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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

.:Tutorial Tuesday - Bustle Skirt:.

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This ruffley bustley goodness continues to make me happy every time I see it hanging in my girls' closet.

Do you want to learn how to make one?

I'd be happy to show you.

(Originally posted on Riley Blake Cutting Corners College.)

For the tutorial, I will give you the measurements I used for my three year old, along with instructions on how to adapt the measurements to whatever size you would like to make.

Here's what you need:

- Fabric
- Elastic for waistband
- Sewing machine & accessories

You need to start off with some skirt measurements. You can use a skirt pattern you already have (I recommend doing this, makes it much easier!), or you can use a skirt that you already have for measurements. For this skirt, I measured the width of a skirt my daughter already owns. It was 18" wide. I wanted the skirt to be much more full, so I doubled the width to be 40" wide.

I decided to have two separate pieces for the top panel of the skirt, and two separate pieces for the bottom panel of the skirt. This makes it easier to create your bustle. For the top panel of the skirt, I used about my original measurement for width, and used a width of 20". The total length of your skirt is up to you; I wanted mine about 16" long, so I made the top panel length 5" and the bottom panel length 12". This gives me a little extra for seam allowance and hemming.

So here is what I have cut total:

- top panel: 20" wide x 5" long (cut 2)
- bottom panel: 40" wide x 12" long (cut 3)

Only two bottom panels are shown in this picture.

Now it's time to cut the ruffles for the bustle. Again, this is going to be measured based on the size of your skirt. My measurements are for size 3T. You can adjust yours accordingly to the width and length of your bottom panel.

- top ruffle: 4.5" long x w.o.f. (cut 2)

- bottom three ruffles: 3.5" long x w.o.f. (cut 2 of each)

For a nice, full ruffle, you generally want to cut your width to be two times the width of what you are attaching the ruffle to. Since my width is 40", I need my ruffles to be about 80" wide. That is why I have to cut two of each of my ruffles. Standard fabric is between 42"-44" wide, so I need about double that to achieve my desired ruffle.

The top ruffle is a longer length because you will be losing a bit more of the length when you attach the top and bottom panels together.

Let's get sewing!

All seams are 1/4".

Join the two pieces of each of your ruffle together. Serge or zig zag your seams to prevent fraying.

Serge or zig zag the top and bottom width of each of your ruffles. Hem up the bottom width of each of your ruffles. Be careful if you have a directional print!

Run a gathering stitch along the top of each ruffle. Set your stitch length to the longest length. Do not backstitch at the beginning or end. Leave a few inches of thread at the beginning and end to help with gathering.

Take one of your bottom panel pieces. Hem up the bottom as you did each of your ruffles.

Now it's time to start attaching your ruffles. Find the middle of your bottom panel piece. Pin the middle of your top ruffle to the middle of the bottom panel piece. (This was easy for me since my middle was where I'd joined the two strips). This will help you to gather your ruffle evenly on each side.

Gently pull on the bottom thread on each side to evenly ruffle your fabric towards the middle. Pin in place along the top edge of your bottom panel.

Sew the ruffle in place.

Measure from your ruffle to your finished hem. Place a pin in even measurements where your remaining ruffles will go. (Sorry for the blurry picture). Make sure that the ruffles will be overlapping slightly at the tops of each ruffle.

Attach each ruffle.

Set this bottom panel aside.

Get one more of your bottom panel pieces, and fold it in half length wise. In the middle, about 1.5" down, make a small cut.

Use your rotary cutter and ruler to make a diagonal cut. Doing this folded over will ensure that each side is cut evenly. This is going to be the overlay on the back that will allow your ruffles to peek through.

Here's your overlay so far.

Next we're going to line the bottom edge of the overlay. Cut strips of fabric the width of each diagonal edge of your overlay. I wanted it to be about an inch long, so I cut it two inches long and ironed it in half, length wise. Pin the raw edges to the raw edge of your overlay.

Sew it down. Repeat on the other side. Where the strips meet in the middle, sew together. Zig zag or serge all raw edges.

Doesn't it look nice?

Lay out your ruffle bottom panel with your overlay on top of it - wrong side of overlay facing right side of ruffles. Pin across where top edges meet. Sew a gathering stitch along the top.

Now it's time to bring in the top panels.

