Strip-pieced Pleated Skirt

Hi! I'm Sarah and I'm so excited to share my very first Moda Bake Shop recipe! You can find some of my other sewing projects on my blog,

This fun strip-pieced child's skirt features a drop waist and box pleats and is created using strips from a single jelly roll! Add an appliqued t-shirt for a complete coordinated outfit!

1 Jelly Roll, Basic Grey's Origins
3/4" wide no-roll elastic for the waistband (measure to fit)
18" - 24" of 5/8" or 3/4" wide coordinating ribbon
Sewing Machine
Coordinating thread

Rotary Cutter
Seam ripper
Coordinating t-shirt
Paper-backed fusible web
Embroidery floss or machine embroidery thread


For best results, use the child's waist, hip and waist-to-knee (or wherever you'd like the skirt hem to reach) measurements. If those measurements aren't available, use the chart below to estimate.

Size/Age 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Waist 20-1/2" 21" 21-1/2" 22" 22-1/2" 23" 23-1/2"
Hip 22" 23" 24" 25" 26" 27" 28"
Waist to Knee 9-1/4" 10-1/2" 11-3/4" 13" 14" 15" 16"
Strip Length 9" 10-1/4" 11-1/2" 12-3/4" 13-3/4" 14-13/4" 15-3/4"

For a custom-fit skirt, look at the hip measurement in inches. You will need an even number of skirt strips, so for comfort and a bit of room to grow always round up to the next even number. (For example, a hip measurement of 24 -1/2" would round up to 26, so 26 strips are needed for the best-fitting skirt.)

Fabric Selection and placement:

This step is where your creativity can really shine! I'll give guidelines to create a skirt similar to the finished one I'm sharing, but be sure to check out the "More Customization" section for additional options!

1. Determine how long the skirt strips need to be, either using the chart above or based on the hip to knee measurement. The skirt strips will be cut just 1/4" less than the hip to knee measurement. My daughter's measurement was 13" so the strips for her skirt need to be 12-3/4" long.

The number of strips you need depends on the hip measurement:

Hip Measurement
Number of Jelly Roll
strips needed
How to create full skirt panel
Less than 22” 
(size 2)
4 panels of 6 strips, remove 2 after cutting
22” to less than 24”
(size 3-4)
3 panels of 8 strips
24” to less than 26”
(size 5-6)
3 panels of 8 strips, add 2 after cutting
26” to less than 28”
(size 7-8)
2 panels of 14 strips

3. Select 2 Jelly Roll strips: 1 to use for the elastic casing and another for the drop waist. Set those strips aside for now.

3. Place the skirt panel strips out on a table or floor to help determine the arrangement you'd like. I really like the look of alternating the color of strips so that the strips that form the outer portion of the pleat are a similar color and the inner pleats are all another similar color or an alternating color pattern as shown in the photos below. As you can see, one Jelly Roll can give completely different looks!


1. Sew all strips (except the drop waist and casing strips) together with a 1/4" seam along the long edges in the order of your choice. Trim down to size and sew strip panels together if needed. Press seams toward the outer pleat and topstitch on the outer pleat 1/8" from seam for a cleaner finish.

2. With a rotary cutter or scissors, trim off the selvage and cut the large skirt panel down to size. Cut each panel to the strip length given in the Measurements chart, or for a custom skirt, 1/4" less than the hip to knee distance.

(Set aside any remaining fabric-- you may want to use it for a coordinating shirt applique!) If you need a few additional strips to make your skirt wide enough, cut those Jelly Roll strips to size now. If you need to remove any strips, use your handy seam ripper to remove strips from a single panel.

3. Attach any additional strips you may need and sew unfinished sides of each strip panel, right sides together, with 1/4" seam, creating a tube of strips. Press seam toward outer pleat and topstitch 1/8" from seam as before.

4. To create the box pleats, first fold the inner pleat fabric in half width-wise and finger press a mark. (Fold and rub your fingers together along the folded edge to create a crease.)

