3-tier aqua maxi skirt

So, my little Pinspired project is still in the works- it's taking a bit longer than I thought. I think I'll just count this skirt, since there are a few different maxi dress/skirt tutorials on my board here. I didn't really follow a tutorial for my skirt, since none of them were quite what I had in mind. So I came up with a little something on my own:
{In somewhat related news, Picasa has a new filter called 1960's.}

I love this skirt so much already. It's soft and comfy, doesn't restrict movement, and doesn't wrinkle in the wash. That last one's a big deal for me. I don't even know how many shirts and skirts I just love but hardly wear because they're always waiting to be ironed (I really almost never iron). It's a plain cotton knit, but if I make another one (I probably will) I think I'll use a knit blend that has a little more bounce back stretch to it.

If you want to make a skirt like this, you need 2 measurements- your waist or hips (wherever you want the waistband to be) and then down from where you want the top of the skirt to be to the top of your feet. Easy. After you know that, it's easy to figure out your skirt pieces. Depending on your measurements, it will take between 2 and 2-1/2 yards of knit fabric, give or take.

So, for the actual skirt pieces, decide how tall you want your waistband to be (mine was 4 inches). Then subtract that from your total vertical measurement. Then divide what's left of your vertical measurement by 3. Those will be the heights of your tiers.

This skirt is basically 4 rectangles, like so:

The waist band is 8 1/2" high because it will be doubled over, plus seam allowances.

My vertical measurement was 30" after subtracting waist band height, so my 11" tiers include 2 half inch seam allowances, since I only really needed the tiers to be 10" high. As the rectangles get longer and longer, you'll need to connect 2 or maybe even three shorter rectangles because the fabric won't be wide enough for one continuous strip.

After all your pieces are cut, use a simple basting stitch to gather the top of your 3 tiers. I learned how from my mother-in-law, but there's a great tutorial HERE at Make it and Love it.

Here's another excellent diagram (because, as always, I am terrible at taking pictures of my actual process):

There's 2 ways I've seen tiers on similar knit skirts sewn together. The first is right sides together, so the seam is completely hidden on the inside. The second (and the one I prefer) is to lay the right side of the
upper layer beneath the layer below, so it's right side to wrong side. Like this:
{I used a double needle and a straight stitch- whatever you use, make sure there's some stretch to it, since you're working with a knit.}

A tip for gathering- after you add the basting stitch but before you pull any threads, mark (with pins or a fabric marker) the quarters and halves of both of the pieces you'll be attaching. Then, as you start gathering, you can line up the marks on your gathered piece with the marks on the flat edge of the piece above it to help keep things even.
After all your pieces are sewed together, you can just do one seam up the back to connect things (this one you'll want to do right sides together) and that's it. It only took me a few hours to get the entire skirt done, tops. And that's including all the distractions a 3 year old and an eight month old provide. 

And voila! The 3-tier aqua maxi skirt!

By the way, I think it's pretty funny that right after I posted about having a regular post each week HERE, I totally didn't post for 3 weeks, and I still haven't finished the project I started on. (In my defense, we have been working our butts off in the yard, getting some big landscaping things done.)


Jenn said...

Your skirt does look super comfy and very cute!

Jessica said...

Love this skirt! I never thought about making it in a knit.

Sew Sister said...

Great skirt, thanks for the tutorial...

Wendy Hayden, Farmer's Daughter-in-law said...

Going to bookmark this one! Love the math to figure out how to make it custom. I love this kind of skirt.....as a matter of fact I am wearing one I got a thrift store right now!