{how-to: a running skirt, elsa-inspired}

I wanted to make a skirt for the Yule Light Up the Night 2.5mi race, and ended up making this really cute blue, tiered, ruffled skirt that reminds me quite a bit of Elsa from Frozen.

lec705431Image Credit: Disney Parks Blog

My apologies… I keep making skirts without taking progress photos… it’s because I don’t actually think I’m going to blog about my sewing projects, and I’m too excited to make my skirts to care about taking pictures as I go along (it slows me down). In lieu of photos, I’ve done my best here to create some graphics and provide descriptions!

Supplies list (newly-purchased, as well as what I already had sitting around):

  • Blue knit fabric (poly/lycra blend)
  • White mesh fabric with glittery painted snowflakes
  • Glitter elastic, 1.5in wide
  • White thread
  • Needles
  • Pins
  • Sharp scissors
  • A pen (I used a ballpoint pen)
  • Sewing machine

My go-to fabric store is Jo-Ann Fabric. They had some awesome deals over Black Friday weekend, which made my broke-ass heart so happy!


The blue knit feels like swimsuit material, and it has really pretty silver/holographic threads running through it that remind me the skirt portion of Elsa’s gown.


The white mesh with the snowflakes reminds me of her cape.

Note about the mesh: I purchased a soft mesh that isn’t scratchy. Some mesh is very stiff and is better suited for things like tutus because it holds its shape well. The mesh I used for this skirt is soft and flowy.


Finally, I found some really soft, easy-to-stretch, glittery elastic for the waistband.

I reused the circle skirt tutorial from Moms RUN This Town (the same tutorial I used to make my Santa Shuffle skirt) with some minor modifications so that I could have a second ruffled layer on my skirt with a sheer layer on top of it. I wanted to make sure there was a little ruffle in the bottom half of the skirt, and I wanted to incorporate the sheer panel without fully covering the blue, because I really like both fabrics.

You can refer to the tutorial for the math/measurements and how to fold/mark up the fabric, so here’s a visual of how I planned out cutting the pieces for my skirt:

Top and bottom tier in blue knit fabricblueskirtlayers

Sheer tier in mesh snowflake fabric


Once I had my pieces cut, I opened up the folded pieces and had perfect circles (like donuts, but less delicious). I laid the sheer tier over the bottom blue tier and ran a wide, loose stitch by hand about half an inch down from the top edge of the layers so that I could create the ruffle I wanted before I pinned these layers to the bottom edge of the top tier. Once I had them pinned, I zipped it through the sewing machine.


And by “zipped” I mean I labored over this over a couple days because my sewing machine is old and comprised of plastic parts that overheat and warp, and the bobbin thread kept bunching up and building a bird nest, and it just doesn’t sew as well as it used to.

LEST YOU THINK THESE PROJECTS ARE EASY… I assure you, they are not. The skirt itself isn’t difficult to make, it’s just the damn sewing machine that makes it so hard. I get really frustrated with my machine and have to stop working. Perhaps it’s time for a new sewing machine…

I took the elastic for the waistband and sewed the ends together to make a circle. Then I pinned that to the top edge of the skirt with the glittery sides facing each other (ie: the parts that face out when the skirt is on) and hand-sewed at this point because I was so annoyed with my sewing machine. This took me a few episodes of That 70s Show over a couple nights to complete. Then, voila! Finished skirt! And PERFECT for an Elsa costume at a runDisney race!


My only reflection looking back on this design is that I should’ve cut a larger gap between the two blue pieces of fabric. If I had made the gap 2″-3″ wide, the bottom layer would’ve been larger and would’ve created a nicer ruffle. Oh well… lesson learned for next time!

If you’re nervous about cutting a circle skirt, this tutorial on YouTube is another way to make an elastic waistband skirt that just requires one straight cut across the bottom for the length you want. I used this for the mermaid-print skirt I wore for Traveler’s Half Marathon.

Have you made any of your own skirts for running? Which tutorials did you follow?


One thought on “{how-to: a running skirt, elsa-inspired}

  1. Pingback: {help me pick my next rundisney costume}

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