Tiered Skirt Tutorial

Finished tiered skirt on Isabelle
I made another skirt for Isabelle using 3 Peas tiered skirt tutorial. She no longer has her blog so I asked her permission to post her tutorial here.

Supplies needed:

  • Fabric: a total of 1 1/2 to 2 yards of cotton of your choice (plenty for girls’ sizes), for a lady’s skirt you will have to do some simple math based on the dimensions of the strips we calculate in a bit; I’d say 2 1/2 yards should be plenty, but don’t hold me to that!
  • Thread
  • 3/4″ wide elastic (enough to fit comfortably around waist plus a few inches)

  • Notes

    All seam allowances are 5/8″.
    The things I did differently are in red.


    To begin, you will need to determine the dimensions of the strips you are going to cut.

    Step 1: Measure the waist and hips (in inches) of the intended wearer. Choose the larger of the 2 measurements, we will call this number “A”. You also need to determine the desired length of the finished skirt, so measure from the waist to where you want the hem to land; divide this number by 3 (you can do a little rounding here to make your life easier, maybe choose the closest 1/4″ or 1/2″ increment). Call this number “B”.

    For example: peri has a waist measurement of approximately 20″ and the finished skirt should be about 13″ long.

    B=4.5 (after rounding up)

    Step 2: (sorry to bring algebra into the picture)

    (A x 1.5) + 1.5 = _____ “C”

    Again, you can round your answer a little, this is not an exact science.


    Step 3: You will cut 2 strips to make the top tier.

    C divided by 2 = ____ width of each strip

    B + 2 = ____ height of each strip

    Example top tier: width=15.75″ height=6.5″

    Step 4: You will cut 2 strips to make the middle tier.

    C multiplied by 1.5 = ____ then divide your answer by 2 to equal your width ____

    B + 1.25 = ____ height of each strip

    Example middle tier: width=23.75″ (after rounding up) height=5.75″

    Step 5: You will cut 3 strips to make the lower tier. Cut these strips to the same dimensions as those in Step 4. I decided to make 2 strips for the lower tier instead of 3 because I wanted the seams to match up. So I took the width of the middle tier multiplied by 3 = ____ then divide that by 2.

    Example lower tier: width = 35.75″ (after rounding up) height=5.75″
    Strips of fabric
    Now we have all of our pieces and are ready to start sewing!!

    Sewing the Skirt
    1. With right sides facing each other, sew the side seams together on each set of strips (remember for the lower tier you have 3 strips to sew together. well not my way. My way is 2 strips for each tier). Edge finish each of these seams with a serger if you have access to one, otherwise trim the seam allowance to about 1/4″ and zig-zag stitch to keep your raw edges from unraveling. You now have 3 “loops” of fabric, one for each tier.
    Strips sewn together

    2. At this point, I like to go ahead and sew a narrow hem around the entire bottom edge of the lower tier. Press up 5/8″, open the fabric back out, and press the raw edge in to meet the first crease. Sew the hem.
    Press 5/8" Fold to meet the crease
    Sewn narrow hem

    3. Edge finish the upper edge of the top tier, fold 1 1/4″ to the inside and press to form a casing for the elastic. Stitch about 1″ in from the fold almost all the way around, leaving a small opening to insert the elastic into later.

    4. On the top edges of the middle and bottom tiers (and with right sides facing out), sew a long machine basting stitch all the way around 5/8″ from raw edge and also 3/8″ from raw edge.

    And another change I made. I actually did 1/2″ from the raw edge and 1/4″ instead. I found out with Isabelle’s first skirt that I am a crap sewer and sometimes cannot sew straight. Doing it this way leaves 1/8″ margin for error. Which believe me I needed. You may not but obviously I suck.
    Basting stitches

    5. Starting with the bottom tier, grasp the bobbin thread ends and start pulling gently to form gathers in the fabric. When the circumference of this edge matches that of the lower edge of the middle tier, stop and tie your bobbin threads together to keep everything in place. Then slide the gathers around until you are happy that they are distributed fairly evenly.
    Gathered bottom tier

    Update: I added some new pictures with a new skirt. Hope the different fabric doesn’t throw anyone off.
    Gathered bottom tier on new skirt

    6. Flip the middle tier inside out so that the right sides (the outsides of your fabric) are facing each other and pin it to the bottom tier — the bottom edge of the middle tier (the edge without the basting) should match up to the top gathered edge of the lower tier and the right sides should be together. Now machine baste this seam. I machine basted at 1/2″ (again the whole sewing straight thing). I’m usually one that skips the basting steps, but, trust me, basting is your friend on this project! I also reduced the pressure on my presser foot for this step, don’t forget to readjust the setting after you baste.
    Middle and bottom tier. One inside the other right sides facing

    Now you can flip it right side out and check your gathers. Don’t worry if you see the basting stitches from where you gathered the bottom tier. When you sew the seam at 5/8″ you won’t see them anymore.

