Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom


Cupcake Birthday Skirt Tutorial

(Looking for more free patterns? Be sure to check out my free patterns and tutorials page here.)

I've had this adorable cupcake themed fabric panel in my stash for a while.  When I bought it, I planned to use it to make a cheater quilt.  Of course, I'm not the greatest at following through with all my plans and after making the woodland creatures stenciled skirt, I thought the cupcakes would be even better as an applique on a skirt.  (I still want to make the quilt, and I've already ordered more of the fabric!)

Was I right, how cute did the skirt turn out?

The skirt was supposed to be for my daughter's birthday party, but since we had such good weather we moved the party outside to roast hot dogs and eat s'mores.  I figured we better save the skirt for another day...  (She wants to wear it to school tomorrow when I bring treats to class.)

The little arm warmers are one of my latest crochet projects.  I need to make a hat to go with them before they get lost, maybe a slouchy beanie...

Instructions to make this adorable appliqued skirt.  Tutorial includes "pattern" (measurements) for girls sizes 18 mo to 8.)

Oh, look what we found hiding in the wood pile!  It's a very mysterious and rarely seen miniature wood Furby!

She was such a little trooper when we were taking these pictures.  It was pretty chilly out there, especially when the wind was blowing.  I wrapped her up in my sweater in between the pictures.

Even though it was cold, everything was going quite "swimmingly" until... ( ♪ ♫ ♫ ♪, Uh oh!  Do you hear that?  It's dramatic foreshadowing music...)

Yep, I was carrying her to a boulder a little farther down (gotta keep those pink boots clean) and slipped and fell right into that muddy nasty freezing creek!  I managed to keep my little princess and camera out of the water and mud, but I was not so lucky.

Photo shoot = over. That was one cold, yucky, wet, mud soaked walk back to the house!

Now, who's ready to make a cupcake skirt?  Of course, you don't need the cupcake fabric, you can use any type of scrap fabric to make cupcake appliques.  I found a couple of cute cupcake templates here, here and here.  And who says it has to be a cupcake anyway? You could use any shape or even contrasting fabric as a border like I did here or here or a fabric with a cute border already on it.

Supplies needed
  • Fabric (.5 yard for 3 and under 3/4 to 1 yard for size 4 and up) 
  • Cutting measurements/pattern (get size measurements from this cutting chart.)
  • If you're going to add an applique, you'll need the fabric you are applique-ing, plus 
  • heat n bond ultra (I like this brand because it has a peel-able paper coating on the back - kind of like a sticker.)  (*reader suggestion:  she said you shouldn't sew over heat n bond ultra. Use heat n bond light and do a zig zag stitch instead of a straight stitch. - I've had no issues with heat n bond ultra on the multiple project I've done, so do what you think is right.)
  • 1/2 inch elastic
  • iron, scissors ruler, pins and other basic sewing supplies
Seam allowances are 1/4 inches unless otherwise specified.

Step 1:  Cut the pattern pieces.

Fold the fabric in half, selvage to selvage. Cut out the waistband/top tier and bottom tier (on the fold) for the size you need according to this chart.  (Be sure to remove the selvages if you are using the entire width of the fabric.)

Step 2:  Side seams and hem.

Fold the top tier/waistband right sides together and sew along the side edge, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Finish this seam with pinking shears, zig zag on the sewing machine or serger.  Repeat for the bottom tier.  Larger sizes will be 2 pieces instead of one, so you will sew along both sides to make the skirt.

Hem the bottom of the skirt with a 1/4 inch hem.  (Fold bottom edge over 1/4 inch and press, fold over another 1/4 inch, press again and sew along the edge.)  Press the side seams.

Step 3: Gather and attach the skirt to the waistband

Change the stitch length on your machine to the longest stitch available and sew a gathering stitch along the top edge of the fabric, 1/4 inch from the edge.

Pull on the bobbin thread to gather the fabric.

Keep gathering until the bottom tier is the same width as the top tier/waistband.

Right sides together, pin the gathered bottom skirt to the waistband, keeping the gathers even.

