Follow Tmuffin:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Costume Part I

Tiered Skirt/Petticoat Tutorial
Since I'm going to be a milkmaid for Halloween, I needed a tiered, ruffled skirt to show underneath the main part of the skirt. I was a little overwhelmed by the idea of making it from scratch. It seemed like it would take a lot of fabric--I wasn't sure how much, or how expensive it would be. So I went to goodwill and bought a dust ruffle. I would use the center of the dust ruffle (the part that goes under the mattress, which is just cream colored fabric) for the skirt, and use the ruffles for the ruffles on the skirt! For $1.99 it would be fine if it didn't work out. Especially since I had measured nothing and just figured this would be enough fabric. The dust ruffle had 3 layers of ruffles, in cream and green, and it seemed like plenty to go around. This is what I started with:
Tiered Skirt/Petticoat Tutorial: Dust Ruffle
I figured I would make 3 tiers so it wouldn't get too complicated, and I would put the ruffles between the tiers.

Getting the Measurements

Width of the Tiers
I knew the top tier had to be big enough to fit over my hips, so I measured my hips and added 6 inches. (Next time, I probably could only add 4. I measured loosely and the skirt ended up pretty big on top, but it still works). Then, I multiplied each tier's width by 1.3 to get the width of the next, and so on:

Top Tier = 50" around
Middle Tier = 50 x 1.3 = 65" around
Bottom Tier = 65 x 1.3 = 84.5" around (rounded to 85)

I didn't have enough fabric to cut a full 65 or 85 inch width, so I divided each of those widths in half and cut 2 pieces (one for the front of the skirt and one for the back) for each tier so my skirt would have a seam up each side.

A Note About the Fullness of the Skirt
I multiplied each tier by 1.3 to get the width of the next tier so it would be exponentially consistent. If you want a fuller skirt, you can multiply by 1.4, 1.5, and so on... the wider each tier is relative to the one above it, the more gathering you will have, which will give you a fuller look.

Length of Tiers
Now I had to decide how tall my skirt should be. I measured from where it would sit on my waist to where I wanted it to fall. It came out to 32". Since I had 3 tiers, I divided 32 by 3, which came to 10.66 and I rounded up to 11". I cut the following pieces:

Top Tier = 25" x 11" (2 pieces)
Middle Tier = 32.5" x 11" (2 pieces)
Bottom Tier = 42.5" x 8" (2 pieces)

The reason my bottom tier ended up 8 inches tall is because I ran out of fabric. I knew I would be adding a 2" waistband, so the skirt would still be the height I wanted in the end.

Joining the Strips to Make One Tier:
Now I had to join the 2 strips for each tier into one circular tier. I laid them right sides together, and sewed a seam up each side. The red line is where I sewed, and those will be the side seams. I did this for each tier.

Tiered Skirt/Petticoat Tutorial
This is what it looked like when each tier was joined:

Tiered Skirt/Petticoat Tutorial

Gathering the Tiers
Now I had to decide if I was going to have a blind seam (where you wouldn't be able to see the seam allowance on each tier... it would be turned to the inside of the skirt) or if I wanted to see the seam allowance of each tier. I decided I wanted the seams to show on the outside of the skirt, since I needed as much fullness as possible. So for the bottom and middle tiers, I would see the top edge of each tier. I folded over the raw edge about 3/8" and pressed it down to form a nice crease.

As you can see, since each tier is wider than the one above it, I had to gather the larger tier in order to fit it onto the smaller tier above it. I started with the longest bottom tier, and used a dark blue thread (so it would be easy to see and remove) and ran a line of stitches along the pressed down top edge of that tier. The stitches will serve to hold down the pressed edge and to gather that edge of the tier.
Tiered Skirt/Petticoat Tutorial
By holding onto one end of the thread you just sewed, you can maneuver the fabric to gather it evenly along the thread line. In the picture below, the bottom tier of the skirt is at the bottom of the pic, with the top edge of that tier gathered to the same width as the bottom edge of the tier above it (the middle tier).

Attaching the bottom tier to the middle tier
As you can see, I have pinned along the bottom edge of the middle tier so I can match up the pinned line with the gather line on the bottom tier. I SHOULD have finished off that edge with a zig-zag stitch, but I forgot. I'll do that later on though with the next tier.
Tiered Skirt/Petticoat Tutorial
I pinned the top edge of the bottom tier to the bottom edge of the middle tier and sewed along my blue gather line with the sewing machine. Voila.
Tiered Skirt/Petticoat Tutorial

Attaching the Middle Tier to the Top Tier
This is done in the same manner as attaching the bottom tier to the middle tier. Gather the top edge of the middle tier, and sew it onto the bottom edge of the top tier. This time, before attaching them, I finished the bottom edge of the top tier with a zig-zag stitch, and also straight stitched above the zig-zag, so I had a line to which to match up my gather line. It's hard to see in the pic below, since the straight stitch is the same color as the fabric, but here it is:
Tiered Skirt/Petticoat Tutorial

Attaching the Waistband

For the waistband, I cut a strip of fabric just about the same width as the top tier (I made it 2" less, since I realized I would be able to do that and still pull it over my hips). The strip was about 4" tall (plus seam allowances), and 48" wide. I folded in each short side of the strip (toward the wrong side) and pressed it so that there were no raw edges on the short sides. Then I folded the entire strip lengthwise so that it would be 2" tall and sewed (wrong sides together) along the long edge to bind it together, then I turned it right side out and pressed it. Now I had a waistband with nice finished edges and a raw seam allowance. I didn't sew it into a circle because I wanted the ends to stay open so I could feed a drawstring through.

This time, I didn't want the top seam allowance of the top tier to be on the outside of the skirt, because I didn't want all that fullness at the waist, so I didn't worry about folding and pressing it. I just gathered the top edge of the top tier with my blue thread, and laid it down with the outside of the skirt (front of the fabric) facing me. Then I laid down the waistband I had sewn, upside down, and lined up the stitching on the waistband to the blue gather line. Since the waistband was not sewn into a full circle like the tiers, I made sure that the opening would be in the center of the back of the skirt. I pinned and sewed along the gather line. When I finished, I flipped up the waistband, and the seam allowances were on the inside of the skirt.

Adding More Ruffles

Now the foundation of the skirt was finished, I just wanted to add more ruffles and hem it. I had the ruffles from the dust ruffle, which were essentially just strips of fabric that had already been finished off on the edges and already gathered. I removed them using a seam ripper since there were 3 ruffles on top of each other. That got rid of the gather, but the creases from the gather were still there, which helped me re-gather them again. This is what I started with after separating the ruffles from each other:
Tiered Skirt/Petticoat Tutorial

I just gathered each ruffle with my blue thread and sewed them right onto the outside of the skirt, over the stitching where the tiers were sewn together. I got creative and used the smaller ruffle as the hem.

Here is the finished product. I'm pretty pleased with the results:
Tiered Skirt/Petticoat TutorialTiered Skirt/Petticoat Tutorial


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...