Remove a Tier From a Skirt Fast & Easy

Chickie W.U.
by Chickie W.U.
4 Materials
30 Minutes

Hello Readers. Skirts (And dresses.) with tiers are really in style right now. I am seeing them all over my social media. They are really lovely but what if they are too long. I have a quick and easy way to shorten a skirt or dress quickly and easily. No one has a lot of extra time to sit at the sewing machine so let's do this the fast way.

Before and after.

This dress had some serious "Little House on the Prairie" vibes going on. I watched that show as a kid but it's not a fashion look I want to recreate for myself in 2023. This dress would look a lot better on me if I shortened it. I did like the little ruffle in the middle of the skirt so I wanted to save that.

I spread the dress out on my sewing table. I wanted to remove the bottom tier of the dress but I didn't want to sit and unpick all the stitches and then re-attach that little ruffle back on the dress. That would take a long time.

I decided to cut the bottom tier off the dress. I couldn't just cut it off and let it fray. I wanted it to be nice and neat. I had a plan for that. I would cut it off under the ruffle.

I lifted the ruffle and cut the bottom tier off but I left about 1/4 inch of fabric. I made sure to cut under the ruffle without cutting any other fabric of the dress. Use sharp fabric shears/scissors for best results.

Here is a look at the extra fabric I left on the skirt of the dress after I cut the bottom tier off. It is going to get hidden under the ruffle but it will fray so it needs a bit of sewing to finish it. 


That ruffle that I liked so much had it's own seam attaching it to the dress. I could use that seam to quickly finish this. I could sew the cut fabric to the seam and it would all stay nice and neat under the ruffle.

I used my serger to stitch the cut edge of the skirt to the seam that was under that ruffle. The serger will cover that cut edge and it won't fray. If you do not have a serger use the zigzag stitch on your sewing machine. Make your stitches close together to cover the cut edge well. This will prevent fraying. All of this will be hidden inside the dress under that ruffle.

To make sure the hem of my dress would lay flat when I wore it, walked around and y'know... lived my life. I used a straight stitch and top stitched the seam. This will keep the dress looking it's best. And that is what I want of course. This whole project only took about 30 minutes.


I really liked that little ruffle at the hem of this dress. It was a sweet detail and I am glad I could keep it. I like the dress shorter too. It looks sweet and not like it is out of the pioneer days. Thanks for reading along, now go make something fun for yourself.


Suggested materials:
  • Tiered skirt or dress   (On-hand)
  • Sharp Scissors   (Sewing supply Store)
  • Sewing Machine/Serger   (On-hand)
See all materials

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 1 comment
  • Darlene Duncan Darlene Duncan on May 15, 2023

    With pinking scissors, designed to prevent fraying, you could skip all the sewing, after trimming off the bottom tier the way you did it. Just cutting it closer to the seam where the tier was attached. and leaving that bit of ruffle over it.