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Simple Skirt Tutorial with Options for 3 Different Looks

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Want to learn how to sew a skirt?  This Simple Skirt Tutorial with Options for 3 Different Looks is perfect as a beginner sewing project.

(Want more free patterns and easy tutorials? Be sure to check out my free patterns and tutorials page here.)

how to sew a skirt

Simple Skirt Tutorial with Options for 3 Different Looks

My daughter loves to wear skirts and dresses.  (She also loves posing for pictures, lol!)

I’ve been working for the last few days on a few new skirts for her spring and summer wardrobe.  These skirts are very simple in style, but I can easily change up the look with a few tweaks to the basic skirt.

I loved all these skirts, and am so excited to share this tutorial with you! (Don’t you just love all these bright and cheery colors for Spring?)

Basic Skirt Tutorial:

Things to know about these skirts- The reason this skirt is so easy to make is that you are using the width of the fabric to make the skirt.  

Most cotton fabrics are 40 to 44 inches wide, which is just the right amount of fabric for a simple gathered skirt.  In my opinion, this skirt is best for size girls in the 2 to 10 size range.  

Anything smaller or larger, you would need to adjust the amount of fabric used.

Materials needed:

  • Main skirt panel fabric (+/- 1/3 yard for main skirt panel ) (amount needed will depend on desired length)
  • Fabric for contrasting band (about 1/4 yard)
  • Coordinating thread
  • 3/4 inch elastic
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • iron

Option 1.  Simple Skirt with Contrasting Band:

Step 1:  Get your measurements.  

You need:  

Desired skirt length: ____________

Determine the length you want your skirt.  Measure from right below the belly button to where you want the skirt to end.  (The contrasting border fabric will be 3 inches tall.)

Measurement A: _______________

Your desired skirt length measurement – the 3-inch contrast band  =  measurement “A”

Measurement B: _______________

Measurement “A” + 1.75 inches = measurement B (this is the height/length needed for main skirt panel)

Waist Measurement: ____________   (for the elastic)

You will cut the elastic to waist measurement plus 1 inch

The contrasting fabric border will be 6.5 inches tall.

Step 2: Cut your fabric.

1.  Fold the main skirt fabric selvage to selvage and cut the width of the fabric (40 to 44 inches unfolded) by measurement B.

2. Fold the contrasting border fabric the same way and cut the width of the fabric by 6 1/2 inches high.  Be sure to cut off the selvages.

Step 3: Assemble the skirt.

1.  Fold the border fabric in half longways and iron.

2.  Lay your main skirt fabric out right side up, line up raw edges of border fabric and raw edges main fabric.  Pin and sew 1/4 inch from edge.

3.  Finish the seam edge with pinking shears, a zig zag stitch on your sewing machine or with a serger.  Press the seam flat with finished edge pointing up.

4.  With right sides of the skirt together, line up the raw edges of the side seams.  Pin and sew.  Finish the seam and press flat with iron.

Step 4: Make the skirt casing.

1. To make the elastic casing, turn the skirt inside out.  Fold top edge of skirt over 1/4 inch and press with iron.  Fold the edge over another 1.25 inches and press again.

2.  Sew along the bottom edge of casing, about 1/8 inch from the edge.  Leave a 1 1/2 inch opening in the casing to thread the elastic through.

3.  Cut a piece of elastic to your waist measurement plus 1 inch.

4. Using a safety pin, thread elastic through the casing.  At this point I like to safety pin the elastic together and have my daughter try on the skirt.  Once you are certain it fits, sew the elastic together using a tight zig zag.

5. Trim off any excess elastic and sew the casing closed.

Step 5: Top stitch.

Topstitch around the edge of the contrasting border of the skirt and you are done!

Option 2.  Simple skirt with Ruffled Bottom

Materials needed:

The same as option one, except you will need 3/8 yard for the contrasting fabric ruffle.

1.  For this skirt, cut the main fabric panel the same as option one and cut two 6 1/2 inch strips from your contrasting fabric.

2.  Iron the border fabric in half.

3.  Unfold the ironed border fabric and sew the strips, right sides together, to make one big circle.  Fold the fabric back the way you ironed it.

4.  Line up the side seam of the skirt, pin and sew.  Finish this seam with pinking shears, a zig zag stitch on your sewing machine or with a serger.

5.  Next, set your sewing machine to the longest stitch length and sew a gathering stitch 1/4 inch from the raw edge of the border fabric.

