Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Pinwheel Skirt

Many of you have probably already seen this tutorial on Ucreate, but for those of you who haven't seen it, here is a tutorial for my Pinwheel Skirt.  Enjoy!

 The Pinwheel Skirt

Click through below for the tutorial...

You will need:

  •  2 yards of fabric (make sure you chose fabric that hangs nicely.  I used a linen for this one)
  •  (optional): 4 yards of lace or cute trim 
  •   Zipper
I’ll give you the step-by-step instructions using my measurements, but just remember to substitute your own measurements.

(*note: s.a = seam allowance) 


1. Measure the entire circumference of your waist

2. Add 1” to the length for a 1/2” seam allowance per side.

3. My waistband was 3” thick, but you can decide how thick you want it to be.  Add the thickness that you want plus 1” to the width for a 1/2” seam allowance for the top and bottom.

4. Cut 2 waistbands with these measurements.

My waistband measured:
 3” X 31”  + Seam Allowance (1” X 1”)4” W x 32” L


1. Measure the length at the bottom of where you want your waistband to hit down to your knees. 

2. Measure your waist at the bottom of there you want your waistband to hit.  Divide this number by 4. There will be 2 separate back panels that meet up in the middle of your back, so this will give us the measurements for the width of those 2 panels.

3. Each panel will have a pleat, so you will need to add 8” to the width of each of the two back panels. 

4. Add 1” to the width of each panel for a ½” seam allowance per side.

5. Add 1 ½” to the length of each panel for a ½” seam allowance on top and 1” hem on the bottom.

My 2 back panels each measured:  18”W x 22 ½”L

Width- 9” + 8” (for pleat) + 1” (for ½” s.a. per side) = 18”

Length- 21” + ½” (for top s.a.) + 1” (for bottom hem) = 22 ½”


1. Measure the front portion of your waist at the bottom of where you want your waistband to hit.

2. For the bottom width of the front piece, add 5” so that it flares slightly at the bottom.

3. Add 1” to the width of your front piece for a ½” seam allowance per side.

4. Add 1 ½” to the length for a ½” seam allowance on top and 1” hem on the bottom. (this length should be the same length as your two back panels.)

My front piece measured:  
16” top width, 21” bottom width x 22 ½” L

Top width- 15” + 1” (for ½” s.a. per side) = 16”

Bottom width- 15” + 5” + 1” (for ½” s.a. per side) = 21”

Length- 21” + ½” (for top s.a.) + 1” (for bottom hem) = 22 ½”

Side Triangles:

You will need 4 triangles for the front ruffles on the skirt.  The easiest way to do this is to cut out 2 rectangles and then cut them diagonally. 

The long straight side of the triangle needs to be a few inches longer than the length of the skirt, because it will be tucked up into the hem. 

The width of the top of each triangle needs to be about 1 ½ times the width of the front of the skirt.

For my triangles:
I cut 2 rectangles that measured 23” W x 26” L. 
·      To get the width, I took the width of the front of my skirt, 16”, and added 7”. 

·      To get the length, I took the length of the skirt, 22 ½, and added about 4”)

Then I cut each of them on the diagonal, giving me 4 triangles the same size. 

Once you have all of your pieces cut out, you are ready to start assembling the skirt.

1.  Sew the 2 waistbands together along the top with a ½” s.a.  Press seams open, place wrong sides together, and iron flat.  Set aside.

2. Take 2 of your triangles and place one on top of the other so that all sides meet up.  Sew a ¼” s.a. along the side and the diagonal, leaving the top section open.  Repeat this step with the remaining 2 triangles.

*note:  I accidentally sewed the top section of the triangle instead of the side, so don’t follow my example.

3.  Miter the corners of the triangles.  Flip both triangles inside out so that the right sides face out and iron flat.  

4.  Take the top corners of your two triangles (where the shorter edge and the diagonal meet), and fold them back 5 ½”.  Set aside.

5.  Take your 2 back panels for the skirt.  Along the top of the width of your first panel, place a mark 3” in from the left side of your fabric.  Then mark 11” in from that same side.  

