Learn to sew a cute 3 tiered ruffle skirt with this easy tutorial. You can adapt the pattern to make the skirt in any size you want – baby, toddler, child, teen, or adult.
You can also change the fullness of the ruffles if that’s what you desire.
This 3 tiered ruffle skirt with elastic waistband is so easy to make and looks stunning from every angle!
Such a cool summer sewing project, isn’t it?
This pretty above-the-knee skirt quickly became a favorite in my wardrobe.
The elastic casing makes this skirt so comfy – it’s so easy to slip on and off. The ruffles are attached to a single connecting piece.
I love sewing projects that you can get started right away.
Related: Top 25 funny sewing memes / DIY tutorial: No pattern, simple summer skirt with pockets
There’s no need to visit the copy shop, join pattern pieces from a PDF pattern, or trace onto pattern paper. You don’t need a PDF pattern to make this skirt.
It has a design so simple that you can work directly on the fabric.
In this article, you’ll find step-by-step clear instructions with lots of photos to guide you along the way.
To make this skirt, I used two yards of polyester linen fabric.
These are my measurements – Waist size 27”, Hip size 36”, Total skirt length 16”.
Fabric recommendations: linen, cotton, seersucker cotton, voile, viscose, double gauze, chambray
Tiered ruffle skirt – sewing supplies
- sewing machine
- sewing machine needle
- matching thread
- sewing pins / sewing clips
- fabric scissors / rotary cutter
- measuring tape
- fabric marking pen / chalk
- 1” wide elastic
Tiered ruffle skirt tutorial – no pattern needed
Step 1 – draft and sew the connector piece
I wanted a 16” inches long skirt. So, this is the way I constructed this skirt: I allocated 15” for the ruffles and 1” for the waistband.
Therefore, I made the connector piece 1 inch shorter than my desired skirt length. (But it could also have been 2 inches shorter).
To determine the width of the connector piece, I added 4 inches to my hip measurement, for ease and comfort. My hip measurement is 36 inches, so the total top width of my connector piece is 40”. The total bottom width of my connector piece is 40”+ 8” because I wanted a slightly flared ruffle skirt.
Then I went straight to my fabric piece and drafted an isosceles trapezoid as shown in the below photo.
I halved both the top and the bottom width of my connector piece because the fabric piece is on the fold.
- The height of the trapezoid is 15” = (my desired skirt length minus 1”).
- The top edge is 20” = (my hip measurement plus 4”) divided by 2.
- The bottom edge is 24” = (top edge measurement + 8”) divided by 2.
Remember, the fabric is on the fold, and you need two mirrored pieces of this trapezoid.
Next, you need to place these pattern pieces with the right sides together and sew the side seams.
Finish the raw edges with a serger or a zigzag stitch.
Step 2 – cut your ruffle pieces
Now we need to do some easy math to cut the ruffle pieces.
I turned the connector piece right side out and divided its length into three equal parts. Each part is 5” tall, in my case.
You need to mark those lines on fabric with chalk or an erasable fabric pencil so you can see them.
The white arrows indicate the place where I’ll attach the ruffle pieces.
All of my ruffle strips will be 7 inches tall – I added 2 inches to account for the ruffles hem, plus some overlap.
To determine the width of each ruffle strip, I multiplied its connector length by 2.5 as follows.
Note: To change the fullness of the ruffles, you can multiply the connector length by 1.5, 2, or 3, depending on the desired look.
- 1st ruffle = (20” x 2) x 2.5 =100”
- 2nd ruffle = (21.5” x 2) x 2.5 =107.5”
- 3rd ruffle = (23” x 2) x 2.5 =115”
To find out how much fabric you need for the ruffles, add their widths.
Step 3 – attach the ruffles to the skirt
For each ruffle, you’ll need to sew a couple of strips and form a loop. To do this, sew the short ends of your ruffle piece with the right sides together.
It’s much easier to hem your ruffle before ruffling it.
So, before anything, I serged the top and the bottom edges of my ruffle piece and made a small turned hem.
After that, I gathered the top of the strip to create ruffles. Just use the longest stitch possible and pull out the bobbin thread.
I decided to put my faith in a good quality thread and used only 1 row of stitching – but you should know that sewing two lines will make the process more reliable and stress-free (it’s awful when the thread breaks while gathering!).
Don’t forget to spread the gathers out evenly.
In the end, the gathered ruffle has to be the same length as the line where you’re going to attach it.
I started with the upper tier. Align the ruffle with the top edge of the connector piece – I used a lot of pins to secure it in place. Using a 1/2” seam allowance, sew the two pieces together.
Repeat for the middle and bottom tier.
Now you need to hem the connector piece – I used a serged & turned hem.
Step 4 – attach the waistband to the tiered ruffle skirt
Cut a fabric strip for the waistband that is 3 1/2 inches tall (that’s the ideal height for inserting 1″ wide elastic, in my opinion) and as wide as the opening of the skirt, plus 1” for seam allowance.
Take the waistband piece and sew the short ends together with a 1/2” seam allowance, to form a loop.
Pin the waistband to the tulle skirt, right side of the waistband piece to the wrong side of the skirt, and sew with a 1/2” seam allowance.
Trim the seam allowance to about 1/4″ to reduce bulk.
Turn the raw edge under 1/2”, then fold the waistband so its height is about 1 ½”, to accommodate the elastic. Use a lot of pins and a sewing gauge for this step.
Stitch around the lower edge of the waistband casing, approx. 1/8” from the edge, and leave a small opening for the elastic. Backstitch at both ends.
Cut the elastic piece approximately 2 inches smaller than the waistline measurement – it should feel comfortable, you better try it on.
Insert the elastic through the casing using a safety pin. Make sure the elastic is not twisted inside the casing. Overlap the ends of the elastic and sew them together, then close the small gap in the waistband.
If you want to secure your elastic and prevent it from twisting inside the casing, make a couple of vertical stitches across the elastic as shown in the photo below.
And that’s all! The tiered ruffle skirt is ready to wear!
Did you find this DIY tiered ruffle skirt tutorial helpful? I’d like to hear what you think of it!
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6 thoughts on “DIY tutorial: Tiered ruffle skirt with elastic waistband”
Is there a supply list for this project?
It should have been there, but I forgot to add it. I’ll update the post as soon as possible, thank you for the heads up!
I zig zag over dental floss for my gathers, Learned it from a costumer from theatre. Best because your thread does not break.
Hello, my name is Tilly Naidoo and I live in South Africa. the ruffled skirt tutorial is excellent, the detailed draft
is explained so well. Best wishes in all your endeavours
Thank you so much, I’m glad you like it!
Hello thanks for illustrations but had failed to understand how you get the width of the ruffle.