Fold the adjacent strips at the seam and bring together at the center crease of the inner strip.

Pin vertically near the seams, at least 2 pins per pleat. Repeat for each strip.

5. Stay-stitch the skirt 1/4" to 3/8" from the top edge to secure pleats.

6. Lay the strip-pieced skirt panel flat and measure along the top pleated edge. If your seams were an accurate 1/4", the side-to-side measurement, multiplied by 2 should equal the number of strips you used. If not, that's ok! We measure here to make sure the drop-waist piece will fit properly. (My skirt was just a tiny bit wider than expected, as you can see.) Make a note of this measurement!

7. Double the stitched skirt width measurement and add 1/2" for seam allowances. Cut 2 Jelly Roll strips to that length. One will be for the drop waist and another will form the casing.

My folded skirt measured 13-1/8" so 13-1/8" x 2 = 26-1/4". Add in seam allowances (26-1/4" + 1/2" = 26-3/4") so the drop waist and casing strips for my daughter's skirt needed to be cut 26-3/4".

8. Take the drop-waist piece, place right sides together and stitch short edges together with a 1/4" seam. Finish seam as desired. (I've made the thread look dark here for contrast, you will want use coordinating thread. I pressed the seam allowance to one side and used a line of topstitching 1/8" from the seam to secure the raw edge and prevent fraying.)

9. Turn the drop waist piece wrong-side-out and place over strip-pieced skirt. Align at the pleated and basted edge, pin in place, and stitch together with a 1/2" seam allowance. Serge, zigzag or overcast the raw edge to eliminate fraying. Press seam towards the drop waist and topstitch 1/4" from seam on the drop waist piece.

10. To form the casing, take the final strip, turn both short edges to the wrong side by 1/4". (I used a different fabric to demonstrate here so right and wrong sides would be better visible.)

Stitch 1/8" from edge to create clean finished opening to insert the elastic later.

Fold the casing strip in half, wrong sides together, and press if desired. With the beginning/end of the casing placed where you've decided the bow should be and the casing strip on the right side of the drop waist piece, align the raw edges and pin the full length of the strip. Stitch with a 3/8" seam allowance.

Finish the raw edge (I used an overcast stitch), press seam to drop waist and topstitch 1/4" from seam just as in the previous step. (Photo shows finished seam before topstitching to secure the finished seam allowance.)

11. Fold the lower edge of the skirt up toward the wrong side 1/4", then again another 1/2". Press and topstitch to finish the skirt's hem.

12. Using a safety pin or your preferred method, insert a piece of elastic cut to the waist measurement through the casing. The 3/4" elastic will be a close fit, but you should be able to thread it though the casing. If not, switch to narrower elastic.

Overlap by 1" and stitch elastic ends together, then work the elastic seam into the casing to hide it.

13. The final step to finish the skirt is adding a bow! Insert ribbon under elastic at the casing opening. Knot in place to hide the elastic and tie a bow. I put clear nail polish on the ribbon ends to prevent fraying and remove the ribbon to launder the skirt.

The skirt can be worn with the bow in front or in the back.  To create a fuller skirt, press the pleats just at the top, but leave the lower portion of the skirt uncreased.

More Customization Options:
There are so many ways to make the Strip-pieced Pleated Skirt completely yours! Here are just a few ideas!
  • Instead of repeating fabrics throughout the skirt, try using a different Jelly Roll strip for each skirt strip!
  • Use a Bella Basics Jelly Roll to make the outer and/or inner pleats solid, for a less scrappy look.
  • Use narrower or wider panels! Instead of following the guidelines above, try one of these combinations!
Hip Measurement
Number of Jelly Roll
strips needed
How to create full skirt panel
Less than 22” 
(size 2)
3 panels of 8 strips, remove 2 after cutting
22” to less than 24”
(size 3-4)
or 12
(short skirts only, size 3)  4 panels of 6 strips
or 2 panels of 12 strips
24” to less than 26”
(size 5-6)