Sew right along the gathering stitch.  Remove pins and press skirt.  (If any of the gathering stitch shows on the front, you can carefully cut the gathering stitch out.)

Remove all the pins and finish this seam using pinking shears, zig zag stitch on a sewing machine or a serger.

Step 4: Adding the applique.

There are all different methods to add the heat n bond.  I thought this was a quick and easy way if you have a lot to do. Roughly cut out your applique shapes.

Unfold the heat n bond so the paper side is face down.  Lay your appliques on the exposed glue side of the heat n bond, face up.  Cover with a piece of scrap fabric and follow the directions to heat set the heat n bond to the applique.  Roughly cut around the applique and pull off the scrap fabric.

Now you can make any precision cuts and line up the applique where you want it.  Follow the instructions to adhere the applique to the skirt.  (Now that my skirt is finished, I kind of wish I had squeezed on at least one more cupcake and used a lighter pink fabric...  Hind sight is always 20/20 and now you can see what I did and make yours better!)

Supposedly, the heat n bond is strong enough to hold the applique in place, but I always like to go around the edges with a quick straight stitch for a decorative accent.  (*see reader suggestion above)

Step 5: Create the casing.

Fold the top edge of the skirt over 1/4 inch and press, fold edge over again 3/4 inch and press.

Sew along the bottom folded edge about 1/8 inch from fold.  Leave a 2 inch opening to thread the elastic through.  Sew elastic together (ends should overlap about 1/2 inch.)  Trim excess elastic and close the opening.

That's it!  Enjoy your skirt!

Maybe even do a little happy dance if you feel like it! Like this project? Don't forget to pin it!   

If you make one of these skirts, please leave a comment and be sure to share it on the Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom Facebook page or flickr group!

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  1. I like how the skirt is made in two really takes it up a notch!

  2. Your cupcake skirt is fun and sweet. What a shock to you when you fell in the creek and had to end you photo shoot!
    Last year, I started using temporary spray adhesive for fabric which works great for machine applique...just thought I'd share this tip with you to make your life easier. Have you ever tried this product?

  3. Makes me wish I still had small kids to sew for. Used to make things for 2 youngest g/d's after big girls grew up.
    That skirt is so cute, the fabric looks like very nice quality. Your daughter is quite the model, does great job. Her whole outfit is adorable. You are one busy Mom all the time, don't know how you do it all, cooking, sewing, blogging, Moming, wifeing, sheesh, makes me tired thinking of it all. Makes me wonder how I did what I did when my 4 young. Probably didn't. My Aunt used to tell me you can either sew or do other things, make a choice. Happy days
    I fell in the snow twice on Monday, have to go down a small hill to our shed and I slipped twice right on my butt, boots soaked. What was worse was trying to get up, my phoney knees don't bend enuf to accomodate.

    1. I am definitely blessed to not have to work outside the home and now that both kids are in school, I have several hours during the day to devote to sewing and blogging. My hubby often works into the evening hours, so that means I usually have a couple of hours in the evening after the kids go to bed. That being said, today I am worn out and am currently in bed answering this message on my phone, getting ready to have a little power nap before starting dinner... :-)

    2. And I am very glad no one was around to see me trying to get out of that creek. I was trying to keep my missy mud free and then pull my self out on to the slippery, muddy bank. (It was not a flat bank, it was waist high...)

  4. What an adorable skirt! I'd love for you to stop by and share this at my weekly link party. Hope to see you there!

  5. Oh my goodness, what a cute skirt!! I've got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for later today that links to your tutorial:

  6. That is so adorable, she's a great dancer, too.

  7. This skirt is so funny!!! :)
    Thanks for the tutorial!

  8. Thank you Jamie. What a cheerful skirt!

  9. Thanks for linking to Take-A-Look Tuesday over at Sugar Bee Crafts - you were featured today! - - Mandy,

  10. I've been trying to figure out how to gather fabric for skirts forever, so I'm happy to find this. However, I don't get the two piece thing for the larger sizes. Is that bc it's longer than 36"?

  11. That is so cute! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

  12. This is too cute! My daughter would love it, and so would my niece. I need to dust off my sewing machine and make one.


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