Simple Scallop Skirt Tutorial + Glow In The Dark Embroidery!

We picked up some glow in the dark thread and this cute owl pattern this weekend and planned to make this simple elastic waist skirt for Fall. As a little twist on the standard, we scalloped the bottom edge. Totally fun and twirly, and easy enough to sew up a little holiday specific number for Halloween or Christmas.

Measurements: Add 1.5″ to the desired length of skirt for the height of your fabric and double (or 2.5x for a fuller skirt) the waist measurement for the width. For Clare (4) my rectangle was 15″ x 44″

Cut skirt fabric. If it isn’t already, fold in half as shown.

Then fold in half again, and again. You should have 8 layers. Leave a 1/2″ seam at the left side as shown. Make sure there aren’t creases between the layers.

Use a circular template to draw a half-circle at the bottom edge.

Using your best sewing scissors, cut the curve through all layers. At the seam, just angle up.

Unfold. You have a pretty scalloped edge.

If you have a serger, now would be a great time to try a rolled hem or to simply serge the bottom edge, but here I added a wide zig-zag about 1/2″ above the edge in some gorgeous cranberry embroidery thread from the Brother Country Yarn Thread Pack.

Tip: When you finish one scallop. leave your needle down, lift the foot and rotate the fabric to start the next scallop.

After you finish all your scallops (yum) go back and add a reinforcement stitch at the top of each scallop. This is a zig-zag stitch with the widest width and ZERO length.

The way this skirt is finished, you will have minor fraying along the bottom edge. I think that will add charm to this particular skirt but if you would like to control that more, add a “overlock” stitch along the very edge of the fabric by sewing a second (tighter) row of zig-zag where the needle hits through the fabric on one side of the zig-zag and over the edge on the other creating a fake serged edge. Try this on a scrap first to see if you like the look.

Moving on…

Fold the skirt in half, right-side facing, and sew up the seam. My edges here were the selvage so no need to finish the edge but you can add another overlock stitch along the edge or cut with pinking shears if you are worried about fraying.

Now for the waist band. Fold over 1/2″ all the way around and crease. You can iron but I just use my fingernail to make a crease.

Then fold over another 1″. This will be your elastic casing.

Starting and ending with a few backstitches, stitch all the way around the bottom of your waistband, leaving a 1-2″ opening.

Cut a length of elastic the circumference of the child’s waist. For Clare, I did 22″. Pin one end of the elastic to the fabric at the opening and add a second pin to the loose end of the elastic. Run the elastic through the casing all the way around. If you have your kid handy, try the skirt on and size the elastic to fit.

Sew the ends of the elastic together with many back and forth stitches.

Tuck the elastic in and sew up the opening in the casing.

That is your finished skirt! Now for the little pocket…

I used my embroidery machine to stitch up this cute owl in glow in the dark embroidery thread. You can also embroider the same owl by hand or embellish your pocket in any way you choose.

When my owl was complete, I cut it out centered on a 5″x6″ rectangle leaving the cut-away stabilizer in place for reinforcement. Fold over the sides & bottom edge 1/4″ and then a second 1/4″. Fold the top over 1/4″ and then 1/2″

Fold the corners up at 45 degree angle if desired.

With a straight stitch, sew the top seam of the pocket.

Pin the pocket in position on the skirt either on the side or the front thigh.

Starting and ending with front and back stitches for reinforcement, sew around the edge of the pocket.

If you have some extra scraps of fabric, cover a few buttons and make cute hair ties. My mom sent these to us in this same fabric. I guess she knows my taste!!

And there is your quick cotton skirt. Whip one up in any fun fabric!

For fun, let’s guess how many owls Clare is wearing at once!




I really love this skirt. Someday I'll have an embroidery machine. 🙂 Maybe I'll make this for my daughter for Christmas!


I love this skirt and want to make one for my daughter, but I also think I can use this somewhere else. I think I might kind of use this tutorial to make my son's Batman cape. Crazy! Thanks!


so cute, I love her little model poses! The turned in feet, textbook, very adorable 🙂 can’t wait to make this skirt for my niece 🙂

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There are numerous online tutorials, knitting communities, and resources available to support and guide knitters in mastering this technique.


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