apparel design

Show-Toppers-Wrap-Top-With-Tie_slideshow_imageFeatured: Wrap Top by NY&Company

This wrap top draft by NY&Company is a flattering style for all shapes and sizes. A deep V-neck combined with a fluid fabric is forgiving to all body types.

You will need:

  • approx. 2 ¼ yds. [2m] of fashion fabric, 45” [115 cm] wide
  • approx. ½ yd. [0.5 m] fusible interfacing
  • coordinating thread
  • kraft paper


Bust – measure around fullest part of chest, just below the arms.

Waist – measure narrowest part of torso, just above navel.

Shoulder – measure from neck to ball joint of arm.

Back waist length – measure vertically from nape of neck to waist.

Sleeve length – measure vertically from shoulder point to wrist.

Bicep – measure the fullest part of the upper arm.


Square 2 lines from A at a 90° angle on the paper.

A-B = 1” [2.5cm]

B-C = back waist length

D = ½ of B-C

C-E = 6” [15.25 cm] Square all points across paper.

D-F = ¼ of bust + ¼” [0.6 cm]

Square down from F to locate G.

H is located on line square from C; H is ⅜” [1 cm] from line F-G.

Shape side seam from F to G, passing through point H as shown.

I is located midway C and H.

Square up and down from I to locate J and K.

I-J = 6” [15.25 cm] Draw a waist suppression dart from J to K; dart width at I = 1 ½” [3.75 cm] dart width at K = ½” [1.25 cm]

A-L = 3” [7.6 cm]

L-M = shoulder length

M-N = 1 ¼” [3.2 cm]

Join L to N.

Draw a construction line from N to F and divide it into 3 equal parts. Label points O and P.

Shape the back armhole from N to F, passing through points 1” [2.5 cm] from O and 1 ½” [3.75 cm] from P as shown.

Grainline is parallel to CB.


Square 2 lines from (a) at a 90° angle on the paper.

a-b = A-E

a-c = A-D

Square all points across paper.

a-d = 9 ½” [24 cm]

Square down from (d) to locate (e) and (f).

c-g = ¼ of bust + 7” [17.75 cm]

d-h = shoulder length

h-i = 1 ⅜” [3.5 cm]

Join (d) to (i).

Draw a construction line from (i) to (g) and divide it into 3 equal parts. Ladel (j) and (k).

Shape the front armhole from (i) to (g) passing through points 1 ⅜” [3.5 cm] from (j) and 2” [5 cm] from (k) as shown.

f-l = 2 ¼” [5.7 cm]

i-m = 5 ¾” [14.7 cm]

m-n = 1” [2.5 cm]

Join (n) to (l).

Square down from (g).

g-o = C-D Join (n) to (o).

e-p = 1 ¼” [3.25 cm]

Square down from (p).

p-q = 2” [5 cm].

Join (l) and (q).

Square a line from (o) across to locate (r) at intersection.

Draw a waist suppression dart  from (l) to (q); dart width at (r) = 1 ¾” [4.5 cm] and dart width at (l) = 2 ⅜” [6 cm] as shown.

c-s = 5 ¼” [13.2 cm] c-t = c-s Join (s) to (t).

Draw a construction line from (d) to (s) and divide it into 3 equal parts. Label the top third, (u).

Shape a smooth curve from (d) to (s) passing through a point 1 ⅜” [3.5 cm] from (u).

b-v = 1” [2.5 cm].

Shape a smooth curve from (f) to (v).

Grainline is parallel to line d-f.


aa-bb = 1/2 of sleeve length – 2” [5 cm].

aa-cc = 5 ½” [14 cm]

cc-dd = ½ bicep + ⅜” [1 cm}

cc-ee = ½ bicep + ¾” [2 cm]

Draw a construction line from aa to dd and ee and divide each line into 3 equal parts. Label ff, gg, hh, and ii.

Shape the front sleeve cap with a smooth curve from aa to gg and continue to dd passing through a point ½” [1.25 cm] from ff, as shown.

