Bali the Reversible Skirt

reversible skirtI’ve had so much fun working with Batik fabric since my recent trip to Indonesia.  This is another in the series of projects featuring Batik.  If you missed any of the prior articles, please have a look at The Ancient Art of Batik Printing for an introduction to Batik as well as our first project, a Folded Shopping Bag from Batik Fabric for more background and a neat beginner project.  Given that spring is well and truly on the way now, I thought it would be good to make a tropical-themed skirt for those warm summer evenings out.  I’ve used Batik fabric for both sides of this reversible skirt.  You can, of course, use other fabrics of similar weight and texture, but I like the exotic look of Batik.

This is a very pretty reversible skirt, made out of cotton and silk Batik.  It will make you feel sexy, happy and slender.  I recommend  the use of cotton twill, or silk batik, or quilting cotton.  The back of the skirt will fall bellow the knee and the front will be 4″ above the knee.  Because the skirt if reversible, you’re basically going to be making two separate skirts and joining them together to form one really functional garment.

This is a project for intermediate sewers.  There are a couple of steps that might be challenging for beginners.

Materials You Will Need

  • 1 1/2 yards of fabric, cotton batik, silk batik, raw silk, quilting cotton or cotton twill. (JoAnn‘s happen to be having a sale on Batiks, so you may want to check it out.)
  • 1 1/2 yards of a contrasting fabric of any of the above
  • 1″ decorative elastic.  We purchased ours at Strapcrafts who have a great selection. (OPTIONAL)
  • 1 reversible brass metal zipper, 16″ length.  (We got our zipper from Coats Thread & Zipper here.)
  • sewing thread to match both fabrics
  • fusible interfacing (very thin)  if you are using quilting cotton

Finished Garment Measurements

Bali Skirt Sizes

Step One: Download the Pattern

The detailed sewing pattern as well as detailed PDF instructions are available at here at

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Download the Pattern

The FREE sewing pattern along with detailed PDF instructions are available on

You can download it FREE there.


Download the pattern and print using Acrobat Reader.  Assemble it and cut the skirts to the size you require.reversive skirt

If you need help doing this step, please read this article on How to Download and Print PDF Sewing Patterns:

How to download and print PDF sewing patterns

Step Two: Cut the Fabric

Cut the skirt in two contrasting fabrics.  I am using raw silk Batik and the leftover cotton Batik fabric from the folded shopping bag post from last week.  It is important that you use one fabric that is a bit thicker than the other and that the thinner fabric is the one with the print.

I have added in the pattern the option of not making this skirt reversible.  Trace and cut the facing and apply fusible interfacing to the facing.

NOTE:  I have not used fusible interfacing at all because my fabrics were reasonably thick already, but I do suggest you use it should you decide to use quilting cotton.  This is to create a very crisp round edge.

reversible skirt

Step Three: Make the Darts

Sew the darts on both skirts as per the pattern.  Make sure they are the same length and width or they will not match at the end when we have to close the skirt.

reversible skirt

Step Three: Make the Darts

reversible skirtreversible skirt

Step Four: Sew the Sides

Sew the sides of the skirt to the back using a 5/8″ seam allowance.

reversible skirt

Step Four: Sew the Sides

reversible skirt

Take one skirt and fit it to your body.  Make sure the skirt sits one inch above your belly button. Pin the side if it is too big.  Do the same adjustments to the other skirt.  This is the most important step for making sure both skirts end up the same size.

Iron the side seam open on both skirts.  seversible skirtseversible skirt

Step Four: Assemble the Reversible Skirt

We’re going to be putting both skirts together — sort of a sandwich with both print sides together.  The way I have sewn the skirt is with the optional elastic.  You don’t necessarily need to add the elastic at the waist but I wanted to add a little bling to bring the zipper and both skirts together.  The elastic and zipper both end up sandwiched between the two layers.

With print sides together start to sew the waist first leaving the sides open so we can sew the zipper.

reversible skirt

Step Four: Assemble the Reversible Skirt

Here is what I have done with the decorative elastic.  Pin the elastic to the waist, leaving a one inch margin at the end so it can be folded back to hide the raw edge of the elastic.

reversible skirtreservible skirt

Make sure your seams of each skirt line up so everything is symmetrical.

Untitled design(63)Sew along the waist at 5/8″.  If you’re using the 1″ decorative elastic, this will mean that the remaining 3/8″ extends up from the edge of the seam to create a nice decorative effect.

Next, we will sew the bottom of the skirt.  To make sure everything lines up it is best to drape the skirt on the mannequin or a dress form.  I find having and using a dress form is pretty essential when sewing garments.  If you’re thinking of getting a dress form, please check out our article Thinking of Getting a Dress Form?

