Tutorial ~ The Twirling Whilst Standing Still Skirt

by Destri on June 16, 2011

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It seems there is just as much fun in naming a project these days as there is in making one, no?  Kind of like having a job naming OPI nail polishes – I always wanted that job :).  The Twirling Whilst Standing Still Skirt seemed a fitting name for this tutorial because it literally looks like my little one is spinning when wearing this skirt, so flirty!  And fun, I have made four of these skirts already and that’s saying something.  I don’t normally like to make the same thing twice.  I will give you all the measurements needed for a 2T 3T and 4T skirt, and probably twenty more pictures than you’ll need :), but I really wanted this to be an easy pattern to follow.

I also have the fabric requirements, all sorts of trim ideas…have I talked you into it yet?  Good, I want to see a bunch of little ones running around in this one!  Catch me after the jump, and we’ll get started!

Double Layer Skirt Tutorial For Sizes 2T 3T and 4T


  • all your sewing stuff
  • pre-washed fabric (requirements listed below)
  • trim if you like – ric rac, bias tape, piping, ribbon….
  • 1 inch no-roll elastic for waistband

Fabric Requirements:

I made this image so that you can print out and take with you to the fabric store if needed. Just right click on the image, save and print.

For all three sizes you will need:

  • Fabric #1 – ¼ yard of fabric for the lining. You do not see this fabric, so it can just be plain, but make sure it is close to the same weight as the rest of the fabric you use.
  • Fabric #2 – ¼ yard for the top piece. This is where the elastic will be threaded.
  • Fabric #3 – ½ yard for the top layer. The twirly part :)
  • Fabric #4 – ½ yard for the bottom ruffle.

Fabric Cuts:

For size 2T

  • From fabric #1 cut one 5¼ x 34 inch piece
  • From fabric #2 cut one 5½ x 22½ inch piece
  • From fabric #3 cut two 7 x 28 inch pieces
  • From fabric #4 cut two 5½ x 40 inch pieces
  • Cut elastic to 20 inches depending on waist measurement

For size 3T

  • From fabric #1 cut one 5¾ x 36 inch piece
  • From fabric #2 cut one 5½ x 24½ inch piece
  • From fabric #3 cut two 7½ x 30 inch pieces
  • From fabric #4 cut two 5½ x 41 inch pieces
  • Cut elastic to 22 inches

For size 4T

  • From fabric #1 cut one 6½ x 36 inch piece
  • From fabric #2 cut one 5½ x 24½ inch piece
  • From fabric #3 cut two 8¼ x 30 inch pieces
  • From fabric #4 cut two 5½ x 41 inch pieces
  • Cut elastic to 22 inches


You will be using a 3/8 inch seam allowance throughout unless otherwise noted. I like to topstitch with a little longer stitch length.  Don’t forget to adjust your stitch length after you have been sewing with a gathering stitch.  Always backstitch, unless you are sewing a gathering stitch.  If you have any questions regarding terms used, I have a sewing tips directory that might help.

Okay starting with fabric #1, sew a gathering stitch (longer stitch length, no back stitch) just along the top, then gather (pull on bobbin thread) it to be the length of the top piece (fabric #2).  Pin the gathered edge to the top piece like shown.

Sew the two together along the gathered edge.

Then finish seam with a serger or zigzag stitch. I have a detailed post on how to finish seams with a zigzag stitch here.

Now press the seam up like shown.

Now take the two bottom ruffle pieces (fabric #4) and fold both in half length wise, wrong sides together and press.

Now sew a gathering stitch along the sides of both with 1/4 inch seam allowance.  You can sew two rows if you like, but I am too lazy and like to take my chances :).

Gather both up as much as you can by carefully pulling on the bobbin thread.

Now sew two ends together, making one long ruffled strip.

Now pin it to the right side of the lining, with the raw edges together.  You may have to adjust the gathers a bit, and you should still be able to pull the bobbin thread at the center seam if needed.

Sew the two together with a 1/4 seam allowance, and then finish the seam with a zigzag stitch or serger.

Press the seam up like shown, and press the ruffles down if you like.  I like that look :)

Then top-stitch right along the edge of the liner like shown to secure the seam up.

Now with the right sides together, line up the sides and pin.

Then sew up the side with a continuous 3/8 inch seam allowance, making the skirt body.

Now take the two top layer pieces (fabric #3) and sew two short ends together with the right sides together.  Finish and press the seam.  Now finish one of the long edges.  I just sewed a zigzag stitch right along the edge like shown, but you could also serge it.  This will be the top.

Take the other long side (the bottom) and fold over 1/4 inch and press, then fold over 1/4 inch again and press.

Now you will add the trim of your choice to the folded and pressed side.  For this skirt I just added piping to the bottom, super duper easy!  Just put on you zipper foot (you can even use your regular foot) and line the folded edge up with the piping like shown.

