Are you interested in making a skirt? Come along and try this easy and free DIY elastic waist skirt pattern.
We’ll start with a basic style that’s great for beginners and looks great on everyone.
When the warm weather hits, nothing is easier to wear than a breezy skirt. It’s often hard to find the perfect one, though…the right cut, size, or color. But you can make it yourself.
If you’ve never tried making clothes before, this is a perfect opportunity to push yourself a little and get creative!
Elastic Waisted Skirts
When I was in middle school, I would make a skirt one night and wear it the next day. They were usually elastic waist styles because they are so quick and easy!
It is a straightforward process and perfect for a beginner.
It’s rewarding to sew your own clothes … and you’ll enjoy the compliments. I know my 7th-grade self did. 😂
When you find a good pattern style, tweak the fit for your figure; you can make it repeatedly in different fabrics.
See this post on 12 summer skirts that are also perfect for warm-weather style.
Skirt Sewing Patterns
Check out more skirt posts on my site below.
Okay, back to the tutorial …
You will need to take measurements to determine how much fabric to purchase.
With a tape measure close to your body, take the measurements for your natural waist (the skinniest part of your waist), lower waist (one inch below your natural waist), and hips.
Write them down.
How Much Fabric for a Skirt?
To determine how much yardage you’ll need, it’s easiest to sketch out your skirt and add in your measurements to calculate how much fabric your skirt requires.
Use the drawing below as a guide, but customize it to your size and preferences.
Remember, you can adjust the skirt’s length to as short or long as you wish, and you can add fullness in the width if this skirt is too straight for you.
I added one inch at the bottom to both the front width and the back for the fullness because I prefer a straighter silhouette.
You may want to reference other skirts you already own to get an idea of length and width.
Skirt Pattern Pieces
When you have completed your drawing, it’s time to find your fabric.
Take your estimate with you to the store or as you shop online.
I used approximately 1 7/8 yards.
If you are unsure how much fabric to buy, ask your local fabric store employees.
They are always ready to help with yardage questions.
Sewing Supplies for a DIY Skirt
It’s time to gather or purchase your sewing supplies.
See below for the basic materials you will need and ideas on where to purchase them.
Sewing Scissors HERE or
Rotary Cutter HERE
Sewing Board HERE or
Safe Cutting Surface HERE
Pattern Paper optional (affiliate link)
Cutting Board optional
Sources for Buying Fabric
Preparing to Sew
Prewash Your Fabric
1 First, wash your fabric to help prevent any shrinkage in future washings that would compromise the fit. When it is dry, press it with an iron.
Make Your Pattern
2 It’s easiest to make your own pattern pieces, then you can reuse the pattern again and adjust for a better fit as you learn.
Here is the pattern paper that I use for all of my pattern-making. I found it on Amazon (affiliate link).
It’s similar to the weight of a commercial sewing pattern. Easy to write on and see-through if you want to trace anything. The paper is very reasonably priced too.
Measure and cut out your pattern pieces. Refer to your original drawing and measurements.
You can certainly skip making a pattern. An alternative method would be using a removable fabric pen and drawing directly on the fabric with a straight edge.
Lay out Pattern and Cut Fabric
3 Next, lay out your fabric and the pattern pieces on a cutting board or a surface that is safe to cut on.
Draw out the pieces on the fabric if you are not using pattern paper.
Pay close attention to the grain of the fabric and ensure the pattern pieces are positioned correctly.
If you are using a patterned fabric, be extra careful. Make the markings where you want them on the different pieces before cutting them out.
How to Sew Skirt
Skirt Front and Back
1 Now, the fun begins! Stitch the skirt front and back at the side seams with the right sides together.
Leave the bottom open 3 to 4 inches on both sides for a kick slit. Iron the side seams open.
Skirt Elastic Waistband
2 With the right sides together, stitch the two waistband pieces together at both ends.
Leave an opening for the elastic to pass through on one end.
On the other end, sew the whole way.
