Shirred “Ladybug” Skirt Tutorial (one for Mommy too!)

(Update – I have also made a video for this tutorial located here
Please let me know which version you like better!)

I was completely overwhelmed by all the wonderful comments everyone left when I originally posted this skirt. I never thought that such a simple garment would get such a reaction. Though I do think the cute kid had A Lot to do with it! For those who asked, I wasn’t using any candy bribes, asking her age, or anything else along those lines. It was just a really lucky shot. (The 1 out of 85 where she wasn’t looking at the dirt. lol) I have no idea why her fingers are like that, I think she was just laughing at something she said to herself!

SO. . .Let’s make one! (the skirt, not the kid!)

If you read the post from yesterday, you know pretty much what we’re gonna do. If you didn’t, you might want to check out the tips at the bottom even if you already know how to shirr.

Stuff you’ll need:

elastic thread
regular thread
ribbon (optional)

To determine exactly how much fabric you’ll need refer to the charts below.

For small children:

If your fabric width is too short by an inch or two don’t sweat it. This is a very forgiving process. Whatever you make with the above chart will probably fit the child for 2 years or more!

I used one rectangle that was 44 inches wide x 17 inches long to make this skirt. After you decide the length you would like it to be on your child, you need to add at least 2¼ inches to the top edge in order to get the “paper-bag” look. The hem can be whatever you like, but make it extra long if you want to be able to let it out a bit next year. I’m on a wide hem kick right now, so I left 2½ inches for my hem.

For older children:

Follow the adult chart, replacing the 32-34 with the entire waist measurement of your child.
(ex. If Reli measures 20 inches, I should have two 20 inch wide rectangles)

For adults:

Unless you are teeny tiny (like a size 0) this should work for you. I’m a size 6 4 and had plenty of room even though my fabric only totaled 60 inches wide instead of the regular 64-68ish called for.

Here is how I prepped my fabric:

Fold the top edge under ¼ inch and iron a crease. Then fold the same edge over 1 inch and iron another crease.

Repeat with the hem so that you have 2 more creases. (Mine are at ½ and then 2 inches.)

Ok, Now that you have your fabric ready, here we go!

Fold the rectangle right sides together and stitch along the short side (using regular thread). Seam allowance is up to you, but I usually just use the edge of my presser foot. Do whatever feels comfortable. It won’t change the end result.

make sure you unfold the creases before sewing the seam

Press open the seam and refold the creased edges.

Now you can stitch down the hem and top edge.

(If you are making a skirt and wish to add elastic to the waist casing instead of leaving it “paper-bag” style; sew the casing leaving a 1 inch opening, but do not thread the elastic through until the very end.)

Stitch the top edge at 7/8 inch
Handy hint: use a piece of masking tape as a guide for a large hem.
Then you can easily peel it off when you’re finished.

Now it’s time for the good part. Grab your elastic thread and wind it around a bobbin by hand. You don’t want to stretch it while you do this, but keep it taunt. Thread your machine like normal* and lengthen your stitch. (Check here if you need more info on this part.) *regular thread on top and elastic on the bobbin*

Before adding the elastic, your fabric should be a tube like this.

(Make sure your fabric is RIGHT SIDE UP!) Line your presser foot up with the stitches you sewed along the top edge. (I kept my rows only ¼ apart. If you make them too far apart it will change the look)  Keep your stitching parallel until you get around to the beginning again. Then angle your line down to form the next row of the spiral. I just keep using the ¼” mark on my presser foot as a guide.

 Keep going round and round until you reach your desired length and stop at the side seam. Make sure you back stitch at the beginning and end, and it doesn’t hurt to tie the 2 threads into a knot before trimming them. (I’ve never had anything unravel, but just in case.) Hit it with some steam or mist will a spray bottle & press. It will shrink up even more in the wash.

This is a close-up of the beginning and end of my spiral. This skirt had 7 rows, and the ladybug had 6 rows.
The larger the skirt you are making, the more rows you will need. 

Now add a belt or a length of ribbon and Voila! Pop it on your kid and add their picture to my Your tART flicker group.

I bet you had so much fun, you want to make another one right? Let’s make a skirt for you this time. You know you deserve it, especially since you are always making such amazing stuff for other people. 
Grab your fabric. (You know the one, yep, to the left. The one you’ve been saving just for yourself but never knew what to make. Pssst, this skirt will still fit even if you gain lose a few pounds. Just do it!) 
Consult the chart above and cut out your rectangles. I made my upper edge casing smaller because I didn’t want mine to have that “paper-bag” look. If you want the ruffle type edge completely gone, thread a piece of regular elastic through the casing.
Follow the same steps as you would for making a baby skirt. Refer to options B & C if you have any questions. You’ll end up with something like this…

These were taken before I hemmed it, so that you could picture it as a high waist what I’m calling the “dress” look, (not very flattering on me) and also just a regular old skirt. 

Ok, so I am one of the most un-photogenic people on the planet, and it just so happens that every time Ant takes my picture he makes me look fatter (Thanks Honey!). Put that together with a tank-top that makes the girls look huge and we don’t exactly have a winning combination. But, I wanted you to be able to see the adult version of the skirt.

You are now ready to go forth and shirr til your little heart is content! If you’re up for something a bit more exciting, use this great tutorial from Jessica at Running with Scissors and add pockets!

P.S. I’m sure you have all figured out how easy it can be to change the size of the rectangles and make something other than a skirt. If you’re still a bit leery though, I’ll be sharing another tutorial on Monday about how to make a top/dress. See you then!

7 thoughts on “Shirred “Ladybug” Skirt Tutorial (one for Mommy too!)

  1. Hi Toni, This is really cute! I have a two year old and this would work great for her! I am following your blog now and would love a "follow back" if you have time!
    Look forward to seeing what you make for your little one and then trying my hand at it for mine!
    Have a great day!

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