Shape the back sleeve cap with a smooth curve from aa passing through at point ⅝” [1.6 cm] from hh to ii and continue with a shallow curve to ee, as shown.

bb-jj = ½ bicep

bb-kk = ½ bicep

Join dd to kk and ee to jj.

Draw a 1” [2.5 cm] turn up parallel to jj-kk.

Grainline is parallel to aa-bb.


Fold paper in half and place CB of back section on foldline.

Trace off back neckline and shoulder on to  paper. Align front and back shoulders at L and trace off front neckline.

Square up from L. L-1 = A-L

Square across from 1 to locate 2.

2-3 = 3” [7.6 cm]

Draw 3-4-5 parallel to the neckline.

Grainline is parallel to centerback, B-5.


1-2 = 2” [5 cm]

2-3 = 2” [5 cm]

1-4 = 2 x waist

3-5 = 1-4

5-6 = 2-3

4-7 = 4-6

5-8 = 5-6

Join 6 to 7 and 8.

Grainline is parallel to line 2-6.

Note: Add ¾” [2 cm] seam allowance to perimeter of pattern pieces except for sleeve bottoms.

Add ⅜” [1 cm] seam allowance to tie pattern piece.


Back – cut 1X self on fold

Fronts – cut 2X self

Sleeves – cut 2X self

Collar – cut 2X self

Ties – cut 2X self

Collar Interfacing – cut 1X fusible on fold


  1. Iron fusible interfacing to under-collar following manufacturer’s directions.
  2. Turn under neckline seam allowance on under-collar and press.
  3. With right sides facing together (RST), align under-collar to top-collar. Run stitch around collar perimeter leaving neckline open. Trim corners and grade seams. Turn right side out and press flat. Set aside.
  4. Fold tie lengthwise with RST and align raw edges; match up diagonal end. Stitch tie leaving blunt short end open. Trim and grade seam allowance. Turn right side out and press flat. Repeat for second tie. Set aside.
  5. Sew up waist suppression darts on back and fronts.
  6. With RST, match fronts to back at shoulder. Stitch shoulder seam and press open.
  7. Align and match top-collar to back neckline with collar FACE to wrong side of body and extend over shoulder seams.
  8. Sew collar to neckline of garment. Clip seam allowance on front edge where the collar connects. Turn in the seam allowance at the neck into the collar and align the folded edge of the under-collar to the machine-stitching. Slip-stitch bottom edge of under-collar to body.
  9. With RST, align and match sleeves into armholes. Sew sleeve caps to armholes.
  10. With RST, join fronts to back by aligning and matching side seams and sleeve seams. Stitch all in one motion from sleeve bottoms to hemline. On right front side only, leave a 2” [5 cm] slit opening at the waistline on the side seam.
  11. To finish the garment, turn in ⅜” [1cm] along the front neckline, then turn in ⅜” [1cm] once more. Topstitch in place (be careful not to stretch the neckline as you sew.)
  12. Do the same double-turned roll on the hemline.
  13. sideseam2Turn under the vertical front edges of the garment ⅜” [1cm] towards the inside of the garment. Turn under again by ⅜” [1cm]. As you topstitch the turn down, attach a tie to each front just below the neckline edge by encasing the open end of the tie in the seaming. Once the topstitch is complete, fold the tie over the garment edge and secure in place with a second row of topstitching.
  14. Turn the sleeve bottoms up ½” [0.6 cm] and press; then turn up ½” [0.6cm] more and hem.
purple-label-womens-joan-long-zippered-skirt-greyFeatured: Purple Label Zip Skirt

Everybody’s getting into the rocker-chic zipper skirts.


You will need:

  • 2-way stretch fashion fabric, 45” wide (spandex blend)
  • 1 separating zipper (equal to desired skirt length less 1 inch [25mm])
  • India stay tape, ¼” [6mm] wide (approx. the waist measurement + 6” [15 cm])
  • Matching polyester thread
  • Schmetz Stretch Needle®
  • Kraft paper


Waist – measure around narrowest part of torso, just above the navel.

Hip – measure around fullest part of seat, about 9” [23 cm]  below waistline.

Finished Hem Length – measure vertically from waist to desired skirt length.

