I hope this quick and simple tutorial will help guide you towards making a fabulous Mom and Me set of tulle skirts- perfect for fancy occasions, photo shoots and if you and your girls are like us, a daily trip to Target. LOL. Before we begin, head over to Little Lizard King's website to pick up your Everyday Lady and/or Everyday Play skirt pattern for girls. The pattern will contain the step by step directions for constructing the basic skirt, including sizing guides to help you choose the perfect size (or mix of length and widths as needed) and measurement charts to cut the needed pieces.
Read through the pattern first, read through this tutorial next, and then start cutting your fabric. To keep from sharing information contained in the pattern, I will be using hypothetical measurements. Please refer to the Everyday skirt pattern for accurate sizing and cutting measurements. To create the tutu-style Everyday skirt, you will need to use sheer fabrics such as tulle, chiffon, organza, etc. It is easiest to use a soft tulle or chiffon knit, so that no hemming is needed. A good online resource is Fabric.com. You will also need knit fabric for your waistband, as indicated in the pattern.
Use a lightweight cotton woven for your lining, and match it to the sheer fabrics you will be using as closely as possible. Some helpful tips for sewing with sheer fabrics: Use a standard universal point needle for light to medium weight fabrics (70/10 or 80/12). When pinning, place pins in the seam allowance to prevent holes or runs in the fabric.
Use a rotary cutter and a straight edge to avoid jagged edges of the fabric (especially if the fabric will be left un-hemmed). You may want to tape your fabric down to the cutting mat to keep it from slipping or shifting while cutting. To avoid the fabric from being caught in the needle plate, you can sew with a tear-away stabilizer under your sheer fabric (or tissue paper- check out this helpful blog post). To keep the fabric from bunching while sewing, you may want to loosen your tension. Start your stitch 1/8-1/4 inch away from the end of the fabric and use a short stitch length. Sew slowly, keeping a consistent seam allowance as sheer fabrics often shift and pull. Best tip: practice everything (iron, cutting, stitching) on a scrap piece of the same fabrics first.
Once you have your needed materials and a good handle on sewing with sheer fabrics, we can get started!! First, you will need to cut your lining and waistband according to the pattern. Follow the measurements for the skirt length and width per the desired size according to the pattern to cut your lining. You won't be using a ruffle (for the girls version) so adjust the length of the skirt to account for that.
Cut your waistband using knit fabric according to the pattern. With your sheer fabric, you will be creating two layers with two panels each. For a super full skirt, cut your sheer fabric the full width of your fabric and the length according to your cutting chart (same length as your lining). You can also add additional layers as desired, just continue following the tutorial directions until all your sheer layers are complete.
For smaller sizes (infant sizes), you may want to reduce to 40-50 inches wide for each panel. You will need FOUR total panel pieces cut of your sheer fabrics. For instance, if your skirt is to be 10 inches long, you will have 4 pieces of sheer fabrics cut 10 inches long by the WOF (width of fabric). Let's start making our sheer skirt! If you want to go the quick and easy route, you can just sew two sheer pieces together along the short sides, repeat with the second set of sheer fabrics and skip to the lining instructions. However, if you'd like to go for a more professional look with your sheer skirt, follow along to create French seams in your sheer fabrics. French seams are great for sheer fabrics because it keeps the stitches of the side seams from being visible. There are lots of great tutorials and blog posts about creating French seams, but most use cotton woven fabrics. Before we begin sewing, you will need your iron set to either a cool setting or to a "steam" setting. You will not want to touch a hot iron to your sheer fabric, as it will melt. If you are steaming your fabric, let the iron hover over your sheer fabric and apply steam. If you have a cool setting that is safe for sheer fabrics (test before applying to your skirt pieces), then you can apply the iron to your sheer fabrics. Now that you have your iron ready, your sheer skirt pieces ready, let's begin our French seam fun! If you are using sheer fabrics with a print or "right side", you'll need to pay close attention to the very first step, and that is to place two sheer panels together with the WRONG SIDES TOGETHER. I kept the selvedge so I could put my pins through that while sewing my seam allowance starting with the inside edge, just a helpful little trick! NOTE: I am using white thread to show contrast against the sheer fabric, you will want to use thread that matches your sheer fabric to keep it from being visible. Sew along one short side of the sheer panels with 1/4 inch seam allowance.
Track over to the other raw short edges of your sheer fabrics (double check that the fabrics didn't get flipped or twisted somewhere in the middle, it happens!). Align the short raw edges WRONG SIDES TOGETHER. We are going to repeat the same process for the remaining short side. When you have completed a second French seam, you should have one tube of sheer fabrics with beautiful French (side) seams! Repeat this same process with the remaining set of sheer fabrics. Hem your sheer fabrics if needed (tulle does not need to be hemmed, phew!). Hop back to the pattern and follow the instructions for sewing the skirt to create your skirt lining. Once hemmed, the skirt lining will be 1/2 inch shorter than your tulle layer, this is intentional! Construct your waistband according to the pattern instructions, but do NOT sew the skirt and waistband yet! Come back to this tutorial first. Locate one sheer layer and sew a gathering stitch along the top raw edge (or use your preferred method of gathering). Gather the sheer skirt layer to the width of your waistband, aligning the side seams to the quarter side points of your waistband. Tie off your gathering stitches and set aside. Photos and more information for gathering included in the pattern. Repeat for the second sheer layer (and any remaining sheer layers you have created). Repeat for your skirt lining. We are going to assemble the skirt now. Stack your sheer skirt layer on the second sheer skirt layer, right sides of both layers facing up towards you. Align side seams. If you are using more than two sheer layers, continue to stack them. Stack your sheer layers on to the skirt lining, aligning side seams and keeping all pieces right sides facing up. Double check that the skirt stack is still the width of your waistband. If everything is aligned, baste your sheer skirt layers together to the skirt lining. Return back to the pattern to follow directions for attaching the skirt to the waistband. Sheer fabrics can be itchy on the inside seam. If desired, you can sew a ribbon over the inside seam as your topstitch your waistband. I didn't get a chance to sew mine all together yet (need more fabric for the lining!), but here's what it will look like when it's complete! There you have it! A fun and fancy tutu-style everyday skirt. A great tip my daughter's dance teacher shared with me about tulle skirts- hang them upside down and it will help the tulle to stay nice and full. It totally works! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and can apply it to any skirt or dress pattern you have in your collection. Be sure to join us in the Little Lizard King Cafe on facebook and share your tut-style Everyday skirt creations!