Tulle skirts like this one from Anthropologie and this one from Shabby Apple are everywhere right now.
I love that frilly, femine skirts like this are in style - they can be both fun and elegant at once, and can make us feel like little girls again. I never thought I could love a skirt as much as a maxi skirt, but I may be mistaken...
I set out to make a tulle skirt that was easy to make, with an elastic waistband. The trouble is that if you simply stretch the waistband elastic to fit the tulle and lining layers, as with a basic elastic waistband skirt, you'll end up with a huge poofy skirt, more dress-up-ish than elegant. Pleating the tulle rather than gathering will help the tulle to lie nicer, but then you have to deal with a closure and opening of some sort on the back of the skirt in order to get it on and off.
With this tutorial, I'll teach you how to combine both methods to get the perfect tulle skirt - it's easy to make and looks beautiful. The best of both worlds!
Ready to get moving?
*I'll give the exact tulle measurements that I used for my skirt, but since we'll be making lots of pleats and gathers, the measurements will probably work for most sizes from small to large. You can of course adjust for a smaller or larger size by adding more or less width of tulle. For the lining and elastic, you'll want to measure yourself and cut as described below.
Tulle - 3.5-4 yards of 108" wide tulle
Satin for lining - 2 yards (45" wide)
3" wide elastic - enough to comfortably fit around your waist plus seam allowance
*Seam allowances are 1/2".
1. We'll be using the full 108" of tulle width for the circumference of the skirt. You'll just need to cut 4 pieces 108" by the length you'd like. I cut 4 27"x108" pieces. I'm 5'6" and this was a perfect below-knee length for me.
2. For the lining, you can cut it the same length as the tulle (I originally cut mine a couple inches longer to be on the safe side), and as wide as your hips plus about 10".
3. Sew the short sides together of each tulle layer and the lining as well. A serger works great, and if you don't have a serger, you may want to use a french seam to keep the edges looking nice.
4. Matching up all of the seams and top edges, baste all 4 layers of tulle together. The most taxing part of this tutorial is matching up so much tulle - it's hard to see when it's all layered on top of eachother, but be patient and the rest will be a breeze!
5. Now that the tulle is basted into one piece, pleat and pin the top edge until it's the same width as the lining. I like to continually pin on opposite sides to keep my pleats even. It'll take some adjusting as you go to get the pleats right, and if they're not perfect it's not a huge deal :).
6. Matching top edges (with lining inside of tulle and both right side out), pin and baste the tulle and lining to eachother.
7. Stretch your elastic around your waist and cut a comfortable but snug length (plus 1/2" for seam allowance). Tulle skirts are usually worn fairly high on the waist so keep that in mind as you measure. Sew the short ends together.
8. Open seam allowance and stitch each side down, 1/4" from the seam.
9. Use pins to mark half, quarter and eighth marks around top of skirt and around elastic. Making sure elastic waistband seam is in middle back of skirt (you can choose whether to place skirt seams on center back or on one side), pin waistband to skirt, right sides together, at marks. The skirt will of course be larger at this point than the elastic.
10. Stretching the elastic as you go, use a zig zag stitch to join the elastic to the skirt.
11. Remove any basting/pleating stitches that may be visible from the right side.
12. Trim lining hem to same length as tulle or about an inch shorter if needed (it will then be 1-2" shorter than toole when hemmed). Press bottom raw edge of lining 1/2" toward wrong side, and 1/2" toward wrong side again. Stitch in place.
Grab your favorite flats and some pretty jewelry...
And enjoy your new skirt!