Sew Easy Elastic Skirt

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I love quick projects and this one you can do in an hour no problem, with just a yard (or less) of fabric, and is custom fit to any body size. So, let's get started!

Step 1: Measure and Cut

Measure around the waist to get your waist measurement. To get your length measurement, measure from your belly button down to where you want the skirt to end. Usually, I can make this skirt for kids with just a half a yard or less  for adults you might  need one yard.

Cut the following piece of fabric and elastic:

Width =  Waist measurement X 2
(If you want a more gathered look multiply it by 3 or more if you want a less gathered look multiply it by 1.5)
Length = Length of skirt + 1 inch.
Elastic = waist measurement - 1 inch (so it is not too tight).

For example, I am using Braelyn's measurements. She wears a size 12 month snuggly and measures 20" around the waist. I want her skirt to be 9" long. So...
Width: 20" x 2 = 40"
Length: 9" + 1 = 10"
Elastic: 20" - 1 = 19"

If are using a chevron or an ombre that run the opposite way on the fabric you will need to cut two pieces and sew them together. If you using any other fabric you can just cut one long piece. If you are making a gathered adult skirt you may need 2 pieces.

Step 2: Sew ends together to make one large loop with a .5" seam allowance.
Because I am using the ombre dots I going to have cut 2 pieces and sew them together.

Step 3: Serge or Zig Zag all raw edges, including top and bottom. 

Step 4: Hem the bottom.

Fold it over twice about 1/4". Honestly, you can just do whatever hem length you are comfortable with (pattern allows for up to 1/2") just make sure you sew the hem near the top of the fold in the back so you catch the underneath. For a smooth finish turn your stitch length up a notch, a 3 or 3.5 on brother machines.

Step 5: Baste the top edge all the way around. 
Using the longest stitch on your machine go around the top edge of the fabric using 1/4" seam allowance. Do this again at .5" seam allowance. If you are doing a small skirt you only need to go around once. The larger your skirt the more likely it is that you will break the thread while gathering. Two gathering lines will save you a headache so go ahead and do two. DO NOT BACKSTITCH! Also if you mark the spot where the gathering stitiches start and stop, you can regather if you pull out too much.

Step 6: Change thread color...try to match your elastic as closely as possible.

Step 7: Sew elastic together by first zigzagging  the raw edge and sewing a straight stitch next to it. It is not a good idea to serge the elastic. You can but it is not good for your machine and the thread color might not match.

Step 8: Gather the skirt and pin to the elastic.
Holding the bobbin string, gather the skirt. I like to over gather then slowly pull it out while I match the skirt to the elastic. When pinning to the elastic it is good to match up a skirt seam with the elastic seam. If you've got two seams in your skirt like me, just choose one of them. I like to pin the skirt about 2/3 of the way down from the top edge of the elastic. You are pinning the right side of the skirt to the wrong side of the elastic with the gathers (wrong side of skirt) facing up.

Step 9: Sew the elastic on.

If you are using elastic thread in your bobbin (ideal) see below.
You want to sew about 1/4" away from the bottom of the elastic. Feel the elastic and line it up with the left edge of your foot. Use something (like a magnet (pictured above) or a piece of masking tape) to mark where the top of the elastic lines up. Use this as your seam allowance. You want your seam to look even on the right side. You will use a zig zag to sew on the elastic. This will help the elastic stretch. I like the number 3 zigzag on the Brother machines. If you think you will be stretching the elastic a lot, put two rows of zigzag.

NOTE: If you are using ELASTIC THREAD in your bobbin now is the time to change your bobbin. You will also have to sew on the right side of the skirt. So make sure you flip it out so the gathers are facing down. If you are using elastic thread you can use a straight stitch. Elastic thread is great because you get a clean look on the outside and a lot of stretch on the inside. Brother machines do not handle elastic thread very well. If you need help call or stop the store and we can help.

Step : 10 Cut your threads and take out any basting stitches that you can see.

That's it :) It's so simple, I went ahead and whipped up this one for our family's Thanksgiving festivities using Riley Blake's Brown Chevron and 1.5" orange elastic.


  1. How wide is the elastic? Where do I find it?


      We sell 1.5" to 3" wide. It's really soft. You will love it:) please see link above or call us at 843-225-3958

    2. Thank You Brooke, So glad to hear you say it is the Brother Machine that does not do so well with sewing on elastic. I bought the cute 1.5 elastic and tried to sew it to the waist of the skirt, and while pulling the elastic, (after pinning) was a disaster for me. I actually ruined 2 bands trying to attach it to the fabric. I had to take it out 2 times, and by then, the elastic had pulled threads and I finally gave up. I did not order the elastic from you. I ordered it on line It is so soft, and I am sure very comfortable. I have a new Baby Lock Machine, and hopefully using a different machine will sure help and it will look like Nana knew how to sew. I love my Brother machine, but not the end result.

    3. Let us know how it goes with your Baby Lock ! Hopefully your local dealer can help

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