Press both seams open, then trim seam allowance, or with seams pressed open, sew each seam flap down flat on the waistband so that the elastic moves freely in the casing.
Next, with the wrong sides together, fold the waistband height in half. Press. (This will be your elastic casing. When sewn shut, it will hold the elastic band inside.)
With the skirt body inside out, position the waistband (open side up) inside the skirt. Pin all the way around, right sides together.
Sew all three layers of fabric together. Then, stitch again, 1/4 inch from your first stitches, to reinforce.
Finish raw edges as desired, serge, zigzag stitch, or cut with pinking shears.
Press the finished seam downwards towards the inside of the skirt.
Cut elastic to be 2 inches longer than your waist measurement.
Insert the elastic into the waistband through the slit you left open.
I used a very large safety pin to help thread the elastic through the waistband tube.
When you are done, pin the two ends of the elastic together. Try the skirt on and adjust the elastic as needed.
When the fit is right, stitch the two ends of elastic together with two vertical machine stitches to close.
Trim excess elastic flaps. Feed the elastic fully into the casing, so you can’t see it.
Now you can close up the opening. Gently pull the fabric sides to meet to cover the elastic, and make a vertical stitch through all of the layers.
Distribute waistband fullness evenly around the top of the skirt.
Hem and Side Slits
3 We are almost finished!
Go ahead and try on your skirt again to decide on the right length. Pin. Now off to the ironing board.
We will finish the side slits first. For these, our mission is to either finish the raw edges or hide them.
I chose to finish them with my serger, but it’s also nice to fold tightly once, press, and then fold tightly again and press.
This makes a nice finish. Now, topstitch for either option.
Next, we will finish the hem. It’s up to you to decide how deep you want it.
I chose to have a 1 1/4-inch hem.
A) because I had the fabric to spare and B) my fabric is so light and airy. I wanted some extra “weight” to hold the skirt down so it would drape well.
Press the raw hem edge up just a tiny bit, like 1/4 inch, then fold up the rest of your hem’s depth.
This will hide the raw edge nicely and allow you to stitch the opening to close and finish the hem.
Okay, ready? Go ahead and machine topstitch the top of the hem.
Yippee! You are finished and ready to rock your new skirt!
It pairs well with a simple tank, a graphic tee, or a polo shirt.
Please let me know if you make a skirt in the comment box below.
I would love to see your creations!
Are you inspired to sew?
More Clothing Patterns
Beyond elastic waist skirt patterns, click below to see many other styles on the site.
Sleeveless Blouse Pattern Ideas
Pattern Ideas for Skirt Sets
Long Midi Skirt Pattern
Layer Skirt Patterns
Wrap Around Skirt Patterns
DIY Wrap Skirt
Long Skirt Patterns
A Line Skirt Patterns
DIY Athletic Drawstring Skirt (Free Pattern)
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6 comments on “Easy DIY Elastic Waist Skirt Pattern”
I’m confused about what you mean about folding the waistband in half (which way?) and how to attach it to the skirt?
Sharon, sorry to confuse you! Fold the waistband height in half.😃 Next, pin the raw edges of the waistband to the top edge of the skirt. Sew. Then, stitch again, 1/4 inch from your first stitches to reinforce. Hope that helps!
and then…how do you attach the other side (inner) of the waistband to the skirt and do you finish the raw edge, by cutting it previously on the selvedge, serging the raw edge, tucking under and top stitching or what? I think you missed adding this step in instructions.
Hi Darlene! Sorry to confuse you. I adjusted my wording. This is all in the sewing instructions, step 2. You fold the waistband in half heightwise. This is your elastic casing waistband. You can then sew it shut and finish as desired. Hope that helps. 🙂
Can I use quilt cotton for this? I have some beautiful Alexander Henry fabric I would like to use.
I think so, Erin! It may be a little stiffer but if it is above the knee I think you don’t need as much drape. Good luck! 😃 Check out another skirt where I used quilting cotton here: https://bebraveandbloom.com/make-a-colorful-diy-skirt-simplicity-8300/