DIY Tutorial: Multi-Layered Tulle Petticoat (Make Your Own Rainbow Petticoat!)

First up, I have to say a huge thank you to everyone that’s emailed me with their DIY ideas. I’ve has a huge response and I’m really looking forward to sharing them with you over these coming weeks. Be sure to keep them coming!

I’m starting with this amazing underskirt tutorial byΒ Alexandra King, an independent designer from Somerset. Alexandra produces fabulous vintage-inspired dresses and accessories.

So without further ado, over to the lady herself…

Our wedding was four years ago now and was mainly DIY, bunting, vintage linens everywhere, pearls, candelabras, bath tub bar, my Mum grew the flowers and I made the dresses. I was so lucky being able to this that I had a couple to wear on the day.

I adore vintage dresses, old movies and obsess over French couture designs and techniques from the fifties. All of this is instilled into my designs which are mainly one of a kind cocktail, prom and party dresses bespoke made for my customers. I have also recently introduced a small bridal range.

This underskirt is the must have piece for that fabulous full skirted fifties look. It also makes twirling all that more exciting!

Supplies Needed

1/2 metre of fabric
3 metres of dress net or tulle (per colour/layer)
thread, elastic
bias binding (optional)
sewing machine
tape measure


Step 1: Take the skirt you plan to wear and measure it’s length. Divide this number by three, one third for the waistband and two thirds for the skirt.

Step 2: Measure and cut your fabric. Cut one piece for the waistband (also measure it to fit around your waist) and six pieces of tulle at the skirt length.

Step 3: Double the the waistband fabric over and sew the short ends together. Then hem it by folding the fabric and stitching it down. Repeat this to make a channel at the top to thread your elastic.

Step 4: Attaching the tulle. Take the tulle and with your fingers gather or bunch it as you sew it to the hem of the waistband. Overlap each piece by an inch or so and continue until you have filled up the waistband with your six pieces of gathered tulle.

Step 5. Thread the elastic through the waist channel using the paperclip and tie in a knot. This creates the elasticated waistband. And there’s your basic underskirt!

Step 6. If you want to sew more, you can trim the hem with ribbon binding. This stops the tulle being scratchy and from catching on your dress.

To make the petticoat a rainbow one, repeat the process and add more layers of different colours!



  1. Gillian

    hi i hope you can help i am making this for a wedding i am attending soon and was wondering.
    it says you cut 6 pieces of tulle/netting… do you do pannels, if so how do you make it flow continuiously and attatch the ribbon at the bottom… or do you put 6 lengths on netting/tulle together for each colour then stitch them all together at the bottom with ribbon? do you only use 1 layer of net for each colour?

    please please help. as this bit is not clear in the tutorial.

  2. Stephanie

    I had the same question as Amber and Eli about multiple layers, but after looking at the pictures for long enough I think I have an answer. I’m fairly certain you attach all the layers of tulle to the one waistband. I can’t work out the distances between each layer though. My guesses went off the third picture from the bottom since it’s hung up but you can see the ribbon goes behing the other colours.

  3. Ealish Ellis

    I just got asked to my high school Prom yesterday and it’s NEXT SATURDAY!!!! I had the idea early this year for a black dress with rainbow tulle underskirt and thought I didn’t have the time to make it. This tutorial is a LIFE SAVER!!! Thanks so much πŸ˜€

  4. Kathryn

    Hi – a huge thank you for your tutorial! I didn’t know where to start until I read this. My daughter asked me to make a jive dress plus netted petticoat for a dance comp this weekend, and with the help of your tutorial she is delighted with her outfit. The netted petticoat adds just the right amount of poof required! The top tier from waist to hip is in black poly/cotton then I used black tulle, in three layers grading in length to the longest layer – finished length 23″. Top layer 3 metres wide by 10″ deep, middle layer 4 metres wide by 12Β½” deep and under layer 6 metres wide by 15″ deep. I gathered each net layer and stitched (with 3-step zig-zig) each one onto 44″ ( the width of the top poly/cotton layer) of narrow Β½” black cotton tape. This made it much easier to handle then I stitched all three layers of tape together onto the bottom of the poly/cotton top tier. My top tier was a doubled layer so that I could then stitch down the inside to hide all the net gatherings on the tapes. It’s not easy to describe but I hope that makes sense! This conceals all the rough net gathers for a much neater finish.
    I then trimmed all three tulle edges with bright pink ribbon to match the dress and it looks fab πŸ™‚ , so I have a happy daughter. I can’t see how to add a photo here otherwise I would show you the finished item! Many thanks again.

  5. sarah


    Just what I have being picturing my little flower girls in!

