My niece turned four earlier this month and I again had the pleasure of making her birthday outfit. I have made her outfit each year and it has always been fun trying to make something that goes with the theme my sister-in-law has chosen.
- 1st Birthday: Sock Monkey Skirt
- 2nd Birthday: Minnie Mouse Dress
- 3rd Birthday: Doc McStuffins Inspired Tutu
This year my niece had a Frozen themed party. For her outfit I made a skirt and embroidered a T-shirt. Today I am going to share the instructions for how I made the skirt.
I have made many skirts over the years and have even shared some tutorials for them. Here are a few.
The skirt I made for my niece had a contrasting hem and was very full. While I am going to give you measurements for making a skirt for a 4 or 5 year old, they could easily be changed to fit any size.
- Cotton Fabric for Main Part of Skirt
- Cotton Fabric for Contrasting Hem
- Rotary Cutter & Mat (Optional)
- Sewing Machine
- 3/4 inch Elastic
- Safety Pin
- Grosgrain Ribbon (Optional)
Note: I normally forget to say this but you should always wash and dry your fabric before sewing with it to avoid shrinkage after a garment has been made. It wouldn’t be any fun to work hard to make something that didn’t fit after it had been washed. Also, many textile manufacturers put something called sizing on fabric and it is best to wash it off before wearing.
1. Cut 2 pieces of the main skirt fabric to a size of 16 inches by 36 inches each.
2. Cut 2 pieces of the contrasting fabric to a size of 6 inches by 36 inches each.
Note: Using a rotary cutter and mat ensures that the fabric will be straight but is not necessary. Also, if you use chevron, plaid, or striped fabric like I did make sure that the pattern matches up on both pieces. This means you may have to “waste” a little of the fabric in order to make it line up.
3. Serge the top, left, and right edges of each main skirt panel (or use an overcast stitch on your regular sewing machine). You do not need to serge the bottom at this point. Also, you are not sewing anything together, just getting rid of the raw edges on three sides.
4. Pin the 2 pieces of the main skirt fabric along each short side, having right sides together.
5. Use a straight stitch on your sewing machine to sew the short sides together using a 5/8 inch seam allowance.
6. Press each seam open.
7. Serge the edges of the short sides of the contrasting hem fabric (or use an overcast stitch on your regular sewing machine). You do not need to serge the top or bottom edges. Also, you are not sewing anything together, just getting rid of the raw edges on two sides.
8. Pin the 2 pieces of the contrasting hem fabric along each short side, having right sides together.
9. Use a straight stitch on your sewing machine to sew the short sides together using a 5/8 inch seam allowance.
10. Press each seam open.
11. Fold and press the contrasting hem fabric in half lengthwise, having right sides together, so that the raw edges meet.
12. Pin the contrasting hem fabric to the main skirt fabric so that the raw edges of each are lined up with right sides together. Be sure to line up the side seams of the skirt with the side seams of the contrasting hem.
13. Serge along the raw edges to attach the hem to the skirt.
Alternatively, if you do not have a serger, you can sew a 1/4 inch seam and overcast the edges.
14. Press the seam that was made in step 13 towards the skirt fabric. (The picture below shows the right side but hopefully you understand what I mean.)
The picture below also shows you why I mentioned that the side seams need to be lined up in step 12. It looks so nice when the seams are lined up properly.
Now we are going to make the casing for the elastic.
15. Fold the top of the of the skirt over 2 inches towards the wrong side of the skirt. Press in place.
Optional: I like to make a tag for skirts, pants, and shorts by using a folded piece of grosgrain ribbon folded in half and sewn into the casing. If you want to do this make sure you have it pinned in place before step 16.
16. Sew a straight seam 1/4 inch from the serged edge at the top of the skirt, leaving a 2-3 inch opening.
17. Sew another straight seam 1 1/4 inches from the serge edge. Do not leave an opening in this seam.
Handy Tip: I used a piece of painter’s tape to mark my seam line since my machine didn’t have a mark where I needed it.
Here’s what the two rows of stitching should look like on the front side.
18. Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic and thread it through the opening in the casing that you created in step 16.
Once you get the elastic back to the opening try it on the child who is going to wear the skirt so you know how much elastic you need.
My niece had a 21-22 inch waist but I only used about 18 inches of elastic because the skirt was so full and stretched the elastic more than a less full skirt would have.
19. Overlap the two ends of the elastic and sew over the ends several times to make sure it won’t come apart.
Make sure that the elastic isn’t twisted before sewing the ends together.
20. Tuck the elastic into the casing and smooth out the fabric at the opening. Sew the opening closed using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
21. Smooth out the gathers that were created when you put the elastic into the casing and it will be ready to wear.
Here is a view of the inside of the skirt.
I also embroidered a shirt to match the skirt. I used an Elsa design I purchased from this Etsy shop.
I ended up adding some ribbon to the sleeves because I thought the shirt was just a little too plain without a little something extra. You can find out more about how I embellished the T-shirt with ribbon here.
My niece seemed to like her outfit and even wore it to church the next day.
She is such a cutie, and she has hair like mine. 🙂
If you have any questions about this tutorial please let me know. Happy sewing!