TUTORIAL: The Market Skirt

by Dana on July 6, 2008

Every girl needs a skirt for heading to the market; a market skirt with a pocket for fruit (and a stash of candy).
It’s the perfect skirt for hanging out and sharing sodas with friends.
Whatever your flavor; we have the color.
Let’s get started!
NOTE: Additional Sizing tips at Bottom of the Tutorial.

Skill Level: Easy to Intermediate (with added pocket)
Pattern Size: 2-3T
Needed:
* 1/4, up to 1 yard of main fabric (depending on the direction of your fabric’s print)
* 1/4, up to 1/2 yard of white cotton (depending on the fabric’s desinity and if you double-layer it)
* 1 inch wide elastic
* 2 to 4 buttons
* Sewing machine
Average Sewing Time: 2-3 hours

Pick your favorite color and let’s get started!
Here’s what we’re making:

Fabric Choices:
Seersucker works beautifully and allows the skirt to really bounce.
Other cottons work well too.
Choose a nice white muslin or cotton for the waist band, hem, and pockets.
If the thread count is too thin on your white cotton, double-layer it. That’s what I’ve done here. Everything in white was double-layered (except for the waistband, since that will be folded over in the end).

1. Cut out your pattern pieces. The skirt is made of simple rectangles. You will need TWO of each pattern piece below. Remember to double-layer the white hem piece if your white fabric is too thin (I prefer a strong, quality, white look.) These are the pieces and measurements you need (note: picture is not to scale; it just gives measurements; ALL MEASUREMENTS can be adjusted to fit your child’s size. These pattern pieces will help you put it all together. RESIZING info is at the end of the tutorial)
These measurements below are for a 2-3T size, with a total waist measurement of: 21 inches
Waistband – 15 x 4 inches (38 x 10 cm)
Skirt – 24 x 7 inches (61 x 18 cm)
Hem – 29 x 3 inches (74 x 8 cm)
Cut two of each pattern piece from your fabric. If your fabric has a recurring pattern or a stripe, you’ll need to decide which direction you want that pattern to go:
2. Start Sewing.
With right sides together, pin and sew each piece to it’s matching piece:
Finish off each seam with your serger, or zigzag with your sewing machine:
and always iron out your seams. Ironing gives your clothing a very polished look and less of a “homemade” vibe:
By this point you should have three large pieces of your skirt.

3. Gathering and Sewing.
There are proper ways to gather fabric (shown in The Gathered Pocket Tutorial, following this tutorial) but there are always ways to cheat. And if I can do something easier with the cheating method…..why not?! First, I adjust the tension on my machine. This is the normal tension setting for my machine: I change it to the strongest tension setting (so that the thread is working hard to get through, and thus, gathering up fabric on it’s own for you):

I also change my stitch length from a normal length:
to the longest length (this makes the fabric gather even better):
Then (without doing a Stay Stitch – or a start and stop stitch at the ends)….sew a line along the edge of the Skirt Piece, about 1/4 inch from the edge:
It should look something like this:
Lay your Waistband Piece next to the gathered piece. They need to be the same length:
If the Skirt Piece is too short or too long, adjust the gathering by shifting the gathers and letting some out or pulling more in:
Then, line up the two seams from each piece:
And with right sides together, laying the seams right on top of each other, pin the pieces together:
like this:
Then sew the two pieces together (with a 3/8 inch or 1/2 inch seam, so the gathering stitch doesn’t show through):
It should look like this when you’re done:
Next, gather your Hem Piece (using the same faux gathering method above.) This piece does not need to be gathered as much as the Skirt Piece, so lessen your machine tension so the fabric doesn’t gather as quickly:Adjust your gathering so that the Hem Piece is the same length as the Skirt Piece. Using the same method above, with right sides together, line up the seams of the Hem Piece and the Skirt Piece and pin both pieces together:
Like this:
Sew all the way down
(random insert….but a fun Sewing Tip. I always keep a small bowl on my table for all the loose threads/fabric that I cut off. Such a lifesaver! No loose strings falling all over me and my project):
Okay, your skirt should be looking like this:
Finish off both seams with your serger, or zigzag with your sewing machine:
And iron out all seams. It’s okay if some of the gathered areas get ironed down: It’s a cute look:
Now sew the the sides of the entire skirt together. With right sidestogether, line up the seams, so that the main Skirt Piece lines up with the other Skirt Piece, etc. Your pieces should match up pretty well. But if not, just try your best. Matching the pieces will make your skirt look like one continual seamless piece:
If you have a side-tag to add, insert it here about 3/4 of the way down your skirt, and sew the entire skirt down the side: Finish off your side seam with your serger, or zigzag with your sewing machine.

Then serge (or zigzag) all the way around the bottom of your Hem Piece: And all the way around the top of your Waistband Piece:
and iron out your seams:
Your skirt is coming together! It should look like this:
4. The Waistband.