    Mum fire up the sewing machine πŸ™‚

  6. Gloria Padilla

    Hi I love love love this!!!! I was wondering about the layers. Here is what I’m doing. I am throwing a super hero vs villains party for my nephew and I’m going to dress up as wonder woman. I was going to make the costume myself. I was just going to wear the tulle petite coat by itself (with some shorts underneath of course πŸ™‚ Do you think it would be ok to continue the layers up the skit instead of sewing them all at the bottom. Or maybe just attatching the top layer of tulle to the waist band. Just trying to diy this skirt as best I can! Thank so much for your help!!!

  7. Francesca

    Hi, I’m looking to make this but I’m confusing myself with the measurements. I’m a uk size 26 (so very much a plus size) how much tulle do you think I’d need for each layer? Or how many times the measurements of my waist or hips should I buy? Any help is much appreciated

  8. Kathryn

    Francesca, the netted petticoat for my daughter, mentioned above (15th May 2013), was made to fit her 29″ waist and 40″ hip. I hope this might help you to then calculate, proportionally, how much you will need as I have indicated the lengths and widths of each layer I used, above!

  9. Nina

    Ok… I want one of these, but I be not got time to learn to sew. How much are they to buy?
    Nina x

  10. Uzumara

    Will it work for chiffon or organza fabric? I’m making a petticoat maybe two layers for my lolita outfits. Maybe i’ll wear a dress like yours for next school’s dance, it’s awesome!.

  11. Danelle

    Did she sew the ends of the waistband and the tulle together? or did she just sew the ends of the waistband and leave the tulle ends alone?

  12. Katrina

    Kat, for the rainbow layers did you sew each layer to the hem of the waist band or?? I want to make one this weekend! Thanks for sharing your tute!

  13. Angela

    Hi Kat,
    Found this post via pinterest after a google search. I had the same question as Katrina about the layer construction but can’t seem to find a link to contact Jen about the semantics of it. Thanks!

  14. Steffi

    Thankyou SO much for this tutorial-I made a goth petticoat for my recent alternative wedding-top layer lilac, next layer burgundy, then deep purple then black. Really finished off my outfit beautifully! S x

  15. Shaleea

    Just thought I’d let you know another easy way is to take an old tiered skirt and cut it at the first tier then sew the tulle to that. Then you don’t even have to sew the top part at all.

  16. Teresa Harrison-Withe

    Wish I could sew, would love this petticoat. Not worth me even thinking of making one, my hubby would go mad. Last time I wanted to sew something …. I, ve still got the material…..10 years ago. I, m afraid sewing is not my fortay, i cant even follow the instructions, they just go over my head. Would love to get one made but don, t know who/where to go or ask. Any offers:-)

  17. Eve Lowry

    Wanted to email the person who posted this to ask if all layers of the colors were attached to the same yoke or were different pettis made and worn together? Tried following the “alex” link and its a dead blog now.

  18. Gabi

    I tried to send Alex an email and the link in the blog doesn’t work anymore. I have the same questions like other before me and need to contact her.
    Thanks for your help.

  19. Lourdes Loque

    What can one attach to the petticoat hemline that it easily opens up with a slight spin around.

  20. Olivia Smith

    Thank you for the design. Made it tonight for my Halloween party tomorrow. Very simple. Steps 3 & 4 I would recommend stitching the tulle along the hem before sewing the short sides of the cloth together. It was much easier to sew in a straight line than a round.

  21. charise

    Love this!! Just wondering when u add more layers,where to ssee them onto?! It’s not specified?! Xxx

  22. Becca

    Thank you for this tutorial, and thank you Olivia for the suggestion, that not only makes it easier but sorts out the question of how to sew multiple levels together.

  23. Chrissy Trammell

    Love this tutorial and the look you created! Definitely keeping this one πŸ˜€

  24. Chris M

    Thanks for this. Love that there were photos. I made one tonight for one of my kids. Instructions were very easy to follow.

  25. Sherri

    What is the length of the tulle? I get that the width is 2/3 of the skirt length, but how long is each tulle panel?

  26. Cutter

    Hey, if anyone is able to help me, that would be great. I’m actually going to use this over a hoop skirt (it’s going to be super big And fluffy!) and I need to know how to measure how wide it will be and how to calculate how much material I will need. Thanks a bunch!

  27. mary

    a quick question. i am making a flower girl dress. i’m putting the tulle over the bridal satin – want it really puffy. It will be all one length – not multiple tiers. is it better to do:
    1) 10 layers of tulle 3 times her hip measurement or
    2) 2 layers 10 times her hip measurement

  28. Elaine Watson

    I am looking for a cancan to wear under my rock & roll dress, black, white and red (3 cancans). pleas let me know where I could them.

    Thank you


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