How to Make a Folklorico Dance Skirt

Updated April 17, 2017

A folklorico dance skirt is an essential part of a female folklorico dancer's equipment. These traditional Latin American costumes are wide and voluminous, and are meant to be swirled and swept and twirled and held aloft as the dancer dances.

Folklorico skirts are also very colourful, meant to capture the audience's eye during performance. Making one can be as simple or as complex as the design that goes into it.

Get the dancer's measurements. Using a tape measure, get the dancer's waist measurement and the desired length of the skirt, which is typically at or just above the dancer's ankles. Add a few inches for adjustments, and to allow for shrinkage.

Design the skirt. You can choose to make your skirt of one colour, which could eliminate having to sew individual tiers together, or you can get intricate with the design. Some folklorico skirts have special trim on the bottom, or ruffles.

Get the fabric. A folklorico skirt is a gathered skirt, which is much fuller than your ordinary long skirt. Depending on the spread you want your skirt to have, you can choose a horizontal width of anything from around 10 to 16 yards of fabric. Gather any decorative ribbon, fabric for contrast or any trim you would like to use.

Wash the fabric, to allow for shrinkage and to smooth out folds. Let dry.

Gather one end of the fabric at what would be the top edge, and sew into a waistband of the circumference dictated by your dancer's waist measurement.

Sew the outer edges of the waistband and body of the skirt together.

Hem the bottom. You also have the option to add ruffles at the hem.

Decorate with your ribbons or ornamental fabric.

Create the tiers. Divide the vertical measurement of your fabric by four, to mark each tier. Cut the fabric.

Create your waistband by using some fabric to cover a elastic waistband, or a custom-made one.

Attach the tiers. Generally speaking, the circumference of each successive tier is one and a half to twice the circumference of the tier before it. So using the waistband measurement to start with, multiply that measurement by any number between 1 and 1/2 to 2 and that will be your first tier. Gather and sew the top edge of that tier into the waistband. Then use that same number to multiply the length of the first tier for the measurement of the second tier, attach that, and so on.

Decorate your skirt as you desire. Use decorative fabric as a tier, or attach it to one of the tiers. You can also attach a ruffle to the hem of the skirt.


One of the simplest ways a folklorico skirt can be made is to sew two identical circle skirts together, waistband to hem, to create one very full skirt.

Things You'll Need

  • 10 to 16 yards of fabric
  • Decorative fabric,as needed
  • Scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine, or
  • thread and needle
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About the Author

Sonia Fernandez is a writer living in Santa Barbara, California. Her background is primarily in news, as a general assignment reporter for a local news website, but she also does the occasional magazine feature, Web article, short story or travel piece. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara.