HERE and HERE. That will acquaint you with the basics- I'll just be adding some new tips and construction techniques in this post which will assume you already understand the basics in the two previous posts. I also tend to do a lot of LONG descriptions in an attempt to answer the questions before they happen.
(this will make a girls Size 12 skirt-roughly)
2- 3" wide x 90 yard long rolls of nylon chiffon from AFC-Express.
1- 6" wide (use 7-8" wide for teens or 4-5" wide for younger children) x 60 yard roll of nylon chiffon.
3- yards matching lining fabric (go with the very lightweight, cheap stuff)- use this for an opaque underskirt
3-yards nylon chiffon fabric by the yard from AFC-Express.
Sidenote: use this alternate if opaqueness doesn't matter in your application- I'm sure there is no opaque
layer in the designer original and that he has used more layers than I did on the bottom- I'll explain that
later. I wanted an opaque layer since it is made for a child and we aren't going for sexy.
2" wide waistband elastic
1/3 yard matching satin fabric.
1- 1,100 yard spool of matching thread and yes, I used the whole spool.
1 yard satin ribbon
If you order $100 or more from AFC-Express, the shipping is free. You MUST use "nylon chiffon" aka "15 denier nylon" or "sheer tricot" (those are the different names for it) because it is soft, lightweight, has fabulous float and will NOT fray! You cannot make this with fabric from the mainstream stores and you especially CAN NOT make it with Tulle- it will be trashed and scratchy in no time. Besides, using the rolls of fabric cuts the time required to make this AT LEAST in half and results in very few seams through the tiers.
The amount of nylon chiffon needed for this skirt is about $45 worth. I spent another $12 on the lining fabric, $3 on the Satin and $5 on notions. Total estimated cost for the above skirt is $65. Retail value is somewhere in the $200-$300 range? Not bad for 6 hours of work.
The Christian Siriano number has to be at least $5,000 but you could DIY one pretty darn close (with more layers than the skirt shown here) for a couple hundred bucks- the sewing can be tedious but it's not complex. And since the wait list for the designer dress is LONG, you may as well try your hand at making your own!
Ruffle Fluff- The 3" wide fabric which is ruffled down the center then sewn to the bottom layer of each tier.
Tier- Each of the LEVELS in the skirt- in the example skirt above there are 5 tiers of 6" tall fabric.
Layer- Each tier will have at least 2 layers of 6" tall tiers w/ ruffle fluff.
Confusing? Just keep reading.
Step 1- Making the "Ruffle Fluff"
I have learned a few things since the original pettiskirt tutorials. One of the most important things is that you don't HAVE to have a ruffle foot (though it's still recommended) for your machine to make the gathered ruffle fluff and gathered tiers.
Nylon Chiffon roll cued up for sewing into "ruffle fluff".
To make ruffle fluff, thread your nylon chiffon roll through a dowel (or in this case brother's drum stick) and place it on a basket (even better if you can run the stick through some holes to secure it in place). This will allow the fabric to freely flow through the machine.
TIP: The fabric from the rolls seems to want to curve or roll a bit. You'll want to make sure the curve is on the underside to keep it from rolling. You will notice quickly if you have it the opposite way as the fabric will try to curve in toward the foot.
Set your sewing machine to the LONGEST stitch length and the HIGHEST tension when gathering. This will cause the lightweight fabric to gather as it passes through.
Run the fabric through your fingers and hold it a bit taut then use the other hand to GUIDE (not pull) the fabric as it exits the machine. You will ruffle it down the middle of the fabric as shown above. Luckily my needleplate is 3" wide so it helps me keep everything straight through the machine.
If your thread breaks or something goes amiss, don't stress. Just backstitch over the break and start again. I can ruffle a 90 yard roll in about 20 minutes. The downside of doing this without a ruffle foot as that the gathers won't be quite as perfect but it's hardly noticeable on the end product. If you have a ruffle foot, follow the instructions in the earlier tutorials. Make both rolls of ruffle fluff and you'll have an immense pile- don't lose the ends in it. Not that I would know about that...
Step 2- Sew the ruffle fluff to the tiers.
Since we're working with nylon chiffon rolls (love that there is no fabric cutting involved!), you'll want to attach the ruffle fluff to the 6" wide roll next. To do this, set up the 6" (or 8" or 4"- whatever you decided to use for the size you want to make your skirt) on the dowel just as we did for the ruffle fluff.
Above photo from previous tutorial but the technique is the same.
Sew the MIDDLE of the ruffle fluff to one edge of the tier fabric. I had just a little of the 180 yards of ruffle fluff left after attaching it to the 60 yard roll of 6" wide tier fabric.
Step 3- Gather top edge of tier fabric
I did this simply by running the whole 60 yard piece of ruffled tier fabric through the machine, gathering the top edge just as I did the ruffle fluff.
Step 4- Cut lining fabric to length. Gather.
either the opaque polyester lining OR the sheer nylon chiffon from the standard yardage purchased. To simplify, we will call this the "lining fabric" whether you've chosen to use the opaque or sheer versions. The lining fabric is lightweight enough that it should also gather through the machine just as the sheer nylon chiffon did.
I gathered each of the ruffled tier fabric layers and the lining separately rather than as one so as to make the skirt fuller- the gathers are in slightly different places thus making it puff more. Sort of like the difference between combed hair and teased hair!
Step 5- Sew lining fabric ends together. Add ruffled tiers.
Create a circle by sewing the two lining ends of the bottom layer together, finish the edges with a zig zag stitch or use a serger if you have one. Start sewing the ruffled tier fabric to the lining fabric. When you've come full circle, go around a second time sewing on top of the first layer. When you finish the second time, that tier is done. Now, if you're trying to do it up designer style like the Siriano dress, you'll need to circle the wagons a couple more times. Possibly going around 6-8 times on the bottom tier- and yes, that could take up a whole roll of 6" wide nylon chiffon and 2 whole rolls of ruffle fluff. If you're making a wedding or couture gown, go for it. Otherwise, the 2 times around will be fine! Just cut the tier fabric off when you reach the end- the open end will never be noticed in all the fluff.
Step 6- Attach lower tier to upper tier
This is where we really deviate from the first tutorials because we want there to be ruffle fluff and "float" on EVERY layer of the skirt, not just the bottom level. Attach the bottom layer you created above to the UNGATHERED bottom edge of the LINING FABRIC for the tier above it.
Step 7- Repeat!
Repeat steps 5 and 6 moving up one tier each time. Ideally, each tier will be half the length of the one below it but I only loosely followed that guideline on this skirt and generally just with the bottom portion.
Step 8- Waistband
Complete the waistband step as shown in the main tutorial- HERE. On this skirt, I didn't want a bunch of satin at the top so I cut the waistband satin 5" wide but otherwise made it the same way the other tutorial shows.
I have probably left out some important information so PLEASE ask if you are confused so I can fix the tutorial to better explain the point of concern. Have fun!
The skirt was transformed into the base for our "Glinda the Good Witch" costume. We also sewed a top (made my own pattern which was a pain) that is NOT attached to the skirt so we didn't permanently alter anything.
Anna's big sister and cousin came up with a brilliant (and cheap) way to make Glinda's crown with HOT GLUE. I'll let her do her own tutorial on that as this post is already too long!
And a few more photos because my baby girl looks and feels like a princess (as well she should!)