Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tutu's 4 All (Pettiskirt)

I started making ruffled pettiskirts before L's b-day in November, and continued through November for all the little granddaughter's Christmas presents as well. I used information and written instructions from a blog called "Make It and Love It", and ordered the non-fray chiffon fabric from
You can make hundreds of variations of the skirt, because the chiffon comes in 30 solid colors, several animal prints, and a few other prints too.  All the little girls love them. Heck, all the big girls wish they could wear one too.
I varied the instructions a little and here is what I think works best for me in the construction of these little pettiskirt/tutu's.

1. The "make it and love it skirt" is sewn from the bottom up. Mine is a TOP - DOWN version because that way I don't have to measure the ruffle amount exactly. I can just gather - sew the chiffon onto the subsequent top ruffles until the row is finished. This saves me oooooooodles of time and  maybe uses a little more or less chiffon in the making depending on how I have the gathers set up.

2. I use an awesome RUFFLER/PLEATER ATTACHMENT on my sewing machine that sews the seam and gathers the top fabric at the same time.  Did I say it is amazing, stupendous, and just plain cool? It is a little spendy as machine feet go (about $100.00),  but if you are making more than 3 or 4 of these pettiskirts it is worth it. Here is a picture of one of these feet. A pretty complicated piece of metal don't you think?
I'll show you in this video, just how the ruffler works.
Now really, .... is that not a cool tool?
So to insert your fabric layers into the ruffle/pleater, you first place your fabric to be gathered between the top metal slider and into the grove of the foot. You then place your fabric that is not to be gathered underneath the first fabric right sides together and under the foot completely. Lower the presser foot and begin sewing. Large basting type stitches make bigger pleats if you want that, and smaller stitches make the pleats smaller.  On the front of the r/p foot near the top where it is closest to the actual machine, is a slider that you can move to gather every 1 stitch, or every 6 stitches, or every 12.  These, of course would use less yardage and make fewer pleats out of the roll of chiffon.
I made a skirt to fit my 5 y/o granddaughter first, then made the subsequent skirts smaller for the 2 and 3 y/o's.
The non-fray chiffon fabric rolls come in several different widths, so size it accordingly for the length of skirt you want to end up with.  These skirts are 3 + layers long doubled, so for the the 5 y/o size you will need 8"x 40" of satin for the top waistband area of the skirt plus 5" rolls of chiffon for the two layers (x2) under the satin layer(s) plus 2" chiffon roll for the bottom "fluff" layer.
This fluff layer is made from the zebra chiffon. The other half of this particular skirt has blue fluff so the two layers lay on top or bottom of each other depending on which side of this reversible skirt is on top.
I started with my satin fabric which I'll call the 1st layer, then ruffle stitched the 5" chiffon around each edge of that layer making 2 second layers that were gathered from about 120" each onto the 40 inch satin.  I then stitched another 3rd layer onto each of the 2nd layers just gathering the 3rd from about 360" down to the 120" straight 2nd.
This skirt is made up of 6"(3") satin layer, 3" 2nd layer, 4" 3rd layer and 2" fluff.
At the end of each seam where the circle is complete, I just overlapped an inch or so to leave no gap.
Nearly finished, except the last blue layer of fluff.
Finally, the skirt is finished by sewing the 2" fluff layer to the 3rd tiers of the skirt. The fluff is gathered down the center and sewn with both right sides up. (You need about 50 yards of 2" chiffon - that is one reason you want to buy your chiffon pre-cut)
Such fun little skirts for young girls.
And apparently good little party skirts too.
Crazy Grandma, huh?


  1. Here's what I think.

    I think ruffled pettiskirts are fun, fun, fun!


  2. haha... I love my little grandsons like crazy, but it definitely would be fun to have a frilly granddaughter.

  3. i wish you had a video of e shimming in that skirt. haha priceless!

  4. I think that my seestor Vicki is amazing. I LOVED watching the ruffler video - do you suppose Pfaff makes one? Remember when you were here and I coveted your Pfaff, so went and got one when i started sewing Kelly's costumes. I've loved that machine.

  5. K, aren't I a total dork? Yes Pfaff has a ruffler. It is a fine machine still.