Then just sew right along the edge.

Then sew a second row of stitches, right to the side of the first one.  This will keep the piping in place, and the hem in tact, and look professional.  I used a little longer stitch length for both rows of stitches.

You could also add ric rac, by just sewing it on the underside while sewing up the hem.

Or like I did on this skirt, you can sew double folded bias tape to the underside.  Just keep the bias tape folded, layer under the folded hem of the skirt and let about 1/4 inch of the tape remain exposed.

Then sew it on by sewing right along the edge of the skirt hem.  So easy, and you don’t need to worry about sandwiching the hem inside the tape!

Now that you have the hem of the top layer finished, take the top and fold over 1/2 an inch and press.

Now sew a gathering stitch along the inner edge like shown. You can sew two rows if you like.

Now carefully gather it up by pulling on the bobbin thread on either side.  You will gather it as much as you can, this will get you close to where you need to be.  If you hold it up to the skirt body, it will be smaller than the width (like shown).  That is what you want for now.

Now with the right side together, sew up the sides. DO NOT TRIM TRIM THE THREADS YET!  You may need them to gather :)

Take the skirt body and tuck inside the top layer.  You want find the two side seams on the top layer and pin on the sides of the skirt body first.  Then gently loosen the gathers a little to fit the width of the skirt body, with the twirly layer just overlapping the top edge of the lining.  Adjust the gathers where needed and pin all the way around as you go.  If you get the twirly layer to loose, just find the bobbin thread (pull on them, you’ll find it!) and tighten.

Now sew the two layers together, right over the gathers, right along the gathering stitch like shown.

Press the gathers at the seam down, and iron down the top layer about halfway, this will make it twirly :)

Almost done!  Time for the casing.  Just turn the skirt wrong side out and fold the top edge over a 1/4 inch and press.

Then fold it over 1¼ inch and press.

Now sew just along the top edge all the way around.  You don’t want to sew too far in, or your elastic won’t fit!

Then sew the along the bottom edge, making sure to leave a two inch opening to thread the elastic.  I like to start one inch from a side, and end one inch from the same side.

Now thread the elastic through the opening, making sure not to pull it though the other end.

Now sew the ends together by overlapping an inch then sew a zigzag along both ends.  Go back and forth a few times and make sure it is good and tight.

Sew the opening closed on the inside.

And you’re finished!  Wahoo!

Just have to put it on the little one now.

Then stand back and admire your handiwork :)

I really hope you give it a try, it is such a fun skirt to make!  And if you do, send me a picture, please!

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments!


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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

lorchick @ ON{thelaundry}LINE June 16, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Yummy! I made something kind of similar with three tiers recently, but this is much more fabric-efficient. I really really love the pink/black/floral one! Yum!


Tina June 17, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Your mad sewing ninja skills amaze me as always. And….have we discussed the OPI job before? There’s a blog post there. I swear. So weird….


kate June 18, 2011 at 4:13 pm

me too Tina… I am struggling at measuring and making a simple hem for my curtains by my front door – which are needed cos if I run down in PJ’s trying to avoid someone knocking they can see me!!!! I know it’s simple so ergo I will c**k it up!!!
Destri, please read….I want you on the next flight to Calgary to make them for me!


Pam Pike June 17, 2011 at 6:50 pm

I love this little skirt. I must make it for my little granddaughter Thanks


AmberLee June 18, 2011 at 11:04 pm

oh that skirt is so sweet.

and me too! I’ll come work with you when you get that gig at OPI.


kelly @ glitter June 29, 2011 at 3:22 pm

This is so darling! What a great tutorial!I’m visiting from 101 summer sewing tutorials roundup. Have a great day! http://runwithglitter.blogspot.com


Ana Carla Benet July 7, 2011 at 6:32 am

Ownnnn, so cute. I love …


Linda July 28, 2011 at 8:04 am
Ms. S October 21, 2011 at 9:04 am

I LOVE this! I bought some fabric for a twirly skirt and havent been able to figure out just how I wanted to make it… THIS IS IT! I cant wait! Thank you for sharing


Destri October 22, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Oh yay! let me know how it goes!


Hilary October 25, 2011 at 1:48 pm

I love all the fluff and frill. I was looking for somthing to make for my soon to be 4 year old’s birthday tea party and wasn’t finding anything to work for a corduroy jumper like I had envisioned. So…I adjusted your tutorial into something that would work for us. I posted pictures on my blog and a link back to your post.


geri November 25, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Very cute. Can you tell me approx waist sizes for 4T?


