30 minute easy skirt pattern

I like this tutorial better than most others because it includes proper shaping between waist and hips, not just a tube.

 

While I was learning to sew with stretch fabrics and taking the excellent Sewing with Knits class (see the class review here and 25% discount), I got lots of knit remnants to practice on, and one day I simply sewed up a tube, added a fold over waist and made a skirt.  It all took no more than 30 minutes from opening the door to my sewing room and leaving wearing my new skirt.  In truth, I never did wear it a lot because I’d made it rather too tight, the fabric was very thin and it showed a VPL in the rear.  But the theory was good.

Today, I’m having another go and refining my sizing to make a skirt that is the same principle, a 30 minutes easy skirt, but this time with a more everyday fit.  I think you’ll like it.  In fact, if you’ve never sewn clothes before, I recommend making this your very first try.  I’ll hold your hand the whole way.

I like this tutorial better than most others because it includes proper shaping between waist and hips, not just a tube.

2 options – make your own or use my pattern

There are 2 options today.   You can either take your own measurements, transfer them to the fabric and draw your own custom pattern (I show you how below)

OR

you can simply print the pattern I’ve already drawn for you and cut around it.  (Quicker and easier, but you may need to adjust it a little to fit.)

 

Watch me do it

 

The 30 minute easy skirt pattern

JPG-with-lines-and-dots-(weMaterials:

  • * a piece of stretchy fabric wide enough to fit around your hips and long enough from waist to knee (or however long you want your skirt)
  • * You can find the Fabric I USED HERE
  • * matching thread
  • * 1 inch wide elastic, enough to go around your waist
  • * Download the ready-made pattern to use (see bottom of this article), or a tape and fabric marker to draw your own

Drawing your own pattern

You’ll want to take some very simple measurements so get a tape measure handy. Measure as follows:

  • * your natural waist at the narrowest part
  • * the widest part of your body, around your bottom, hips or thighs, whichever is greater
  • * the length you want your skirt from the waist down.

Don’t pull your tape measure too tight and try to kid yourself, or your finished skirt will fit the measurements you want to be, not those you actually are and will end up too tight.  If the skirt is too loose at the end, you can always make it smaller, but not bigger, so keep this in mind!

Now lay out your fabric.  Fold it so that the printed or ‘right’ side is facing in towards each other and the selvedge edges are lined up. You can even place a couple of pins there to keep it all neat.

Let’s assume the top edge of the fabric is going to be your waist.  Make sure it’s cut straight.  Take the measurement for the length of your skirt and add on 2 inches.  Measure down from the top of your fabric this amount, and draw a straight line all the way across. Use a chalk marker or a disappearing fabric pen.  This is the bottom of your skirt.  Cut along this line from one side to the other.  Discard the bottom section.

30 minute skirt. I like this tutorial better than most others because it includes proper shaping between waist and hips, not just a tube.Take your hip measurement and add on 3 inches.  We need to add some extra to allow for the seams on the side and to make sure your skirt isn’t skin-tight.  Open out your fabric.  Measure along the top and bottom of the fabric, draw a line top to bottom, making sure it’s square, and then cut off the extra.

skirt-2Fold the remaining fabric back in half and cut down the fold so you now have two pieces – a skirt front and back.

30 minute skirt. I like this tutorial better than most others because it includes proper shaping between waist and hips, not just a tube.

Fold one piece of the fabric in half. Measure down 9 inches from the top edge and make a line across.  This is the hip level.  The widest part of the skirt comes here.  30 minute skirt. I like this tutorial better than most others because it includes proper shaping between waist and hips, not just a tube.

From the fold at the top, measure one quarter of your waist, plus 1/2 inch.  So if your waist is 28 inches, divide by 4 to get 7, then add on 1/2 inch to get 7 1/2 inches.  Mark a one inch line down from the top.

30 minute skirt. I like this tutorial better than most others because it includes proper shaping between waist and hips, not just a tube.

Now comes the curve that is going to set this skirt apart from other 30 minute tube skirts and make sure you get a good fit without unflattering bunching around the waist.  You need to draw a curve that represents the curve of your body from your hip to your waist.  Join up the point for your hip with the end of that 1 inch line.  Make sure its a nice smooth curve and doesn’t make a point at your hip!

30 minute skirt. I like this tutorial better than most others because it includes proper shaping between waist and hips, not just a tube.

That’s it – your 30 minute easy skirt pattern is drawn right onto the fabric.  Cut along that curve and the line at the waist, through both layers of fabric.  Transfer the shape over to your other piece and your skirt front and back is ready to sew.

