This is a tutorial on how to make the most basic of all skirts: the 3-tiered / gypsy / etc… skirt. It’s a classic staple to be found in every woman’s wardrobe at one time or another. In mine, it’s generally for the summer. Although now i think of it, it’d be very handy to have in a winter fabric as well. And possibly quite warm… hmm… Well, while I think about that, here’s the instructions!
1 – Decide on where you want your skirt to sit (waist, hip, etc…) and how long you want it to be. Measure. In my case, I wanted it to be on the green dotted line below the waist (as opposed to being at the waist) so I measured that, and the widest point at my hips. For length, I wanted it to my ankles.
I ended up with: w = 1.05 h = 1.10 l = 1
So I bought 145cm of fabric (of 150cm width) and cut it into 3 strips:
– 1st tier – 76 x 110 (this would be folded over to make the waistband and double up the thickness of the topmost layer so as to hide my underwear better). The fabric being 150cm in width, you’ll have a 66 x 40 piece left over. Keep it.
– 2nd tier – 33 x 150
– 3rd tier – 33 x 190 (I made this by using the full width of 150, and attaching the a 33×40 piece I’d cut off from the first tier)Notice that the width of the tiers starts at the width of your hips, and then increases by 30 to 50% for each new tier.
Step 1 – Fold over the 76×110 piece so it becomes a 38×110 piece. Along the length of it, where it is folded, place the elastic for the waistband. This should be at least 3cm wide. I used 5cm. It should be 105cm long. Sew along the elastic to create a channel in which it will be placed. As you sew, pull the skirt fabric so it is gathered over the elastic, so you will always know exactly how wide you need to make the channel. Pin the elastic on one end with a safety pin.
Step 2 – Take the 2nd tier piece and using a needle, sew some thread along one of the long sides (the top one if your fabric has a pattern) using very loose spacing. Tie the thread at both ends so that its length is 110cm (the length of the tier above). Gather the fabric evenly, and lay tier 2 over tier 1 on a table, good sides facing each other, with the bottom of tier 1 level with the top of tier 2. Loosely hand-sew tier 2 to tier 1, while making sure the fabric gathers evenly. Sew it on the machine.
Step 3 – Repeat step 2 but with tiers 2 and 3. Remember to create tier 3 first (sew the 40cm piece to the 150cm piece on the machine)
Step 3b (optional) – Sew a small strip of lace to the bottom of tier 3. I used a small strip of crochet lacing in a triangular edge pattern, and it gave my skirt a better finish.
Step 4 – Skirt is almost ready. Gather the top of the skirt and pull the elastic through so it’s coming out from both ends. Sew it to itself, in a waistband loop, on the machine making an x shape in a square with the thread.
Step 5 – Flip the skirt “inside out” and sew along the back seam, straight down. Careful not to sew the elastic. Hand-finish the waistband so the elastic is properly encased.
Step 6 – Find the hem length for your skirt, mark it, and either hand sew it or machine sew it. If you did step 3b, this is no longer required!
Congratulations. You have a new skirt!
Download the instructions in PDF format: SeamstressSophie-3_Tier_Skirt