How to Make a Ribbon Skirt

Here is How to Make a Ribbon Skirt. It’s such an easy beginner sewing project for girls.

Note: Since writing this post years ago when our own girls were tiny, I have learned that a ribbon skirt is a prominent garment worn by Native American women and girls in many tribes including the Saskatchewan and NavajoIndigenous people in the prairies great lakes of the US and Canada continue to make and wear them in native communities and for traditional ceremonies. While we didn’t realize their cultural background when we made this tutorial, we hope that by mentioning the  spiritual significance of the ribbon skirt and it’s relevance as a symbol of womanhood for native women, we can use this post as a reminder of their importance as a traditional form of identity for tribal communities for future generations. 

While it might be seen as simply a distinct fashion piece to the non-indigenous eye in western culture, it felt important to mention its ties to Native American culture and to honor their generations of ancestors rather than give them new meaning. 

Here is a Ribbon Skirt Tutorial (with VIDEO!) by Serene Weasel Traveller, a skilled seamstress and artist from the Piikani Nation, presented by the Galt Museum.

Welcome! Last ribbon week we showed you how to make a twirly fun Ribbon Dress. That was such a hit here at home, I decided to make another version. So here we have a twirly ribbon skirt with a stretchy waistband in bright spring colors. This is a great project for beginners. Sylvie, daughter of my friend (blogger Macki) was the recipient and seems to love it! Look at the pride on her cute young girl face wearing her own ribbon skirt!

Let me show you how to whip up a basic ribbon skirt dear viewers…

Here is How to Make a Ribbon Skirt

Step by step Instruction

For this skirt I used a scrap piece of jersey and a 1/2 yard of Free Spirit Voile in Cilantro along with a pile of grosgrain and satin ribbon.

Measure your child’s waist with a measuring tape.

Start with a piece of jersey 8″ wide and the length of your child’s waist measurement plus one inch. Fold it in half with wrong sides facing, so the right side is towards you.

Cut a strip of fusible webbing (or steam a seam) – if you have the sticky kind, that’s best. Lay it along the long cut edge.

Cut ribbon strips as long as the length you want the skirt to be, plus 1/2″

Now arrange your ribbon strips right sides down with the length extending over the jersey. Start with thinner ribbons or the ribbons you want to show on top of your skirt.

Continue until you have all your ribbon in place the way you like it

Iron the ribbon in place, activating the fusible web.

Sew in place, above the fusible web and through both layers of jersey.

You can also use a serger along the edge to protect against fraying.

Now flip your jersey waistband around to see what it all looks like.

Fold the waistband so the two unsewn edges come together, right sides facing:

And sew and finish the open edge.

Flip the waistband down over the ribbon:

Now for the skirt. Cut a piece of voile the desired length of the skirt plus one inch by twice your child’s waist measurement. Hem the bottom edge by folding 1/4″ and ironing, then another 1/4″ and sewing in place.

Sew a basting stitch across the top and pull the bobbin thread to gather the skirt so it’s a couple inches wider then the waistband.

Sew the side edges together right sides facing with a straight stitch. Insert the skirt into the waistband with the right side of the skirt out. Pin in place, stretching the waistband slightly to accommodate the skirt width.

Sew in place with 1/2″ seam allowance and finish the edge by serging or sewing with a zig zag stitch.

Flip the waistband up. You’re done! Now twirl! Are you going to make a ribbon skirt today?

Published 3/12, updated 10/22

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