Easy Girls' Elastic Waist Skirt - Tutorial

I have been absolutely project-less the last couple of weeks here at Mommyland! And it has been a while since I fired up the sewing machine as well. So here's a sewing project...

While sorting the kids' clothes the other day, I realized there were just 3 or 4 outfits that I had made FOR the Little One. Ofcourse she has a bunch of MommyMade stuff, but those are all hand me downs from Big Sister. So I decided to try and balance the scale just a little bit with this easy elastic waist skirt.

This is a great sewing project for beginners. This one took me about 30 minutes (with pauses in between to take pictures!). I learned to make this very simple skirt from my aunt when I was about 12. She was kind enough to let me experiment with her machine and I made my first very own skirt!

Want to make one for your little one...or yourself? Read on for my step-by-step...

All you need is a rectangular piece of fabric and some elastic. You can use a wide variety of fabrics for this skirt - 100% cotton, light weight cotton blends, light weight knits, chiffon are just a few fabrics I have made this skirt with. Always wash, dry and iron your fabric before cutting.

This tutorial is for 3 elastic waist band skirt. Here's how you take the measurements.

1. Width of skirt - Take waist measurement and multiply by it by 1.5 or 2. Doubling the waist size adds a lot of poof to your skirt. 1.5 times is a little bit conservative....suitable for adult sized skirts. Little One measured 18". The width of my skirt is 36". (If you don't have long enough fabric, you may also sew together 2 smaller fabrics to get your desired width.)

2. Length of skirt - Measure how long you want the skirt. Add 1.25" to the bottom hem and 2.25" to the waist band. I wanted my skirt to be 12" long. So I added 3.5" to it. The total length of fabric cut 15.5".

Here's my 36"x15.5" rectangular fabric.

Cut 3 strips of 1/2" elastic measuring waist+1/2". So now, I have 3 strips of elastic measuring 18.5 inches each.

You have to do some prep work with your fabric before you sit with your sewing machine. Fold the bottom of the fabric about 1/4" and iron it along the full width of the skirt.

Now fold it once more about 1", so that you no longer see the unfinished edge. And iron it along the entire width. This is your bottom hem. Do not sew yet. (This is the double fold method for finishing your hem.)

Repeat the same for the waist band. But for the second fold, fold in about 2". When you are done ironing, this is how the inside of your fabric should look like.

Unfold the creases you just made, and fold the fabric along the width.

Run 2 straight stitches leaving 1/4 seam and zigzag the unfinished edges. Now you have a 'tube' of fabric.

Fold over the creases you made and stitch near the edge of the double fold. Do this for the bottom hem first.

When sewing the waist band hem, leave a gap for about 3".

Keeping the first stitch as a guide, run 2 more straight stitches, about 3/4" from each other. See, now you will have a 'home' for each of the elastic strips. Make sure you leave a gap in all the stitches you make. We need this gap to thread the elastic into the band.

Using a safety pin, thread one end of the elastic through the first 'home'. After you bring it out the other end, make sure it is not twisted within the casing. Pin the edges together. You can stitch these 2 ends right away, or wait to thread the rest of the elastic and sew them all together.

Thread the remaining elastics through the other 2 casings, and pin them up.

After making double sure the elastic is not twisted inside the fabric stitch each of the ends up, over lapping about 1/2". (I would have liked this to be a lot more neater!). Run straight or zigzag stitches back and forth atleast 3-4 times.

Gather all the fabric to the other side of the skirt, so that this unfinished end remains straight and not gathered up because of the elastic.

Now finish the gap carefully, not running any stitch on the elastic.

Your skirt is now done, with neat looking insides...

And a very pretty gathered look on the outside.

The gathered fabric look like smocked fabric but oh! so easy to make.

You may also make this skirt with just one 1" elastic waist band, or add lots more for an even wider waist band. Just adjust your skirt length measurements accordingly.

Wear it as a strap less tube top too!

Easy, right? Try making one, and do send pictures of your projects!


  1. Thank you so much for the step by step instructions. I tried this one and it turned out great. However, I folded the waist band a little less and ended up doing 2 elastic bands instead of 3.. It still worked out pretty good.


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