length really short and then simply let the needle go off the side of the fabric. If it was knit, I stretched it as I went to give it that nice lettuce edge. And it worked like a charm!

*You'll also notice this tutorial is going to use many different fabrics in the "Making Of" photos. I cut out a lot of skirts the other day and intended on making the turquoise one first. And then I took some shots of another pink one I cut out. Yeah, they're all a bit heltered-skeltered. When I asked my little dancer which one she'd like me to make first, she chose the sparkly one above. And....the how to pictures aren't the best. Most of them are taken at night when I have time to sew!

Onto the tutorial! Tally-ho!

Alright now, first off you need to get some nice flowy fabric. I found this lovely sequined fabric in the dollar bin at Walmart (so that means this skirt cost me about $2...maybe $3!). And you'll need enough to make two squares big enough for your little dancer or yourself. If the fabric is a knit, buy enough to make a tube waistband, but if it's not, you'll need to have a coordinating knit. A thrifted tee works great for this!

Next,  you need to measure your little dancer (or yourself) in three spots. 

#1: Around the waist, or hips if the one you're making it for isn't a little girl. I made the skirt for my little Zoe and her waist is 20 inches. 

#2: Measure how long you want the waist band to be. When I make a skirt like this for myself, I like to have a longer waist. It's more flattering on me than, say a two inch waist would be. But for my girls I can do two inches or I've even done 5 or 6 inches long making the skirt more like a drop-waisted number. The skirt up above has a little bit less than a four inch waist. 

#3: Next you want to measure how long you want the skirt to be. Measure down from where the waistband will hit and then take your measurement for the skirt from there. If you're making a traditional circle skirt, you'll simply measure down. But for the twirly dance skirt, it's a bit trickier. You'll need to measure where you want the points to fall and also the shorter parts. To tell you the truth, I didn't do this part. I just kind of guessed how long I wanted it to be for my Zoe. The short part, not to the point, was about 17 inches. I thought she'd want it shorter, but she really liked it long. 

Alright, now it's time to start cutting that fabric. 

Fold your fabric in half, selvage to selvage and then fold it again going the other way. So, for the pink skirt above, my square was approximately 40 inches square. Folded, it measured 20 inches square. 

Next you need to take that first measurement you took. In my case, it was the 20 inches. Divide this by four. So, I had 5 inches. That's how big of a pie shape I need to cut from the folded corner of my square. And make sure it's the corner that looks like the one above! If you cut from any other corner, you'll be very very sorry. Now I just wing this part, meaning I put the measuring tape there and see the five inches and start cutting. But if you want something more precise, you could make sure the measurement is the same going down each sides of the pie shape. And then you could also draw the curve with chalk and then cut. 

So, then you'll end up with something that looks like this...

For the next square, just take your cut pie shape from the other square and use it as a pattern for the this square. 

Now let's move onto the waistband. Take the measurement of how long you wanted the waistband, double it and add your seam allowances. In my case, I just add an extra inch for the seam allowance. 

So, with the pink skirt I cut out an 8 inch strip of knit fabric, making sure to cut it in the direction that stretches. I think this fabric stretches in both directions, but not all knit fabric does and you don't want a waistband that doesn't stretch!

All knits are different. So, to see approximately how wide to make my daughter's waistband, I simply stretch it around her waist and figure out where it needs to be cut. I usually make this a bit bigger than needed. It's a lot easier to sew something smaller than make it bigger!

With wrong sides together, I serge up the waistband.

Next I folded my the sides down to make a tube and tried this on my little munchkin to see how it fits. It fit pretty well, but was a little loose. And there's one thing with these don't want a loose waistband! All the fabric of the skirt will pull that waistband down. I know this from experience. 

I once had a literary agent walking behind me as we walked up the hotel stairs, on our way to discuss my writing and....I felt my skirt start to slip. Ack! Luckily my shirt was long enough and...I'm fairly certain he didn't notice. 

{I hope.}

Don't you love her mix of stripes? 

Ok. So, let's move away from that embarrassing chapter of my life. I took the waistband in a bit more, folded it back and used pins to mark evenly around the waistband. I'm going to use these pins to match the waistband up to the skirt. 

Now, I hope this next part makes sense. After I've cut the skirt out (yes, we've moved to a different skirt again), I mark the sides and middles with pins. This is what I do to one square. 

But on the other square, you have to do things a bit differently to make the points of the skirt match up all nicely. 

So, I mark the skirt with pins like the one above but then turn the waistband to make the pins match together like this. 

And then I mark the sides and middles again with pins. You might want to mark your middles and sides with two pins. Or just take out those ones in the middle of the middles altogether (oy! This is totally making sense, right?)

Now you need to match all these pins up at the waist.Make sure you put the skirt with the straight part at the front of the skirt into the skirt with the point at the front. Slip the one inside and match up the waists, matching the middles and the sides. 

Pin these. 

Now you need to match up the waistband with the skirt. Pin the tube to the front of the skirt waist, matching the side and middles but not pinning the rest. If you haven't worked with knits much, you might think the waistband seems too small for the skirt. But, trust me. It will work!

Here's a shot of it all pinned together.

Now serge the waistband to the skirt stretching the knit to fit between the pins.

