Summer Skirt Tutorial

When it comes to garment sewing, nothing beats a skirt.  There are endless varieties, they can be for any season, and fitting is minimal compared to other garments – with the possible exception of a cape or poncho.  This summer skirt I made for my daughter took a couple of hours since I was making it up and taking pictures at the same time.  I’m sure I could make a second one in less than an hour.

Before you begin, you need to decide what size you want the finished skirt to be.  Measure the length from the waist to where you want the hem to stop.  Measure around the fullest part covered by the skirt – waist or hips depending on the age and shape of the recipient.


For my daughter, I wanted 22″ long and her waist is 28″.  To these measurements, add 8″ to the length and 25 – 50% to the width.  I used a finished width of 34″, which added 6″ to the waist measurement.  If I made another one, I would add more to the width, but I was limited by the amount of this fabric I had.

I didn’t have a piece of fabric large enough to cut a single rectangle, so I cut two equal rectangles, 30″ x 18″ and joined them, so the finished skirt has two side seams.

If you use two pieces, join one side seam before proceeding.  Either a normal seam or a French seam works with this method.

If you have a single piece of fabric, you don’t need to do any sewing just yet.



On the top edge of the fabric, fold down 1/2″ of the fabric.  Press well to make a good crease.  Then fold down 1-3/4″ from the top edge and press well.  There should be two clear fold lines.

On the bottom edge, fold up 5″ and press.  Then fold up another 5″ and press again.

Unfold the pieces, but make sure the creases are clear.  Join the side seam, aligning the crease lines.

For the hem, fold up both of the bottom folds, so that the edge of the fabric is tucked into the second fold.  Sew all the way around the skirt, 1″ from the edge of the fold.

Now when you fold back down from the stitching line, you have a finished hem with a decorative pleat.  The raw edge of the fabric is caught inside the pleat.

I chose to add some lace as a decorative accent.  I folded the pleat towards the top and stitched the lace onto the skirt.  Then when I folded the pleat back down, it covered the raw edge of the lace and the stitching.  This is totally optional, but I think it matched my fabric.

For the waist casing, fold down the top creases to the wrong side, making sure the raw edge is caught on the inside of the casing.  Sew along near the edge of the fold.

Leave an opening, about 2 or 3 inches.

Cut a piece of 1″ wide elastic to match the waist measurement.  Check the elastic on the person.  You want it to be snug, but not too tight.  Using a safety pin, feed the elastic through the casing.

When it’s all the way through, join the ends of the elastics.  Make sure the elastic is flat in the casing.  If it gets folded or flipped around, you will have to take it out and fix it or the waist will never lay flat.

Once the elastic is flat and joined, sew up the the opening.

It’s done!  No hand sewing, no pattern – just a quick and easy skirt.

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