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Carnation Skirt

Follow along with these directions and the “Carnation Skirt” blog post found at abitofstitch.blogspot.com to make a girly, twirly skirt for someone special!

Carnation Skirt for Baby Lock Serger

By Evy Hawkins, abitofstitch.com

Tools you will need:

Ruffling Foot for your Baby Lock serger

Narrow Hem Foot (optional)


Approximately 38 – 40 strips of fabric cut on the straight grain; each strip should be either 2.5” (Jelly Roll width) or 3” wide and as long as the width of the fabric.

Here’s the chart for a skirt that fits a tall three- to four-year-old:

Row 1 –  1 strip

Row 2 –  2 strips

Row 3 –  3 strips plus about 12”

Row 4 –  6 strips less about 10”

Row 5 –  10 strips less about 6”

Row 6 –  15 strips plus about 22”

Add more rows for a taller child and lessen the number of rows for a shorter child. Keep in mind that your stitch length and how much tension you put on the fabric as it feeds into the foot may change how tight your ruffles are. Usually – for a 2 to 1 ratio ruffle – you would need double the number of strips for each consecutive lower row, but I discovered that it took less than that. It may be the way I was holding the fabric, but I think it had something to do with the weight of all the fabric as the skirt grew. You may want to have extra strips prepared, just in case you need them.

Serge the strips in each row together (short end to short end) to make one long strip for that row. A four-thread overlock works nicely.

Serge the first (single strip) row along one long edge. Narrow hem or narrow roll hem the last row along one long edge.

Arrange the fabric strip rows in order on your table.

Attach the Ruffling Foot to your serger and follow the directions found in the package with the foot to set up the machine correctly for ruffling.

The Ruffling Foot works by serging two strips together while gathering the one underneath the foot.

To begin, insert Row 2’s strip RIGHT SIDE UP under the foot. You may find it helpful to raise the foot, gently tug up the toe of the foot and push the fabric under it. Next, put Row 1 into the slot on top of the ruffling foot WRONG SIDE UP with the finished serged edge on the left.

Crank the fly wheel a few times to take a few stitches to secure the two rows of strips together. As you ruffle, take care that you do not hold back on the fabric – especially the fabric under the foot. Try not to cut off more than a whisker as you serge.

Add Row 3. Remember that this one will be RIGHT SIDE UP under the foot with Row 2’s ruffle WRONG SIDE UP in the slot on top of the ruffling foot.

At your sewing machine, straight stitch along the top of each row of serging to firmly secure the ruffles. You can either attach all the rows and then sew those lines of stitching or do it as you go.

Repeat the process, row by row, until you are finished. The final row you add will be the narrow hemmed row. Make sure you have that piece under the foot with the narrow hemmed edge on the left.

If some of your rows do not end up flush with the row above or below, trim it off evenly along that side. Don’t worry – your skirt will still be plenty full!

Measure around your child’s waist and subtract one inch. Cut a piece of 1.5” or 2” wide elastic to match this length.

Mark the top edge of the skirt to divide it into 8-10 equal parts. Then divide the elastic into the same amount of equal parts. Pin the elastic to the skirt, right sides together, so that the skirt is distributed evenly on the elastic according to the marked divisions.

Serge the elastic to the skirt, gently stretching the elastic as you serge from marked point to point to fit the two together neatly. For best results, turn the blade to the down position so you do not cut off any of the elastic.

Align the ends of the elastic and each row of ruffles down to the hem. Pin right sides together and serge the skirt back seam. At your sewing machine, sew along the serging to further secure the seam. Fold the seam allowance of the elastic over to one side, neatly tucking the serge tail beneath it, and top stitch in place to secure. Do the same for the seam allowance at the hem.

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