Over the years I have made quite a few skirts, and I have even created tutorials for some of them. Today I want to share a tutorial with you for making a simple elastic waist skirt for girls or women of any size.
My niece turned five last month and, like for all of her previous birthdays, I made her an outfit to wear to her party. This year she decided she wanted a rainbow colored skirt, and I was happy to oblige.
Here are links to all of the outfits I have made for her over the years.
- 1st Birthday: Sock Monkey Skirt
- 2nd Birthday: Minnie Mouse Dress
- 3rd Birthday: Doc McStuffins Inspired Tutu
- 4th Birthday: Frozen Inspired Skirt & T-Shirt
If you would like to make an elastic waist skirt like this here’s how.
- Fabric (I used a 100% cotton fabric. See step 1 to determine yardage.)
- Elastic (I used 3/4 inch elastic.)
- Safety Pin
- Sewing Machine
- Serger (Optional)
- Small Piece of Ribbon (Optional to use as a tag)
1. Determine the measurements to cut the fabric.
Length: Decide where you want the skirt to fall. Add 1 inch to that measurement for the hem, and 1 1/4 inches (if using 3/4 inch elastic) for the elastic casing (1 1/2 inches added for casing if you are using 1 inch elastic). Basically, you need to add 1/2 inch to the elastic width to determine the size of the casing.
Width: Measure your waist and double it to determine the width of fabric.
Example: For a 5 year old with a 20 inch waist you would cut the width at 40 inches. To have the finished length of the skirt be 16 inches you would cut the length of the fabric 18 1/4 inches.
You may have noticed that my instructions above mention two different widths of elastic. I usually use 3/4 inch elastic for girls. For an adult you would want at least 1 inch elastic. You can use larger elastic, just make sure to add 1/2 inch to the width of the elastic.
Adult sizes: You will probably want to cut two pieces of fabric instead of one super long piece. This will mean that you will have two side seams instead of one seam in the back like the following steps describe.
2. Use a serger on all raw edges. Don’t trim much off.
If you don’t have a serger you can use an overcast stitch on your sewing machine.
3. Fold the fabric, right sides together, so the two short sides are even and pin them together. This will be your seam.
4. Use a sewing machine to sew the seam using a 5/8 inch seam allowance.
5. Press the seam open.
Since you already have the iron and ironing board set up you are going to iron the hem and the elastic casing, too.
6. Fold the top of the skirt down (towards the inside of the skirt) 1 1/4 inches and press. This will be the casing for the elastic.
7. Fold the bottom of the skirt up (towards the inside of the skirt) 1 inch and press. This will be the hem.
8. Stitch along the top of the skirt near the serged edge leaving a 2-3 inch opening to insert the elastic through.
9. Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic and thread it through the opening you left in step 8.
To determine how much elastic you need you can go about it two ways. You can use the waist measurement and cut the elastic that long. Or, you can try on the skirt and then see how much you need and cut off the rest.
In the picture below you will see a piece of grosgrain ribbon on the seam. I always like to fold a small piece of grosgrain ribbon and sew it into the elastic casing seam to show where the back of the skirt is.
For a skirt with only one seam like you will want the seam to be in the center back. If you are making a skirt with two seams you will want to have those be on the sides and the back will be halfway in between them.
10. Overlap the ends of the elastic and stitch where they overlap several times.
Be sure to pull the elastic out of the casing for this part. You don’t want to sew the elastic onto the skirt.
11. Put the elastic back into the casing and sew the opening closed.
12. To keep the elastic from shifting stitch “in the ditch” on the seam lines. (See picture below.)
13. Stitch the hem in place by stitching near the serged edge of the hem.
That’s it. You can give everything a final press and then your skirt should be ready to wear now.
For my niece’s birthday outfit I not only made this skirt, but I also embroidered a T-shirt with a unicorn appliqué design that I purchased here.
My niece was so excited when she saw her birthday outfit, and I have to say I think she looked pretty cute in it. 🙂
This was the first sewing project I had completed in months and it was very quick and fun.
Let me know if you have any questions.