Flower Girl Dresses for Adorable Girls

Pick-up Skirt: Tutorial

One of the great things about a sewing project is the opportunity to try out new techniques. I’ve always liked the look of and wondered how to make skirt “pick-ups”.  A pair of flower girl dresses was exactly what I needed to try my hand at it.  Caitlin’s request was to “make me the most beautiful person at the wedding”.

Here’s the dress I tried to create, knowing that I would make some modifications – like eliminating the “off the shoulder” look.

The first step was to make a sample dress for each of the girls.  Caitlin scored on this one:

Cate's Sample dress

Confident that the dress fit was correct, I sewed the real dress using poly satin.  The skirt has 3 layers; an underlined overskirt, 4 layers of tulle and a lining.  With all of those layers already bulking up the waist seam, I made the crinoline as a separate garment. Because these pick-ups are only in the front, the skirt was constructed at the desired length.   When the dress was completed and after placing a 3/4″ hem, I started to plan for the pick-up’s.


  • Use a fabric with some body.  The first time I tried this, the fabric was too limp.  I then added organza as an underlining for the front panel and it worked great.
  • If you do this without a pattern, realize that it’s a crap shoot.  Plan for trial and error.

Tutorial:  How to Make a “Pick-up” Skirt

1. When the dress is constructed, measure the skirt length.  This one was 21-1/2″

2. At the center front seam of the overskirt, use pins to mark where you want your pick-up’s.  I marked about 5″ from the waist (pin #1), then down about 6″ (pin #2), and down another 6″ (pin #3).  The bottom pin was several inches from the bottom of the skirt.

3. Now place markers midway between pin #1 and pin #2 at 5-6 inches away from the center line.

4.  Place one marker between pin #2 and pin #3 at about 10-12 inches to the left and to the right of the center front.  Click on the following photo to see the placement more clearly.

Placement of markers for skirt pick-ups

5. Next you will mark the locations which you will secure the overskirt markers.  To make this easy, lift the overskirt and clip or pin it to the top of the hanger to make it easy to work on the underskirt.

6. Find the exact center front of the lining (or in this case, the tulle underskirt and lining needed to be considered as one – what a pain).

7.  Mark with pins on the center line, at about 2″(pin #1), 5″ (pin #2) and 8-9″ (pin #3) from the waist.

8.  Now place markers midway between pin #1 and pin #2 at 5-6 inches to each side of the center front.

9.  As with the over-skirt, place markers between pin #2 and pin #3 at 10-12 inches to each side of the center front.

Underskirt markers

Now comes the fun part, where you match the outer marker to the respective marker on the underskirt.

10. With the skirt hanging, match pin #1 on the over-skirt with pin #1 on the under-skirt.  Place a pin at the markers (safety pins would be better but could also make holes in the fabric).

11.  Do the same for each respective marker, being careful to keep the fabric aligned so it won’t look crooked.

12.  Step back and take a look.  Are the pick-ups where you want them?  If not, adjust.

Enlarge photo to see the pin placements

13. When you have the look you want, at each marker, hand stitch through all layers of fabric.

14.  To assure that the threads won’t pull through, place a small button on the back side and a small bead or pearl on the front.

Small button on the back side prevents the thread from pulling through
5mm pearl on the overskirt to secure the pick-up

15.  When you’re done, it should look something like this.

Adorable Mira and Caitlin in their "floofy" dresses

What are your experiences with pick-ups.  Is there an easier way?


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