Rainbow Ruffle Skirt Tutorial

rainbow-skirt-113 I made this rainbow ruffle skirt for Kenzie’s upcoming rainbow birthday party. To those real sewers out there, this tutorial is probably the most ridiculous thing you have ever seen. I, on the other hand, don’t really sew.  I try and fake through it when I have an idea.  I’ve never taken a sewing class, and I didn’t grow up around sewing.  So, the way I fumble through this project is probably really weird.  That said, I am so excited about the outcome, so I had to pass it along as a tutorial.  Perhaps you are like me and have no idea how to follow a pattern.  Maybe you think, like I do, that because you watch “Project Runway” you are perfectly qualified to try your hand at creating something on your sewing machine. I have tried to do all activities on this blog with my kids. Because I’m not a sewer, this was definitely a nap time activity for me. All that said, let’s get to it.
Meaningful-Mama175 First, I bought a little jersey shirt at a second hand store.  The skirt was nine inches in length, and I wanted six tiers, so I drew lines on the skirt 1.5 inches apart. This would be where I wanted to sew the top of each tier.  I drew these lines on the front and back with a pencil. Then, I deconstructed the skirt.
I had picked out these “Fabric Quarters” in the quilting section of JoAnn Fabrics.  I cut them into strips.  I measured across the length of the entire skirt and for the first red tier I did 1.5x the length I needed (since it was a thinner part of the skirt).  The other strips were measured out 2x the length.  I allowed the extra length because I wanted to create the ruffle look by bunching the fabric…a technique I will teach soon and that I learned while trying to make puffed sleeves on a Halloween costume this last year.
Meaningful-Mama177 Because the fabric was not long enough, I first had to sew two pieces together to determine the total length (again 1.5x to 2.0x the length of the skirt).  Next I folded over the sides of the strips to give me a 2.25 inch tier (so it was 2.25 + the seam allowance on both sides when I originally cut).  I chose that because you’ll remember that my spacing was 1.5 inches apart, and I wanted one to tier to drape over the next tier rather than line up perfectly.
One of the ironed sides I sewed with a 2.5 stitch length (like normal, knotting both ends).  The other side, I changed the stitch length to 4.5.  Make sure not to knot or back stitch the ends.  Once you sew across that hem, you take the bottom thread and begin to pull.  Pulling starts to bunch the fabric up and create that ruffle.  I did this for every color.


One by one, I pinned a layer in place, stretching out the top to the side and following the lines I had drawn on the under skirt.  I then (back on 2.5 stitch length) sewed the tier to the skirt.  I continued until all the layers were done.  I’m starting to get pretty excited at this point because it was actually working.

Meaningful-Mama180 The final steps included folding the skirt in half (inside out) and sewing the seam together.  I wish I had lined up my color strips a little more carefully.  Then, I attached the top elastic waste band (that I took off the original skirt) with a lot of pins.  I just wanted to make sure it was all lined up well on that break between the band and the red tier.  I sewed it on and the skirt was done.  So, there you have it.  My first sewing tutorial.  I probably fumbled through the tutorial as much as I fumbled through the project.  I do hope it all made sense to anyone inspired to give it a go.



  1. says

    I really like this Jodi- the ruffles look so sweet. Great job on doing a project outside of your comfort zone (I am always fumbling through projects)! But it turned out excellent and your little one looks like she loves it!

    Found you at Sugar Bee Crafts Linky!

    • says

      Thanks, Zoe. I also kinda like the things I fumble through. There’s a great feeling at the end…I actually did that? Crazy! Thanks for taking an interest.

    • says

      Thanks so much for stopping by. Thank you, also, for all that you are doing at your site. My life feels too fully right now, and I’m needing to draw some boundaries, so I can’t commit to anything, but I’m following along. We have huge stuff going on at our church in the adoption realm. It’s so exciting to watch these kids find their families. Thanks for serving in this way!

    • says

      Thanks so much. Since you’re from a great sewing site, I’ll take the compliment. I didn’t see it as brilliant in the moment. I just didn’t know how else to do it. :-)

  2. says

    You did a great job! This is not an easy project for someone who doesn’t sew. And Kenzie looks pretty happy with the results. Thanks so much for sharing at Etcetorize~

    • says

      Thanks so much. I am pretty happy with the outcome seeing as I was flying by the seat of my pants. It was fun though. Maybe I should sew more…oh, to find the time.

  3. says

    Thank you for the great idea! I’m just getting back into sewing after a loooong break! I have only basic seeing knowledge and skill, but your tutorial was so well written that I could understand all the steps and I’m sure my d.d.’s dress will look great. :) Now, if I can only find where to buy those fabric quarters here in Toronto, Canada… *goes off to search the internet*

    • says

      Hey, if I could do it, you could do it. I’m so glad you like the outcome. My only advice is to pre-wash the fabric. Being a newbie sewer, I think I made a mistake here. It’s fine, but it took a little tlc out of the dryer the way I did it.

  4. says

    Amazingly colourful! I like how the coloured fabric isn’t all plain but has a subtle pattern. Love it, I will have to make one of these and will have to come back to feature your skirt in a ‘Rainbow’ post that I have coming up later this year. Tash, long time follower and hope you might come on over to follow me too :)


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