The featured skirt from Purple Label is 19 inches long [48.5 cm]


skirt a

Draw 2 lines vertically and across on kraft paper at a 90° angle. Label point A.

A-B = skirt finished length

A-C = 9” [23 cm]

Square lines across all points.

C-D = ½ of hip measurement + ½ ” [6mm]

Square a line up and down from D to locate E and F.

C-G = ¼ of the hip measurement + 1” [25mm]

Square up to locate H.

I and J are 1” [25mm] on either side of H.

Join I and J to G to create a gently shaped dart, as shown.

K = midway G and D; square up and down to locate L and M.

C-N = D-K; square up and down to locate O and P.

B-Q = 1” [25mm]

M-R = 1” [25mm]

To shape waist, determine the difference between the hip and waist measurements.

Divide the difference by 4 and draw a gently shaped dart equal to this amount at L and O, with the dart facing the centerline.

NOTE: If the dart amount is greater than 1” [25mm], distribute the amount equally on either side of L and O.

facing 1To draft the skirt facing, trace off A-O-J-G-N-C and I-L-K-G on additional paper down to the hipline.

Close dart on back piece by folding it out.

Trace out new shape and smooth a gentle curve at the chevrons.

Trace out I-L-K-G for the side front facing.

Add ½” [12mm] seam allowances to all pattern pieces except hemline.

Grainline is parallel to selvedges to allow for the greatest stretch to go around the girth.


layDetermine the direction of greatest stretch of the fabric. It is usually the crosswise grain of the fabric eg. perpendicular to the selvedges.

Cut skirt front 4X self

Cut skirt side 2X self

Cut skirt back 1X on fold

Cut skirt back facing 1X on fold

Cut skirt side facing 2X self


Sewing Tip: Use a stretch sewing machine needle for this project. Whenever sewing horizontal seams, find the “sweet spot” of the elasticity to allow for the stretch of the fabric.

1. Sew up side darts.

2. Insert separating zipper onto CF edges from top edge to ■.

Design Tip: For skirt hems below the knee, try a 2-way slider on the zipper for easy walking.

3. Sew one side panel to each skirt front.

4. Sew skirt back to side panels.

5. With skirt body FACE up, edge-stitch all vertical seams (have seam allowance directed toward the “side seam”)

For skirt facing:

6. Sew side front facings to each side of back facing.

7. Sew remaining 2 skirt fronts to each of the side front facings.

8. With skirt facing FACE up, edge-stitch all vertical seams (have seam allowance directed towards the centers).

Finishing the skirt:

9. With right side facing together, align and match top edge of skirt facing to skirt body.

10. braid2Cut the stay tape equal to the body measurement where you like to wear your skirts. (approximately 2″ [50mm] below waistline)

11. Pin/baste stay tape in place and sew top edge of skirt along the stay tape.

12. Align and match front facing to skirt body along zipper edge. Sew CF seams and hemline. Turn skirt right side out. Pin/baste un-sewn facing edge to  seam allowance of seam nearest to the CF zipper. Sew together. Separate zipper and topstitch CF along zipper.

13. Turn up hem 1” [25mm] and double top-stitch hem in place.

14. Secure the lower edge of the skirt facing to the skirt body by tacking together the seam allowances at the vertical seams only.

satin-floral-skirt1 charlotte russeFeatured: Wrap Skirt by Charlotte Russe

Cut for a gracious A-line sweep, this pretty printed lined skirt reverses to a solid colour for double the dressing options. Great for travel or everyday wear, this easy wrap style design, similar to this one from Charlotte Russe, is a simple drafting project with a very forgiving fit.

You will need:

  • Fashion fabric A *
  • Fashion fabric B *
  • Fusible interfacing
  • Coordinating thread
  • 4 buttons, 7/8” [21.5 mm] dia., line 34
  • Kraft paper

* amount required will depend upon skirt sweep and desired length.

Design Tip: Select a printed fashion fabric and choose the dominant or background colour in the surface pattern as the solid colour match for the contrast fashion fabric.


Waist – measure around narrower part of torso just above the navel.

Hip – measure around fullest part of the seat, about 9” [23cm] below waistline.

