Making a beautifully fluffed pettiskirt for my mermaid princess seemed a daunting task. I had already made the swimsuit and planned to pair it with a fancy skirt that could easily be slipped off for playing in the water at her mermaid party. Once I knew I wanted a pettiskirt, I looked to just purchase one. But I already had a pile of blue chiffon that I had purchased weeks prior and thought I should probably give it a try before shelling out the big bucks for someone else to make the pettiskirt. What I ended up with worked perfectly for the occasion and took one evening to make. I don’t know how the professionals make ‘em, but I’m sure this one will get quite a bit of use in this house of girls for years to come.
I snapped some pictures along the way to guide a tutorial, but some parts you’ll have to just imagine (i.e., no photographs, sorry!). I will preface the tutorial by encouraging you to use a ruffling foot to make this. It’s not a necessity, but I don’t think I’d ever get the motivation to make this pettiskirt if I had to do the gathering by hand.
For one pettiskirt, you will need:
2.5-3 yards chiffon (nylon chiffon tricot) – 108″ wide
1/2 yard lining and waistband fabric
TOTAL COST = approx. $15
The hardest part of making the skirt was cutting the chiffon (because it is 108″ wide, it was tricky to fold straight and cut on my cutting mat). You will need to cut strips of chiffon (from selvage to selvage) in three different widths – 2″, 4″, and 6″ (this made a size 3T/4T skirt). Basically, we will start ruffling the narrowest strips, connect them up to the mid-width strips, then ruffle those and connect them up to the widest strips. Does that make sense? And we’re going to make three layers of three-tiered chiffon ruffles, plus a lining layer with a 2″ ruffle along the bottom. I used about 4 – 2″ strips for each 4″ strip…and then 2 – 4″ strips for each 6″ strip, and 1 – 6″ strip to go around the skirt = 1 layer. or 8 – 2″ strips, 2- 4″ strips, 1 – 6″ strip = 1 layer. For three layers of chiffon, I needed: 24 – 2″ strips, 6 – 4″ strips, and 3 – 6″ strips. Plus, I needed and additional 3/4ish – 2″ strips for the lining layer. So, get cutting!!
Next, you will ruffle your strips assembly line style. I did not connect the 2″ strips together before sewing them on to the 4″ strips – I figured the stitching would end up showing a great deal more than the loose edges – I just fed them into the ruffling foot one after the next with no gap. So, I used a 4:1 gathering ratio and stitched the 2″ strips to the 4″ strips, gathering and stitching together, all in one step.
Then, I repeated this process, using a 2:1 ratio to gather/stitch the 4″ strips to the 6″ strips (For the 4″ strips, I would stitch the lengths together first before gathering/attaching to the 6″ strips). Now, you have one three-tier layer of chiffon. Repeat two more times so that you have three, three-tier layers of chiffon. Looking good!! Next, we’re going to make the lining layer.
Gather 2″ strips of chiffon along the bottom edge of one strip of lining fabric. You will want your completed lining layer to be the same length from top to bottom as your completed three-tier chiffon layer, so cut the width of the lining fabric accordingly. Once you have attached the chiffon ruffle to the bottom of the lining, serge any raw edges, fold down the chiffon ruffle, and topstitch if needed to ensure it falls correctly.
Using a shiny/satiny fabric, create a drop-waistband. Cut a piece of fabric 3″ wide by 25″ long. (You can adjust the width here to adjust the overall length of the skirt.) Connect the short edges together to form a tube. (I also serged the edges at this point because it was easiest).
Next, (and there are no pictures for this), you’re going to form tubes out of each layer of the skirt. Baste the three chiffon tubes together and then run a gathering stitch around the top. Gather the chiffon layers to fit the size of the waistband. Form a tube out of the lining layer, run a gathering stitch around its top, and gather it to fit inside the waistband.
Pin the gathered chiffon layers and the gathered lining layer to the waistband, matching raw edges and stitch together. The right side of the waistband should be matched with the right side of the top layer of chiffon, with the lining layer on the bottom (inside). Also, align the seams of the skirt layers with the seam of the waistband; this will become the back of the skirt.
Almost there….Now, fold down the top of the waistband, approximately 3/4″ and stitch to form a casing. Leave a small opening for the elastic.
Measure the child’s waist and cut a piece of 1/2″ elastic approximately 2″ shorter than the waist measurement. Insert elastic into waistband, stitch the opening closed, and you are finished! Woohoo!!!
So? Do you think you’ll make one?
Please let me know if you need any clarification and happy puff making!