6. With your second panel, do the same thing except place a mark 3” in from the right side. Then mark 11” in from that same side.

7.  Fold each back panel so that the 2 marks on each panel meet to create a pleat. Iron flat only at the top of the pleat and pin in place.

8. Sew along the top of each pleated panel ¼” away from the top to secure the pleat. Set aside.

9.  Take your 2 triangles and pin the long sides of each triangle to the sides of the front skirt piece.  Make sure all top and side edges line up.  

10. Mark the center point on the top of the front skirt piece, and pin each top corner of your triangles in the middle.

11.  Now with all of the excess fabric in your triangles, create 3 pleats about 2” apart.  I had enough fabric to tuck under each pleat 1 ½”.

12. Create 2-3 tiny pleats with the top two small triangles.  Mine were only tucked under ½ - ¼ inches.

13.  Sew along the top of the front portion of the skirt with a ¼” seam.  This will connect the triangles to the front of the skirt and hold the pleats in place.

14.  Line up the front section with the 2 back sections, with  right sides together.  Remember that the sides of the back panels are  the furthest away from the pleat.  Pin both sides together and sew with a  1/2" s.a.  Stop sewing when you get 5” from the bottom of the dress. 

15.  Move the bottom of the triangles out of the way, and hem the skirt by folding under ½ ”, then ½ ” again.

16.  Fold the bottom ends of the triangle under the skirt, letting the triangles hang 1” longer than the hem.  Pin in place.

17.  Finish sewing the bottom 5" of the side seams with the ends of the triangles folded under.

18.  Sew the side seams together with a ½” s.a. and serge or zigzag stitch along the side seams to keep from fraying.  Do the same thing to each side of what will be the back center seam.

19.  Open up the waistband and pin one side of the waistband all along the top of the skirt, with right sides together.  The opening of the waistband will be in the center of the back, lining up with the center of the two back panels.

20.  Sew the waistband to the top of the skirt with a ½” s.a.

21.  Flip the waistband over so that the right side is facing out and iron flat.  Fold the remaining raw edge under 1/4" and sew around the bottom and the top of the waistband very close to the edge to give a finished look.

22.  Now it is time to insert your zipper.  Sew the back of the skirt together (right sides together) with a ½” seam, but remember to switch to a basting stitch the length of your zipper when you get to the top.

23.  Insert your zipper.  I used this tutorial.

Voila!! Your Pinwheel Skirt is now complete!

Bow sold here


  1. You make it look so easy...and I don't sew...

  2. Goodness gracious this skirt is divine!

  3. Hi, hope it's OK to contact you here. We would love to include your blog on our giveaway search engine: Giveaway Scout ( Have a look and if interested, use our online form to add your blog ( ). thanks, Josh

  4. Hopping over from Ruffles and Roses: I love the skirt. Great job! =]

  5. You make that look so easy to make! I know it has to be harder than that!

  6. WOW! That is such a stunning skirt! Thank you for the tutorial - can't wait to make one!

  7. i posted this link with the top photo on my blog, hope you don't mind :) love the skirt!!

  8. This is so cute! Might have to go hunting for fabric soon to try this with!

  9. Too cute! I'll definitely be going through my fabric stash and making at least one of these skirts. Thanks so much for the tutorial!

  10. I adore this skirt! So happy to have found your blog, I really want to try & make this! xoxo, kristen

  11. Love this skirt and I just blogged about this today! Thank you for the inspiration :)

  12. Wow this is fantastic! I hope I can squeeze in some time to work on this, it's been so long since I've created something just for me!

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.


  15. I am in sew much love! I want to make this RIGHT NOW! thank you so much. I hope to make it as amazing as yours!!

  16. İt's amazinng! Congratss! I wanna sew a skirt like that but I don't know sewing :S

  17. I love this skirt, but fear I may be too thick in the middle to pull it off as beautifully as you do, but I am thinking it would make the most adorable apron!! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful talents with everyone!!

  18. I have posted links to one of your tutorials on my blog. Please let me know if you would like me to remove it and it will be done right away. Thank you for your tutorial! Thanks!

