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Beginner Sewing Projects | How to Make an Elastic Waistband Skirt

how to make a elastic waist skirt - a beginner sewing tutorial by Megan Nielsen Patterns

I get asked a lot what are the best sewing projects for beginners. Generally what I say is that most people tell you to make a pair of boxer shorts or track suit pants or something like that, and though it’s not a bad starting point I think it’s a bit of a silly first project as there are a lot of seams, and you’ll probably never use them, plus pants are hard to fit right. What I generally suggest is some sort of a skirt. I think the best types to start with are a wrap skirt, an elastic waistband skirt or a dirndl skirt.

Honestly, an elastic waist skirt is probably the easiest of them all. There is no pattern needed, and it is made with just one rectangular piece of fabric. That’s it! Just one piece of fabric! And it can be easily adapted for any size or shape- women’s or children. Easily make it above the knee or full length maxi length (or any length in between!). Make it in a lightweight floaty fabric for a drapey look, or in a cotton or heavy weight fabric for a fuller look.

This skirt is seriously a perfect beginner project. Plus I think it looks pretty cute (I totally lived in this one all summer! Remember here and here?). I’m going to walk you through every single (simple!) step to help make your own. So let’s get started….

What you’ll need:

– one yard (or less for a short skirt or childrens skirt) of 60″ wide fabric

-1″ wide elastic

**seam allowance is 1/2″ for simplicity

how to make a elastic waist skirt - a beginner sewing tutorial by Megan Nielsen PatternsSo you need to cut one rectangular piece of fabric.

Width: the full 60″ width of the fabric. For our plus size babes, if you need more room, you can cut two rectangles and sew them together at the sides. For children, you don’t need a full 60″, for my toddler, I cut 30″ wide.

Length: measure from your waist to where you want your skirt to hit (knee, midi, maxi, etc) and add 2 1/2″ to that measurement for the elastic casing and hem.

how to make a elastic waist skirt - a beginner sewing tutorial by Megan Nielsen Patternshow to make a elastic waist skirt - a beginner sewing tutorial by Megan Nielsen PatternsFold your rectangle in half length wise with right sides of the fabric together, so that the two raw side edges line up.

Sew along the edge 1/2″ from the raw edges. Press the seam open.

You now have a large fabric tube.

how to make a elastic waist skirt - a beginner sewing tutorial by Megan Nielsen PatternsWe need to make the casing for the elastic along the upper edge of your fabric tube. Fold over the top edge by 1/2″ and press.

how to make a elastic waist skirt - a beginner sewing tutorial by Megan Nielsen PatternsFold over the top edge again by just over 1″ (about 1 1/8″) and press. This will enclose the raw edge of the fabric. You can pin in place to prevent the fabric from moving.

how to make a elastic waist skirt - a beginner sewing tutorial by Megan Nielsen PatternsSew together close to the inner folded edge. Don’t sew all the way around though! Leave a gap about 2″ wide open near the side seam. This is where you will thread the elastic through.

how to make a elastic waist skirt - a beginner sewing tutorial by Megan Nielsen PatternsNow we need to cut our elastic.

Measure your natural waist (smallest part of your waist). Now subtract about 2-3″ from that measurement.

Waist measurement – 2″ = elastic length.

how to make a elastic waist skirt - a beginner sewing tutorial by Megan Nielsen PatternsAttach a safety pin to one end of the elastic.

how to make a elastic waist skirt - a beginner sewing tutorial by Megan Nielsen Patterns how to make a elastic waist skirt - a beginner sewing tutorial by Megan Nielsen PatternsSlip the safety pin end of the elastic into the opening, and start to thread it through the casing, helping it along with your fingers. Keep going all the way around until…

how to make a elastic waist skirt - a beginner sewing tutorial by Megan Nielsen PatternsYour elastic comes back out the other end of the opening.

how to make a elastic waist skirt - a beginner sewing tutorial by Megan Nielsen Patterns how to make a elastic waist skirt - a beginner sewing tutorial by Megan Nielsen PatternsOverlap the elastic about 1″ and sew them together with a zig zag stitch.

