Growing up I remember we always had a special outfit for certain holidays. For Easter, we looked forward to getting a new dress and maybe hat. For the 4th of July, we often got a new t-shirt. And for the fall we usually had a new dress and some black shoes. I loved those simple traditions. It made those times of year special and exciting.
Now that I have my own children, I still feel this way. I want holidays and birthdays to be special. For them to feel like they are important. With that on my mind, the special occasion skirt was born. It is simple, fast and super cute. My daughter loves the sparkly fabric and honestly, you could make this simple skirt with almost any fabric you have on hand. Perfect for a special project or presentation at school, or for the upcoming family outing.
Skirt Fabric - depending on your child's size, probably 1/2 yd+
Gathering fabric - 1/2yd+
Measure your child's hips. Then add 4". So if your child's hips are 18" add 5" so now you have 23". Now divide that in 2 because you'll have front and back skirt pieces.
23 / 2 = 11.5"
Now cut 2 skirt pieces (front and back) of your skirt 11.5" wide and then whatever length you wish. I did about 8". Now stitch them together at the side seams.
Fold the bottom edge up 1/4" and then again 1/2" and press. Stitch around the folded edge of the hem. Press.
Now for your gathered layers. Take your length measurement of your skirt and divide by 2.
8 / 2 = 4
This will be the length of your bottom gathered layer. For the width, take your original skirt width and times that by 2
11.5 x 2 = 23
So your bottom gathered layer will be 23" wide and 4" long. You will cut 2, one for the front and one for the back.
Take your bottom gathered pieces and but them right sides together and stitch down the side seam. If you are using a special fabric like tulle or organza, you can use a zig-zag stitch. (If you need some more advice on sewing with specialty fabrics, check out this post about Sewing with Special Occasion Fabrics) If you are not using tulle, you'll want to make sure to hem the bottom of your skirt now.
Now gather your bottom layer using a basting stitch. (Need more help? Check out our post on How to Make the Perfect Gathers) If you are not using tulle, you'll want to make sure to hem the bottom of your skirt now.
With your main skirt, right side out, place your gathered skirt about 3 inches up from the bottom of your main skirt. You can see the gathered skirt should hang over the bottom of the main skirt. Pin the skirts together. Carefully sew the gathered skirt to the main skirt.
To cut out your top gathered layer of your skirt, you'll want to make sure your gathered edges of your bottom layer will be covered. My top gathered layer was 6" long instead of 4". You will cut the width to be the same as your main skirt, mine was 11.5". Again you'll cut 2, a front and back. Now, repeat steps 3 and 4 with your top skirt layer. Now, pin your top gathered skirt to your main skirt right on the top edge. Add your gathering stitches through both the top and main skirt pieces. They should be gathered together now.
Your waistband should be cut out using your child's hip measurement. My daughter's hips are 18". So I want to make my waistband 18" + 1". The extra inch is for ease. Now cut your waistband 19" wide and 4" long. Fold in half and press so you have a nice crease down the middle.
Unfold your waistband and place it over your gathered skirt so right sides are together. (My waistband below is a little longer than I said, ignore that.) Pin it in place and make sure your skirt and waistband fit together. Now stitch the skirt and waistband together.
Now for your elastic. Measure your child's waist and cut your elastic to be about 1" less. Now overlap the edges of your elastic about 1" and stitch.
Fold your waistband up and turn your skirt inside out. Place your elastic over your waistband. It will cinch a bit, but that is how it should be.
Now fold your waistband down to the wrong side. Pin so that the raw edge is tucked under the wrong side of your waistband.
Stitch around the edge of the waistband to enclose your elastic and raw edges.
Tada!! You are done. Yep, it is as easy as that. So simple but cute and special.