How to Add a Skirt Overlay to Any Pattern

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Learn how to add a skirt overlay to any sewing pattern. Add either chiffon, lace, or tulle for fun and easy sewing project.

Skirts are so great because they are one of the simpler clothing sewing projects, but it’s so easy to customize them. Adding an overlay is easy to do to any skirt sewing pattern, but it really elevates the look.

I’ve added lace, tulle, plisse, and chiffon to different skirts over the years, and they were all successful. Let’s learn how to add a skirt overlay to any skirt sewing pattern!

sew skirt as instructed

What fabric works for a skirt with an overlay?

The underneath layer or lining fabric should be opaque with drape. Some fabrics that will work are rayon challis, linen, chambray, and lawn, but there are plenty of other fabrics that will also work. It should be a similar color to the overlay.

The overlay can be made out of lace, chiffon, plisse (pleated fabric), and tulle. Anything that has a soft drape that is transparent or has holes will work beautifully.

How to Add a Skirt Overlay to Any Pattern

What patterns work with a skirt overlay?

Look for a skirt that has a waistband. You’ll need the waistband to combine the two different skirts into one. Choose a pattern with a skirt that is either gathered or it’s a form of a circle skirt. These two designs work well with a skirt overlay.

When doing a skirt with an overlay, skip the pockets. It’s hard to make pockets work with a skirt overlay since you have to have an opening through two different skirts with one pocket.

How to Add a Skirt Overlay to Any Pattern

Do you love to sew? Try one of these fun sewing projects:

How to Add a Skirt Overlay to Any Pattern

How to Add a Skirt Overlay to Any Pattern


skirt overlay fabrics

Cut out all the pieces of the skirt sewing pattern. Cut out the overlay 2 to 4 inches longer.

cut skirt piece with pattern, cut overlay 4 inches longer

If you choose to cover the waistband with the overlay, first interface the regular waistband. Then pin and baste the overlay waistband to the interfaced waistband. Each waistband will be three layers.

add overlay to waistband pieces and stitch through layers

Sew the side seams of the skirts with a French seam. This will enclose the raw edges, but it will look nice and pretty through the transparent overlay. Keep the overlay and the lining as separate skirts.

use french seams to finish both fabrics

Sew the hems with a rolled hem. Keep the overlay and the lining as separate skirts

sew a tiny rolled hem for both fabrics

Place the overlay over the lining skirt and match up the top raw edges. Both skirts have the wrong side of the skirt facing towards the inside of the skirt.

If the skirt is gathered, then sew the 2 or 3 rows of basting stitches with the two skirts treated as one piece of fabric.

If the skirt is not gathered, then baste the opening of the skirts together so they can be treated as one piece of fabric.

treat both skirts as one and add basting stitches to gather

Gather the skirt and sew the waistband onto the waist opening, OR sew the waistband to the waist opening of the circle skirt. You finished!

sew skirt as instructed

If you make something using this sewing project, I’d love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag #heatherhandmade and tag me!

How to Add a Skirt Overlay to Any Pattern
heather sewing

I believe small sewing moments can create great joy. Find your own “right” way to sew. -Heather

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