2 panels of 12 strips, add 2 after cutting

Optional appliqued t-shirt:

To create a complete outfit, select a coordinating t-shirt and cut shapes out of the remaining Jelly Roll fabric and/or stitched-together strips! Use paper-backed fusible web to create an applique and fuse onto shirt. Finish raw edges by hand with embroidery floss or on your machine with a zigzag, satin or decorative stitch. You can see more info about how to create this shirt at

One Jelly Roll can make several skirts. Make additional coordinating skirts for sisters, cousins or friends! Just repeat the instructions above with left over strip panels, remaining Jelly Roll strips and extra elastic and ribbon.



Ronda said...

This is adorable!! Can't wait to try it. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

CuteStuffInside said...

Love It!


celebi74 said...


The Redneck Ramblings of My Patchwork Life said...

very cute!

im just curious - what is S.W.A.K.?

eatmoresmores said...

I love this. The colors in the skirt are lovely.

CaraQuilts said...

This is super adorable! I'm going to have to make one for my daughter!

PACountry said...

I love this! I can't wait to try it out! I think I may just buy my first jelly roll for this one! It is just done so smartly- I am very impressed with how easy and clever it is! Thank you!

June said...

I love it! I think I'm going to make this for my girls.

Hooptee said...

I have a comment for people who run the bake shop blog. I'm confused. I keep getting blog entries popping up on my google reader and then when I click on them it tells me they don't exist. Yesterdays "cozy corner baby quilt" is one of them. Is that really a post or is something wrong with my reader?

Needled Mom said...

Very cute!!!

Little Lady Patchwork said...

Very cute! I would love to make one for myself.


Jan said...

Too cute! I wish I knew some one that small.

Terri said...

So cute and a great way to use up some scraps too.

Karen said...

Adorable! I definitely want to make one for my daughter. Thanks for the tutorial!

Elise said...

I have the same problem as Hooptee - posts show up on Reader but when I go to the blog, they aren't there. I feel like I'm missing things.

LOVE this skirt! Makes me wish I had a little girl to make it for!

Rachel said...

This is sooooo cotton pickin' cute!! I love it!

Barbara said...

This is adorble Sarah. Does it translate for big girls, too? (as in moms!) I can see lots of beautiful skirt blowing in the wind. TFS

Connie M said...

This is so darn cute! I wish I had a little girl I could make it for.
Well done Sarah!

Deborah said...

I don't have a daughter, but I just may make my 23 year old son one of these! Just kidding. I seriously need to find me a kid to make this for. Just beautiful.

Татьяна said...

Очень, очень крaсиво!!!!

tammiemarie said...

what a beautiful skirt! nice job.

Julie said...

That is the cutest skirt I have seen yet!

NaomiG said...

That is too cute!

Kari @ Fresh Cut Quilts said...

Darling skirt and top and you explained making a garment perfectly! That's not an easy task, but you did great. I may make a couple of these for my bigger girls for school. They will love it!

jayma15 said...

Can this be made without jelly rolls? thanks

TCahal said...

What a sweet skirt! I really like the added touch with a matching shirt. TFS :o)

noricum said...

Another way to prevent ribbons from fraying, if they're synthetic, is to hold the edge *close* to a candle flame so that it just melts.

AJ said...

Very cute! I can see some cute christmas skirts for my niece!

SarahB said...

Thank you all for your nice comments! I'd love to see your results if you use this tutorial. :) You can upload to the Moda Bake Shop flickr group at or you can even email a small photo to me at sarah @

Miss Sews-it-all said...

This is a great project, and we want to share it with others by posting a link to this page at next week! Please let me know if you have any questions about being featured at WeAllSew!

Ellen said...

I'm in the process of making one now. I am SHOCKED at how super easy this us!!!! There was a Jellie Roll at J's I had been admiring, but have a quilt in process and didn't want to store for another one. This is an even better compromise! She'll be wearing it by the end of the weekend and I'll definitely link back!

Ellen said...