  19. Love it! Hope I can adjust it ot my huge pregnant belly :D

  20. Awesome! My mom might have to teach me to use her sewing machine I want this so much!

  21. This is sooooo cute. I just happen to have a couple of yards of fabric just waiting for here I go! I think I will make some Hawaiian fabric bias tape to trim it. What a fun skirt!

  22. Good grief, what happened to my name? Ki'ihele...

  23. I love your blog! I would wear everything you have made! I just starts a sewing blog myself that you might like. Check me out

  24. Do you mean waist circumference instead of diameter? I am a little confused. Thanks!

    1. Yes, I meant circumference. Sorry, I've been meaning to go in and change that!

  25. Love this skirt! Could you use any fabric for this pattern? I have some Rayon fabrics that I bought in hopes of making a skirt, would that hold up?

    1. Hi Jenny- Yes, a rayon should work great for the skirt. As long as it is a fabric that had a nice drape, you should be good.

  26. Wow, you've empowered me to dream about sewing once again and I don't even have my own machine yet. I can hardly wait to start creating things for myself and my little girl. Thank you so much for generously sharing your talents and in such an accessible manner!

  27. Hey I am about to make this skirt but just have one question--when do you add the trim and how?

  28. oh.. how nice the tutorial,, i wanna make my own skirt, but i have one question, if i want to make maxi pinwheel skirt, but i don't know the way i should measure it.. can u help me? because i'm never make skirt before..
    thank you..

  29. Nice and informative post to make pinwheel skirt! the color of skirt is also looking awesome!! its looking amazing to wear cool color
    apparel during summer season!

  30. Leanne, in the picture where the waistband is attached but is flipped open, it looks like the sides are tapered. Were the waistband pieces really rectangles, or did you taper the sides? I'm wondering because the panel width measurements are based on your waist measurement where the bottom of the band hits, which is bigger than the waist at the top of the waistband.

    Thanks for the great tutorial! I'm planning on making this skirt for an upcoming trip.

  31. Ok, duh, you can't taper the sides because the waistband is one piece but I'm still wondering about the difference between the waistband width that uses a waist measurement from the top of the band and the width measurements for the back panels which use the waist measurement from where the waistband hits at the bottom.

  32. i was at church on sunday and stopped my friend Stephanie dead in her tracks and said "i die for your skirt tell me everything!" she spilled that she made it and got the tutorial here.... turned out i already totally follow you {small world huh!} you should know that this skirt is bomb awesome and everyone needs to make one obviously! alright girl im off to pick out my fabric and pin this sucker right onto my pinterest!

  33. I'm wondering if you could tell me where you found such beautiful linen! I'm pretty sure I couldn't pick anything like that up at JoAnne fabric, and it's just PERFECT for this skirt! I really want to try to make it :-) Thanks!

  34. I absolutely love this skirt! Lovely!

  35. I love this skirt, but I am getting mega lost in the instructions... any suggestions? Around the point where you begin pinning the triangles to the skirt is where I seem to be having trouble.
    Thanks, sorry for my ignorance :-/


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  38. Wish I had a skirt like this one. Thanks for posting a tutorial on how to do this. I might try sewing it. :D

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  44. wah...banyaknya steps...hehehe..look like its hard lebih2 plak i bukan org yang menjahit..hehe..


  45. This tutorial was a lot of fun and the resultant skirt is one of my favorite yet! Cute, comfortable and fits great! A couple of notes - you didn't include instructions on attaching the trim. I don't know if that was intentional or not, and the pictures you include made it pretty easy to figure out, but I thought I would call it to your attention just in case. Also - if I do this skirt again, I would not trim the bottom points off the ruffle. I don't like unfinished edges and instead had tuck them into the ruffle, press them, then top stitch over them before I was happy.

  46. This was such a fun tutorial! You inspired me to finally make an item of clothing for myself, and I was amazed at the result! I also love the colour combo and I found a gorgeous mustard yellow print that I knew would go well with a navy top I had in my closet. :) I just finished blogging about it. :D


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