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  • Writer's pictureLonda

EZ 3 or 5 Tier Skirt

Updated: Jun 1, 2022

Tiered skirts will never go out of style.  At least that’s my opinion.  And since my lily white legs not only refuse to tan, but are full of brown age spots, and hose are 'out', when I wear a skirt these days, it is likely LONG like this one!

This is a skirt made long ago, but it still hangs in my wardrobe and gets worn. It is L-O-N-G, but with these directions, you can configure your skirt exactly as you desire!  Number of Tiers – Depth of each Tier…  Quite ‘Bohemian’ in current fashion lingo.

Print off the directions and give it a whirl!

5 Tiers – each progressively deeper

1.  Determine the DEPTH of Each Tier

Divide your total finished length by 3 (for 3 tiers).  For a 5 Tiered Skirt – divide by 5.

To the Upper Tier, add 2 times the width of your elastic.  To each tier, add 1” to allow for two ½” seam allowances.

Example:  for a 3 Tiered Skirt that is 30” finished length using 1” elastic:

30” divided by 3 = 10” Upper Tier:  10” + 2” (2 times 1” elastic width) + 1” (two ½” seam allowances) =13” deep for Upper Tier. Middle Tier:  10” + 1” = 11” Lower Tier:  10” + 1” = 11”

2. Determine LENGTH of Each Tier (How FULL each tier is) 

Upper Tier:  hip (or largest girth measurement)  plus 6” wearing ease = A

Middle Tier:  A times 1.5 (for heavier fabrics) or times 2 (for lighter weight fabrics) = B

Lower Tier:  B times 1.5 or 2 (see above concerning fabric weight) = C

For a 5 Tier Skirt – work it somewhat similarly, increasing the length of each Tier.

Example:  for 44” hips

Upper Tier: 44 + 6” = 50” = A Middle Tier:  A (50”) times 2 (for light weight fabric) = 100” = B Lower Tier:  C (100”) times 2 (light weight fabric) = 200” = C

3.  Determine the Width of Fabric you are using

Reason:  I need how many widths of my fabric (full or partial – it doesn’t matter) to get the length for each tier as figured above in Step 2.

Example:  for 45” fabric

4. Determine the Yardage Needed

Take the information from Step 3 for each Tier times the Depth of each Tier to give you the inches of fabric required in yardage to purchase (for each Tier if mixing fabrics) – or add all together for yardage needed of one fabric.

Upper Tier needs 26” – so buy ¾ yard

Middle Tier needs 33” – so buy 1 yard

Lower  Tier needs 55” – so buy 1 ½ yard  Actually 1 yard, 19” – but 1.5 is close enough!)

All of one fabric:  3.25 yards will give you ample yardage.

Stitching Directions:

1.  Cut Tiers as you have configured.

2.  Press each tier into fourths crosswise to provide you with ‘keying’ up marks when joining the tiers

3.  With contrasting thread, machine baste down each pressed mark, through the single layer of fabric

4.  You need to ‘gather’ the top edge of Tier 2 and Tier 3.  The easiest way to do this is with your serger.  Use 2 needles.  Tighten the needle tensions quite high, increase the stitch length, and increase differential feed to the highest number.

This is important:  serge a LONG chain – I’d say 20” or so of length before you start on the fabric, then chain another LONG chain once you are off the fabric.  Do not cut off much if any fabric as you serge – as you’ve only allowed for ½” seams anyway.

5.  Keying up your quarter and half marks as marked in Step 3, gather and pin the top edge of Tier 2 to the bottom of Tier 1.  Adjust gathers by pulling the needle threads, or scotching fabric along the needle threads.  Pin.  Stitch.  Serge (regular 3 thread serging settings) to finish.  Press seam up.

6.  Repeat Step 5 above to gather Tier 3 and attach to Tier 2.  Finish and press seam in like manner.

7.  Join your big flat skirt into a tube by seaming – being sure to match the tier seam lines.  Finish and press one direction.

8.  Hem with treatment of your choice – allowing jus ½” for the hem allowance.

9.  Pull elastic around your hips as tight as possible.  Cut to this measurement.  Join into a circle by butting edges on a scrap of fabric and securely zig zagging.  Trim excess scrap of fabric away from behind.

10.  Divide elastic into fourths.  Divide skirt top into fourths.   Key up these markings of elastic to skirt, placing elastic on wrong side of skirt, ¼” away from the top cut edge.  Pin.

11.  Stretch elastic and stitch with a basting length stitch close to this top edge of the elastic.

12.  Elastic side up at the serger, skim off the extended ¼” of fabric at the top edge and finish – taking care not to cut into the elastic.

13.  Flip elastic down into place.  Stitch through the elastic depth at the ¼ and ½ points.

14.  With long length stitch, stitch through the elastic while stretching as many times as you desire – up to 2 more times…  For easy guideline, pull out the quilting guide in your machine accessory case, and guide edge along it after setting it to the distance from the needle you desire.

15.  Steam elastic and let rest to recover.

To ‘Broomstick” Pleat: 

Put into washer on rinse and spin cycle only.

Lay out straight and gather up in your hands lengthwise to make a long cylinder.  Hold one edge and twist with the other.  Have a helper assist you in tying a string around the length.  Insert into a panty hose leg.  Dry in dryer with towels to cushion.

Pull out, and hang to finish drying.

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