Sew a Beginner Skirt

This is an easy skirt that does not use as much fabric as some other designs: this good when using random fabric that’s been waiting years to be put to use! And you can make it with just a little sewing and maths calculations. I know this, because it is the first item of clothing I have ever sewn (that’s not a costume), and it is cute and awesome and I currently feel very accomplished!

(This skirt pattern is not a brand new idea; there are posts out there that describe the same kind of skirt. Some just make it sound more difficult than it needs to be. This really is an easy beginner skirt to get that confidence boost to do more sewing! )

*The hardest part for me: cutting fabric. Once it is cut it can never be whole again! :/


  • Fabric (non-stretch, thin – e.g. polycotton, cotton, brushed cotton)
  • Elastic (e.g. 1” wide non-roll elastic)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Thread in matching fabric colour
  • Sewing machine
  • Strong safety pin to help thread elastic

Optional extras

  • Fabric stamping and stencils to decorate plain fabric (and heat set iron/tool)
  • Other decorations like buttons, lace edge, etc.


Measurements needed:-

  • Rectangle of fabric in width and length as below.
  • Fabric width is waist x 1.75 (for less fullness or more fullness multiply by 1.5 or 2 (i.e. double your waist measurement), just check it will be wider than your hips once it loses ~4cm when sewn together). E.g. 70cm x 1.75 = 122.5cm, total width will be ~118cm.
  • Fabric length is desired length plus ~5cm for sewing waist band and ~2-3cm to sew hem (depends on how deep a hem you want, or no hem if using selvedge). E.g. 50cm + 5cm waist and use selvedge (no hem) = 55cm.
  • Elastic is width of waist (or where you want it to sit) + 2 to 3cm (to sew ends together). E.g. 70cm + 2cm = 72cm.
Cat making skirt measurements

Cat is making their own skirt too!


1. Make a template of complete width by height, or measure and cut with measuring tape, ruler, grey lead pencil and fabric scissors; or whatever combination of tools you have.

2. First sew the sides together (fabric will become a never ending circle) by French seaming the side. A French seam will capture the edges within the seam so it won’t fray.

Line up the side of the fabric with the pattern on the outside and sew string down ~1cm in. Then turn inside out and press the edge flat, sew more than 1cm in to trap the edges of the fabric. Turn back out the right way and check it is all good.

3. Now to make the waistband.

Fold back inside out to sew the waist. Fold top edge down ~1cm and check the length remains the same around the dress. Sew straight around.

Fold the waist down again so this edge is caught in the elastic waist section. *Leave ~1” of the end open for the elastic to be inserted. It will need to be wide enough for the 1” elastic to go through, but not too much room for it to be able to move around and roll up. E.g. I folded down 3.5cm, sewing along the first sewn line that left ~3cm for the 2.5cm elastic.

4. Insert the elastic.

Attach a strong safety pin to the elastic (it will make your life much easier). Insert into the waist band and use the safety pin to help bunch fabric and then hold pin to pull fabric down the elastic. Once the elastic is all the way around, carefully check the fit (don’t let go of either end of the elastic!), then overlap by about 1cm and sew up and back over the 1cm a few times so that it will really hold together. Move the fabric waist to be well spaced around the elastic.

5. The bottom hem.

If you need to sew the hem, repeat the waist sewing process: fold up, check length is consistent, sew; then fold up again to trap edge and sew. Or if used selvedge (the edge of the fabric by the manufacturer that does not fray or unravel) then leave unsewn or sew up once as it won’t fray.

6. (Optional extra!) Sew, stamp or stencil (and heat set any fabric ink) any additional decorations. See stamping instructions.


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