how to make a elastic waist skirt - a beginner sewing tutorial by Megan Nielsen PatternsLet the elastic slide back into the casing.

how to make a elastic waist skirt - a beginner sewing tutorial by Megan Nielsen PatternsStretch the waist a bit a sew the 2″ gap closed, enclosing the elastic in the casing.

how to make a elastic waist skirt - a beginner sewing tutorial by Megan Nielsen Patternshow to make a elastic waist skirt - a beginner sewing tutorial by Megan Nielsen PatternsNow its time to hem! Along the bottom edge, turn in the raw edge by 1/2″ and press.

how to make a elastic waist skirt - a beginner sewing tutorial by Megan Nielsen PatternsTurn under again by another 1/2″, enclosing the raw edge. Press and pin.

how to make a elastic waist skirt - a beginner sewing tutorial by Megan Nielsen PatternsSew just under 1/2″ from the edge, all the way around.

And now it’s finished!

how to make a elastic waist skirt - a beginner sewing tutorial by Megan Nielsen PatternsFor my toddler above the knee version, I cut a 33″ wide by 14″ long rectangle, and used the same exact steps.

how to make a elastic waist skirt - a beginner sewing tutorial by Megan Nielsen PatternsEasy, right?! So simple, and so cute!

About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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Kristen
12 years ago

A-line. :)

districtofchic
12 years ago

That skirt is perfect! I love the print that you chose and it looks so comfy, yet flattering!

evylin alexandra
12 years ago

gorgeous skirt, love the fabric.
for the wrap skirt, maybe A-line? :)

JacRan
12 years ago

Yeah, A line!! :)

Stina
12 years ago

Love the skirt:-) I am now following your blog, and I am so glad I am. What great clothes:-) You have talent…

Laura
Laura
11 years ago

I just made this skirt out of an old pillowcase with cartoon little girls on it. It came out perfectly thanks to your tutorial. Thank you so much!

Good luck with the bebe!

katxx
katxx
11 years ago

thanks for this!! i love making clothes the DIY way! :)

Amylynnknits
11 years ago

I used your tutorial with a yard of fabric that caught my eye, and I love the skirt that I made! It was so quick, it took longer to pin everything than it did to make the skirt. :)

Thanks so much!

Meg
Meg
11 years ago

So glad it worked well for you AmyLynn!

Stephy
10 years ago

Thanks for this post!! I am suddenly struck with a passion to sew and have been looking for a perfect first project for me. This is it!! I love this skirt – so cute!! Yes, it does like something you would see at a store for $50!!!! Love it :)

Rebekah
10 years ago

I just made a skirt using your VERY easy tutorial- thanks for writing it!

trackback

[…] some  Michael Miller Fabric i had purchased a while back, you can do one yourself following this tutorial, at first i wanted to do a skirt that you gathered with a ribbon of the same fabric ,but i ended up […]

Danoia
Danoia
7 years ago

Do you have any printable patterns?? Btw, I L??Ve the pattern :)

Michelle Yoder
Michelle Yoder
7 years ago

So, where is the tutorial???

Dkatty
Dkatty
7 years ago
Reply to  Michelle Yoder

uP ABOVE IN HER DESCRIPTION IS THE LINK/TUTORIAL TO CLICK ON. pdf FILE DOWNLOADS INSTANTLY…

Jodie
Jodie
3 years ago

Would I need to used morw fabric for a larger size – like if I am a 12/14?

Taylor C
Taylor C
1 year ago

Does this skirt need a lining? Or was the fabric thick enough not to need one?

Marielle
Marielle
1 year ago

Wow this is a wonderful guide ??

Marielle
Marielle
1 year ago
Reply to  Marielle

The emoji ” O.O ?” turned out as a question mark ???

Abby
Abby
1 year ago

Do you think this would work as a maternity pattern? What would you alter to make it maternity?

Alyssa
Alyssa
10 months ago

What a beautiful tutorial! Simple, straightforward and easily adaptable. I have a little 15 dollar portable mini singer, and I made this skirt!! So I’m pretty sure anyone can do it. Because my machine can only do a basic straight stitch, I did french seams. It turned out lovely, I will be wearing this skirt often :) Thank you for the free lesson!

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