Sparkle Skirts

You know all those fancy fabrics you want to buy and sew with?….but you don’t, because you’re nervous, or they look scratchy to wear, or they seem complicated to figure out?

Well put that all behind you, and purchase away!  Cause today we’re making:

Yay!  The moment you’ve been waiting for.
A chance to show the world your fancy lining! (and diaper, and polkalicious thighs).

Seriously.  Seeing this skirt on Clara just makes me smile.  It feels so grown up, yet easy to wear.
And the sequin fabric is one of those Traveling Pants stories….Andrea bought it at the LA fabric district and gave it to Delia, who made this gorgeous pencil skirt with it, and when I said how much I loved it, she mailed me the leftover fabric.  And when I saw the rectangle of fabric I thought it would make the perfect skirt for Clara!…except that sequins on a baby doesn’t seem doable, unless…there’s a simple lining!  Ding Ding!  Why haven’t I been doing this for years??

The concept is this: We’ll start with a simple skirt and then sew a satin lining inside to make those delicate, fancy fabrics we love more user-friendly.
It’s easy.  I promise.
And your world will open up to a slew of new fabrics and trims.  Here’s a sampler:


If any of those sound foreign to you, you can find detailed info about every type of fabric in my book (wink wink).  Of course I’ll walk through the basics with you here.  But honestly, if you’re looking to expand your knowledge of fabrics and their uses, Fabrics A to Z is a reference book that all sewers should own.  If you live outside of the US, look for it under the title Fabric Selector, or do a search on your country’s Amazon site under Dana Willard.

And of course this concept can be used for other types of fabrics, like cotton or knits and for other skirts types as well.  But today we’re focusing on fancy fabrics—from the silk fabric family—using the Simple Skirt as our base.

We’ll make two versions:
• a Skirt that uses the lining fabric for the waistband itself
• a Skirt with a separate waistband

Now let’s talk about fancy fabrics.
• Some can be washed; some can not.  Always read the instructions on the fabric bolt when purchasing (or refer to Fabrics A to Z for details on a particular fabric)
• Some fabrics can be ironed; some can not.  Always do a press test on a scrap piece of fabric first or use a press-cloth over the top of the fabric (a dishtowel or cheesecloth works well).

And the most important thing to remember, is patience.

These fabrics are slinky, they leave a mess of sequins behind, they fray, and their fraying strings stick like glue to dry skin.  I told you this was easy right?

Well if you take the process slowly and remember that delicate fabrics require delicate handling, it’ll all work out.  So grab your favorite body butter for your dry finger tips and take a deep breath from time to time.  It’s just fabric….and it’s always an adventure!


• Outer Fabric – You can use a variety of fabrics like satin, lace, chiffon, sequin, whatever fabric catches your eye in the store!

• Lining Fabric – If your outer fabric is a bit transparent or if you used lace, you might choose a lining color that shows through.  I recommend Satin fabric but feel free to experiment with other fabrics.  You can purchase polyester satin (we don’t need real silk satin) at any fabric store.  You don’t need anything too expensive but when feeling the fabric at the store, pay attention to the drape of fabric.  You want something that hangs nicely and isn’t too stiff or too thick.

Refer to the diagram below….

Just as we’ve done in the Simple Skirt, we’re going to measure around the waist to figure out the dimensions of our skirt. So…

• Measure your child’s waist (or your waist if making one for an adult).  If you’re making this as a gift, ask the child’s parent to measure their waist, or look online for the average waist-size for that age, or take a tape measure to the store and measure the waist-size of a skirt.

• Use that measurement and the diagram below for calculations.  Cut out a large rectangle of fabric for the Outer layer and a large rectangle for the Lining.  If your fabric is not long enough to cut one continuous rectangle, you can cut two smaller rectangles and sew two side seams instead of one (explained in the Skirt Video HERE).

The Lining fabric will be longer than the Outer fabric because eventually, it will fold over to the front of the skirt and create the waistband casing.

NOTE: we are using 1-inch wide braid elastic for these skirts.

• a rotary cutter, ruler, and cutting mat work great with delicate fabrics.

• Start by sewing the fabrics as separate skirts.  If you’ve cut your fabric in one continuous rectangle from the previous steps, fold the fabric in half–with right sides of the fabric together–and sew the fabric together at the side seam.  Then do the same for the other layer of the skirt.  If you’ve cut two smaller rectangles from the previous steps, place right sides together and sew two side seams, as shown in the photo below:

• Iron out any seams IF APPROPRIATE.  Do not iron fabrics that may melt or ruin under heat.
• With right sides of the fabric together, place the Outer skirt inside the Lining skirt and line them up at the bottom edges.
• Pin the two layers together all the way around the bottom of the skirt.

• Now sew the two layers together all the way around to create the hem of the skirt:

You have a few choices with finishing the hem….
You can leave it as-is so it has a slight bubble look or you can top-stitch around the bottom to make the layers flat with each other.
I chose to iron the satin layer at the seam (being careful not to iron and melt the sequin fabric) and then I left the hem as-is.  I like how it drapes better and makes the skirt feel fuller.

