Ceri : This is a free pattern and tutorial to sew an easy ballet wrap skirt — the perfect project to try out Spoonflower’s new Chiffon. I found the fabric to be beautifully sheer yet surprisingly strong and smooth — essential qualities for a skirt that will be put through its paces in the dance studio. Choose a design from Spoonflower’s enormous selection in the Marketplace or create your own design, and get it printed onto a yard of chiffon to create a totally unique ballet skirt.
My downloadable pattern fits waist sizes approximately 24–28 inches, but you could easily hack the pattern to fit a narrower or wider waist.
1 yard of chiffon (I’m using Ditsy Flora and Fauna by…me!)
2.5 yards of satin bias binding
Rolled hem foot (optional)
2. Cut out the skirt from the chiffon fabric.
3. You are going to sew a hem along the longest edge. With fine fabrics like chiffon, one of the neatest way to do this is with a rolled hem. A rolled hem is a very narrow double-folded hem. Many sewing machines have a special foot which will sew a rolled hem for you, but if you don’t have one, Youtube is a great resource for tutorials on how to sew one by hand. The hand-sewn method will be more time-consuming but you will get a beautiful result. Alternatively you could serge your hem. Again, Youtube is a great reference if you need guidance for serging with sheer fabrics.
4. I have a rolled hem foot for my sewing machine. Its a little more fiddly to use with sheer fabrics, so its a good idea to practice first on a scrap. Make a narrow double-fold at the starting edge and finger-press it.
5. Place the finger-pressed edge under your rolled hem foot and stitch a few stitches to get started. Then hook the edge of the fabric around the curve of the foot and continue stitching. Take it slowly and steadily, guiding the fabric as you go. When you’re confident, go ahead and sew the rolled hem on your skirt. It should look like this the photograph below. Press the hem with a warm iron (remembering to protect the chiffon with a cloth). Do not use a hot iron!
6. Next you’re going to attach the satin bias binding to the waist edge to create the waistband and ties.
7. Find the centre of the waist edge of the skirt by folding the fabric in half and marking the centre point with a pin. Do the same with the bias binding. Match the centre of the waist with the centre of the binding. With right sides together, starting at the centre point, pin the (unfolded) bias binding to the skirt, working outwards in both directions. The bias binding will extend further than the waist edge as it will eventually form the ties. Don’t worry about this yet, just pin the binding as far as the edges of the waist. Machine sew along the length of the waist edge, following the top crease in the bias binding, as shown in the photograph above.
8. Using a warm iron (with a protective cloth over the chiffon), press all the seam layers upwards towards the binding as shown above. Then fold over the bias binding to meet the stitched edge of the seam. Tuck in the raw ends of the binding at both extreme ends. Pin or baste to secure.
9. Machine stitch along the entire length of bias binding to enclose the waist seam. You will have automatically created the ties at the same time. See photograph above. Press the finished waistband.
That’s it! You’ve created a beautiful ballet wrap skirt. I’d love to see your interpretation of this pattern, so please share your makes on Instagram with the hashtags #balletwrapskirt and #spoonflower and don’t forget to tag @cerigwen and @spoonflower!
Thanks to my daughter for modeling, and to Ballet Cymru, Newport, South Wales, for allowing me to use their dance studio for the location shots.
Heading to the beach this summer? Ceri’s ballet wrap skirt tutorial can also double as a lightweight beach cover-up! Make your very own version and start exploring the Marketplace today.
Ceri Staziker is a freelance graphic designer, working from home in an old cottage in the countryside on the outskirts of Cardiff (the capital city of Wales). I love to photograph my morning walks and sewing projects which she documents on Instagram (@cerigwen). Nothing gives her more pleasure than working with fabrics she’s designed herself.