Finished Hem Length – measure vertically from waistline to desired length (see chart below)


SKIRT DRAFTDraw a T shape with the vertical base equal to the Finished Hem Length (FHL) and the centered horizontal top equal to ¼ of the Waist measurement (W).

Measure vertically from the top of the T shape 9” [23cm] and square across. Plot ¼ of the Hip measurement (H) and center it on this line.

Draw a tangent line by joining A and B and extend it to the hemline at C on both sides of center, as illustrated.

On the tangent line, measure the Finished Hem Length from A to D. Place the set-square at D and square a line from this point, blending smoothly into the hem. Repeat on opposite side.


For the waistband, trace top portion on skirt panel, matching sides at A and B, 5 times onto additional paper. Smooth the chevrons into a gentle curve. Draw a parallel line 1 ½” [4 cm] above the tracing. At each end, square a line upward from the tracing.

Add ½” [12mm] seam allowance to skirt panel pattern and the waistband pattern. Grainline is the centerline.


lengthsCut 5 panels for each fabric. **

Cut 2 waistbands in contrast fabric.

Cut 2 interfacings for waistband.

** Note: Select fabrics in compatible weights and fiber content to allow for simple maintenance care.


  1. Iron fusible interfacing to wrong side of waistband pieces following manufacturer’s directions.
  2. Turn under the bottom edge seam allowance on one of the waistband pieces and press flat.
  3. With right side facing together, align and match raw edges of the waistband and pin/baste together. Stitch up the two short ends and the top edge of the waistband. Trim corners and grade seam allowance. Turn waistband right side out and press flat. Set aside.
  4. Pin/baste 2 pair of panels matching at A, B, and D with right sides facing together. Sew and press seams open.
  5. Align and match each pair on sides of remaining panel at A, B, and D and sew together. Press seams open. Set aside.
  6. Repeat STEP 4 and 5 for contrasting skirt panels.
  7. With right side facing together, layer the set of skirt panels and align outer edges. Pin/baste and sew the perimeter edges, leaving the top un-sewn. Trim corners and press seams open. Grade seam allowances to reduce bulk.
  8. Turn skirt right side out and press flat. Topstitch perimeter of skirt, if desired.
  9. Baste upper open edge together and match raw edge of waistband to top edge of skirt. Pin/baste and sew together.
  10. wrapskirtTurn all seam allowances to inside of waistband and align folded edge to machine-stitching on skirt waistline. Edge-stitch around perimeter of the waistband.
  11. Stitch a 1” [25 mm] buttonhole on each end of waistband. Position it ¾” [20mm] from the short end.
  12. Wrap the skirt around the waist to locate the placement of the buttons. At each location, sew a button on either side of the waistband (2 buttons anchored to one another) to make the skirt reversible.
  13. Measure the distance between the button locations to determine the location of the second set of buttonholes on the waistband. Stitch a 1″ [25mm] buttonhole.
selmadressFeatured: Selma dress

In many cases, discover your fabric as inspiration and the theme for the piece begins there. There are so many design ideas you can do with patterned fashion fabric and a bit of elastic. Take for instance, the Selma dress with an elasticized bodice and striking rope trim makes for a nautical style and fun back by Christopher Deane. Come across your own themed fabric and try this dress draft for summer.

You will need:

  • approx. 2 ½ yds. [2.3m] of fashion fabric, 45″ [114 cm] wide (depends on desired length)
  • shirring elastic thread.
  • 4 yds. [3.6m] of cording, 1/2″ [12mm] diameter
  • Coordinating thread


X = bust measurement (measure just under the arms around the fullest part of the chest).

Finished length = measure vertically from the armpit to the desired hemline .



This is a patternless design (simple block draft). Plot and cut block layout  directly onto the fabric according to your measurements as illustrated (seam allowance is included).


Cut 1 front, cut 1 back, cut 4 bra cups and cut 4 loop carriers (1-1/2” [4 cm] wide strips).


1. Make 2 self-lined bra cups. Begin by layering 2 pieces, with right sides together. Stitch across narrow top edge using ½” seam allowance. From machine stitching, measure down ½” and sew down both sides of bra piece, using ½” seam allowance. Press seams open; then turn bra cup right side out. Press bra cups flat and topstitch across the top of each bra cup below the openings. Baste the raw edges together. Set aside.