Okay (refer tot he photo below on the right)
• Turn the skirt right-side out and with one hand inside of the skirt, smooth the two layers out and pin the outer fabric to the lining. The lining fabric should be sticking out a few inches above the outer fabric. This is the fabric that will become the waistband.

• Then baste sew the Outer fabric to the lining, all the way around the skirt as show by the dotted line below.  Basting is just a stitch that holds your project in-place until a later step when the stitch is either covered up or removed.

Now we’re going to create the waistband.
Refer to the photos below…

• Start by ironing the Lining fabric under a 1/2 inch, all the way around the waist. Then fold the whole waistband in half and iron, so that fabric comes down and covers the raw edge of the Outer fabric and the basted stitch.

• Pin the waistband in place all the way around the skirt and trim any fraying strings as you go.

• As you pin, mark a 2-inch wide opening in the back of the skirt.   This is where the elastic will go in and out of the skirt and should not be sewn closed until the very end of the project. The best way to mark it is with double-pins, marking a start and stop point for the waistband.
• Then, staring at the start point—or the first set of double-pins—sew all the way around the waistband, about 1/8 inches from the fabric edge, till you get to the stop point at the other double-pins.  This will create your opening.
• For an added look, sew a simple topstitch (bottom right photo) about 1/8 inch from the top of the waistband. This is optional but makes your waistband stand up a little more.

Time to insert the elastic.
• Use 1-inch wide elastic, and cut it the same length as the waist measurement, plus 1 inch.
• Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic, place it into the opening of the waistband and start pushing the elastic through the waistband, shifting fabric as you go.

• Pin the other end of the elastic to the opening and continue pushing the elastic through till it comes out the other end of the opening.
• Make sure the elastic is not twisted inside the waistband, overlap the elastic ends by 1 inch, and sew the two ends together using a zigzag stitch.
• And finally, sew the waistband opening closed.

You’re done!

Now doll it up with your favorite accessories, and maybe add a personalized touch to the back (info about my labels here, shirt and tights by Target, moccasins by Freshly Picked)…

And your baby girl will sparkle and shine.

Okay. Ready for more?
Let’s try it with a separate waistband.

This technique is great for any type of fabric, on a simple skirt.   And it’s extra fun because its uses three different fabrics.
This time around the Outer and Lining fabrics will be the exact same size and you’ll cut a separate waistband.

• Use the same waist measurement and the diagram below to calculate the dimensions of your pieces.
And NOTE for this skirt: the Outer dot fabric is a sheer chiffon, the lining is black satin, and the waistband is gold satin.  We are using the same 1-inch wide elastic inside the waistband.

• Sew each skirt layer separately at the side seams (as we did above) but DO NOT sew the waistband yet.
• Then with right sides of the fabric together, place one layer inside of the other (as we did above) and sew the layers together around the bottom of the skirt to create the hem.
• Turn the whole thing right-side out and match up the two layers at the top of the skirt (they should be flush with each other since they were cut the exact same size).  Pin the two layers together and sew a baste stitch all the way around the top, so the layers stay together.

Now let’s create the waistband.
• Start by ironing the top and bottom of the bottom of the waistband under a 1/2 inch. Then fold and iron the entire thing in half so that the top and bottom folds are touching each other and iron.   It will look like a giant piece of satin bias tape.

• Now open it all back up and with right sides of the fabric together, pin and sew the ends of the waistband together.  Use the same seam allowance that you used on the skirt layers above.

TIP: When sewing a small piece of delicate fabric like this, I prefer to sew over the pins so I have more control holding the fabric.  The end of the slippery fabric has a tendency to suck down into the machine plate when you start sewing.  But you can avoid this by holding on to the pin with your right hand, holding the fabric with your left hand, and keeping the fabric taut (tight) as you sew.
Okay, your waistband is ready to sew to the skirt!

• With the right side of the waistband and the right side of the Lining together, place the waistband inside of the skirt and line up the side seam of the waistband with the side seam of the skirt.  Pin the two together. Then pin the waistband to the skirt, all the way around the top edge, making sure the edges are all flush with each other. Then sew them together right along the first folded line of the waistband.

• Now fold the waistband over to the Outer fabric and pin it in place so that it covers the raw edges of the skirt.
• Pin it in place as we did above, leaving a 2-inch wide opening in the back, and sew the waistband in place.
Don’t worry if you get small tucks or pleats in the waistband (bottom right photo)….these won’t be noticeable once the elastic is inside.

String the elastic through the waistband, sewing the opening closed, and you’re done!

Another darling sparkle skirt! (paired with a shirt from Target and sandals from the GAP).
Easy and fancy.

Now share your sparkles and enjoy the party!

  1. 1) sarah

    both your girls look adorable in their new skirts!

  2. okay, now I feel like I need a sparkle skirt. 😛 this is adorable, Dana!!

  3. Absolutely adorable! I think my favorite part of the whole skirt is your glittery tab with your MADE tag on it. So cool!

  4. 4) Nanci Fitschen

    Very cute, but aren’t the sequins hard on the needle?