Fold your waistband in half, over on to the inside of the skirt: iron it over, all the way around the skirt:
If you have a clothing label to add, measure the length and mark your start and stop points with pins. If you don’t have a tag, make sure you leave an opening in this spot for your elastic to be strung through (label will be sewn-in in a later step):
Pin your ironed-over waistband all the way around on the outside of the skirt. You will be sewing it down on the outside so you can make the topstitch look as nice as possible:
On the outside of the skirt, about 1/4 in (or less) from the Waistband/Skirt seam line, sew your waistband down, all the way around. Make sure you go from start point to finish point, leaving an opening for the elastic! It should look like this:
Then, sew a dainty top stitch all the way around the TOP of the waistband, about 1/4 inch (or less) in. You do NOT have to leave an opening on this stitch:
5. Elastic

Using 1-inch wide elastic, cut the desired length of your child’s waist. I’ve found that an average good length is 21 inches:Pin a safety pin to the end and start pushing your elastic through the opening and all the way through the waistband:

Make sure you pin down the other end of the elastic so it doesn’t slip all the way through the waistband:
When your elastic is through, overlap the ends, and zigzag them together a few times (make sure the elastic is not twisted inside your waistband):
Finish off your waistband by sewing the opening shut (and adding in your clothing label):
6. The Hem
Iron a very small 1/4 inch hem all the way around the bottom of your skirt: and stitch it down:

It should look like this: And there you have it! Your skirt has come together. If you’re feeling worn out, you can stop here and admire your lovely bouncy skirt. Or you can personalize it by adding a letter, like this. OR, if it’s To Market, To Market we go….then please continue on with to The Gathered Pocket Tutorial!

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

The beauty of this skirt is that it works for ANY age and ANY size. It can be tweaked, adjusted, added to, taken from, etc. Possibilites! Which means, yes…you can make one for yourself too! The question is:


Looking at the dimensions of each pattern piece in the Tutorial (which are for a 2-3T size), I’ve broken it into ratios; how each piece relates back to the length of the elastic in the waistband. Here are the ratios….

Waistband fabric length to elastic length - 1.5 to 1
Skirt fabric length to elastic length2.5 to 1
Hem fabric length to elastic length3 to 1

So, for instance, if you’re going to make this for a 10 year old girl:
* measure her waist all the way around. This will be the length of the elastic (remember to add an extra inch for overlap when you sew the elastic together.)
* take that length and multiply it by 1.5. This is the length for your Waistband fabric piece

(NOTE: This is the entire length AROUND the whole skirt. In the pattern pieces from the Tutorial, size lengths shown are only half of the entire skirt – since you’re cutting out two pieces of each pattern. So when you calculate your new number here, cut it in half if you’re cutting two pattern pieces, as in the tutorial).

* Continue calculating the other pieces as you did above
(multiply by 2.5 to get the length of your Skirt fabric, etc).

(Also NOTE: Not all measurements are exact, precise, and perfect for each body. The pattern in itself is very forgiving, since it’s a gathered skirt. But make adjustments as you see fit for your child or your body.)

I don’t have any ratios on the width of each tier. Simply adjust those as wide as you like for aesthetic look or for appropriateness. If making one for a teenager or adult….try adding another tier as I did here:
I can’t stress enough that this pattern/skirt can be adjusted in many ways. So get creative and have a go at it! I’d love to see some adult versions!

One additional note on the Tension-Gathering method I described. This is also not an exact science. The gathering will vary depending on the fabric weight and how tight your thread is pulling. If my fabric isn’t gathering enough, I often put a spool of tall Serger thread (the large spools) on my machine and that really tightens up the tension. Play around with it and find out what works for you and your machine.

Now grab your friends and do a little dance. Summer is here!

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Catie January 13, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Thank you for your tutorials! They are lovely :)

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2 Karen January 21, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Thank you for ALL of your tutorials. I am a newbie sewist and illustrations say a thousand words!. This is really helpful because money can get pretty tight and I can always make something, with your help of course..:)

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3 Missy February 2, 2012 at 12:39 pm

You are a wonderful teacher! Thanks for the clear instruction and adorable ideas!! My girls and I will be living in skirts this spring and summer!

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4 Bruna February 22, 2012 at 6:31 pm

What’s your seam allowance? I’ve got it all cut and ready and I just realized I don’t know how much to give… :P Did I miss something? :)

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5 Bruna February 23, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Thanks for your email Dana!
I gave the usual 3/4″ and it worked wonders! I absolutely LOVE this skirt! I’ll make the pockets today, but it’s good as is! 
Thanks a lot for the tutorial. ;)
Congrats for the baby!!! 
Sooo sweet!

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6 Инна February 28, 2012 at 7:36 am

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! It`s grate!!!!!

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7 Cass March 22, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Love it! Thank you for sharing the how to. Im not a sewer but i think i can pull this one off!

