How to sew a maxi skirt in 30 minutes or less

I will show you two versions, quick & easy. First the yoga waist skirt, then the elastic waist skirt.
I wear both styles, both are comfy yet stylish. You don't need special equipment, just a "can-do" attitude. Really. I'm serious.  Get your sewing machine ready and let's go.

**Die hards will use a stretch needle, but I've found it doesn't make a big difference for me, and I can't always source them here in rural England-- so like Nike says, Just Do It (already).  ;)


Now you have a tube. Smooth the seam allowance by pressing it with your fingers. Put this aside for later.

Cut out the skirt panels (on a fold). 

Cut two pieces of the skirt body out, using your pattern. (See how I'm cutting with the fold along the right side?)

Mine tapers out a bit as well, it measures 9 1/2" at the top, tapering out to 12 1/2" at the bottom. I cut it 35" long and cut the hemline again at the end if need be.

If I am feeling fat I cut it a bit larger. If I feel skinny I might cut it tighter with a big seam allowance. If I feel vampy I don't flare it as much, then the skirt ends up tighter and is a "sexier" cut. Oh my Lord did I just say that? LOL You know what I mean right?

Moral of the story is---don't FRET this! Draw some straight lines and go. If you're worried, I wear anything from a size 4 to 8 American/ 10-12 UK/ 38-40 Euro. Depending on your size go up or down a few inches, it won't be a big deal, trust me. Email me if you're freaking out, I'll help you.

 Knit is such a great fabric to work with because it's forgiving when you wear it. I made my "pattern" by drawing straight lines on freezer paper. I use this guide over and over again.

Two pieces of these:

Sew the two panels RST along each side. 

Another view of cutting it out:

Now atttach the waist band tube to the skirt like this.
RST, pin the raw edges of the waist band to the top of the skirt.

*Hold up!  RST= the right side of the skirt will be touching the right side of the waist band.

Got it?

Another view:  remember, the seam line goes in the middle so that when you wear it, the seam line is right down the middle of your back. You may have to stretch the band a bit to fit it around, that's OK! It makes pretty little pleats. OR you can stretch the band as you sew it on, which is what I do but it took me a few times to master it....

Sew it on, taking pins out as you go. I do a straight large stitch first, check my sewing, then go back and do a large zig zag stitch. Then again to secure it all a third time, I sew another straight stitch again.

Turn it right side out and admire your new skirt!


Cut the skirt panels out as earlier, but add about six inches to the length. We will be folding the top down for the waist band on this version, so the added length is for that.

Sew the panels together as we did earlier.
Straight stitch, then a zig zag stitch.

 I'm demonstrating the skirt is wrong sides out.

Sew a casing for the elastic by sewing all the way around the top about an inch from the edge, leaving a gap open of at least six inches for insertion of elastic.

Get your elastic ready and measure around your waist. I like to add an inch for ease and seam allowance, so if your waist is 27" cut 28" of elastic.
I don't know about you, but I cannot stand tight elastic around any body part--so this is why mine are cut with ease. If you like it tighter, then cut your waist measurement. (Ewwe)  LOL

After the casing is sewn, insert the elastic with a safety pin. I put another pin at the opposite end of the elastic so that it doesn't accidentally get pulled inside. I also mark each end of the elastic so I know what way they need to be sewn together so it's not twisted--an "X" on each end does it. 

(Wrap it around your waist with no twists, then mark the meeting ends as they should sit.)

Bringing the ends together, I pin them and sew with a zig zag stitch several times.

Some people get all fancy with how they sew the ends together, but I'm all about fast. 
Whatever floats your boat man.

Sew that six inch gap closed now. and check seams.

Done! Cut the hem according to how long you want it, and you're ready to rock.

Be sure to use a matching thread so you don't see your sewing (like I did because I'm cheap and use what I have Yo)....

Next time I'll show you how to sew a smocked waist skirt--one of my favorite types but more involved. 

Hope this helps you stay cool this summer!

Now a word on fabrics.

Made by Rae has a great article on knit shopping. You can find all sorts of information about knits and stretch online if you Google it. I have found that the Bamboo Rayon Jersey is my ultimate fave! It has a great drape and silky-ish feel to it, and is NOT transparent like a lot of jerseys are.  If you need more guidance, look to Rae for her input, she is a master of knits. *Her patterns are great too (cue Washi Dress).

Another alternative is to take a class on Craftsy like the "Sewing with Knits" with Meg McElwee. Here is the link if you want to try it. Hurry, it's currently half price!

I'd love to see what you've sewn and will feature you here if you send me pics. 

Get sewin'! ;)


  1. Wonderful tutorial and you make it look easy, lol.
    I bought one with the yoga waist and I used to get outfits with matching tops and elastic waists, love the look and comfort of them and would love to make my own. I like a little flair on mine and maybe I could try some shorter ones for summer.


  2. You so inspire me to get my sewing machine out!

  3. These are fantastic!!! Been buying and making skirts this summer. So cool and they look nice, too. Your tutorial is so detailed and SO easy to understand! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

    1. YAY! I'm SEW glad it works for you Amy! I love mine, and wear them almost daily in the summer heat. :D Thanks so much for the feedback -you made my day!


I appreciate every comment, thanks so much for taking the time. It means A LOT to me. :)