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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