Welcome to part 2 of the Sweet Audrey dress tutorial. Today I will show you how I made the skirt. My version includes a built in pettiskirt, but that part is optional.
Let’s get started with the outer part of the skirt. For my skirt I cut two rectangular pieces from my main fabric (I used cotton ombre dots in grey) Each piece was 35″ wide x 12 1/2″ long. I found that this length was great because it gave me the full gathered skirt that I was looking for, but you could have it longer or shorter if you wish. The length of these pieces were specific to my niece’s height. I wanted the skirt to be hemmed just below her knees. The bottom of your bodice should sit right on the hips, so to figure out what length you should cut your fabric, measure from the hip to just below the knee. Take that number and add 1 1/2″. This will give you the extra room to hem it at the bottom, as well as a seam allowance to attach the skirt to the bodice.
Take your two skirt pieces and place them right side up, one on top of the other. If you are using the ombre fabric, make sure that the darkest dots are at the bottom. Fold your skirt pieces in half lengthwise, so that all four raw edges are together at the side. Starting at the bottom, you are going to cut your fabric at an angle going backwards. To give you an idea on how much to cut, the length at the top of my skirt was 7″ shorter than the bottom. This will create the a-line shape so that the dress will be nice and twirly. Measure the length of the top of your skirt, you will need this number to make the pettiskirt. Next you are going to unfold your skirt pieces and place them right sides together. Pin the sides of the skirt (the slanted sides that you just cut) and sew them together with a 1/2″ seam. Finish your seams with a zig-zag stitch. Take the skirt to the ironing board and press your seams. Now we are going to hem the bottom of the skirt. Fold up the bottom of the skirt 1/2″, press with your iron. Fold it up another 1/2″ and press again. Sew down your hem, all the way around the bottom of the skirt, to secure it into place. Again measure the finished skirt from top to bottom, you will need this number for the pettiskirt. That part is finished, let’s move on to the pettiskirt portion!
I used two different colours of tulle (pink for tier 2, white for tier 1), but it was only because it would make it easier in the pictures to show you what I was doing. You are going to need two strips of tulle. The combined width of these two strips needs to be the same as your skirt length (or a bit longer if you want it to peak out the bottom) PLUS ADD 2″ I will use my skirt as an example. You will remember that the fabric for my skirt was 12 1/2″ long. After I hemmed the skirt it was 11 1/2″ long. So, the combined width for my tulle strips needed to be 11 1/2″ plus 2″, then I added an extra 1/2″ so it would just peak out the bottom of the skirt, for a total of 14″. Then I needed to divide that number in half to get the width of each strip (7″) The first strip (let’s now call this tier 1) needs to be the same length as the top of your skirt is all the way around plus one inch for the seam allowance. Mine was 56″. So my tier 1 tulle strip was 7″ wide X 57″ long. I hope this makes sense, it’s really not too tricky, just read it over a couple of times…Tier 2 is easy. It will also be 7″ wide and the length will be 5 times the length of tier 1. My tier 2 strip was 7″ wide x 280″ long. Yes, you will probably have to sew a couple of strips of tulle together to create tier 2, unless you have yards and yards of tulle lying around!
Take your tier 2 strip and sew a gathering stitch along one edge. To do this I change my stitch length about as high as it will go (4) and crank up the tension on your sewing machine. Once that strip is gathered, you need to make sure that it is now the same length as tier 1. Pull your thread to gather it more if it’s needed. Put tier 1 and tier 2 right sides together (if you have sewn several strips together to make tier 2, the right side of tier 2 is the one with no seams) Pin and sew along the gathered edge of tier 2; use a 1/2″ seam.
Now that your two tiers are joined togehter, fold your long strip of tulle in half lengthwise, make sure that right sides are together. Join the edges of the skirt by sewing with a 1/2″ seam allowance. See the dotted lines in the next picture for more clarification on where you should be sewing!
The last step in creating your skirt is to attach the tulle pettiskirt to the outer skirt that you sewed previously. Turn the pettiskirt and the outer skirt right side out. Slip the pettiskirt inside of the outer skirt. The two skirts should be the same width at the top. Pin the two skirts together at the top. To join them together, all you are going to do is sew a gathering stitch along the top edge of the skirt. When you have sewed your gathering stitch, grab your bodice and make sure that the top of the same skirt is now the same width as the bottom of the bodice. If not pull the threads to gather it more, or loosen it accordingly.
Don’t forget to stop by tomorrow where we will be putting the finishing touches on this gorgeous dress!
I have to tell you, when I originally thought about making this dress I wanted to do a beautiful photo shoot with a model wearing the dress. Wouldn’t it look elegant worn by a beautiful little girl, I can just see the long black gloves, mary jane shoes, hair in a bun, maybe even a little tiara and a pearl necklace (oh I love Breakfast at Tiffany’s!) Alas, like every other project, I ran out of time! I had to send the dress to my niece for Christmas, she lives far away. I did, however, manage to snap a picture of my son who I bribed to try on the dress for me. To preserve his dignity, I will crop out his head but I wanted to show you how the dress fits. I do apologize, I was only able to get one picture before (of course!) he stubbed his toe and started to cry, so it may not be the quality that I would like but I will post it anyways.