Here's my blog post on how mine turned out!
Just wanted to share a success.

yenni said...'s so cute...

Jan said...

I have a question. Under measurements it has you measure Waist to Knee. Under #1 it refers to chart hip to knee for strip lengths. Which measurement am I suppose to be using for the strip lengths? I am new to your blog and I can't wait to make some of your recipes.
Thank You Jan

SarahB said...

Jan, that is an error and I am so glad you caught it! I will make sure it is corrected. All should read "waist to knee." Measure the length from waist to knee and subtract 1/4" and that is the measurement you will cut your strips for the best fit. This allows room for seam allowances and hemming. :)

Jan said...

Sarah, thank you for getting back so quickly. The skirt turned out so cute. The instructions were very easy to read. If you would like to take a look at the finished product I have posted on my blog. Thanks again Jan

I am Just One Mom said...

Darling! I have 2 granddaughters that would love this skirt and coor shirt. Love that it is so easy.

Cantinho da Aracy said...

Very Beautiful

halfdozendaily said...

This has got to be the *CUTEST* skirt i've ever seen in my ENTIRE life! I love it to bits and can't wait to give it a go! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful tutorial!! :)

m.y.humbleopinion said...

I made this today for my grandgirl. You give great instructions - it was so simple and turned our great. Thanks for sharing! Annette

Sandra said...

I'm just making my second of these. The first looks beautiful, but I had enormous problems the first time it was washed with the seams fraying.
The instructions say to stitch seams and then iron and top-stitch - there should be an edge finishing step in there! It might be obvious, but I missed it! I ended up having to unpick all 28 seams worth of topstitching, finish the seams and then re-stitch, re-hem etc. But it is a genuinely beautiful result - and this time around I'm zig-zagging as I'm piecing. Live and learn.
Thank you for such a wonderful pattern!

SarahB said...

Sandra, the purpose of the topstitching was to finish the seams and also help keep them flat. By topstitching close to the original seam you will pick up the seam allowance underneath and minimize fraying.

Stephen said...

The top stitching alone didn't do the job with the fabric I was using - the seams were fraying undone despite catching the seam allowance. It is probably a fabric issue - I mixed in some strips of unknown provenance that I had lying about. The colours worked beautifully, but the fabric was possibly not top quality.
This time around I've zig-zagged and then top-stitched and I'm feeling a lot more confident that the skirt is going to survive. (My girls are tough on clothes - if it can't handle a game of footy then it isn't worth the effort!)

SarahB said...

Stephan brings up a good point! I was working with a Moda Jelly Roll, so that is probably why I haven't seen much wear on the seams despite a this skirt going through the washer and dryer many rimes. Good quality fabric in addition to pinked edges along the strips minimize fraying.

Sara said...

SWAK - Sealed with a kiss.

JP said...

I don't understand, probably b/c I'm a beginning sewer. For one of the sizes, why do you sew the panels and then remove 2 strips? This makes no sense to me, could someone please explain?

SarahB said...

JP - if you prefer not to "unsew" you can instead sew 4 or 6 long jelly roll strips together, cut a section off according to the desired length, then add 2 more jelly roll strips to the wide strip panel before cutting the other sections.

This occurs because some skirt sizes need numbers of strips that are a bit difficult to get simple multiples of without using many strips (like 22 or 26). I was trying to have you conserve jelly roll strips (so you can use others for different projects) but you are also welcome to use a different strip for every piece of the skirt.

Hope that helps!

Terebinthtree said...

It was great to see your skirt on pinterest, Sarah!


Hannah said...

Thanks for this cute tutorial. I made one and showing it off here.

Timothy said...

How about some measurements for a size 9 months to match her older sister?

SarahB said...

Timothy, you could make the size 2 listed and just adjust the elastic to fit her waist. :)

lovemyqtkids said...

I love this pattern/tutorial. Can't wait to make it again with different fabrics.

I used a wide decorative stitch to topstitch to help with fraying on the backside since it was a gift.