This is a super girly twirly skirt! Each layer is a full circle skirt with a handkerchief edge.
Step 1: Supplies
You'll need some stretchy fabric, about one yard per layer. I'm doing 6 layers, so I have 6 yards. If you want your skirt to be longer, you'll need more fabric. It is best if you choose a fabric that will not fray so you don't have to hem the layers. It will save time and your skirt will be much floatier! If your fabric is see-through like mine (I'm using a stretchy mesh), you'll need about 1 yard of another kind of fabric to line the skirt. I'm using knit jersey (t-shirt fabric). You'll also need elastic for the waistband, fabric scissors, sewing pins, a measuring tape, thread that matches your fabric, two large safety pins, and a pattern or a compass (or pencil and string) and paper to make your own pattern. A sewing machine is optional, but VERY strongly recommended. It makes things a lot easier and is much faster than sewing by hand! Also, stretchy fabric can be very difficult to sew with, so although the construction of this skirt is quite simple, it can be tricky to sew.
Step 2: Cutting Your Layers
Lay out your top fabric and cut it into about 1 yard sections. You will cut 1 section for each layer. Carefully measure and line up the fabric. It's better to take more time checking your measurements than to cut your fabric too small or too short. Line up your pieces on top of each other and cut off the end pieces with the dye boxes.
Step 3: Making Squares
Remember making those paper fortuneteller things when you were younger? And you had to make a square piece of paper out of a rectangle by folding down one corner and cutting off the rest? That's how we're going to make our first square. Lay out one layer of fabric and fold one corner down, lining up the sides. Cut off all the extra. Now you can use this square as a pattern for the other layers. Lay it on top of your other fabric and cut off the extra so each piece is now square.
Step 4: Making Your Waist Opening Pattern
Measure around your waist or hips, wherever you plan on wearing the skirt. If you have a pattern, use the corresponding size. If you don't, divide your measurement by 6.28 to get the radius. My waist is 26" so my radius is just under 4 1/4". Take your paper and make a mark the length of the radius away from a corner. Use the compass or pencil and string to make a quarter circle this size. Cut out your quarter circle (not with your fabric scissors, this could dull them) and you have a pattern for the waist opening!
Step 5: Cutting Your Waist Openings
One layer at a time, fold your fabric into fourths. Pin your waist opening pattern to the corner with no open edges (you want it in the middle of the skirt) and cut it out. Remember, it's better to double check than to make a wrong cut and ruin a piece of fabric. Repeat this with each layer.
Step 6: Cutting and Hemming Your Lining
You can make your lining as a handkerchief edge or a circle skirt. If you want it to be a handkerchief edge, cut it the same way as the layers. For a circle skirt lining, fold your lining fabric into fourths. Pin on your waist opening pattern like you did for the layers but do not cut it out yet. Figure out how long you want the lining to be and add 1" for the waist seam and the hem. Measure that distance from the curved edge of your waist pattern. Using a pencil or pen on a string, make a light line on your fabric so you have marked a quarter circle, basically a much larger version of the waist opening pattern. Cut out the waist opening and along your line. If you have a pattern for a circle skirt or different lining that you want to use, use it! Hem the bottom edge of your lining by folding it up twice or by sewing it with a zigzag stitch and then folding it up once. It is much easier to hem the lining when it is not attached to the rest of the skirt. Use a thread color that matches your lining.
Step 7: Pinning Your Layers
Decide whether or not you are going to see your lining directly on to your skirt. I am choosing not to so I can wear the skirt with costumes and potentially use the lining with other skirts. Also, decide whether you want your edges all lined up or staggered. I will be making mine staggered. If you are sewing your lining on to your skirt, lay it flat on your work surface. Take your first layer and line up the waist openings if you are sewing on the lining. Take each of your other layers and place them how you want them, edges lined up or staggered, making sure the waist openings are lined up. Once you like the way your layers are arranged, pin them together at the waist opening.
Step 8: Sewing Your Layers
Using thread that matches your fabric, sew your layers together with a zigzag or stretch stitch.
Step 9: Making Your Waistband
Cut out a piece of fabric 1" longer than your waist measurement and 3-4 times wider than your elastic to make your waistband. If you want to use the same fabric as your skirt layers and it is see-through you may need to layer multiple pieces for strength and to hide the elastic. Sew the ends of your waistband fabric together so you have a large ring. Fold the ring in half so it becomes sort of an inner tube. Sew it shut with a zigzag or stretch stitch, leaving a space open to insert the elastic. Pin the tube to the top of the skirt. Sew them together with a zigzag or stretch stitch, making sure to leave the elastic opening unstitched.
Step 10: Inserting Your Elastic
Cut a piece of elastic that fits comfortably around your waist or hips but will be tight enough to hold up your skirt. Attach one safety pin to one end of the elastic and use the other to pin the other end of the elastic to the skirt so it doesn't get pulled all the way through the waistband. Pull the elastic through the waistband, making sure it does not get twisted. Safety pin the ends of the elastic together and try it on. If you are satisfied with the fit, sew the elastic together and sew the opening of the waistband shut. If you have already sewn in your lining, you are done!
Step 11: Finishing Separate Lining
Fold down the waist of your lining to make a tube, similar to the hem but large enough to fit elastic. Insert your elastic like you did for the skirt waistband and sew the elastic casing shut. You're done!