Elastic Band Skirt

Friday, February 12, 2016

For some reason our post about elastic band skirts lost their pictures, and because it was 3 years old, I thought I would post a new elastic band skirt post. 
Our new metallic elastic also has me wanting to make as many skirts as possible!
Wide elastic is amazing and there are so many options:

First let me say that there are multiple ways to sew wide elastic onto a skirt. 
A. Zig Zag Stitch
B.Two Step Zig Zag
D. Triple stitch zig zag. (really any type of zig zag)
E. Elastic thread. 
F. a way I haven't learned yet.

All of these ways are just as good as the others. The idea is just to keep the stretch in the elastic so you can easily get it on and off. 
The reason I like the metallic so much is because it is hard to see your top stitch. 
All of these methods have a top stitch. The least noticeable is the elastic thread. 

Cut out your fabric. 

You can use just about any kind of fabric: quilt cotton, seersucker, tulle, knit, corduroy, suede, you name it. 


Measure the length you want on your actual model if possible, then add an 1" for the hem. If you are using tulle, for example, a fabric you do not need to hem do not add the extra inch.
I am using 9" for 3T and 11" for 4T. For myself I would use 18-20" depending on the look. If possible use a rotary cutter and ruler for a quick smooth cuts. 


For the width of the fabric it depends on how gathered of a look you want. 
Measure around the waist or where you want the elastic to sit.
A straight look just add a few inches, 
A slightly gathered look add 1/2 of your measurement,
A very gathered look double your measurement (or just use the width of the fabric).
Super gathered triple your measurement. 

For the tulle skirt I just used the width of the fabric twice, meaning I cut out 11" all the way across twice. I actually think I could have done this 3 or 4 times to get more of a tutu look. 

The first step for all methods, make your skirt. 

1.  Sew short ends together to make one large loop with a .5" seam allowance.

2. Serge, zig zag or your favorite finishing stitch on the side seam and the top. 

It is very important that you finish the top.


3. Hem the bottom: Fold it over twice about 1/2". Honestly, you can just do whatever hem length you are comfortable with (pattern allows for up to 1") just make sure you topstitch 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.

Next Gather

4.Change your bobbin to a different color. 
Baste the top edge all the way around (or use your favorite gathering method) go past our first first stitch by 1" for an even gather 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 5/8" 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! 

Sew on Elastic`

5. Change thread color...try to match your elastic as closely as possible. 

6: 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 (yes I still do it from time to time). Just for good measure topstitch your elastic down to one side. 

7: Gather the skirt and pin to the elastic.
Holding the bobbin string (remember your different color bobbin thread), 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 or more seams  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, or you can line your 5/8" gathering line with the bottom of the elastic. You are pinning the right side of the skirt to the wrong side of the elastic.

8: Sew the elastic on.


You want to sew about 1/4" away from the bottom of the elastic.   If you think you will be stretching the elastic a lot, put two rows in.

 ELASTIC THREAD : now is the time to change your bobbin. You will also have to sew on the right side of the skirt. When 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. Every machine uses elastic thread differently. I strongly suggest practicing on scraps. Your elastic thread should look straight after stitching NOT wavy. It has been my experience that on all machines you need with a drop in bobbin case you need to remove the stitch plate and put in the thread the old fashion way and bring the bobbin thread up the old fashion way as well.  Also if your machine has a fix or lock stitch use it instead of backstitching. If you do not, turn your stitch down as small as it will go to create a lockstitch. 

9: Cut your threads and take out any basting stitches. 
Taking out your basting stitches to keep the stretch in the elastic. 

Thats about it!!!
Love your skirt!


  1. Thank You for such a wonderful information. One of the Advantages about Elastic bands Skirts I found is that they do not restrict the blood flow to your waist. When especially children, wear pants that are too tight, it can restrict the blood circulation as well as the breathing. So for a child its better to opt for pants or skirts with elastic-waistbands.

    Regards: Nadel Paris

  2. That is so beautiful. The stretch ability and recover-ability in these clothes because of elastic band helps movements easy and make clothes more durable since they don't get torn or ruptured.

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  11. Are you using elastic thread as in the shirring type or are you using the stretch thread that you can machine load onto the bobbin. Also, if you are using the stretch thread, do you use it in both top and bobbin stitches? Also, what do you mean 2 or 3 zig-zag method? When using a straight stitch does the gathered skirt actually stretch with the elastic? Sorry for asking so many questions, I’m new at this.


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