2. shirWith FACE side up, shirr fabric panels using elastic thread in the bobbin. Begin 1” from top edge of panel and stitch across width of each panel. Do parallel rows of shirring about ½” apart (I used the presser foot width as a guide) and continue until you have a shirred length of fabric equal to 1/3 X.

For example: if the bust equals 36 inches , you would shirr 12-inch length from the top edge of the panel.

3. With right sides together, layer the fabric panels and align the shirred portions while matching the edges along the length. Pin or baste and stitch to create a tube, using ½” seam allowances. Press seams open.

Design Note: The fit of this style is not a snug one. The dress is designed to hang from the shoulder straps. You may get a closer fit by increasing the seam allowance at the side seams.

4. Hem the bottom edge of the tube with a narrow double rolled hem by turning under the bottom edge twice by ½” and press. Topstitch hemline.

5. On one panel front, find the center of the panel above the shirring and mark. Pin/baste one bra cup on either side of this mark, with right side facing. Sew across bottom edges of bra cups.

6. Make carriers 1/2″ X 3″ [12mm X 75mm]; you will need 4 of them. At the outer edges of the bra cups, fold a carrier  in half to form a loop and secure to either side of the garment. Divide the back portion between the two loop carriers into thirds. Place a loop carrier at each location and secure.

7. selma backSerge or pink the raw edge of the top edge. Turn top edge to inside and press. Topstitch in place.

8. Cut 2 lengths of cording. Thread cord in each bra casing and gather up excess fabric to create the gathers. Knot cording together to create halter straps and thread through loop carriers.

0x0-nf best behaviorFeatured: Best Behavior

Stay “kewl” this summer with this gossamer sun serape. It is a cinch to whip up in an afternoon. Take your styling cues from Danish design house, Best Behavior and layer it over your tiny tees and baggy pants.

You will need:

  • approx. 2 yds. [1.8m] of transparent fashion fabric, 45” [114 cm] wide such as chiffon
  • 1 pkg. of bias binding, 1” [25 mm] wide (matching colour)
  • coordinating thread

DIMENSIONS: approximately 34” X 44”  [86 cm X 112 cm]



This is a patternless design (a simple block draft). You can plot it directly onto your fabric but you will need to straighten the cut ends of your fabric before you are going to cut. The corners should be 90°.  Once that is done, trim away the selvedges.


Cut a rectangle 72” X 45” [183 cm X 114 cm].


  1. Find the center of the cloth by folding it in half, both lengthwise and widthwise. Mark the location with a pin. Radiating from the center, lightly chalk an arc 5″ [12.5 cm] away from one fold to the other. Carefully cut on chalked line through all layers to create the neck opening.  Reserve cut away portion.
  2. Fold the width of the bias tape in half and align the raw edges of the tape along the FACE side of the neck opening. Stitch around the neck opening using a ¼” [6mm] seam allowance. Grade the seam allowance. Turn bias binding to inside of opening and press seam flat. Topstitch around neck opening.
  3. Open the fabric flat, FACE side down and machine a narrow double rolled hem along all sides.
  4. To make the pocket, re-fold the cut away portion from the neck into quarters, with right sides together. Reduce the radius of the arc by 1″ [25mm].
  5. Open the fabric flat and fold in half , with RST. Stitch around the curved edge, using a ½” [12mm] seam allowance, leaving a small opening to turn-out. Trim the seam allowance close to the stitching. Turn pocket right side out and slipstitch opening closed. Press pocket flat.
  6. Align pocket to left side of centerfront and edge-stitch pocket to front of garment.
  7. Fold garment in half and align corners. Measure up from matching corners on each side approximately 14”[35.5cm] . Tack front and back together at this point (●).

c2009_11_eyelet vest

Featured: Chulette

Simple eyelet vest with a “peek-a-boo” attitude.

Try styling it similar to this one from Chulette; fully lined with tan colour cotton fabric to add some contrast.

