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The Costume Trunk: A Poufy, Puffy Petti-Skirt

October 22, 2010

Oh, the envy I have felt in my heart while watching little girls twirl in their glorious petti-skirts! It always seems so unfair that whimsical designs are made only in little sizes. The ones you can find in adult sizes are usually a little anemic when it comes to ruffle-osity, which is totally unacceptable.

One of the great benefits of having sewing skills is the fact that I can take matters into my own hands and make up for the short-sightedness of apparel manufacturers who think only little girls under the age of seven might want to spin and giggle in fluffy finery.

So, into the fray I decided to go, to make myself a petti-skirt. If I had known what awaited me, I might have turned back.

Be warned, brave costumers! Should you decide to churn out one of these babies for yourself, a life of cutting long strips of fabric, seemingly without end, awaits you!

Seriously, it just takes some patience. I am a fairly patient seamstress, but I found mine running a little dry at several points on this project. But never fear - costumes, like fairy tales, usually have a happy ending.

I primarily used the awesome Seraphina Chiffon we got in stock recently for this project. It's a poly chiffon with a weave almost like a knit, but there's little to no stretch to it. And the important part: it doesn't fray! Sometimes it will run if stretched vigorously across the grain, so I opted to cut my ruffling strips in the other direction - problem solved!

Here are the cutting details for my adult petti-skirt:

Top tier/yoke (I used Nu-Suede):

Cut 2 pieces 8" x 45"

First tier of ruffles (Seraphina Chiffon):

Cut 7" wide strips of fabric with the grain to get 360" worth of length. Piece if you need - I just cut the full length of a 10 yard piece for my first layer.

A Strips.jpg

Second tier of ruffles (Seraphina Chiffon):

Cut 7" wide strips with the grain to get 1440" worth of length. With my 10 yard piece, this was 4 strips.

Yoke Lining (China Silk):

                Cut 2 pieces 11" x 45"

Lining ruffle (Organza):

                Cut 9" wide strips with the grain to get 360" worth of length.


Cut a piece of 1" wide elastic the length of your waist plus 1".

So, with all that cutting, I hope you had some good music or a movie to watch! I have read pettiskirt tutorials which suggest cutting multiple layers of the sheer ruffle fabric at one time. My luck in this endeavor was hit-or-miss, so I ended up going the careful but pokey route and only cutting one layer at a time.

On to the stitching, which is a simple though time-consuming affair:

-          Join all your bottom tier ruffles together end-to-end to make one long strip of ruffle material. Do not close the circle - all gathering will be done with the skirt open on one side so you can handle it as a flat piece. Much easier that sewing in the round!

-          Gather bottom tier ruffles to middle tier using the gathering method of your choice. I had a bad argument with my ruffle foot and it hasn't agreed to take me back yet, so I did the gathering by hand. If your relationship with your ruffler is better, have at it! It will go much more quickly!

-          Join the two top tier/yoke pieces on one side. Again, do not stitch together on the second side yet!

-          Gather middle tier to top yoke in the same manner you used to attach the bottom tier.

-          Once all ruffling on the outer layer is done, close up the side of the skirt.

-          Join the two yoke lining pieces on either side so you make a closed circle.

-          Stitch the yoke lining to the top edge of the yoke, right sides together. At this point, you should have a skirt that looks like this:

1 layers.jpg

-          Fold the lining inside the yoke, and stitch a 1" wide casing into the waist.

3 casing.jpg

-          Stitch your lining ruffle pieces together end-to-end, leaving open on one end.

-          Gather lining ruffle to yoke lining. I cheated here and just hand gathered as I stitched, which saved my sanity. When I finished the circle, I overlapped the ruffle fabric about 2-3". I didn't even bother to close the lining ruffle seam.

Ok, at this point, I was feeling quite hateful to this monstrosity. It was getting to be a heavy, unwieldy behemoth of ruffles.


And then I put it on.

4full skirt.jpg


It gave me that magical fairy-princess feeling! I twirled and swirled and scared the cats. It was worth all the anguish of cutting and ruffling and arguing with cranky fabric. Because now I have my own fluffy petti-skirt! And the feeling is so intoxicating, I am shopping for the next color I will make one in!









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WOW! Great tutorial on such a pretty twirly skirt! Love it! :)

Wow, this is so gorgeous!!!! I am going to attempt to make 1 for my daughter.

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This page contains a single entry by Holly Frey published on October 22, 2010 5:51 PM.

Knitting with Cables was the previous entry in this blog.

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