Tutorial: Making of Madam Red (Part 1) Skirt

OTLLLLL. IT’S BEEN SO LONG. I swear on the cosplay gods and goddesses that I’m going to commit myself to updating this blog when appropriate and not in six month intervals. GG, but yeah, making of the Madam Red skirt below.

So for the skirt, I was originally planning on doing a giant rectangle and gathering it on one end (like a gigantic gathered skirt) but I thought more about it and consulted a few friends who’ve had experience making ballgowns and I concluded it was really stupid idea. For the size of this skirt the bulk that would end up happening near the waist would be too much, so I eventually decided on a 7-piece tiered skirt.

photo 4 (6)

So I measured out 7 trapezoid shaped pieces of the red sateen fabric. (The trapezoids were just simply trapezoids, I didn’t try to taper the sides or round them out.)

To calculate the top width of the trapezoid I took my waist measurement and divided by 7 (the number of pieces) and added and extra inch to each one for seam allowance. For the bottom width, I measured out ~49″ (which was approximately the width of the fabric.) For the height I think I just measured the length from my waist (while wearing my hoopskirt) to the ground. I think it was about 38″. Here’s a diagram:

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Yay! With that done, I cut everything out and sewed them all together along the long edge, except for 1 (which is where I would have to install the zipper).

photo 3 (7)Between sewing each piece, I liked to pin it up on my mannequin to get a feel of how the shape was coming along.

photo 1 (12)

After that, I had the main skirt done. So I moved onto the top skirt/ruffle part.

This part was such a pain x___x ruffles…ruffles for days. My fingers were so sore.

To make the topskirt, I also cut out trapezoids, but I only did 5 versus the 7 I did for the main skirt because I was lazy.

photo 3 (5)

I don’t remember what length my ruffle trapezoids were precisely but I think it was around 3/4ths the length of my overskirt trapezoid pieces. It’s rather long but keep in mind it has to be gathered and as for width, I believe it was 6.5″ around the waist area (waist measurement/5 +1 for seam allowance) and 20 or so inches at the bottom per piece.

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I machine stitched two sets of long basting stitches on each of the long sides and pulled and then gathered.

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photo 2 (11)

The result didn’t look that great just by itself, but after pinning it onto the mannequin and adjusting it a bit, it started to look pretty swag.

photo 2 (10)

So, after doing that to every single piece, I sewed each piece together along the ruffles to keep the ruffles in place.

photo 3 (6)

photo 1 (11)

Then I pinned it to the longer skirt and basted it along the waistline.

My next step was to add the ruffled edging along the ruffled layer. Ruffles on ruffles, my fingers ache when I think about it.


For the ruffled edging, I cut out small strips of a darker red color (about 6 inches wide and in long, long lengths because all of it had to be gathered).




I marked the lengths and folded upwards and pressed twice and hemmed the edges.

photo 5 (4)

I attached it to the ruffled layer and I was pretty happy with the result. Originally I planned on stopping here but I was like hey, what if I really hated my fingers and also attached more ruffles to the hem. I did a small test piece and it ended up looking something like this:

photo 5 (3)

I sort of liked the result, but in person, the ruffles were rather heavy so it started pulling on the skirt in an odd way and to save myself some headache, I removed it and blind hemmed the skirt and called it a day.

Yep, so that’s how I made my skirt. Thanks for reading!


Edit: Oops, forgot to talk about the zipper and waistband. But yes, somewhere in this process I attached the whole skirt to a waistband, which I would like to warn everybody who decides on using this tutorial to make their own big poofy skirt to not use a dainty small waistband because I did and it was difficult to have it stay on my waist since the skirt was so heavy. So please use at least a 1″ minimum wide waistband. If I could re-do this I would probably choose to attach the skirt to wide yoke or something.

And after the waistband (before hemming), I installed an invisible zipper along the band of the skirt. Not much to say, pretty standard procedure.


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