How to make a Suspender Skirt using the Sugarplum Skirt Pattern

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[UPDATE! No-fuss suspender skirt pattern included with our Sugar Dot Pinafore pattern for girls 1 to 10 years. No separate tutorial to follow, print, sew, go!]

In addition to adding suspenders we also made the skirt a panel skirt, making this the perfect project for small cuts of fabric! In fact, this skirt can be entirely be made from fat quarters, with the exception of the suspenders (those would need pieced if using a fat quarter) making this the perfect project for those adorable fat quarter bundles!

Let’s start with the cutting out.  Making the panel skirt is basically a simple stripwork.  I used 3 panels on each the front and back of the skirt.  To make panels look at the skirt width on the cutting chart.  For my size 3 Sugarplum the width is 23″.  Subtract 1″ for the seam allowance. and divide by the number of panels (three). Then add seam allowance to each panel piece. So:

  • 23″- 1″ = 22″.
  • 22″ ÷ 3 = 7.33″ We will round to 7.5″
  • Now add seam allowance to each panel so 7.5″ + 1″ = 8.5″

That’s it! Cut each panel 8.5″ by the length needed and piece together with a 1/2″ seam allowance. Use the same 3 steps and the width for your size to determine panels for any size. I used different fabrics for front and back, so six fabrics total on the skirt, but you could also use the same three fabrics on front and back.

Front Panels
Back Panels
Before sewing the waistband be sure to read the suspender instructions.  For the suspenders I used this great striped fabric from the French Hen collection and fussy so that the flowers were centered on the suspenders.


I made suspenders that were 1.5″ wide when finished.  To make suspenders cut two strips 3.5″ wide by about 45″ long (you may need a little less for smaller sizes and more for larger sizes). Sew each suspender right side together along the long edge using a 1/4″ seam allowance to form a tube and turn.  I pressed the seam to the center back. Hem one end of each suspender by turning about 1/2″ to the inside and topstitching across the end.

Set aside the suspenders and pick up the waistband pieces now.   Sew the elastic casing in the back waistband as per the instructions, but before inserting elastic, we are going to add buttonholes for the suspenders to go through. Make two 1″ buttonholes just below the elastic casing.  Mark the center of the waistband and measure one inch to each side.  Sew each buttonhole out from those marks.

Sorry, no in progress photo of this one!

Finish your waistband per instructions.  Before attaching the skirt to the waistband, we need to attach the suspenders.  Here it is best to try the waistband on the intended wearer and fine tune the placement of the suspenders, but if that’s not possible, divide the front waistband in thirds and match the center of each suspender to these marks. Align the raw edges of the front waistband and suspender and baste in place. Also topstitch through the waistband and suspender at the upper edge (if you are adding decorative buttons you may omit this stitching). Finally gather and attach the skirt as per the instructions.

To wear, thread the suspenders through the buttonholes in the back and tie in a bow.

The Sugarplum Skirt pattern includes sizes 6-12 months through girls sizes 13/14. It is designed for special occasion fabrics and the pattern includes a ‘no itch’ tulle underskirt to make special occasions even more special! But, it is of course wonderful made from cotton too! Flat front, elastic back waistband makes it classy and comfortable.  Make one for every girl on your list, it’s adorable on little ones and is approved by tweens too!