Corseted Skirt Tutorial, Part 2

If you’re following along with yesterday’s Corseted Skirt Tutorial, then at this point you have the beginnings of a waistband. Now it’s time to put it all together! Before we do, let’s talk a little bit about the skirt tiers.

First you need to determine how long you want your skirt to be. For this swap, my partner wanted her length to be right around 30″. Next. decided how many tiers you want your skirt to have (I went with 4). Now comes more math. Subtract 4 1/2″ from you length (this is the size of the waistband). In my case it was 30 – 4 1/2 = 25 1/2. Now divide that number by the number of layers to your skirt (25.5/4 = 6.375) and add your seam allowance. This would make your number 6.375 + .5 = 6.875 or 6 7/8. For cutting purposes I find it easier to round up and make these squares a full 7″.

Now that you have your width of your skirt layers. It’s time to tackle the tier length. The question you want to ask yourself is, “How full do I want my layers?” (As a reference, the skirt in yesterday’s photo is slightly gathered)

For a slightly gathered look:
Tier one: Add 5 inches to your hip measurement width.
For example if you had 40″ hips, your first tier would be 45″ long (plus seam allowances)
Subsequent tiers: Multiply the previous number by 1.3
For example: My second tier you multiply 45 x 1.3 = 58 1/2″ (plus seam allowances), my third tier is 58 1/2 x 1.3 = 76″ (plus seam allowances), and my fourth tier is 78 x 1.3 = 99″ (plus seam allowances).

For a very gathered, fuller skirt:
Tier one: Add 10 inches to your hip measurement width.
For example if you had 40″ hips, your first tier would be 50″ long (plus seam allowances)
Subsequent tiers: Multiply the previous number by 1.5
For example: My second tier you multiply 50 x 1.5 = 75″ (plus seam allowances), my third tier is 75 x 1.5 = 112.5″ (plus seam allowances), and my fourth tier is 112.5 x 1.5 = 168.75″ (plus seam allowances).

Whew, now that we’ve tackled that, let’s get back to sewing.

1) For the first tier, sew the short ends together 1/2 way – this area will eventually be closed with velcro after being attached to the waistband. Fold back the raw seam allowance on the back edge of the tier (the one that will be attached to the open end of the waistband).

2) Use a long machine stitch and sew around the top edge of the tier. Gather by pulling up bobbin thread – distribute fullness evenly.

3) With right sides together, place gathered tier to waistband, matching raw edges and sides. Sew in place.

4) Cut Velcro the length of the opening (mine was approximately 7″). Stitch ‘fuzzy’ side of Velcro to the lining side of the back waistband and finished tier edge. Stitch ‘scratchy’ side of Velcro to the right side of panel and tier with the raw edge. Your skirt should now look like this:

Now it’s easy!

5) Sew the short end of the tier together. Use a long machine stitch and sew around the top edge of the tier. Gather by pulling up bobbin thread – distribute fullness evenly. With right sides together, place gathered tier to previous tier and sew.

6) Repeat until all layers are attached. For the last tier. Press up hem and sew in place.

7) Thread ribbon through loops and work that skirt!

Like any pattern, there are lots of modifications you can make.

One suggestion is adding patchwork. It’s not so noticeable in the photos, but every other layer of my skirt is made up of patchwork blocks. To do this, after you determine the length of your tiers, determine how many blocks it will take to make up that measurement… and then round up or down – whichever is closest to your original number. For example, I went with an even 7″ block so for a 76″ tier, I used 11 blocks.

Another is adding a ruffle at the bottom of the skirt… I wound up doing this at the end, last minute because I just felt like it would add ‘something’ to the finished look (especially since this was a shorter skirt). To determine the ruffle’s length, calculate it just as you would another layer. In my case, I multiplied 99 x 1.3 to get 128.7 and decided on a 3″ width.

Lastly, skip the Velcro and sew in a zipper instead. I went with Velcro, not just because it’s easy, but also because it might give a bit more room if my partner needs an extra 1/2-3/4″ in the waist area. You could also move the zipper to the opposite side of the waistband – although I really like the fact that it’s hidden behind the corset and ribbon.

With that said, I hope this tutorial works for you! I’m anxious to mail this skirt off and see how my partner likes it!

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