Lay one top panel right side facing up, with your ruffled bottom panel's right side facing the top panel. Pin the middles together with raw edges matching up. Gather evenly on each side until you can pin the ruffled panel to the top panel along the top edge. Pull gently so that your thread does not break!

Sew the panels together. Zig zag or serge your edge.

Flip the top panel up, and top stitch along where the panels meet.

Here's your finished back panel. Are you loving the ruffley goodness?

Attach your front top panel piece to your front bottom panel piece using the same methods: hem up the bottom panel piece, run a gather stitch along the top, attach to top panel, and top stitch where panels meet.

Let's attach the front and back panels, shall we?

Line up the edge of the front and back panel pieces. Pin them together, making sure that your ruffles are all laying down.

Sew together. Zig zag or serge the edge.

Repeat on the other edge.

Zig zag or serge along the top edge of the skirt.

Iron down and pin in place the fabric to make a casing for your waistband elastic to go through. I generally do about 1.5" but it depends on how wide your elastic is. I use 3/4"-1" elastic.

Starting on the back panel of your skirt, sew along the bottom edge of your fold, leaving a two inch opening. This is where you will insert your elastic.

This is not necessary, but I also like to stitch all along the top edge of the fold as well. This seems to give the elastic a nice casing, and it is less likely to twist around.

Measure the waist of who the skirt is for and cut a piece of elastic to this length. For my 3 year old daughter, it was 20".

Use a safety pin attached to one end to guide the elastic through the casing. Overlap the elastic about an inch and sew it together. Sew together your two inch opening.

You are done!

Bustley, ruffley goodness!

Put it on your adorable little lady, and snap a bunch of pictures to capture the cuteness!

View from the front.

Doesn't it just make you happy?

Little sister needed one, too of course.

Pretty cute if I do say so myself.

Linking up here:


  1. How adorable! I must say, you couldn't have found better models :o)

  2. These skirts are so pretty I will be sharing this on fb. Also please stop by and share at:

  3. Such a lovely, little skirt! I have twin granddaughters who would love it. Thank you for sharing. Happy New Year!

  4. So very cute, and as I said yesterday, I wish I could sew! Not to mention, the little munchkins modeling are so adorable! Come over and share this tomorrow, if you want, on my Wednesday Pinterest Favorites. It's for sure pin worthy!

  5. this is sooo adorable. I love the colors of the skirt and this detailed tutorial is right up my alley!
    I’m having a link party on my blog today if you want to come over and share this I’d be just tickled pink! Here’s the link if you’re interested! http://caribbeanmissionarywife.blogspot.com/2012/01/t-time-51-and-link-party.html Happy New Year, Maria

  6. Oh so cute!!! I love bustles, but didn't think they worked outside of Bridal attire. I was so wrong!! :) Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. These are adorable!! Thanks for the tutorial, pinning so I can make my little girl one. Would love for you to come link up to Trendy Tots at http://areal-lifehousewife.blogspot.com/2012/01/what-she-wore-wednesday-trendy-tots.html

  8. Your girls are SO SO lucky that they have such a talented Mommy! Seriously. They always look so cute with the things you make for them! This is darling, Summer!! XOXO

  9. Those are so adorable! I need to make one for my daughter!

  10. Adorable!! I love ruffles!

  11. So cute! And look at those adorable little ladies!!

  12. This project is so cute, makes me want to brush up on my sewing skills!
    I was contacted by a couple of blog friends about collectively presenting a new challenge idea on Monday. I immediately thought I needed to invite you to join, you were one of the first to feature me and I so appreciated it! If you have a second, check in at http://www.thespacebetweenblog.wordpress.com on Monday to learn more, and feel free to email me if you have any questions!
    Karah @ thespacebetweenblog

  13. Seriously flippin adorable. The style makes for all sorts of twirling fun lol.

  14. This is seriously so cute I could die - I think you should make me one for my baby girl! I la la la LOVE the bustle!! Thank you for linking up!


  15. LOVE!!! I have 3 girls and a stack of spring fabric, I just needed a great idea, and this is it! Pinning now - thanks for the inspiration.

  16. These are gorgeous! And what a great tutorial. Thank you!


Thanks for leaving a comment! I love reading them! I try to reply to questions the best I can, but you can always email me at sumossweetstuff {at} gmail {dot} com.