Apr 16, 2013

My Favorite Skirt {Tutorial}

I'm finally sharing the tutorial for my favorite skirt! Almost all my skirts are made from this tutorial, it's pretty simple and it turns out great every time. It has a flat waistband in the front and elastic in the back so no zippers or buttons are needed! There are no complicated patterns to cut out, just four rectangles. There are also lots of fun ways to mix up this pattern by add a contrasting band at the hem, pockets, or a bow around the waist, etc.
You can see a lot of other skirts I made using this method in this post.

Click on the link below to see the full tutorial!

elastic (no-roll woven elastic works best)
rotary cutter and mat
sewing supplies (machine, thread, scissors, etc.)

The amount of fabric needed really depends on the length of your skirt and how gathered you like it. I like my skirts to be knee length and gathered with about twice the waist measurement. This is how much I fabric is use:
child's skirt, size 12 and under.... 1 yard
teenager, adult.... 1.5 yards
If you want a skirt longer than 23 inches, buy 2 yards.

I've made this skirt using cotton, seersucker, and now chambray. Most fabrics will work, but lightweight fabrics are best.


Measure your waist where you like skirts to sit. Also decide how long you would like the skirt to be.


The fabric that I used for this skirt was 60 inches wide, but 45 inch fabric works just as well. 

Fold the fabric in half along the longest side or "hotdog style."

Now you are going to cut out the waistband pieces. Here is a little equation to figure out how wide to cut your waistband pieces:
          elastic width + .5" x 2 =  final width
          For example:  1" (elastic) + .5" (seam allowance) x 2 =     3 inches total

Cut out two waistband pieces. Leave one waistband piece long. For the second waistband piece use this equation to cut it:
waist measurement ÷ 2 + 1" (seam allowance) = waistband length
Example, for 30" waist measurement:  30" ÷ 2 +1" = 16" 

After you cut the waistband pieces you should have a large piece leftover. Cut it along the fold. This makes your two skirt pieces- front and back. 

For your elastic use this equation to cut it:
waist measurement ÷ 2 - 3" = final elastic length
Example: 30" waist ÷ 2 - 3" = 12"

Now all of your fabric pieces are cut out! You should have 2 skirt rectangles (only 1 pictured here), 1 long waistband strip, 1 short waistband strip, and the elastic.


Fold and iron both waistband pieces in half, lengthwise. 

We are going to make the front of the skirt first. Take one the skirt pieces and gather it along the long side. Pull the gathering threads tight until the skirt is the same length as your shorter waistband piece.

Unfold the waistband piece and pin it to your gathered skirt. Lay both the skirt and waistband down so that the wrong side of the fabric is facing you. Sew along the side that you pinned.

After the waistband is sewn to the skirt, it should look like this. Turn the fabric so that the raw edge of the seam is facing up. Iron the seam so that it is turned toward the waistband piece and not the skirt.

Fold and iron the waistband piece over 1/4" along the edge. 

Iron interfacing onto the waistband, leaving a 1/4" border with no interfacing.

Peel the paper off your interfacing. 

Fold the waistband over so that it covers the stitches from your last seam. Iron the waistband down.

Top stitch the waistband onto the skirt. I used a very tiny seam allowance here, just eyeballing it.

Top stitch along the top of the waistband. This is just for looks.

Yay! The front of the skirt is done! It's okay if the waistband is a little wavy like mine, it will be flat when someone wears the skirt.

Now we are going to make the back of the skirt. Unfold your long waistband piece and lay it on top of your second skirt piece. Make sure the wrong side of both the waistband and the skirt are facing you. 

Sew the waistband onto the skirt.

Iron the seam so that it is turned toward the waistband and not the skirt.

Fold and iron the top of the waistband over 1/4".

Fold over the waistband so that it covers the stitches from your last seam. 

Top stitch along the bottom and the top of the waistband.

My waistband was too wide so I used two strips of elastic and made a second casing. Normally you will just have one elastic casing.

Put a safety pin on the end of your elastic and feed it through the casing. 

Stop feeding the elastic through when there is just a tiny bit of elastic left at the opening.

Sew a line down the side to keep the elastic in place. You can zig-zag the edge to make it extra secure.

Pull the elastic all the way through the casing, remove the safety pin, and sew it down on the other end, just like you did with the first. (My skirt has 2 casings, but normally it should have 1 elastic casing)

Now both the front and back of your skirt are done!  Sew the skirt together by putting the front and back pieces together with right sides facing each other. Sew down each side. If you would like, serge or zigzag the edges.    *If you want to add pockets, put them in before sewing up the sides.

Hem the bottom of the skirt to your desired length.

All done! Enjoy your new skirt!


  1. I am just a few months shy of your post being 3 years old, but I wanted to thank you for a great post!
    Very happy with the way the skirt turned out, and I can envision maybe a few alterations to make a few different skirts with no need for zips or buttons YAY! I even did the double elastic encasing, purely because I actually liked the look! Thanks again!

  2. do you think it can be done without the gathering on the waist?

  3. How do I know what length for shorter waist band and how do I add pockets.

  4. How do I know what length for shorter waist band and how do I add pockets.

  5. Hi Anna Elizabeth- thanks for the tutorial. In the step where you cut the waistband material, it looks like you calculated 3 inches, but actually cut 6 inches- double that. Does that sounds correct?

  6. Thank you so much for this tutorial! It's just what I was looking for, and written so clearly!

    My one question is this: How did you sew the front and back of the skirt together without the elastic getting caught in the way? The other tutorials I looked at had the elastic end a little away from the edge of the casing, so it wouldn't be an issue when sewing the two sides together, but it looks like some of your elastic is peeking out of the casing. How did you avoid running into trouble? Thank you so much!

  7. This tutorial would have been so much easier if you would have put the exact/explicit measurements of each of the pieces once they were cut. It's a little thing, but not everyone is going to be working with the same kind of fabric, or the same length. If it is stated there somewhere, it is not clear enough.

  8. so clearly, thank you very much!!!

  9. This tutorial for making a wonderful shirt is mind blowing. I like it very much. YOU have clear all the steps. Thank you.
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  10. Hi, I am getting myself ready to sew my first skirt and this design is one of my favourites I have found.
    I am just wondering though how you work out the width of the fabric around the waist/the length of the long waist piece? Does this come from the total length of fabric you had to start with?

  11. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I'm off makling skirts now!

  12. I have been sewing for years at random and couldn't find a clear enough tutorial on how to do this and finally I found one. I am looking constantly and yours has so far been the clearest and I just sighed with relief because you made it look so easy so I can't wait to finally try this at home. Thank you for the step by step images!

  13. Excellently done. Very clear instructions!

  14. Exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!

  15. Wonderful instructions - wonderful skirt. Used a beautiful Christmas ornaments fabric, wore it to a Holiday dinner party at a fabulously decorated restaurant. Received so many compliments and had such fun wearing it through the whole season. Thanks Very Much

  16. How long should the long piece for the waistband be? Your tutorial says leave it long. I’m working with 4 yards of fabric, so I’m not sure how big my skirt pieces should be. I figured a yard per skirt, but I’m making 4.

  17. Very easy to understand! Thank you so much!

  18. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful skirt love it

  19. Thank you for sharing. It’s a beautiful, cute skirt love it !!

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