I like this tutorial better than most others because it includes proper shaping between waist and hips, not just a tube.

Sewing your 30 minute easy skirt pattern

Either download the ready-made pattern and use that to cut your fabric, or draw your pattern right onto the fabric like I did above.  Place your two pieces of fabric with the right sides facing and pin down both sides.  Stitch down the side from top to bottom. Make a nice smooth curve at the hip – no points!

30 minute skirt. I like this tutorial better than most others because it includes proper shaping between waist and hips, not just a tube.

Take the skirt to your ironing board.  Press those side seams open.  Turn up 1/2 inch at the bottom hemline and press.  Turn it up again to enclose the raw edge and press.  Sew all the way round with a straight stitch.

I like this tutorial better than most others because it includes proper shaping between waist and hips, not just a tube.

Take the elastic and pass it around your waist.  Adjust it until it feels comfortable and cut it to the right length.   Mark the center, then mark a quarter way from each end to make 4 even sections. Attach the two ends side by side using a zig-zag stitch on your machine.

Fold your skirt with the side seams together to find the center at the front and back.  On the inside of your skirt, match the join in the elastic with one side seam, match the center of the elastic with the other side seam and match the quarter marks with the skirt center front and back.  The elastic may be a little shorter than the skirt fabric.  That’s OK.

I like this tutorial better than most others because it includes proper shaping between waist and hips, not just a tube.

Stitch the elastic to the skirt waist, close to the edge.  You’ll need to use a stitch that stretches, so check your machine manual.  Try a triple stretch stitch, a 3-step zig-zag or a regular zig-zag stitch.  Stretch the elastic a little bit as you sew to match the fabric, if needed.

I like this tutorial better than most others because it includes proper shaping between waist and hips, not just a tube.

Turn the elastic over, making a neat crisp edge at the top.  Stitch again through the elastic to hold it in place inside the skirt.

I like this tutorial better than most others because it includes proper shaping between waist and hips, not just a tube.

You are done.  Your first try might take you more than 30 minutes, but once you see how easy this is to sew, you’ll be looking right away through your stash of fabric or dashing out to the shop for more fabric so you can make another one.

I like this tutorial better than most others because it includes proper shaping between waist and hips, not just a tube.

Try a soft jersey for casual wear, a bright print for hot summer days, something with sequins for a night out, or just a plain black or navy for wearing to the office.  This one skirt will take you anywhere!

Download the 30 minute easy skirt pattern

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Download the 30 minute easy skirt pattern

You can download the pattern from my design account on Craftsy.  Add it to your cart and check out - its FREE.  The pattern will be saved in your Pattern Library safely until you are ready to sew, then you can download and print it at any time.  The ready-made pattern covers hip sizes 34 to 50 inches.
Enjoy!

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54 Responses to 30 minute easy skirt pattern

  1. hannah says:

    amazing, thanks so much. will give it a try during the week.,

  2. SewingB says:

    Hi made this pattern yesterday with a very geometric patterned fabric and am really pleased with it! It’s my first ever piece of clothing made from scratch. might even try a sheath dress next
    The pattern and instructions were really simple and clear
    Thanks

  3. Jules says:

    Hi, I just started with sewing and I find your blog very helpful. I decided to try this skirt as my first clothing project and it went pretty okay, I did need to take it in some 2 inches as it was much too wide for me in the end, I’m not sure why. But also, I bought 1 inch wide elastic band and when I folded the fabric over, it bunched just below the band, so I think maybe I need to leave 2 inches long mark for the waist narrowing on top side, not one. I’d love to hear your suggestion.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Jules, congratulations on your first project! Our bodies are not the same even when the measurements are, there are so many things at play when you make cloths and starts at the beginning of the process. Is the elastic too tight? did yo cut the fabric on the grain? what kind of fabric is it. To answer this questions and more, please read this article and keep in mind on your next project.
      http://so-sew-easy.com/5-mistakes-to-avoid-when-cutting-fabric/

      Mayra

      • Jules says:

        Thank you Mayra. I have cut the fabric exactly as shown in the tutorial, the top is vertical to the selvage and precisely following grain line. Fabric is…English is not my native language and online dictionary is not very helpful, so I cannot tell you exactly what it is. It is a stretchy, medium weight mixture of natural and manmade fibers. The waist is not too tight, if anything it is a bit too wide, but wearable. I think problem lays in the fact that I have made the top of the hip curve, near to the waist, too round. I still have 2 pieces of same fabric but in different colours, so I think I’ll just redo.
        Thank you for the link, I will make sure to look into it before I do any more damage, err, practice.

