Free Pattern: Cutie Patootie Baby Skirt!

Howdy Ho!  I'm pleased to present to you the super-adorable and totally free Cutie Patootie Baby Skirt pattern!  Oh I do hope you love it as much as I do.  It comes in two main versions - pleated and gathered, and you can make yours either with or without pockets.  Plus, the pockets can be finished in any creative way you might like!  If you make one, please pretty please send me a picture or link so I might see it too!  I'd love to see what you come up with.

Okay, so Here's the Link to a two page printable version of the pattern (without pics).  Or you can just scroll down and read as you go.  If you'd like more information on the fabrics you see or how I came around to making the pattern, check out this blog post.  If you're looking for a good starter tutorial on the various many ways you can choose to finish your seams, go to this post from Sew Mama Sew!

Happy Sewing!  -Teresa

Cutie Patootie Baby Skirt

1/4 yard of 45’’ wide fabric or 1/2 yard of any fabric 44’’ or less in width
Four 3.5” squares of coordinating fabric for pockets (optional)
Six inches of 3/4" elastic (or five and a half inches for the 12-18M skirt)
Matching thread
Fabric marking pen (washable), chalk, or a graphite pencil (for pleated skirt only)
Basic sewing equipment

I’ve sized this pattern so baby gets the maximum use from your handmade garment.  For the most accurate fit, please measure the child’s waist when possible.  The skirt’s waist measures 18”, and this should fit sizes 18M to 2T or more, depending on baby.  For the 12-18M skirt, use 5.5” of elastic rather than 6 (make sure it will stretch out to 11.5” before using).  This will give a final skirt measurement of 17.5".  

Skill Level:
This is an advanced beginner/intermediate pattern.  It assumes you have a basic knowledge of sewing terms and techniques, and that you’ve successfully completed several projects in the past.  This pattern should take approximately two to four hours to complete depending on skill level, seam finish chosen, and whether you include pockets.

Notes: All seams are 1/2" unless otherwise specified.  This pattern uses three main pieces – the front, back, and bottom.  The front and back are combined in step 4 to become the top, and in the final step the top and bottom are joined to become the completed skirt.

On to the Instructions!

1.    Cut your fabric pieces.  You’ll need two 12’’ x 7’’ pieces, plus either one 45’’ x 5’’ piece or two 23” x 5” pieces (if your fabric width is less than 45”).  

For the pockets (optional), cut four 3.5" squares.  Take one of your four squares and cut into a U shape by pressing in half and, using a cup or other small round object, trace along one corner of the fabric to make a rounded shape, then cut.  Open, press, and use as a template for the other three pieces. (You may leave pockets square if desired, or cut into hearts, etc.).

If your fabric is less than 45” wide, complete the following step before moving on.  With right sides facing, sew your two 23” pieces together along one of the short sides with a 1/2" seam allowance, and finish seam as desired.  This should make one 45” wide piece.

I went with an inside-out flat-felled seam for a clean look - and because it's so easy.  You can choose to finish your seams as you wish.
2.    Press casings.  Take one of your 12”x7” pieces and fold the top (long) side over 1”, press, fold again and press. Repeat with other 12” x 7” piece. 

There are two folds there, I promise.

 3.    Sew pockets (optional).  With right sides facing, sew two of the pocket pieces together along the “U”, leaving top open.  Trim seam to 1/4”, clip curves, turn inside out, and press.  Tuck top inside by 1/2", press, and topstitch to secure.  (Alternately, fold top to outside 1/4", press, fold another 1/4", and topstich a narrow rectangle to get the look you see in the pockets below.  Or finish normally, then add lace, ribbon, buttons, etc.)  Repeat for other pocket.

Pin pockets onto one of your 12” x 7” pieces, centering two inches from each other, and one inch above the raw (unpressed) edge.  Using a 1/4” seam allowance, topstitch around the “U”, backstitching at beginning and end to reinforce.  This is now your “front”. 

The completed front piece.  Why do my pictures always look so wonky?  It's like I live in a funhouse or something....

