Introduction: 50'ies Petticoat / Tulle Skirt

A guide for sewing a 50'ies style petticoat.


15-18 m tulle (135 cm wide)

4 rolls of sewing thread for the overlocker

Sewing thread for the sewing machine

Appr. 70-80 cm elastic for the waist

Closing system like buttons or hooks.


sewing machine with pleating foot / ruffling foot




Step 1: Fold and Cut the Top Piece

Cut off appr. 75 cm tulle and fold it double to create two layers.

Fold the two layers multiple times, and cut a circle as big as the fabric allows. Then measure out 20 cm (+ seam allowance) and cut a center circle (the waistline) and a slit.

Stitch the two layers together around the edge.

Step 2: Fold and Cut the Middle and Bottom Layer

Fold the rest of the fabric so the edges are placed exactly over each other and secure with pins.

Measure out 6 pieces each 20 cm (+ seam allowances) wide and cut.

Step 3: Assemble the Pieces

Adjust the pleating foot to pleat with a 5:1 to 6:1 ratio (with 5 mm pleats a stitch length of 2,5-3 mm will do).

Pleat the long rectangles first to the top layer (should take up 11-14 m) and then a new bottom layer onto the middle layer (should take appr. 60-84 m)

As the pleater may be hard to adjust perfectly, it is better to have too much tulle than too little and you may run out faster than expected. (a 1 mm difference in pleat length changes the bottom edge 25 m!!!)

Step 4: Overlock the Seams

It is a good idea to overlock the seams in order to strengthen the seams and make them less scratchy. This can be skipped if you do not have an overlocker, but the end result is sooo much nicer.

Step 5: Sew in Elastic Waistband

Measure out the length of the waistband and add a little to fold over in each end.

Mark quarter length, half length and three quarters length on both waistband and tulle. Pin waistband and tulle together and sew them together using the overlocker. Be careful not to cut the elastic with the overlocker. If the elastic is shorter than the tulle (most likely), stretch the elastic as you sew.

Close the skirt by overlocking the sides together, or sew in either a set of hooks, buttons or whatever you prefer as closing mechanism.