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How to Sew an Elastic Waist Skirt (free pattern 12 mo to 16)

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A simple elastic waist skirt is a perfect beginner-friendly sewing project. Follow these easy step-by-step instructions (with photos!)and in about 20 to 30 minutes, you will have a darling girl’s skirt with an elastic waist. The tutorial includes a cut chart for sizes 12 months to 16Y. (Plus tips for adult sizes too!)

Elastic Waist Skirt

Easy Elastic Waist Skirt Pattern:

Sewing little girl projects are my very favorite things to sew. From peasant dresses, pillowcase dresses, headbands, blankies, and other various outfits; if it’s quick, cute and full of girly colors – I love it!

When it comes to this elastic waist skirt project, I actually already have a very similar tutorial posted on my blog. The original tutorial was instructions to make a simple skirt with 3 different options. (The options are adding a contrasting band, a ruffled bottom, or a tie around the waist.)

That post was created in 2012!

I’ve edited and updated the post many times over the years but didn’t feel like it focused enough on just the basic construction of an easy elastic waist skirt. Plus the tutorial instructed you to calculate your own measurements. Over the years I’ve found many people using my tutorials don’t have a little one in-house to measure (like grandma’s or aunts.) 

So I wanted to include a girls skirt pattern and tutorial with brighter, easier to follow images and included a fabric cutting chart for all sizes. Then, if you are ready to “upgrade your skirt, be sure to visit the tutorial with the 3 skirt options.

elastic waist skirt pattern

Why this Easy Elastic Waist Skirt is a Perfect Beginner Project:

A simple no-frills elastic waist skirt is a perfect sewing project for beginners. This project is great because it is basically one pattern piece and all the required sewing is easy straight lines. An elastic waist skirt is one of those instant gratification type projects that can be completed in 20 to 30 minutes even by the most inexperienced sewist. (As long as they already know how to thread their machine, that is, lol.) how to make a skirt

Can I Make this Skirt in Adult Sizes?

Of course! grab a measuring tape, you want the skirt fabric width to be about 2 X’s your waist measurement.  The skirt length will be your waist to knee measurement plus 2 inches.

What Fabric Works Best for this Easy Skirt Project?

The good news is this project is so versatile, almost any fabric works.  Quilting cotton, linen, lightweight corduroy, knits, even a slippery polyester or silk.  If you are a beginner sewist, I do recommend starting with a cotton fabric that will hold a press.

Cute Ideas to Dress up this Easy Skirt Pattern

You could add a banded bottom or ruffle (see this post to learn how to do that.) Add Ribbon, Ric Rac trims or even a pocket. (I actually really like that pink ribbon!) free skirt pattern  

Products Used and Recommended in this Girls Skirt Pattern:

  1. My favorite shops for fabric are Fabric.com, girl charlie, Etsy and Bluprint.  (My fave for knits is Funkalicious Fabrics.)
  2. My Sewing Machine: SINGER 9960 Quantum Stylist 600-Stitch Machine with Extension Table, Bonus Accessories and Hard Cover
  3. My Serger: Brother 1034D 3 or 4 Thread Serger
  4. Pinking Shears
  5. Rotary Cutter
  6. I love my large ruler and large cutting mat, but you may prefer to start with a smaller Cutting set
  7. Dritz Dual Purpose Marking Pen
  8. Fray Check
  9. Wonder clips (I didn’t use these in the post, but they are just awesome!

How to Sew an Elastic Waist Skirt:

Are you ready to give this Elastic Waist Skirt a try?   This easy skirt pattern is designed to sit at the natural waist and fall to mid knee on the smaller sizes and top of the knee for larger sizes.  You can always use your own measurement for a custom fit. The “pattern” Is not in a printable PDF form as it is just a single rectangle of fabric. (2 rectangles for larger sizes.) Scroll down to step one where you will find the fabric and elastic cut chart for each size. Elastic Skirt Fit Chart: Elastic skirt fit chart Finished Skirt Measurements:elastic skirt measurements

Supplies Needed to Sew a Simple Elastic Skirt

  • Fabric (1/2 yard for 12 mo to 6) (1-1/4 yard for 7 to 12) (1-1/2 for 14 to 16)
  • 3/4 inch elastic
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • iron
  • Basic Sewing supplies

how to make a skirt  

Step 1: Cut Fabric and Elastic

Skirt Size Fabric Cutting Chart:fabric cut chart for elastic waist skirt   Skirt Elastic Cut Chart:elastic cut chart

Sewing instructions:

Seam allowances are included and are 1/4 inch unless otherwise stated. Cut skirt panel(s) to specified length and width. how to make a skirt One thing to note, on sizes 6 and under, the skirt width will be less than 42 inches, so you will be able to just use one piece of fabric. (So just one side seam.)  The larger sizes need a wider skirt, so you will be cutting 2 fabric pieces and sewing them together. (the skirt will have 2 side seams.) If sewing a larger size skirt, line up the 2 skirt panels, right side together and sew ONE SIDE SEAM ONLY. Finish this seam with your preferred method  Cut a piece of elastic to specified length for size.

