30 Minute Skirt Tutorial

I wrote about my love for our Double Gauze Solids when they arrived in the shop. That post might have been a little more gushy than my usual “new in stock” posts but I think it pretty accurately described my feelings about these fabrics. I. Love. Double. Gauze. Solids. Anyway, after staring at them non-stop for days and jealously packing up lots of customers’ orders for them, I decided to seize the last half hour of the day and throw a skirt together.

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These skirts are great for summer (the last time I made one we were in the heatwave and I was seriously running out of weather-appropriate clothes) but I couldn’t stop picturing myself wearing the mustard double gauze with nubby grey tights and brown boots. And with the sun shining all the time I was worried I was running out of boots days. So here’s the outfit. Wow do I need a haircut.

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This is the easiest skirt you’ll ever make and it hardly requires a tutorial, but I will give you one just because. This is basically the fastest possible way to go from having a piece of fabric to having a skirt. All shortcuts, no frills. Proper dressmakers you might want to look away now…

First, supplies:

You’re going to need fabric, thread and elastic. To figure out how much you need of each, start by measuring your waist. Your real waist. A little trick I learned from Rachel to find your waist is to knot a piece of elastic and put it around yourself like a belt. The place where it settles is your waist. Since your skirt will have an elastic waist, this is where the waistband of your skirt will settle.

So take that measurement and cut yourself a piece of elastic that is your waist measurement plus one inch. 1″ – 1.5″ wide elastic works great.

Now take your waist measurement and multiply by 1.5. This is flexible – if you have a little less fabric or want to use more it’s fine – but 1.5x is a pretty good rule of thumb for an adult skirt. You need a piece of fabric that wide, or two pieces half that wide. Figure out how long you want the skirt by measuring from your waist to where you want it and adding at least 2″ for seam allowances. I have been using about 1.75m of 44″/112cm-wide fabric cut in half lengthwise. Don’t cut off the selvedge – we’ll be using that!

Okay – got your supplies?

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Prepare your fabric

Now you’re going to want to finish the three edges of your fabric that aren’t selvedge. Or, if you are using two pieces (a front and back) you’ll be finishing the three edges on both pieces. In the shop I used our overlocker, but at home I used pinking shears. Zigzag stitching the edges works fine too. Whatever, just make it quick!

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Now all of your raw edges will look like this.

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Sewing

Fold your fabric in half, right sides together (or place the two pieces together right sides together if you have two) and sew up the side seams. Could you use French seams to make it pretty? Yes you could. But this isn’t the 45-minute skirt tutorial so we’re not going to do that here! Once you’re done you should have one big tube of fabric.

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Press your side seam(s) open.

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Now press the selvedge edge up to make your hem. I wanted to preserve as much length as possible so I folded it at the little holes punched in the selvedge.

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Fold down the top edge of your fabric once and measure with your elastic to work out how much space you need to allow for your waistband. If you have allowed enough fabric you can fold this over twice to make it neater. Essentially you need to create a tube for the elastic waistband. Press.

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Now that you’re done pressing, go back to your sewing machine and stitch up that hem.

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Next, stitch up your waistband tube leaving about 2 inches space to push the elastic through. Put a pin on one end of your elastic and push it through the waistband tube, being careful not to twist it inside.

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When you’re done, pull the two loose ends of elastic out.

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Lay them on top of each other and sew them together using a zigzag stitch.

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Go back and forth a couple of times to make it strong. This does not have to be pretty.

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Sew up the gap. 
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And you’re done! Now you know your measurements, the next one will only take 20 minutes!

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The skirt we’ve just made feels more like a summer-no-tights-skirt and I’m not ready to publish photos of my knees yet this year, so I’m not going to try it on for you today. Instead, here’s another one of the yellow skirt!

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11 Responses to 30 Minute Skirt Tutorial

  1. Charlotte March 26, 2014 at 8:05 am #

    cute skirt, and fab tutorial 😀

  2. Chris March 26, 2014 at 8:08 am #

    Very clear instructions, shows you that not everything has to be so complicated.

  3. Wendy March 26, 2014 at 9:08 am #

    I have made many a skirt in the past when my daughter was little using that method. The only difference being when I did the elastic casing I made it a little bit wider and sewing a line of stitching right next to the fold. (Then threaded the elastic through) It stopped the elastic bending inside the casing.

  4. Pamela March 26, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    I use this method for my skirts, I do add pockets because I love them. I also do a zigzag stitch down each side of the finished waistband to hold the elastic in place. I also cut the selvege edges off as I use them to make bags and cushions.

  5. isabelle March 26, 2014 at 10:35 am #

    Thank you Annie for this simple and clear tutorial of the skirt! I will give it a go…

  6. Anne Plympton March 26, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

    what a lovely simple pattern, especially for any children that is learning to sew for the first time

  7. Katy March 26, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

    Love this! And such a great colour choice too :o)

  8. Pennie April 12, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

    Will be giving this one a go, and love the idea of adding pockets….

  9. Alice November 8, 2015 at 8:15 am #

    I use this method to make all my daughters skirts. Like a comment above I also add a stitch around the top of the elastic. Also add bias binding around the bottom instead of hemming. Each skirt can cost as little as £3 and takes about 30 mins. Brilliant!
    Brilliant tutorial!

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