How to make a lolita skirt for under $10

Common wisdom suggests that it’s not really that much cheaper to make your own lolita garments than it is to buy them. The cost of yards of fabric and lace can be enormous. And that’s not even counting the labor costs of pintucks, tailoring, and other details. But I’m here to show you how for less than $10, you can have your very own lolita skirt!

Okay clickbait title aside, I really did spend under $10 for all the materials for used to make this skirt. This was through a combination of luck and a large hoard of crafting supplies. The black floral fabric was part of an incredible garage sale on my street. I got an unfinished corset, a bolt of muslin, 10+ yards of this fabric, 8 industrial thread cones, and a tripod for $20. You probably won’t luck into a stash like this every day, but be on the lookout for garage sale and thrift store finds. The black floral pattern looked perfect for an old school inspired, cottagecore chic skirt. I also bought like 10 yards of this stuff. Be prepared to see more of it!

I also recently stumbled across Lucky Deluxe Fabric, an indie fabric shop focused on vintage and thrifted items. They have a selection of vintage laces, including a cute eyelet heart lace that I snagged for this project. With shipping, this lace was about $7 (so it was actually the most expensive part of this DIY!)

I’ve made gathered skirts in the past for lolita, but this time I decided I wanted to do a tiered skirt. I chose the two tiered skirt because it requires less fabric and I have very little patience for serging yards and yards of fabric. Glancing through Otome no Sewing, you can see this style pretty frequently.

This project is super beginner friendly because, just like a gathered skirt, it’s all rectangles. Let’s figure out our pattern pieces.


You will need two measurements: your waist circumference and the desired length of your skirt. My waist is 30 inches and I wanted my finished skirt to be about 21 inches. Lolita skirts typically have a bottom circumference of your waist x 3. Since I’m doing a tiered skirt, I need my first “tier” to be smaller than bottom tier. I decided to make tier 1 2 x my waist (so 60 inches) and tier 2 3 x my waist (so 90 inches). Also I knew that the width of my skirt pieces needed to add up to 21. So I chose to make tier 1 13 inches and tier 2 8 inches. I initially thought that I wanted to install a zipper and a pocket, so I divided the length of the tiers in half  so I could have two pieces for each.

Finally, I wanted a waistband with shirring and an interfaced front, so I divided my waist measurement in half and then added 10 inches to the back for shirring. My final pattern had 6 pieces: 2 waist, 2 tier 1, and 2 tier 2, plus my pocket. If this is all confusing, hopefully my diagrams below are more clear.


I prepped my fabric the way I intend to care for it, so I tossed it in the washer on hot then tumble dried it. I also washed my lace, both because I wanted it to be prepped the way I intended to laundry it, but also because it came to me with some orange stains on it (these were disclosed in the listing). Unfortunately, oxyclean soaking didn’t get the stains out, so I tea dyed the lace, which covered up the stains just fine. I left the lace in black tea for about 4 minutes and wish I grabbed it about a minute sooner, but I’m not upset about the color. I ironed everything after it was dry so it was ready for sewing.

Coming together

With my materials prepped, it was time to cut! I cut out my tiers, waistband, and pocket. I serged the edges I knew would be raw and applied heat activated interfacing to one side of my waistband (the front). Then I started to construct my garment. I added my pocket to one side of my first tier, then sewed up the side seam, being careful to sew around my pocket. I sew up the side seams on my waistband and other tier. Now I had three loops of fabric in various sizes from my waistband, tier 1, and tier 2.


Before I gathered my tiers, I attached my lace to the first tier. Because I’m a dumbass and didn’t plan ahead, I only had 72 inches of lace, not the 90 inches that I would need to sew on the bottom tier. Luckily, my first tier only measured 60 inches, so I attached the lace about 2 inches above the seam between the first and the second tears. I think that this skirt would have been really cute with a lace hem, but I wanted to work with the supplies I had.


Because my waistband and tiers were different sizes, they all needed to be gathered in order to fit together. You could do this by running a basting stitch or two along the edge to be gathered. I prefer to hand gather, so I found the center point on each of my pieces, marked with a pin, and then pinned the two middle points together. From there, I continued to divide each section in half and pin the halfpoints to each other, resulting in evenly spaced gathers at the waist and between the two tiers. Once everything was pinned in place, I sewed all the gathers, making sure that every little pleat was captured by my stitches.


Around this point I decided I wasn’t going to install a zipper because I didn’t have a black zipper in my stash. (Also because I hate installing them.) Instead, I knew I wanted to install “full back” shirring. I sewed three 1.25 inch channels in the back of my waistband so I could install 1 inch elastic.

Once these were sewed, I attached my waistband to my top tier and carefully gathered the tier using the method from the previous paragraph. I sewed the gathers to the waistband, leaving a 3 inch gap on either side of the back of the waistband so I could install my elastic. I cut 10 inch elastic pieces, which in retrospect was a little too small. My elastic has a ton of stretch, so it’s not uncomfortable, just a little smaller than I anticipated. Using a safety pin, I feed the elastic into the channels and secured it on both sides with pins. When I’d threaded all three, I sewed the elastics in place with one my machine.

Finishing touches

Then I closed up the holes in my waistband, gathering the remaining portion of the first tier into it. I hemmed the bottom and gave everything a nice press.

There were some oddly sized pieces of scraps, so I turned them into detachable bow. Unfortunately, the bow doesn’t photograph well but it’s cute in person, I promise!


No one is going to mistake this piece for an Angelic Pretty print. But this casual skirt came together in less than 6 hours and cost me less than $10. I love that I can style this for classic, gothic, or old school. The shirring in the back means it’s super comfy. Plus the wide waistband in the front leaves lots of room for belts or corsets. (Also if anyone wants anything out of this fabric, let me know, I have SO MUCH left.) You can also check my Instagram and Tiktok for videos of this skirt in action, plus a little making of video!

Have you made anything for your wardrobe? How did it turn out?


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