Simple Elastic Waist Skirt – free sewing tutorial

Learn how to sew a quick and simple skirt using cotton fabric and elastic. This tutorial teaches how to make a skirt that fits you, no matter the size!

Photo credit: Crafty Staci

Do you ever look at all those beautiful quilting cottons and wish you could just wear them?

This is the perfect season to turn those quilting fabrics into a pretty skirt! With just a couple of measurements, you can make this in a wide variety of sizes. It’s easy to make and fun to wear!

Simple Summer Skirt 2.jpeg

How to Sew a Simple Skirt

1. You will need:

  • Cotton fabric (see below for the amount)
  • 1” wide elastic
  • Thread that matches your fabric
  • A sewing machine
  • Cutting tools

1. Supplies.JPG

To determine the amount of fabric, measure your hips and add 12”. Divide that number by 36 and that will equal the number of yards you’ll need.

For example, let’s say my hips measure 40”. Add 40+12 to get 52”. Divide 52 by 36, and you’re left with 1.44 yards. Round that up to 1 ½ yards of fabric.

Measure your waist. Add ½”, and that’s the amount of elastic you’ll need.

2. First two fabric pieces cut.JPG

2. Prewash your fabric so your skirt doesn’t shrink later. Divide your hips-plus-12” measurement in half (in my example above, that comes out to 26”). Fold your fabric with the selvages together. Cut two pieces of fabric perpendicular to the selvage that are that width.

3. Two skirt pieces cut.JPG

3. Determine the length you’d like for your finished skirt. I used 21”. Add 2 ½”, so for me that was 23 ½”. Cut your two rectangles to that length, cutting off from the selvage edge.

In my example, that’s now two rectangles that measure 26 by 23 ½” each.

4. Side seams stitched.JPG

4. Pin the two rectangles with right sides together. Stitch down both sides (for me, the 23 ½” sides) with a ½” seam to create a tube.

5. Side seams finished with zigzag stitch.JPG

5. Zigzag stitch over the edge of the seam or cut it with pinking shears so it won’t fray. Press the seams to one side.

6. Waistband pressed under.JPG

6. Fold the top edge under 1 ½” to create the waistband. Press.

7. Edge of waistband pressed under.JPG

7. Open it up and fold the raw edge under ¼”. Press. Turn the waistband back under and pin in place.

8. Feeding elastic into waistband.JPG

8. Stitch close to the inner fold, leaving 1 ½” open to insert he elastic. Feed the elastic into the casing by pinning a large safety pin to the end and pushing it through.

9. Stitching ends of elastic together.JPG

9. Make sure there are no twists in the elastic, then overlap the two ends by 1” and stitch together securely. You may want to overlap the ends, pin them, then try the skirt on to verify the fit before stitching.

10. Stitching through waistband at seams.JPG

10. Push the elastic completely into the casing and stitch the opening closed. Even out the gathers. Stitch vertically through the waistband at the side seams to prevent the elastic from rolling and twisting.

11. Folding up hem.JPG

11. Fold the bottom edge of the skirt under 1” and press.

12. Folding edge of hem under.JPG

12. Tuck the raw edge into the fold and press again, so you’re left with a ½” hem.

13. Stitching hem.JPG

13. Stitch close to the inner fold.

Simple Summer Skirt 4.jpeg

Now you’re ready to enjoy a beautiful day!




I’ve been a maker for as long as I can remember. If there’s a technique I haven’t tried, it’s probably on my to-do list. At my blog, Crafty Staci, I create beginner-friendly craft and sewing tutorials, simple recipes, and curate links to fun things to make. Sometimes people are hesitant to take that first step into making things. My goal is to guide and inspire them to jump in, and not be afraid to make mistakes along the way. I want to do my part to keep handmade alive and well!

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