 4.    Combine front and back.  On both front and back pieces, open the folds you pressed in, and with right sides facing, match the front and back together, aligning the creases of the folds.  Sew together along both of the short sides, creating a tube of fabric.  Finish seams as desired.  This is now your “top”. 

The completed top piece.

5.    Sew elastic.  Orient the top so that the wrong side of the back is facing you.  Take one end of the elastic and place it between the two casing folds you pressed in earlier, aligning it against the seam to your left.  Pin in place.  Stitch along the end of elastic close to the seam, backstitching at beginning and end.  

Hard to see those casing folds, but they're there.

Repeat with the other end of elastic, so that it’s secured just inside the other seam.  Your fabric should be bunched up behind the elastic at this point. 

6.    Finish top edge of skirt.  Fold top crease over along entire waist, pulling elastic taut as you fold (use presser foot to assist in holding one end).  Pin elastic in several places. 

If you hate pins, as I do, you can use barrettes for this step.  Also, notice I'm using the presser foot to assist me.

Pull elastic taut and fold again.  (Is it just me or does the word "taut" sound naughty?)

Starting first along the elasticized back, sew down the casing 1/8” in from the bottom of the fold, making sure fabric is smooth and flat as you go.  Stretch the elastic taut (he he) a few inches ahead of your needle (while holding from behind to secure), adjusting as you go.  Try not to sew into the elastic. 

Hold your fabric from behind the presser foot to stabilize as you sew - I wanted to show this in the pic, but I don't have three hands.  

The top of your skirt is now complete.

All that finagling with elastic means you have a lovely clean seam inside.  

And a smooth flat front outside.
 7.    Make your marks.  (Skip this step if you are making the gathered version). Take your bottom skirt piece (45” x 5”) and with the wrong side facing you, mark your folds along the top, or long end, of your fabric.  Make your first mark 1/2" in, then every 2 inches to the end.  Your last mark should be 1/2” from the end of your fabric, with a total of 23 marks.  (The 1/2" ends are reserved for your seam allowance). 

It's hard to see my marks.  I added pink squares to guide your eyes.  You're welcome.  If you're thinking that I just couldn't figure out how to get the pointy finger or cool arrow onto my picture, well, um, you're right.  Sigh.  

 8.    Make your pleats/gathers.  For pleats: using your marks as a guide, fold your pleats, and secure with pins.  Begin with your second mark; lift and pull the fabric so that it meets the third mark, tucking the excess fabric under and to the left, and smoothing flat.  Pin to secure.  Repeat to the end.  

With a 3/8” seam allowance, sew along the top edge to secure the pleats in place, being sure to keep fabric flat and smooth as you go. 

For gathers: baste along the top edge of fabric, 1/4" from edge, and leave several inches of thread hanging from both ends of stitching.  Repeat 3/8” from edge.  Pull both of the bobbin (bottom) threads gently to gather fabric, pushing fabric along threads to even out.  Leave 1/2” smooth on either end for the seam allowance.  When the gathered length, including seam allowances, measures 24”, tie off and knot your threads several times.

This is where a picture should be.  I totally dropped the ball, because I didn't think to get a picture of this when I sewed the orange skirt.  I'm still a learnin' how to do this tutorial thing.  Hopefully the written directions are clear enough.  If not, let me know in the comments, and I'll see if I can clear things up.

9.    Finish bottom piece.  Match short ends (sides) of the bottom piece together, right sides facing, and sew together, creating a tube.  Finish seam as desired. 

Take the raw (unpleated/ungathered) edge of the bottom piece and fold under 1/2”, press, fold another 1/2" and press again.  Stitch 1/8” inside fold to secure hem.

10.   Join top and bottom.  Turn bottom piece inside out, and place top inside it with right sides facing and raw edges and side seams aligned.  (One tube should now be inside the other, the one with pleats/gathers on the outside and visible to you).  

Sew together, being sure to keep previous line of stitching inside the seam allowance.  Backstitch to secure.  

Finish seam as desired. 

Congratulations - you’ve completed your Cutie Patootie Baby Skirt!  Time to crow/complain about it in the comments section!

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