I have a lot of mom friends who don’t sew. I’m always surprised at their fear of sewing. So this tutorial is for all those mom’s who need a little help with an easy project — or for the seasoned sewer looking to use up some fabric from your stash!
This simple skirt tutorial will work for any age (children through adults). The skirt is made from one (or two for the adult) pieces of fabric sewn together with an elastic waistband.
I’ll show a few examples of simple variations you can do, but there’s so many things you could do to make it unique! You could also try a patchwork skirt by simply sewing your leftover fabric together to make a larger piece.
Start by measuring the waist and length for your skirt. For my daughter, her waist measured 20″ around and from her waistline to just below the knee it was 13″. You can make your skirt any length you like, but I like it a little longer. To make it a nice full skirt we’ll double your waistline measurement (if you want it less full, multiply it by 1.5). To the desired length, add a total of 2.5″ (1/2″ for the bottom seam and 2″ for the top elastic casing).
So here’s the dimensions for your fabric piece.
If your desired width is wider than your fabric (most fabrics are 44″ wide), you can sew two pieces together.
I like to use 1″ wide elastic for these skirts. To determine the length of elastic you’ll need, start with the waist measurement and subtract one inch. This will hold your skirt in place nicely.
The Basic Easy-Peasy Skirt.
To make a basic skirt, start by sewing your fabric together to create your side seam. Start by putting your fabric right sides together and sew with a 1/2″ seam allowance (black line in the photo). Finish the edge with a serger or zig-zag stitch to prevent fraying (white stitches in the photo).
Alternatively, you can use a French Seam which will hide your raw edges and look very professional. This type of seam does not work well for thick fabrics. So if you’re using something thick, like corduroy or denim, you should use the method above. Quilting weight fabric is about the thickness I would ever use a french seam for.
To make a french seam, start with your fabric wrong sides together and sew with a 1/4″ (or less) seam allowance.
Turn the fabric and press your seam flat so that the right sides of the fabric are now together.
Sew along your seam with a 3/8″ seam allowance.
This catches the smaller seam and traps it inside – so your raw edges are completely encased. Iron your seam down flat against the fabric.
Hemming the bottom.
Fold the raw edge at the bottom of the skirt up 1/4″. Press. Fold up an additional 1/4″ and press.
Pin in place and sew in place with a seam close to the upper edge of the fold.
Finish the top.
To make the casing for your elastic, fold down the top edge 1/2″ and iron in place. Fold down again 1.5″ and iron. Pin in place. (If you’re using elastic other than 1″ wide, you’ll need to adjust this size by adding 1/2″ to the width of your elastic. So if you’re elastic is only 1/2″ wide, add 1/2″ and then your second fold would be 1″, not 1.5″.)
Sew around 1/4″ from the bottom of the folded edge leaving an opening of about 3 or 4 inches unstitched.
Place a safety pin at one end of the elastic and start feeding it through the hole you left in the casing.
When you’ve gotten the elastic all the way through the casing, pin the two ends of the elastic together with a 1″ overlap.
Sew in place.
Tuck the elastic into the casing and pin.
Sew seam closed and you’re done with the basic skirt!
Add a little bling!
One of the simplest ways to add a unique touch to your skirt is to add some trim (or bling) to the bottom of the skirt. You could add lace or ribbon or little tiny pompoms like these!
I added the pompoms before I did the side seam, when the fabric was flat so that the ends of the trim are hidden in the side seam.
Add a simple stripe.
To add a stripe at the bottom, determine your stripe width (I added a 3″ stripe at the bottom) and subtract that length from your top half piece and add 1/2″ to the length of the top piece and add 1″ to the length of your desired stripe.
Place your stripe fabric and top fabric right sides together and sew with a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Finish the edge of the seam by serging or using a zig-zag.
Iron the seam down (towards the stripe). Photo shows the opposite way.
and topstitch in place.
Continue sewing the skirt stitching the side seam next and then finishing the bottom and top.
Adding some embroidery.
Lastly you can add beauty to simple, plain fabric by adding a bit of embroidery. Here I used Sashiko a type of Japanese embroidery which is simply a series of small, evenly spaced running stitches sewn in repeating simple geometric designs.
The stitch I’ve used here is a variation of Seven Treasures where two rows of the stitches are made and
horizontal lines were stitched above and below to encase it. To add the design, I made a small sketch of the design on paper and sandwiched it with carbon paper against the fabric. I traced the design leaving the impression on the fabric. I repeated this all the way around the fabric. Then I started stitching. It took a little while (after all the full width of the skirt is 40″), but I love it!
I added the embroidery before I added the elastic, but after the bottom hem was stitched. Of course you could do something much simpler — a simple running stitch around the skirt or a flower or two poking up from the bottom!
Let me know if you have any questions and Happy Sewing!!