You will need:

  • 1 ¼ yds. [1.15 m] leno-cut fabric, 45” [114 cm] wide such as eyelet.
  • 1 ¼ yds. [1.15m] of matching lining, 45” [114 cm] wide such as broadcloth.
  • Coordinating thread
  • Kraft paper


Bust – measure around fullest part of chest, just under the armpit.

Waist – measure around narrowest part of torso, just above the navel.

Shoulder – measure shoulder length from ball socket to neckline.

Back width – measure across shoulder blades from armpit to armpit.

Backwaist length – measure vertically from nape of neck to waistline.


vest draft

Cut a length of kraft paper equal to your bust measurement + 3” [75mm].

Fold the paper in half across its widest point.

Plot point A on the foldline at the top of the paper.

A-B = 2” [50mm]

B-C = backwaist length

C-D = ½ of B-C less 1” [25mm]

Square across all points at 90°

D-E = ½ of bust measurement

Square up and down from E to locate F and G.

H = midpoint of A-D.

Square across from H.

H-I = ½ of back width minus 1” [25mm].

A-J = 3 ½” [90mm].

K is located where lines squared from B and J intersect.

Draw a shallow arc at K to join B to J as shown.

L is half of D-E.

Square up and down from L to locate M and N.

F-O = 3 ½” [90mm].

E-P = 3” [75mm].

Q is located where lines squatted from O and P intersect.

Draw a deep arc at Q to join O and P as shown.

M-R = J-K + ½” [12 mm].

Draw a straight line from J and O to R.

J-S = 2/3 of shoulder measurement.

O-T = 2/3 of shoulder measurement.

Join S-I-L with a smooth curve as shown.

Trace this curve on the front portion between L and T.

G-U = 3 ½” [90mm].

G-V = 3 ½” [90 mm].

Draw a smooth arc at G connect U and V as shown.

C-W = 1” [25mm].

Square a line across from W.

N-X = ½” [12 mm].

X-Y = 1” [25 mm].

X-Z = 1” [25 mm].

Join points W-Y and V-Z with a smooth line.

Join points Y and Z to L with a straight line.

Add seam allowances to perimeter of pattern pieces except armhole.

Cut out pattern with paper on the fold.

Grainlines are parallel to CB and CF of pattern.


vest layCut 2 bias strips 2 ½” wide [65mm] in lining fabric.

Cut front 2X self

Cut back 1X self

Cut front lining 2X lining

Cut back lining 1X lining.


  1. With right sides together (RST), match up vest fronts to vest back and pin/baste side seams and shoulder seams. Stitch seams and press open.
  2. Repeat Step 1 for vest lining.
  3. With RST, align and match vest to lining around outer edges. Pin/baste in place. Stitch around the perimeter of the garment. Trim and grade seam allowance close to stitching. Turn vest right side out through armhole.
  4. Press seam flat around outer edge of vest. (Use a press cloth as not to mar fabric).
  5. Align and match up armhole opening. Baste both layers of fabric together.
  6. Bind each armhole with bias strip. To do this, fold the bias strip in half lengthwise (wrong sides together) and press foldline (use an up & down motion). Place the raw edges of the bias strip along the armhole on the face side of the vest. Stitch around the armhole using a 3/8” [1 cm] seam allowance. Turn under the short ends to neaten and complete.
  7. Fold the bias binding over the seam allowance in the armholes and align the folded edge to the machine-stitching. Slipstitch binding to lining.
V283627 victoria's secretFeatured: Victoria Secret Peasant Skirt

You’ll this easy-to-sew skirt…XOX.

You will need:

  • Approx. 1 ½  to 3 yds. of fashion fabric (depends on fabric weight and width)
  • Coordinating thread
  • Heavy-duty topstitching/upholstery thread


Waist – measure around narrowest part of torso (just above navel level)

Hips – measure around the fullest part of the seat, about 8” [20cm] below the waistline.

Finished Skirt Length – measure vertically from waist to desired hemline.


This is a simple block draft. You can plot it directly onto your fabric but you will need to determine the dimensions of the panels you are going to cut.

(This also will help you determine how much fabric to purchase.)

