Every girl pretends she is a princess at some time in her life. Twirling around in a full-length gown and pretending you are royalty can be a lot of fun, but this dream usually wears off as we get older. With all the new live action princess films that have been coming out in the last few years, however, the desire to dress like a princess has come back in full force! Belle from Beauty and the Beast has one of the most quintessential princess dresses of them all. A full yellow skirt with an off the shoulder top detail on the top, it’s also one that can be totally modernized into a 2017 appropriate outfit.
Instead of going with a full yellow gown which wouldn’t get as much wear, a simple white top paired with a voluminous, sunflower maxi skirt is the way to go! This skirt is dramatic and fun to wear, and the perfect transitional piece to take you from Spring to Summer as the weather starts to warm up. It is also the best for dancing and would fit right in at an upcoming wedding or on a date night.
Realistically, the silhouette of this skirt is very simple. It is a full circle skirt with two layers of fabric that is sewn to a piece of thick elastic to create ruching and allow you to not have to sew in any zippers or closures. The only difficult part about it is that you are working with a large amount of chiffon which can be tricky if you don’t have the right tools.
To make this project as simple as possible, I recommend a few things:
Only cut the chiffon one layer at a time. Though it might seem quicker to layer the fabric, it tends to slip and you will not get even pieces like you think you might.
Invest a few dollars in buying a rolled hem presser foot. I have shown a few photos below using a rolled hem presser foot to complete the hem on this skirt and it saved me from such a headache trying to fold over the entire hem by hand. It also makes the perfect tiny edge so that your skirt flutters as you move!
Use a brand new, thin needle to help pierce through the delicate fabric.
Practice sewing on scraps of fabric before you start sewing the skirt to make sure you have your tension settings set correctly. This is also key to mastering your rolled hem presser foot.
Now that you know all the tricks, let’s get started!
Time: 5-6 hours
For Steps 1 through 3, follow along with the image above.
Start by measuring from your waist to the floor. Add 2-3” to this measurement to get the length of your skirt. Then measure around your waist and divide this number by 4. This will be the radius on the waist portion of the skirt. Use these measurements to cut out four semi-circles from your fabric as shown in the instructions. To measure the semi-circles, hold the end of your measuring tape at the center of the fabric and mark with a pencil the distance you measured for the length all the way around. Then, do the same thing for the waist. Cut out the four semi circles and the small semi-circle for your waist.
To create the skirt pieces, lay one semi-circle on top of another and pin the straight edges together. Sew along these edges. Repeat on the other two semi-circles.
Now you will need to measure your elastic waistband. Start by wrapping the elastic around your waist. Pull it until it is pretty tight. I ended up cutting mine much shorter than the size of my waist since the elastic was very stretchy and it needed to be tighter to hold up so much fabric. Once you have it cut to size, sew the two ends together.
4. To attach the elastic to the skirt, pin the elastic to the skirt on the backside in four places around the waist. It will appear that there is a lot of fabric in between each section of short elastic. Place more pins in between the four sections if desired.
5. To sew the elastic on to the skirt, start at one of your pins and pull the elastic until it matches the length of the section of fabric. Sew along the elastic while it is still stretched out to connect it to the skirt. You will notice that as the elastic stretches back to its normal shape, it will have ruched the skirt fabric. Continue this around the entire waistband.
6. To finish the waistband, fold the elastic over twice to the inside of the fabric and sew two straight stitches through the top and bottom of the waistband to secure it and hide any frayed edges.
7. The last step to finish the skirt is to hem the bottom of the skirt with your rolled hem presser foot. To use the rolled hem presser foot, start by folding over the edge of the fabric twice into a very small hem. Place this section underneath the presser foot where the needle is. Then, fold the fabric at the front of the presser foot into the little rolled section so that it is just overlapping the indented part of the foot as shown below. You should then be able to start sewing along the rolled section and the presser foot will continue rolling the fabric as you go. Make sure to keep rotating the fabric slightly as you move along the curved hem to make sure you still have the fabric just overlapping in the front at the indented part of the presser foot.
NOTE: As I described in the tips above, it is important to practice using this presser foot before completing the hem since it is a pain to pull out seams from chiffon.
Here is how the hem should look once you are finished:
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