    • 5) Dana

      When you sew with sequin fabric yes, the it will dull your needle faster. It will also dull your scissors or rotary cutter a bit if you’re cutting a large amount of the fabric. So it’s recommended to start with a new needle and switch it out when you’re done with the project. But I used the same needle that was in my machine and it’s fine! My approach to sewing is to just go for it with whatever you have, and see if it works.

  5. 6) Emily

    Haha, Clara looks so happy in her skirt! Adorable.
    I hope to make one of these for my two-year-old – and maybe a matching one for myself!
    Thanks for the wonderful tutorial!

  6. 7) Eileen

    Thank you. My grand daughter is going to love this skirt. Your tutorials are excellent.

  7. 8) Carla Lockwood

    Way to hit this out of the park! I love it!

  8. 9) capturing joy with kristen duke

    Your baby grew up!!!

  9. 10) Nancy

    Absolutely beautiful – skirts, photos and your daughters!! Thanks for sharing the tutorials, will definitely use this in the (near) future 🙂

  10. 11) Andrea

    Hi! Love those skirts! I’m going to do a chiffon one, thank you. PS: When are you going to release the dress pattern?

  11. 12) Marilyn

    Beautiful! Dana, I want you to know that I’ve learned so much from your blog. Thank you.

    • 13) Dana

      That’s so sweet to hear. Wonderful! Thanks!

  12. Great tutorial Dana, thanks for sharing – I’ve made at least 20 simple skirts for my daughter and her friends and I can’t wait to try this one!

  13. 15) Becky Thompson

    Great as always Dana! Question: Did Clara attempt to pull the sequins off and put them in her mouth? I’d love to make one of these for my granddaughter. I guess it matters on how well the fabric is made and if the sequins show a tendency to drop off at the simplest tug. The skirts are so cute and you did a fabulous job.

    Have you recovered the chairs? What did you decide and how did they turn out if you finished them? I’ve been dying to see!

    • 16) Dana

      No actually! I thought for sure she would go for that but she just looked at it funny for a moment, wondering what was going on, and then moved on!

  14. 18) Teressa

    Adorable! I love that you use your rotary cutter and mat for skirts 🙂 Now you should try it out for some quilts.

  15. 19) jamie

    i LOVE this!! thank you so much for sharing. i have two girls as well, who need some sparkly skirts. especially now that it’s hot here. i hate to do this, but would you please tell me where you got that velvet sparkle ribbon? i checked your sponsors and around online…. it’s so pretty! thank yoU!

  16. Lovely BEAUTIFUL photo-shoot! I bet the girls had fun doing it! …but….there is no way I’m touching those fabrics. No. Way.

    • 21) Dana

      hahaha. Do it! Do it! 🙂

  17. I can’t find sequin fabric anywhere! I’ve checked just Joann’s & Hancocks. Even doesn’t have anything. Any suggestions?? Making several for my nieces.

  18. 23) Rachel

    Do you have any suggestions for how to attach the skirt to a Tshirt (before making a waistband) so that it can be a tshirt dress? My daughter wants a tshirt dress with a sequins skirt and I have been at a loss until I saw your tutorial. Thank you!

  19. I just want to say thank you for these amazing tutorials! I am fairly new to sewing so I don’t always understand all the terms but you explain everything so clearly it’s easy to follow and understand even for a almost beginner.

  20. 25) Kim

    Thank you for posting this! I’m fairly new to sewing, and every time we go to the fabric store, my 7 year old makes a beeline to the sequin fabrics. I’ve always been too scared to try them, but now I really want to!

  21. 26) vicky

    Thanks Dana for your blog. Am a new sewer and you make cloth making look so easy. You are a great tutor and your children are so beautiful. I have made lots of your simple skirts and double layer skirts as gifts to my friends kids. I want to make your shorts for my grandson. You are a gem and God’s gift to new sewers.

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  26. 32) Domki nad jeziorem

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  27. 33) Ava

    Is there a mistake in the directions? Just tried this and had to rip out seam. Should the lining go inside the outer fabric (not the other way around) in order to see the bottom bubble?

  28. 34) Jacqueline phillips

    Hi Dana
    I can’t wait to start on the lined skirt. You’re very clever because you make all your projects look easy.
    You’re daughters look just like you; they’re so sweet.
    Keep sewing!

  29. 35) Donna Joy

    Thanks so much for the skirt pattern, I have a sheer with gold stars and plan to use a pink liquid gold lining. I also plan to gold stars sequins just tossed loosely between layers. Sequins should wash better than using Pom poms. We will see how it turns out.

  30. 36) Katrina

    Just wondering what type of stitch you used to sew the sequined fabric and if your needle went through it ok or if you used a heavy duty needle. I took my daughter to pick out her fabric and tried to guide her towards the lace but she fell in love with the sequined fabric so I’m hoping I can make it work ☺, thank you for the lovely tutorial

    • 37) Dana

      I just used a standard needle and it went through fine. The needle will start to dull more quickly working with sequins however, so you may want to change your needle after the project.

  31. 38) Denise


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