Step 2: Hem the skirt

Fold the bottom hem over .25 inches and press. Fold over another .5 inches, press again. Pin hem in place if needed. hemming a skirt Sew along the edge of the skirt. (right along with that 1st quarter inch fold.) how to sew a skirt

Step 3: Sew the Side Seam of the Skirt.

Fold the skirt panel in half, right sides together, lining up the raw side seams, making sure the hem is even. Sew together using a .25 inch seam allowance.  You will need to finish this seam with your preferred finishing method (pinking shears, zig-zag stitch or serger. I have a serger, so that is what I used.) how to make a skirt

Step 4: Create the Casing for the Elastic.

Fold the top edge over .25 inches and press. Fold the seam over again, 1 inch. Press and pin in place. Sew along the folded edge, leaving a 2 inch opening to thread the elastic through. How to add elastic to a skirt

Step 5: Add Elastic and Close Opening

Use a bodkin or safety pin to thread the elastic through the casing. (take care that the other end does not slip into the casing.) how to make an elastic waist skirt Pull both ends of the elastic out several inches.  Make sure your elastic is not twisted and then overlap the elastic edges by 1/2 inch and sew together with a zig zag stitch.  (I recommend going back and forth over the elastic a few times.) Sew the opening closed. Give all the seams a final press, adjust the gathers around the elastic so they are even, and you are done! sew a skirt Now go take some pictures and come back to share.  You can share an image to my Facebook group here or tag me on Instagram using the #scatteredmompatterns.

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  1. Well, you saved me! My daughter needed something green to wear for St. Paddy’s day, and I was pressed for time. Luckily, I found your tutorial and had a piece of green fabric that was just the right size! I also added a drawstring to make sure it was the absolute perfect fit. It turned out great! THANKS!

    1. Jamie Sanders says:

      Love hearing that!

  2. Krazy Koala says:

    trying to find how to print some instructions as I want to use this for a beginners sewing class but not finding any.

  3. Thank you for the measurement tables, Jamie! I have four granddaughters; three of them live far away, so this will be very helpful.

  4. Mary loff says:

    I’ve been looking for information on how to make a girls skirt out a vintage apron. I could swear I saw it somewhere

  5. Hi, I was wondering would this work for myself? I’ve got a 40” waste so I would make it 80”? But then would I need seam allowance?
    Also can you make it ankle length and it will still be easy to walk in? That would be about 38 inches? Then you add 2” on top of that??
    Thank you?

    1. Measure your waist and use 2 times this measurements for the width of you fabric. The elastic is the size of your waist too. The length according with your taste.

  6. I am so grateful for your elastic waist skirt. I hope you are safe. Praying for all folks in Texas at this very terrible time.

    1. Jamie Sanders says:

      Thank you so much. We came through with just one burst pipe but there are thousands of elderly and low income families that are truly in a bad place right now.

  7. Marguerite says:

    I was delighted to see this skirt in larger sizes. I want to make skirts with attached shorts for older girls to use during a menstrual period. I make reusable pads. This allows the girls to attend school while in period. Any additional suggestions are welcome.

  8. I’m super excited I came across your blog and can’t wait to make my little girls skirts! I am interested in a skirt with pockets, do you have a tutorial on how to include pockets? Thank you so much!!

  9. I’m so happy I came across your blog and this skirt pattern. Every year I fill shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. I’ve always included clothing – t-shirts, socks and undies but! this year my boxes will have a coordinating skirt! I’ve already made 25 or so. The t-shirts are solid color so I’ve sewn on a large heart cut from the skirt fabric.
    Thanks for such a simple but cute skirt pattern. So many girls are going to be blessed!
    …now to find affordable fabric, I’ve used up my stash 🙂

  10. I am a beginner when it comes to sewing, but with your instructions, I think I can make skirts for three Operation Christmas Child girls. I found plain t-shirts for $1 and some cute fabric will be make a really nice outfit,.

  11. Thankyou for these awesome instructions! I have not done any sewing since home economics classes in high school (25 years ago….)

    I followed your instructions to make my daughter a skirt, and she’s thrilled! Simple and step by step, you made it easy to follow.

  12. gmail email login says:

    Thank you so much for the beginner tutorial!! The measurements will help a lot.

  13. LindaJo Zimmerer says:

    I LOVE this little skirt! I thought it would be so cute with a simple, easy summer top. Do you have any patterns for this? Something simple, no sleeves, no collar, no gathers.

  14. Katherine Johnskn says:

    I love it. So simple. Thank you for the measurements. I have 6 granddaughters of various ages and sizes so I am always on the outlook for simple patterns to make clothes and costumes for them.

  15. Ruth, there is no pattern to print out. It is a simple rectangle based on the measurements in the “Skirt Size Fabric Cutting Chart”. I hope this helps.

  16. Thank you! I look for simple projects as my grandaughter (age6) is in New York and I’m in Ca. I love the skirt.

  17. Christine Fuller says:

    As an elementary school teacher who teaches an after school learn-to-sew class to 9-12 year olds, I can’t thank you enough for the detailed instructions and visuals! We will definitely be sewing these skirts. Thank you!

  18. Thanks for the simple instructions, but I don’t see a pdf. I don’t always have WiFi and need to print out patterns. Is there a pdf that I am not seeing?