  4. Sandra Silva says:

    I got the free pattern about a year ago, hadn’t had the time to even download it , but now that I am retired, I will now have the time to make me not only one but several, for I have purchased different materials. Looking forward to making them

  5. Diane says:

    Interesting. Thanks for your reply Deby. I imagine a print fabric would also help if it was a bit of an issue for some body types. Great blog!

  6. Diane says:

    Great tutorial video! Thank you!

    I’m curious if the side seams hang straight and perpendicular to the floor because the front and back pieces are cut identical. Most patterns allow extra width for the back piece.

    • This is intended to be a casual and form fitting skirt so for most body types its not a big issue. In pattern design, the skirt front is actually usually drafted a little wider than the back because it gives a more appealing look, than drafting the back bigger. But this is one of those things where your unique body shape has to be taken into account if you have a more extreme shape. In this type of skirt, its not too important but in a very formal woven pencil skirt you would need to muslin and correct those side seams to your shape for the perfect vertical seams.

  7. Liz says:

    Will this work with a non-stretchy fabric, like a regular cotton print? Thank you so much for this tutorial. Makes a beginner like me feel confident in trying new things.

  8. Tarah says:

    Deby, I just finished by So Sew Easy 30 minute skirt. I am re-entering the sewing world after a 25 year break. I started making this skirt with a McCall’s pattern. According to the measurements on the pattern, I need a size 18. Well, I found your website and drew your pattern directly onto the fabric. I ended up taking 10 inches from the waist (2.5in for each of the four seams) and 4 inches from the hips. I basted the skirt together after drawing your pattern onto it and it fit perfect! I will be making many more of these for myself and my daughter. There’s no need to buy skirts anymore. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I’ll post a pic soon.

    • I used to find that too with the big 4 pattern companies. I wasted so much time and fabric on making things that were huge and thinking it was me making a mistake, but as you can see, their patterns are crazy! So glad you got a good result and welcome back to the wonderful world of sewing!

  9. Aylin says:

    Hi Deby,

    it would be a genuine pity if such a great act would stay in the closet because of vpl in the back. Did you try matching it with a thong yet? This should solve some problems in the back though. There are also free patterns like the lacey thong from Melissa: http://www.fehrtrade.com/article/676/free-lacey-thong-panty-pattern which might be tried and tested.

  10. Sharma says:

    Deb, thank you for your wonderful tutorials. You have made a subject I was sure I couldn’t do (sewing), doable! I made two skirts from this example for my daughter. The first one I cut, I didn’t know about how to lay your pieces out according to the stretch of the fabric. I cut it on the non-stretchy side. So, at the advice from some other sewing friends, I used an excess piece and re-cut the skirt and added a slight ruffle layer. I was able to do this by using your tutorial for the crossover top http://so-sew-easy.com/free-crossover-top-pattern/ to “ease” the fabric into the the top layer. It turned out so cute!! Thanks for making sewing accessible to me. 🙂

  11. cat says:

    Hi Deby,

    Love your site. I am in the middle of making this skirt – I had made a previous elastic waistband skirt so I modified that pattern using your instructions and am using some black cotton knit (jersey?) fabric I had on hand. However, I didnt quite follow the directions with regards to pulling the elastic along to match up and was in my head working as if it was a casing. So I did not have enough fabric and it is out of sorts. Now I have to unpick it, however, it is proving to be quite challenging – I have never sewn knits before – my thread is the same color as my skirt, both black. I can barely see where the thread is. I had already made a mistake which made little holes in the thread along the waistband so it is already a little challenged and I am trying to be delicate. Any tips or do I just keep going? Thanks!

    • Oh no, I know how you feel. I hate unpicking. I once had a black brocade dress, made a mistake and simply couldn’t tell with my ‘old lady eyes’which was fabric and which was thread. In the end I had to take it to my local sewing store for them to unpick for me. I was so embarrassed! Sadly I don’t think there is any easy way. I wish I knew the trick. Maybe you could share a picture on the sewing chat group and ask for their suggestions. It’s a fountain of sewing tips and knowledge! https://www.facebook.com/groups/soseweasychat/

  12. Annie says:

    Thanks for the pattern. After I made my son some PJs, I whipped up a skirt with a leftover bit of fabric (<yd) figuring on a wearable muslin. It was workable but sort of plain so I grabbed a stencil and some fabric paint. Then I decided to add some patch pockets. Turned out to be a little rustic but pretty cute, and a fun project! I will definitely wear it this summer, and make more of these when I find the right fabrics.

