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.
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)
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.)
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The 30 minute easy skirt pattern
- * 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.
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.
Fold the remaining fabric back in half and cut down the fold so you now have two pieces – a skirt front and back.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!