If you are using the elastic option, cut the elastic so it lines up with the waist.  Make sure both skirts are the same length and one skirt is it is not pulling the other.  Pin the bottom and sew.

reversible skirt Fold the skirt where the zipper will be placed and follow the pattern instructions.  Start at the corner where the edge of the fold will be.

reversible skirtStep Five: Sew the Hem

Sew the bottom hem at 5/8′ of an inch.

reversible skirt

Step Five: Sew the Hem

reversible skirtSnip the edge of the curve 3/8″ apart outside the seam allowance.  This is a very important step so that the fabric takes the curve and doesn’t bind or wrinkle.reversible skirtTurn the skirt inside out and iron it completely.  Turn in the zipper edge and iron at 5/8″.  Place the zipper so the tape shows 1/8″.  Baste stitch the zipper to make sure you catch both skirts.  Alternatively, you can sew the zipper by hand.  Again, the zipper is sandwiched between each of the skirts.

reversible skirtChange to a zipper foot and sew the zipper, being careful to make a very straight stitch.  For additional guidance on using your zipper foot, please review our article “All About Zipper Feet“.

reversible skirt

Finished Zipper

Iron the entire skirt on both sides and try it on.  Adjust if necessary.

I think this is a very versatile reversible skirt.  It will be a great addition to your wardrobe and the perfect piece for going on vacation, a casual Friday at the office, or a great gift for Mother’s Day.  Go ahead and  make one let me know what you think in the comments below.


Reversible Bali Skirt

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Download the Pattern

The FREE sewing pattern along with detailed PDF instructions are available on

You can download it FREE there.


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21 Responses to Bali the Reversible Skirt

  1. Cathi says:

    Does this pattern and your others include 5/8″ seam allowance?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Yes Cathi! Normally they do. There are a few exceptions, but it is always stated in the instructions.

  2. Monica says:

    I’m slightly confused by your answer here. I’m sorry. Do you mean that you used two cuts of elastic ( when you said you doubled it)? I have the same glittered elastic and had planned on using it, but mine is white on one side and glitter on the other, so I would have the white side showing on one side. It’s a lovely pattern by the way! I’m chartering a catamaran next summer and I’m trying to pack and light as possible. This will be perfect!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Yes, you got it right! I sewed the two pieces together, that way the allowance is in the middle of the 2 pieces of elastic. Please share your project, specially on your catamaran, how exciting!

  3. Peggy Melfi says:

    This is the most GORGEOUS skirt!!!!! It is just stunning in the fabrics chosen. Skirt envy! Might you have any idea where such beautiful print batiks might be found to purchase~~~~besides Indonesia??!!

    Love the pattern, too! Thank you. You knocked this one out of the park, 🙂

  4. Jill Marra says:

    Love the pattern, always love reversible items! My question is about the top of the zipper. It seems that on one side of the skirt that the zipper tab will show, over top of the elastic band?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Jill, yes one side it will show, that is why I doubled the elastic band, but it is not necessary to use elastic band since it will not stretch since the fabric has no stretch at all. I did it to add a bit of bling, you can make a normal waistband or none at all.

  5. Stitchwiz says:

    I would like to try putting the zipper in with the slider at the bottom. The skirt could be worn with the zipper pull a little higher for a more sensual evening outfit.
    Love Batiks! This skirt is perfect foil for these lovely fabrics.

  6. FollowingAriadne says:

    Yay, a gorgeous reversible skirt. I am looking for travel clothes for a European holiday – that do double duty, and do not look like I am a zookeeper. WIll definitely be making this one.

  7. Mari says:

    Oh my, this is very nice tutorial. Even I can do it. Thank you so much for it 🙂 Wish I could be so good of a sewer…I know – practice makes perfect right? 😀

  8. Adelheid says:

    This skirt is very beautiful. But I love the blouse your modell is wearing.
    Do you have the pattern for this gorgeous top also?

    Greetings from Germany in spring, Adelheid.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Adelheid and to springtime in Germany. It is lovely there this time of year. A good time for wearing Batik..

      We’ve had a few comments on the blouse so we’ll do a project on that in the near future. Please stay tuned.

  9. Adinala says:

    yay! im Indonesian and i am so hapopy to see that you like our fabrics 🙂 its a lovely skirt! <3
    much love from jakarta & thank you for your site; i've saved a few patterns and sewed at least once heeheehee *more fabric and intention than actual time to sew 😀

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      You are welcome Adinala, I find with Batik the sky is the limit!!!!! So many projects keep popping out of my head! Hope you find some time to sew and share it with us!

  10. jan west says:

    Like the look of this and I happen to have some lovely Malaysian batik just needing a project! Just one question – Have you sandwiched both the elastic and the zipper between the two layers?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Jan, yes, both the elastic and zipper are sandwiched between the two layers. Good luck. I’d love to see the end product if you end up using your Batik to make this.

      • jan west says:

        Thanks for the clarification, I thought it probably would be but couldn’t quite make it out! It’ll be a while before I get round to making it !- I’m busy making dance costumes for the forseeable future, but I can definitely see this as a useful piece for travelling.

        • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

          Good luck with the dance costumes. I’ve made plenty myself over the years. Can be a lot of work!

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