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Mummy and Me: Gathered Skirt Tutorial

Mummy and Me: Gathered Skirt Tutorial main article image
Posted on May 6, 2021 by Samantha Cullen

I have always loved the idea of having matching outfits for my daughter and I. Beside the fact that I think it looks beyond cute, I love the idea of tangibly showing off our bond. Despite this, up until now we have not had a single matching thing! I decided that this was definitely in need of a remedy, and this gathered skirt could be just the thing.

I have always enjoyed sewing, but haven’t dedicated it as much time as I would have liked to over the years, so I wanted something that wouldn’t stretch my skills too far.  This project is suitable for any level of sewer, with minimal requirements for equipment. The measurements are very simple to take and you can adjust length and puffiness to your own liking. The instructions are the same for all sizes, so repeat the steps for each skirt.

What you will need:

  • Fabric – depending on how puffy you would like your skirts, you will need enough to go 2-3 times around your waists. If you want it extra puffy it’ll need to be even more!
  • Matching thread
  • Pins
  • Sharp scissors
  • Tape measure and ruler
  • Paper to draw your waistband on (newspaper can work a treat!)
  • Needle
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Invisible zip
  • Hook and eye

Step 1: Measure

Take the measurements for each skirt. First, you need to decide where you want the skirts to sit. I personally like mine quite high-waisted, but this is personal preference. Wherever you decide, measure at that point. Add 3 cm seam allowance to the length (1.5 cm for each end). Next, you can decide how wide you would like your waistband. I went with an average 3 cm, but you could go much wider if you would like to make a statement with it! Next, you need to decide on how puffy you would like your skirt to be. I made mine two and a half times the length of my waist. If you want it extra puffy it will need to be at least three times the length. The last measurement you need is your skirt length. Once you have all of these noted, you’re ready to make your pattern piece for the waistband.

Step 2: Make the waistband

Take your paper and rule a line that’s half the total length of your waistband (including the seam allowance). It’s much easier to make a piece which you will cut on the fold of your fabric than draw the whole piece. For the width, you need to double your decided width, then add 3.5 cm seam allowance (1.5 cm on the outside, 2 cm on the inside). Complete your rectangle and cut it out.

Fold your fabric in half and lay your pattern piece with one end on the fold. Pin it down then cut it out. Once unfolded it will be the correct length.


One side at a time, fold the end of the waistband with right sides together. The inner side of the waistband should be ½ cm longer than the outside. Stitch together, leaving the seam allowance of each side unstitched (for a 3 cm waistband sew only 3 cm). Turn it right side out, and press the top fold. On the inner side of the waistband (the longer side) make a 1 cm fold and press. Set it aside ready to attach to your skirt.

Step 3: Gather your skirt

Cut your fabric length according to your initial measurements. Take a needle and thread and make a running stitch right around the top of your skirt. You want to gather it in to the length of your total waistband (including seam allowance). A helpful way to measure is to lay a piece of masking tape the length of your waistband on the floor, that way you have a fixed point to measure from. Tie your thread off, then sew a line of straight stitching over your gathers to hold them in place.

Step 4: Insert the zipper

An invisible zip is the best option for a skirt, and they are really not difficult to put in. Ideally, you would use an invisible zipper presser foot, but if you’re like me and don’t have one, you can also use a regular zipper foot. Using your iron gently press each side of the zip, rolling the teeth outwards. With the zipper open, line the top of the zipper up with the top of your skirt. The teeth of the zipper should be lying at the 1.5 cm mark so that it lines up with your closing seam. Pin in place. Starting from the bottom of the zipper, with your zipper foot attached, start sewing up the edge of the teeth. Gently roll the teeth out as you sew so that you can stitch as close to them as possible without actually touching them. Repeat for the other side of the zipper.


Step 5: Attach your waistband

Lay the front panels of the skirt and the waistband against each other, and stitch together with a 1.5 cm seam allowance. On the inside of the waistband you will already have the seam folded over that you pressed back in step one. Pin it down all the way around, with the pins on the outside of the skirt, so that all the raw edges are inside. The inside edge should extend down half a centimetre lower than the seam between the waistband and skirt. Starting from one end of the waistband, carefully stitch inside the seam between waistband and skirt. This ensures that you don’t have any excess stitching on the outside, and everything is securely fastened together.

Step 6: Finishing

Sew the back seam of your skirt together. Starting from the bottom leave a 1.5 cm seam allowance and sew up to meet your zipper. Lastly, you need to hem your skirt. Fold the hem over 1 cm and press, then fold it another 1.5 cm and press again. The easiest way to finish a hem is with a simple straight stitch, which you can do now. I like to do a blind hem. It takes a little more time and effort but I think it’s worth it for the seamless finish. Choose the blind hem stitch on your machine—it looks like a straight stitch that juts out in a triangle every four or five stitches. You’ll notice that there are two options—their triangles are pointing in different directions—make sure you choose the one that will catch your skirt! With the inside of the hem face down, fold your skirt back over itself, leaving about half a centimetre of your hem showing from underneath. Line the middle of your presser foot up with this fold and start sewing. You’ll have a line of straight stitching on the fold of the hem, which regularly juts out and secures the main fabric of the skirt. Finally, hand sew a hook and eye fastening into the top of your waistband. Depending on its width you might need to attach two.

Now you’re done! The only thing left to do is put them on and show off how cute you look together in your matching skirts!


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