    Bottom tier sewed to middle tier

    7. Repeat the procedures from Steps 5 and 6 to attach the middle tier to the top tier.
    Attaching middle tier to top tier

    8. Now serge or sew the seams you just basted using a 5/8″ seam allowance (trim and finish your edges if you used a regular sewing machine for this step).
    Finishing the edges

    9. Thread your elastic through the top casing. I like to use a big safety pin to help me work it through. Adjust the elastic to comfortably fit waist. Overlap the ends and sew them together (I used several rows of zig-zag stitch and zig-zag back-stitching for security). Using a straight stitch, sew the opening of the waistband casing closed.

    You’re Done!
    Tiered Skirt

    YAY! And that was 3 Peas tiered skirt tutorial. Too bad I don’t have her pictures. I’m sure she had more pictures showing everything in more detail then what I did. But her directions are quite clear and it was quite simple to make this skirt. It was totally awesome of her to share her tutorial! Thank you 3 Peas!
    Another finished tiered skirt on Isabelle

    24 thoughts on “Tiered Skirt Tutorial

    1. that skirt is too cute! not sure if i can attempt to make it yet but if i have the motivation, i will try.

    2. Hi,

      Would you mind if I linked your tutorial for a weekly post that i write for HomeschoolBlogger? I would like to use your picture of the yellow skirt and link your blog. If this Ok, please let me know!

      Here is the HomeschoolBlogger site:


      My post is on Mondays–Sew Crafty.

      My regular blog link should show up on this comment!

      Thanks! 😉

    3. This is absolutley adorable – as is the little sweetpea you made it for. Thank you for posting this as I thought I was out of luck!

    4. Ahhhh – Thank you for posting the tutorial. I had bookmarked it from 3peas site months ago and just today got around to making the skirt and saw no tutorial there! Ack! I’m off to sew.

    5. Thanks for reposting this tutorial. I think I used every single one of your adaptations because I’m clothes-sewing challenged. I made one for Randi’s Sewing Seeds. Thanks again!

      Your little girl is a cutie, by the way. :o)

    6. I’ve become addicted to your blog, so if you see in your stats that a girl in Nebraska is on your blog for HOURS, it’s just me! 🙂 I’ve been leaving it up and getting on again in the morning to see more projects. Love it!!
      I’m going to try this skirt for my nine year old, even though I have never done anything like this before. I’m trying though–it’s a start.

    7. Wow…a must have for kids..I hope..I came across ur blog thru google…and Iam happy I found it…this tutorial is excellent for those to begin sewing..I am a real novice, believe me…and i want to try urs first..but can u put photos on how did u added the lowest part and the middle? I dint get that part easily…pls..

    8. a yunus I will try to make a new skirt and take some new pictures. In the meantime I elaborated a bit on that step by adding the text in bold.

    9. I ran into your tutorial while searching on Google. Thanks so much! I whipped out a darling skirt for my 5 year old using these directions and following your additional comments. It only took 2 hours and I’m a complete novice. Thanks again. I’ll send a picture if I can find an email address for you.- Shannon Clark

    10. Ok i’m totally confused about the math. So I asked my Engineer husband who has MA in Structural Engineering. He doesn’t understand. Are we slow or is horribly confusing?

    11. Made this skirt for my 3 year old a couple of months ago. I love it but she won’t wear it! I’m hoping it will still fit her next year and she won’t be so particular. Or maybe her younger sister will wear it when she’s bigger.

      Now I’m going to make one for myself.

    12. Great pattern made it for my 15 month old, she’s sleeping so I tried it on my 5 year old and it fitted her. I’m hoping I got the calculations right. Never mind at least it fits somebody.
      Thanks heaps

    13. Gotta love Google! I literally typed in “three tiered skirt pattern for girls” b/c I wanted to find one so badly (and couldn’t) and lo and behold, here’s not just a pattern, but a tutorial!

      Thank you SO MUCH for sharing, this is perfect! I can’t wait to make this for my three girls!!!

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