6.  While holding the fabric firmly, pull on the top thread to ruffle the fabric.  Distribute the ruffles evenly along the circle of fabric.  Keep pulling the thread and distributing the ruffles until the ruffled circle is the same width of the skirt fabric.

I didn’t get a picture of the ruffling step, but this is how fabric will ruffle up when you pull the top thread.

7.  Lay the skirt flat, line up the raw edges of the ruffle and the skirt.  Pin and sew the ruffles to the skirt.  Just sew right over the gathering stitch.  Finish this seam and iron flat so the finished seam is pointing towards the top of the skirt.

8.  Flip the skirt right side out and topstitch along the top of the ruffle.

Option 3.  Simple Skirt with Fabric Belt.

Materials needed:

Same as skirt option 2, but you will need an additional 1/ yard for the belt.

1. Cut your skirt and border fabric the same as option 1.

 Cut main skirt fabric in half so you have a front and back piece.  Cut 2 strips of fabric 27 inches long by 2.75 tall.  (If you want a wider belt, add an inch or two to the height of the belt pieces.)

2.  Iron the fabric ties in half and cut an angle at one end of the fabric ties as shown.  Sew along the edges of the ties, flip them right side out, and iron flat.

3.  Take the 2 skirt pieces, fold the top edge over 1/4 inch, and iron.  Fold over another 1 1/4 inch and iron again.

4.  Unfold the 1 1/4 inch ironed edge and line the raw edges of the belt and skirt fabric as shown.  Do this for both belt pieces.

5.  Line up the skirt sides and pin in place.

6.  See how the belt is sandwiched between the skirt pieces?

7.  Sew the side seams and finish the edges with your pinking shears, zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine or with a serger.

8.  Create the skirt casing as you did in the skirt option one.  Go slow and be very careful not to stitch into the fabric belt.  I sewed right up to the edge of the belt, stopped my machine with the needle in, lifted the presser foot and flipped the belt tho opposite direction, then kept sewing.

8.  Insert the elastic and sew the ends together.  Close the casing.

9.  Topstitch around the ruffle.

Ta-Da!  You’ve made a new skirt!  Now go find someone to try it on so you can admire your sewing skills!

How to sew a skirt. Easy Basic Skirt tutorial, perfect for a beginner sewist! This simple skirt tutorial has easy options for 3 different looks!

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  1. Sophie Lee says:

    I love your tutorials! I have to learn how to sew now! LOL You are very talented!!!

  2. Stone Cottage Adventures says:

    What cute skirts! I love all three versions, and your model is such a cutie pie! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

  3. Love this tutorial! So easy to follow. Although, I found when making my second one that I preferred to sew my casing for the elastic while my skirt was a flat surface, then sew the seams together. Thoughts?

  4. Hi what is the amount extra you need for the belt please

    1. Thanks heaps I love your Tutorials! I am not a sewer and I have made the first two skirts. Number three this weekend hopefully 🙂

  5. I love the skirt.
    But I not smart enough to know how to size it.
    I need it for 5 to 8 year old.
    Is this size you have in the Tutorial that size?
    Thank you so much for your help.
    Bev in Ohio

  6. I love the skirt.
    But I not smart enough to know how to size it.
    I need it for 5 to 8 year old.
    Is this size you have in the Tutorial that size?
    Thank you so much for your help.
    Bev in Ohio

  7. Hi. New to sewing and was wondering how to determine the width I would need for the size of my girls?

    1. Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom says:

      Hi, I always just use the width of the fabric (42 to 44 inches) for the width of the skirt. If your child is 18 months to 2t, I recommend cutting off 4 to 6 inches from the width.

      Hope that helps,

  8. I had no idea it was so easy to make a skirt! Just finished one, can't wait to try the next ones. Thanks so much for the awesome tutorial!

  9. Thank you for the great tutorials! Pinning for future sewing 🙂

  10. so cute. perfect for spring!

  11. Seasons & Pearls says:

    I dont know how to sew but I have always wanted to learn to make my 5 year old daughter this cute little simple skirts and dresses and now I have a grand daughter so I really want to learn … I will give it a try and see what turns out .. Your Tutorials are such a great help. May God keep blessing the work of your hands so you may keep on blessing others.

  12. Love all the variations! Adorable!

  13. Carla at Preschool Powol Packets says:

    These are so cute, and I have been looking for a simple skirt tutorial for a while! I'm so excited to try it! I pinned this post, too–let me know if that's a problem!

  14. Clairejustine says:

    These are great,would love you to link them up to my hop Creative Mondays ? 🙂

  15. Sew Pretty Dresses says:

    Darling skirts!