Designer Tip: If you wish to use a printed fabric, look for a print that has been “railroaded”, that is the print runs along the fabric’s length. That way, you needn’t piece the fabric together to create the tiers.

XOX Block Draft

xox 1

Measure the hip. You may round up the measurement to the nearest ½” [12mm].

O = (hip measurement + 2” [5cm] ) divided by 2.

Next, determine the desired length of each tier; divide the finished skirt length by the number of tiers you desire. You may round up to the nearest ½” [12 mm]. The featured model from Victoria’s Secret has 3 tiers and is approximately 21″ [53.5cm] long.

X = (finished skirt length + 2 ½ ” [6.5 cm] ) divided by 3.

For example: for a size 14 hip measurement of approximately 38” [96.5 cm] and the finished skirt of approximately 21″ [53.5 cm] long, the tiers are 7 ¾ ” [19.5 cm] long.

Again, you may round your answer a little if needed; this is not exactly rocket science.

O = 20” [51cm]

X =  8” [24 cm]

Time to plot and cut.

Determine if the fabric print runs up-and-down OR railroaded (sideways) on the surface.

Now to add fullness to each panel width.  Gathering is usually a 2:1 ratio.  (If you choose a thin/lightweight fabric you may need a greater ratio.)

layYou will cut 2 panels to make each tier. (skirt front & back).

Plot a 2” [50 mm] band across the fabric’s width OR length. (see  layout diagram)

Set up XOX block as illustrated.

Top Panel = 1 block

Middle Panel = 2 blocks

Bottom Panel = 3 blocks

Designer Tip: Short on fabric? Try cutting the second tier in a contrasting colour or fabric.

xox 2

Now you have all of your skirt pieces and are ready to start sewing!

*Designer Tip: Embellish your tier panels with flat ribbons or braids if desired.


1. Attach the pair of 2” [50 mm] bands together at one short end to create a drawstring. Fold along its length and press flat. Open the fold and turn in raw edges ¼” [6 mm]. Refold and edgestitch along the length on the open side, then along the fold side. Knot each end.

2. xox 3With right sides facing each other, sew the side seams together on each pair of panels using ½” [12 mm] seam allowance. Edge finish each of these seams with an overlock machine if you have access to one, otherwise trim with pinking shears to keep the raw edges from unraveling. Press seams open. There are now 3 “loops” of fabric, one for each tier.

3. hemAt this point, sew a narrow double-rolled hem around the entire bottom edge of the lower tier. Press up 1/2″ [12 mm], open the fabric back out, and press the raw edge in to meet the first crease. Sew the rolled hem.

4. Edge finish the upper edge of the top tier. Fold 1 ¼” [30 mm] to the inside and press to form a casing for the elastic. Turn raw edge under ¼” [6 mm] then stitch about 1″ [25 mm] from the fold all the way around.

5. On the top edges of the middle and bottom tiers (and with right sides facing up), sew a wide zigzag machine-stitch over the heavy-duty thread all the way around the seam allowance.xox 4

6. Starting with the bottom tier, grasp the heavy-duty thread ends and start pulling gently to form gathers in the fabric. When the circumference of this edge matches that of the lower edge of the middle tier, stop and tie your thread ends together to keep everything in place. Then slide the gathers around until you are happy that they are distributed fairly evenly.

7. Flip the middle tier inside out so that the right sides (the face of the fabric) are facing each other and pin it to the bottom tier — the bottom edge of the middle tier (the edge without the gathering) should match up to the top gathered edge of the lower tier and the right sides should be together. Pin/baste this seam just below the zigzag stitching. (basting is your friend on this project!) Now, flip it right side out and check your gathers and re-adjust if necessary. Machine stitch this seam along the basting; then remove the heavy-duty thread and basting.

8. Repeat the procedures from Steps 6 and 7 to attach the middle tier to the top tier.

xox 6

9. Serge or pink the gathered seam allowances you’ve just sewn to finish the raw edges.

10. On the outside edge of the ‘waistband’ casing, open 1” [2.5 cm] on one seam carefully with a seam ripper. Thread the drawstring through the top casing. (Alternatively, you may use elastic in the casing, if desired)

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