How to Make a Tiered Tulle Skirt

Updated February 21, 2017

The tiered tulle skirt is popular with big and little girls. Whether you are making one for your four-year-old or your 14-year-old, the basic construction is the same. With just a bit of elastic, some tulle and a sewing machine, you can save on this playful and fun skirt. Add a pair of leggings and a great tee and she'll be good to go for a full day of fun.

Determine the overall finished length of your skirt. A little girl's tiered tulle skirt may be worn below the knee, but a teen might wear hers quite short over leggings. If you are making the tiered tulle skirt to wear under another dress or skirt, use that measurement. Add 2 1/2 inches to 3 inches to this measurement for seam allowances and a waistband. Also note down the wearer's waist measurement.

Divide the number in Step 1 by three to determine the length of each tier of your tiered tulle skirt. Cut the first tier approximately 1 1/2 times the waist measurement by the intended length. The second tier should be cut three times the waist measurement and the third five to six times the waist measurement. If the skirt needs to fit a 22-inch waist and be 18 inches long, the first tier should be 33 inches by approximately 7 inches. The second should be 66 inches by about 7 inches. The third tier should be 110 inches by 7 inches. Seam the tiers if needed to reach the desired size.

Stitch the short ends of each individual tier together, forming three loops of tulle for your tulle skirts. Set your sewing machine to the longest possible stitch length and sew two rows of gathering stitches approximately 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch apart and 1/4 inch from the edge on the top of the second tier. Pull the bobbin threads to gather and pin onto the first layer. Stitch. Use a zigzag or serger to finish the edges, or bind with ribbon or bias binding for a neater and more comfortable look. Repeat this process with the third tier of your tulle skirt.

Turn under a 1 1/2 inch casing at the top of your tiered tulle skirt. Stitch this casing, leaving a 2-inch opening along the seam line of the top tier. Cut elastic slightly shorter than the waist measurement. Thread through the casing and zigzag the ends together. Sew the opening in the waist casing closed.

Use a rolled hem or tight zigzag stitch to finish the bottom of the third tier. Alternatively, bind with ribbon or bias tape to prevent snagging hosiery or leggings. Coordinating lace or fabric edging is another option.


Make several layers and attach at the waist casing if desired. Add a soft cotton or satin lining for comfort. Make your tulle skirt with just a single layer for an easy tutu for dress up play.


Wear a slip or leggings with your tulle skirt, even if wearing it as a crinoline or petticoat. Be careful gathering. If you have difficulty, try zigzag stitching over dental floss instead.

Things You'll Need

  • Tulle, yardage depends on size and desired fullness, but allow for 10 to 20 yards for a longer teen or adult size. Just a few yards will work for an infant size.
  • Sewing machine
  • Coordinating thread
  • 1-inch elastic
  • Gathering or ruffler foot, optional
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About the Author

With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.