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8 Maureen Ronolo March 25, 2012 at 10:25 pm

I want to thank you for this tutorial. It’s been a while since I’ve made little girl clothes (~I now have two adorable granddaughters, both age 3) and it was such a delight to put a couple of these skirts together this weekend. I will be supplying a link to your tutorial from my blog, and I already have pinned it on Pinterest, as well as linked your tutorial to my craftsy.com project post. Thank you again!!!

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9 eleonora April 3, 2012 at 4:37 pm

u r unbelievable!
i adore ur tutorials and they are really very helpful into not making me feel frustrated at trying to sew something for my little man.
on the morrow i’ll try your knee-patched pants for him!
u are really inspiring! thanx.

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10 Tacoiya April 6, 2012 at 2:00 am

Awesome tutorial. This was a blast to do. After two not so successful attempts at dresses, and watching loooooong videos, your tutorial was truly a breath of fresh air. It was so very simple and easy to follow. I adjusted the measurements for my lil sister, she’s not seen it yet but I’m quite sure that she’ll be surprised. Thanks again. Looking forward more. God Bless you!

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11 Chelsea May 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Hi! Thanks so much for taking the time to write this out so wonderfully! From one mom to another I really appreciate your site and creations :) Take care and good luck with the new book… will be looking for it.

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12 Jenny June 1, 2012 at 5:19 pm

I can hardly wait to make this skirt! I have three girls: ages 6, 3, and 1.5. I am going to make one for each. My question is this: I understand how to multiply to get the new length for bigger sizes, but how do you figure the width of the piece? As in, your yellow skirt piece is 7 inches in width. How many inches should I make it if I am making it for a 6 year old? Thanks!

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13 Maureen June 15, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Hi Dana,
I just want you to know I think officially now, I have made more market skirts than any other pattern (except napkins, because I made 100′s of napkins) in my sewing ‘career’. They just make me happy. And hopefully both the g-baby girls will be in the same place at the same time, and I’ll have pics of them in ALL of them! :D Thanks again!

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14 palak June 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Thanks so much for this tutorial– it’s one of the reason’s I first started sewing again! I finally made it; following your directions exactly. You can see it at here at http://strawbazies.blogspot.com/2012/04/mama-made-monday-market-skirt.html. (I also used a 3/8ths seam allowance). Thanks again!

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15 Marlene Romero July 26, 2012 at 7:13 pm

They are absolutely beautiful! What a great idea! I wish I could sew.

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16 Duyen September 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Hello! Your tutorial was very understandable and well organized. Thank you SO much for this! I managed to make a poofy pettiskirt thanks to you. :)

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17 Christy G December 21, 2012 at 11:55 am

Your tutorials are so clear to me. Thank you so much for sharing. Would you mind to share what machine do you used to do all the skirts? I would love to know. I have a Brothers machine. Thanks Im learning to do the layered skirt. Thanks a lot for sharing. It sure does mean a lot to me :)

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18 Christina T January 16, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Thank you so much for this tutorial. I just made one for my daughter and turned out so cute.

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19 Jess February 5, 2013 at 3:06 am

Hi there!
I just wanted to say thanks so much for the awesome tutorials! I have never sewed before but have successfully made 2 of these skirts thanks to your simple instructions that guide me every step of the way. I find myself starting to ask myself a questions only to find it answered in the next step.
Thanks again (and my little girl thanks you too – she thinks I’m the bees knees sewing her stuff :P )

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20 Elizabeth March 24, 2013 at 9:46 am

Thank you so much for your great tutorials. I’m new to sewing and have not yet purchased a serger. Here’s my question: Should I zig zag stitch the raw edge before doing a basting stitch? Or is there another way (sans serger) to have a finished look after attaching the ruffle to the next tier of fabric? Many thanks!

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21 sakura nour April 16, 2013 at 7:15 am

la couture

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22 Mary May 11, 2013 at 9:11 am

Thanks so much for the clear instructions! Too often I see an item that I want to make, but the instructions leave gaps in the project. You do an excellent job of explaining and showing each step. I will be making this skirt for two of my family members without fear of information being left out. Great job!

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23 Sarah Helene March 8, 2014 at 10:52 am

I whole-heartedly agree with your comments, Mary. BRAVO to Dana for this detailed tutorial for the Market Skirt! Sarah Helene in Minneapolis

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24 Leslie Catalanotto July 30, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Hi. Would it make a difference just to have a long piece of each? instead of two and then sewing them together?? Thx.

By the way made some shorts yesterday, LOVE THEM. they came out PRETTY GOOD!!!

THANK YOU for the detailed tutorial on the shorts, now some patterns on pants.. :)

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25 Jonie Brooks September 9, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Thanks for the awesome tutorial I featured it on My Top 5 Girl’s Skirt Round-up.
http://knotsewnormal.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/my-top-5-girls-skirt-round-up/

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26 AnnA March 16, 2014 at 3:26 pm

The first time in my sewing history I succesed sewing something!!! :):):):)
My skirt is not so pretty as yours, but THANK YOU FOR TURTORIAL!!!

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27 Mihiri June 11, 2014 at 8:57 am

Very helpful and well documented…thanks.

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