  13. Na'ama Eldar says:

    Beautiful fabric! Beautiful Skirt!!!!

  14. Sue says:

    Hi, I absolutely love this skirt – thanks for posting. Can you please tell me where you got your material from, I love the design, very retro.

  15. Jennifer Wiggins says:

    Just found this on Pinterest and can’t wait to try it! About how much fabric do you think I need to buy for a Medium sized skirt? A yard? 2 yards? I don’t want to buy too much, but want to have enough.

    • I should think 1 yard would be enough. So long as it is wide enough to wrap around your hips with some left for a seam allowance, then it should be fine and the length of the fabric needs to be the length of the skirt plus allowance for the elastic at the top and the hem at the bottom.

      • Jennifer Wiggins says:

        One yard was perfect, thanks so much for the quick reply and guidance! I made a skirt yesterday and am wearing it today. I’ve gotten so many compliments and I’m so proud to say “I made it!” This is the first clothing I’ve ever sewn and it looks great, thanks so much!!!

        • I am so delighted for you Jennifer. It makes me very happy that you are happy. Would you like to show us a picture? I’d love to see what you made. You can upload to the Show and Tell section of the new forum. If you aren’t already a member, you can read more about it here.

  16. Shira says:

    Thank you so much. It is clear, easy to follow, yet thorough and doesn’t look thrown together in half an hour. Even someone who works and has other responsibilities can do it. It is really fun too. Thanks

  17. Bev says:

    Thank you for such an easy but effective pattern, made one up in a sequinned jersey for a christmas party, will be making lots more x

  18. Perfect. I have been wanting to make a skirt, but the pattern I have has shrunk or maybe I have grown. Anyway this will make it so much easier. Thank you.

  19. cookyousomenoodles says:

    Thank you for the great tutorial. Already made 2 skirts and wearing one right now.

  20. BIBI says:

    Thank you so much for this very EASY knit skirt tutorial. This is my first time sewing knit and it came out perfect! I’m a newbie so this is a huge confidence booster. I thank you.

    • Deby Coles says:

      Yay – that’s awesome. Makes me so happy to hear about your success. Onwards and upwards to your next project. Do you have any pictures? You can email to me or load them on the Facebook page.

  21. dara says:

    Beautiful!! Thanks sooooo much!!

  22. Joey says:

    I just have to say you are so talented and you really inspire me. I am new to sewing, and I love it, but it’s so frustrating wanting to be good at it first thing! Your style is so classic but with an edge, you know? I could look at your site all day! Thanks so much for sharing!

  23. Helena A. says:

    P.S.: I am IN LOVE with your shoes!!!! <3

  24. Helena A. says:

    Hi Deby!
    Thank you for another free pattern! You are SO kind!
    I like your skirt fabric very much! So cute!
    Now I am going to try and make one for myself… You can’t imagine… I have 3 BIG bags of fabrics that I have been buying all over the years, and didn’t make anything because I was afraid of ruin them!
    I’m going to give it a try!
    Kisses from Portugal!

    • Deby Coles says:

      Oh I know how you feel. I have some ‘special fabrics’ I’ve bought too, including one beautiful piece of 100% silk, and I’m to scared to cut them as well. just think they are there waiting or me when my sewing skills are good enough. I’ll know when the time is right! Until then, they are nice to look at.

  25. ROBIN, HUNTSVILLE TX says:

    Another GREAT pattern and video! Thank you so, sew much!!! Your skirt is so cute. Just sent your blog to my daughter and told her she may want to sign up.

  26. Cindy Quinlan says:

    Thanks so much Deb for sharing this pattern and tutorial. I can’t wait to make one. Very cute skirt and nice easy pattern. You explain things so well. Thanks again.

  27. I think it’s fabulous how you’ve shown people how to make the pattern for the skirt themselves and given them the easy option of using your pattern. Great fabric for this style of skirt, Deby. Looks great!!!

    • Deby Coles says:

      Thanks Pam. It’s a great place for someone to start if they do want to learn more about how to make a simple pattern. And by drawing it right onto the fabric, this is so quick!

  28. Janine Evans says:

    Love this. Saves me trying to work it out. Quick and easy. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Pat Hoover says:

    I love that this was such an easy pattern.. I think I can even do that. Will let you know if I succeed. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • Deby Coles says:

      I’d love to see how you get on Pat. Will you load your completed project to Craftsy? Or send me a photo and I can share it on the Facebook page. t always makes my day when I see something made with one of my patterns.

  30. smonakey says:

    That’s almost too simple! I love print on that skirt fabric – it’s so cheerful.

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