Pickup Skirt Tutorial

How to sew a pickup skirt tutorial by Melly Sews 

Today I’m going to share my pickup skirt tutorial I have been obsessed with pickup skirts lately. From the Mountain Laurel Dress

to the skirt with the His & Hers Henleys 

to the Fairytale Seersucker Dress,

to pins from my Women’s Clothing Fashion Inspiration board on Pinterest,

I’m all about the pickup skirt. Besides the fact that they are so pretty, they are also surprisingly easy to make. Want to learn how? Read on.

My apologies that you’re going to see photos from both the His & Hers Henley Skirt and the Mountain Laurel dress. Don’t let it confuse you.

First, you need both your skirt and your lining. Your lining should be the length you want your finished skirt to be (plus seam allowances). Your skirt needs to be both wider than and longer than your lining. For the Henley Skirt, I did a circle skirt that was the same width as the lining at the waist, but obviously much, much wider around the bottom to get that bubble shape. For the Fairytale Seersucker dress my skirt was about 11 inches longer and for the Mountain Laurel dress my skirt was about 9 inches longer than the lining. For both dresses my skirt was twice as wide as the lining.

I know the lining looks kind of like a straight skirt in the pic above, but it was actually flared. You do want room to be able to walk.

Next, sew a gathering stitch around the bottom of the skirt. Gather it to fit the bottom of the lining. With the skirt right side out, and the lining wrong side out, put the skirt inside the lining and pin the bottoms together.

Sew around the bottom. Remove the pin and flip the lining to the inside of the skirt.

For a poufier skirt, like the Henley Skirt, add some netting between the layers. I used netting, not tulle – it’s in the same area of the fabric store but has bigger holes and is stiffer.

Now gather the top edge of the skirt to match the top edge of the lining. Baste the two together.

If this is part of a dress, tie to sew the skirt to the dress. If it’s a skirt, sew the waistband on.

Now, put the dress/skirt on a dress form or hanger. It’s best to be able to see the drape as you do the pickups. Thread a hand-sewing needle, grab your pins, and pull up a chair.

To make a pick up, you literally pick up the skirt, moving it up and pinning it to the lining. You want the lining to hang straight, but the topskirt to be picked up and secured to it. Place a pin, then let the upper part of the skirt hang over it.

Continue picking up and placing pins, rotating the dress/skirt. You can make as many or as few poufs as you want, and as big or small as your skirt length will let you (for bigger drapes, you need a longer skirt). I just kind of go about this organically, placing and moving pins until the skirt looks right to me.

Now take your threaded needle, and sew a few stitches in place of every pin. Make sure your stitches go through the lining (possibly even the netting if you added some) and and that you knot them well before cutting.

Check for pins by looking inside the skirt lining, and when you’ve replaced all the pins with stitches, you’re done!

I put my dress form on the stairs for this dress so I could sit lower and not have to be on my knees while stitching.

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  1. Suzan says

    I am dying here! Love the little girl’s dress and I don’t know how I missed it before. I see making one of these for my granddaughter in my future. Thanks for the tutorial on how to make it a “pick up”!

  2. Emilia says

    wow, you are on my channel!!! i have been conjuring up a skirt with pick ups but didnt know what it was called!! also TOTALLY wondering how to get it all picked up!! i had no idea to use lining, which is such a great idea DUH!! thanks for such a great creative brain you share with us.

  3. Misa says

    What a cool concept! I have never seen this explained and love it, especially on the girl’s dresses. And it would make a beautiful wedding gown element.

  4. Jennifer Juniper says

    I love the high fashion look of this – it would be so easy to transform an existing dress with a lining! Wheels are turning…

  5. Alison @ Oopsey Daisy says

    Another incredible tutorial!! :) I love the entire look here! Absolutely beautiful. Thanks for sharing at oopsey daisy!

    • says

      Yes you have to have a lining, it’s what you’re sewing the pickups to. If you don’t have a lining, there’s nothing to pick up to. If you sew the skirt to itself, you don’t get the poufy effect, it looks more like gathers. And the stitches are put under tremendous pressure in that method, which causes them to rip out easily (I’ve tried it).

  6. says

    I love this tutorial! Now planning to make a pick-up skirt dress when I have the time… Any advice on what type of fabric to use? Thanks

  7. Ayesha Riaz says

    I have a pick up skirt and mine has ribbons on the inside 1 above the other scattered and you tie them together to get different effects x

  8. says

    Ok, I know I am ridiculously late finding this tutorial but I would love to try this! I’m making a prom dress and this would be PERFECT! Question: how would I go about embellishing the pickups with rhinestones, flowers, or the likes?

  9. JD says

    Found a SUPER deal on a wedding dress that has a pickup skirt, but I am not really a fan. Was leaning more towards a tea/knee length dress anyways but haven’t had any luck. What I am wondering is could this work reversed? Could a floor length pickup skirt be transformed to a tea length circle skirt?

  10. Harini says

    Its really nice….. I want to sew one for my daughter.
    Question.. Do u have a drape dress tutorial pls?

  11. Shelley says

    I’ve been seeing these skirts for a while, thought they were really cool looking, but had no idea how to achieve that look. Thanks so much for the tutorial. You have a real talent for making complicated things simple and achievable.

  12. says

    Omg yay I have been struggling with these dang pick up skirts I haven’t been able to figure out how to hem them and now it’s like DUH!!!!! I do have one question tho…. The netting u do that as a circle skirt right not an A line???

  13. miriam says

    I want to use mccalls 5321 for the pickup, but dont like the 2 seams in the front. How can I avoid them? It seems to already have been cut on the bias.

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