Destri November 26, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Thanks Geri, for a 4T I generally use 21 1/4 inches but it really is a pretty forgiving pattern. With that measurement it gives about 3 inches after sewing for the skirt to slide over the hips, it is meant to be more fitted through the hips. If you have a slimmer 4 year old, just make fabric number two a bit smaller :).


geri November 26, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Thanks so much for the measurements Destri, making it for my 5 yo granddaughter, and it’s tough when they are not right there to try on. Looking forward to making this.


brenna January 25, 2012 at 10:20 am

I would love to make this in a larger size….any tips on how to adapt these measurements? thanks!


Destri January 29, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Hi Brenna, so sorry for the delayed reply. This would be super easy to adjust. Measure the waist and see how it looks next to the tutorial and then decide how long you want it. I am guessing that most of the change would come in the length, just be sure to add it to each layer, and not the top portion. What size are you thinking?


Alyssa February 20, 2012 at 7:43 pm

Can you get the measurements for adult sizes?


Marsha May 26, 2012 at 11:37 pm


Like many others, I’d like to make this in a larger size. My problem is that I’d like to make it as a gift, so I don’t have “access” to the child, (wow, that sounds really creepy – not intended that way at all! LOL!!!) so I have no idea how to go about figuring out how to size it up for a size 6/7. I’d appreciate any tips/measurements you could pass along – thanks very much! I LOVE your site and the easy, clear directions as well as the TON of pictures to help us out! Thanks and keep it up! God bless!


Destri May 29, 2012 at 6:08 am

Hello Marsha,

There are so many little measurements involved with this one and to get it just right I would need to crunch some numbers. Before I do that, can you see of someone could measure the child’s waist? The standard for size 7 is 23 1/4, but we can adjust if needed. Let me know and we’ll see what we can come up with!


Chloe June 22, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Made one of these today for my little one! I think I may have sewn the top layer too snug on the skirt body though because it barely makes it up my girl’s thighs lol. But the pattern is amazing and so easy to follow. Thanks so much for sharing!


Destri June 22, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Oh shoot! It is a fitted ease through the waist, I should note that in the pattern. So glad you liked the pattern though. This is one of my favorites and I haven’t had a lot of feedback on it – so thank you! Can you tell me what size you made, and for how old? I just want to make sure I don’t need to adjust the numbers on it. I have made quite a few, but it’s always been for my little one. I would appreciate it!


Chloe June 23, 2012 at 8:20 am

Thanks for the quick reply!! I made the 2T size for my 22 month old. I really think the measurements are correct on your part, I think when I sewed the top layer I didn’t loosen the gathers enough. It fits her, but it probably won’t for long lol. I am definitley going to make at least a couple more though.


Destri June 26, 2012 at 11:27 am

Oh good. If you get a chance send me a picture – I would love to see one!


Chloe June 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm
Destri June 26, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Oh I love it! You better charge at least $20 for it! You did a great job, and I love the colors you used :)


Chloe June 26, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Oh thank you! I love the colors too. I am re-working the one I made for my daughter though. I am going to play around with some measurements. Her waist is average, but her hips and butt are big lol. I am thinking I need to increase the length of the top waist piece so that it slides up easier. I’ll let you know how it turns out ;)


Chloe June 27, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Alright so here is what I did to rework the skirt I made…I measured my daughter’s waist (right around 20 inches) and then I multiplied that by 1.5 and got 30. That’s how wide I made fabric piece #2 (the waist band part). Then for the lining I actually kept it the same length to save fabric, but when I make another I will probably make it another inch or so wide. The bottom ruffle piece I left the same as well. It is not as fitted as the original, but still looks the same when my daughter wears it. I couldn’t get a good picture of her wearing it, but here is a photo of the skirt itself. Hope this helps anyone else who might run into the same issue!



Adriana August 29, 2012 at 10:35 am

Love this skirt, I’ve already did 2, and my mother in law give me more fabric to make more!!!!… Can you believe it!!!…
Thank you so much for shearing, I leave you the link with the skirts I’ve made for my daughters, I made some changes because Abril, the biggest one has 6 years old, and the little one Belen, has 3 years old, but have tummy… I hope you don’t mind.


Adriana August 29, 2012 at 10:37 am
Angela September 28, 2012 at 6:37 pm

I love this skirt and am going to attempt it in a 6 for my youngest and a small adult for my oldest bc she loves it too. Will let you know how it goes! I will share my measurements when i figure them out!


Destri September 30, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Oh that would be great! Thank you so much!


Sarah Helene August 16, 2014 at 3:51 pm

HOW CUTE– FAB IDEA FOR A LAYERED RUFFLE LITTLE GIRL’S SKIRT! Such a unique style rather than the traditional 1-print fabric skirt with an elastic waist. THANKS for the tutorial with accompanying photos. LOVE the mix of red, gold & blue flower print & red with white small polka dots. BRAVO! Sarah in Minneapolis


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