After you're done serging the edges of the skirt...

You are left with these lovely dangling bits of thread.

When I cut them off, I like to dab a bit of fray check there to keep the serging from coming unraveled. 

And you're done! Now all that's left is to let your little dancer twirl in her new dancing skirt!

The galoshes really make the outfit, right? Well, you have to wear something to dance class before you change into your ballet shoes. Why not hot pink and green galoshes? :)

I really really hope this made sense to you all! If not please feel free to ask any questions you have and I'll try to help. 

Oh! And I almost forgot I made an extra skirt to giveaway...
(I'll be showing how to make these layered circle skirts on Monday. So, be sure to check back!)

I had a bit of these fabrics left, so I made this shorter twirly skirt. It should fit a lot of sizes....anywhere from two up to 6, I think. 

To enter simply follow my blog and leave a comment. 

If you want to get extra entries, you could blog, post on facebook or tweet about this giveaway, too. Just let me know if you do in the comments. 

I'll draw a winner next Friday, on February 1st. 

Sorry for those who missed this giveaway! But rest assured, I plan to give other fun things away in the future!

If you like this tutorial, you'll want to check out this other fun and easy way to make a skirt, the denim and dots skirt tutorial...

Linking up to these fun parties...

Too Much Time On My HandsTuesday To Do PartySomewhat Simple
I Heart Nap Time
DIY Show OffSkip To My Loumop it up mondaysThe 36th AVENUEfive days five ways | feature friday free for allSee Vanessa Craft>


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I really love this! I'm sure my daughter will, too...

  3. I love your skirts! Ok, this shows how un "blog savy" I am...but I don't know how to be a follower. Does it count if I see your posts on fb then check out your blog?

  4. I'm sooo thrilled you did this one! I've been wanting to make one! Cute girl, cute skirts! Cute garage backdrop??

  5. Beautifully done & what a cutie pie you have too! :o)
    ~ Brenda

  6. Super cute!! My daughter would love to win this cute skirt!!

  7. Great tutorial!! I am a new follower! And I know the perfect little girl for this skirt......

  8. sadly i can't sew. so your tutorial is useless to me. i can't even read your sewing language. it's foreign to me. but i would reaaalllyyyy like like like like the skirt. i have a 9mo babygirl and this would look super cute on her.

  9. This is adorable! Is it wrong that I want one for myself?! :) Don't answer that!! Thanks so much for linking up at!

  10. Great tutorial, I am pinning it for later reference. This is okay right? I like the short skirt too, do you have a tutorial for that also? My daughter would look so cute in it, she is 2 1/2.

  11. Awww, she is just too pretty...loving the rain boots. My little girl loves dressing up and twirling even more. Very informative tutorial. One day I hope to get a sewing machine...I think it would take forever to hand sew this. Oh, I love that cute little monkey in your header photo. : )

  12. This is so cute. Great skirt tutorial. I have a link party called Wednesdays Adorned From Above Blog Hop and would love to have you share this and any other posts with everyone. It runs from Tuesday night through midnight Sunday. Here is the link to the party.
    Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above

  13. new blog follower-- found you through pinterest!

    Thank you,

  14. Cute skirt and I know the perfect sweetie to wear it! Also love the heart stamped tshirts that you did. I may just make one of those for that sweetie too! Found you through Ucreate, have a great week!

  15. Just started following you! My daughter has a birthday in a few weeks, and she would absolutely love that little skirt!

  16. Love the skirts! -

  17. What a sweet little girl, I love the boots. andi thewednesdaybaker

  18. I am a new follower. The skirts are darling! Thanks! Jennifer Banando

  19. posted on my blog.

  20. I love the skirt and I know my 4 year old daughter would love dancing in this skirt. Oh and just found your blog from Project Run and Play. Following your blog now. Great blog!

  21. I hope it's not too late to enter this giveaway. I follow you via Google Reader.

  22. Hello!
    Show and Tell Saturday at Sassy Little Lady is LIVE! I’d love to have you share your post!


  23. that is so cute. Too bad we missed the deadline

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  26. To speak the truth this is a nice post concerning this topic. I got a pure solution from here. Also I can refer to you all here to get educational helps. Nevertheless will wait for more posts from the blogger. Thanks a lot…….

  27. Great Post concerning twirly-dance-skirt.I love this way to find out right dress for right dance and right here I found lot of helps concerning this. I highly recommand this blogger workings and will wait for more posts like this.

  28. Gorgeous! I totally want to make one of these for me. I'd love to see pictures of any you've completed for yourself!

  29. So nice skirt...I wish I could buy this from my favorite online boutique !!!

  30. Nice work dear...hey why can't you think to open your own fashion boutique???

  31. Nice blogging ..over twirly dance skirt tutorial ..........
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  32. I love the twirly skirt. I'm going to make one for my great-granddaughter. Could you tell me if you used the rolled hem stitch for the hem? Great tutorial!.

  33. I love you skirts! Thank you. Diana W.

  34. I love you skirts! Thank you. Diana W.

  35. Great! Thanks For Sharing!

  36. thanks so much for sharing this point. I am a seamstress also but I also work with the praise dancers at my church. this is a quick way to finish a skirt at the waist I will send you picture after they dance on tomorrow .


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