Easy elastic waist skirt: first and second version

I loved Alli’s recent tutorial on how to make an elastic waist skirt. After reading it, I knew I’d have to whip up my own soon!

Besides being cute and comfortable, there’s nothing like a little instant gratification. Who doesn’t like a quickie project to make and wear the same day! Well maybe not the same day, but you get the idea..

I had this pretty brushstroke print in my stash for a while now and always thought it would be a great skirt. I loved the almost-border-print look at the edge where it fades to black!

I followed along but changed a few things from Alli’s tutorial. Her tutorial is for shortening a dress so there’s no hemming involved. When you’re using fabric instead, hemming’s required. In this case, I did a rolled hem using the rolled hem foot on my machine.

I did this the real quick-and-easy way:

  • Did the rolled hem first
  • Sewed the one sideseam (back seam?) together
  • Gathered the waist with basting threads
  • Sewed the waistband seam
  • Joined the skirt to the waistband
  • Done!

Also, I removed my gathering threads after the elastic was attached. For it to stretch over my hips, I needed the elastic to stretch freely without the basting threads. Just unpick the basting threads carefully after the waistband is attached.

TIP: if you baste in a different colour thread, it will be easier to remove the basting later!

So, here’s the finished skirt. I wore it to work with a tank top and blazer and it was incredibly comfortable! (You could totally eat a big meal in it, since that’s my usual point of reference..)

After wearing it all day, I did feel it was a little long. I wanted to show the border as much as possible but it was hitting at a somewhat unflattering length. At first, I thought it was fine, but once I got it in my head it was too long, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

So, I made it again! I had enough fabric leftover to make up another skirt.

The first skirt was 24″ long, so I made the second one a lot shorter, with a finished length of 18″. Much better! I’m not super tall, and the shorter length is more flattering on short legs.

And voila! Shorter, cuter skirt. That’s the beauty of the elastic waist skirt, it’s a easy and fast project. I also used the remaining fabric to add an extra tier, for something different and a little extra coverage.

This is a project I could make over and over, improving it each time with little changes. So fast! So easy! Even when you’re capable of complex projects, it’s still satisfying to turn out a couple of quick ones now and then.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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23 Responses to Easy elastic waist skirt: first and second version

  1. Stacy July 9, 2010 at 6:53 am #

    I love it! cute and super simple…those are my favorite types of projects. Like the two looks too! great job!

  2. A Sewn Wardrobe July 9, 2010 at 6:57 am #

    I really like both lengths. The longer one is great for the office/family events, and the shorter one will be so cute for going out in. You are so right – a gal needs an easy, down and dirty project every now and again.

  3. Suzie July 9, 2010 at 7:37 am #

    I love it!! Sometimes it’s all about the fabric and that fabric is fabulous!!!

  4. Sofia July 9, 2010 at 8:52 am #

    JEALOUS! I LOVE THEM BOTH! I’ve wanted skirts like this forever. Can you tell me how to do them when I see you Sunday? AND, do you have any extra fabric I can buy off you??!

  5. Susan - Knitters Delight July 9, 2010 at 9:28 am #

    I love how you changed it up with the second version. Both are beautiful versions of this skirt. I tried my hand at an elastic skirt a while back, but used really stiff fabric. I think I’ll try it again with a floaty fabric, now.

  6. Wanett July 9, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

    So lovely!! Now I’m sad I didn’t order any thick elastic ;(
    I really like the first one, I don’t think it’s too long either.

  7. Tasia July 9, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

    Thanks everyone!
    @Susan – Knitters Delight: Floaty fabric is definitely required, otherwise the gathers are bunchy and thick around the waist and high-hip area. Not cute! Been there, done that. This is a super lightweight polyester print. I’d suggest if you’re considering a fabric from your stash, test gathers on a small piece to see what they look like.
    @Stacy: , @A Sewn Wardrobe: Couldn’t agree more, easy projects are great! I love feeling like I FINISHED something in an evening.
    @Suzie: I love the print on this fabric too!
    @Sofia: Of course I can show you how! I used up the rest of the fabric on the tiered version but we can find something similar..

  8. Tasia July 9, 2010 at 12:04 pm #

    @Wanett: Yeah, I like the longer one for comfort, plus there’s less chance of it flipping up in the wind! I was hoping for a more cute, flirty look though, more like the second try. You could probably use thinner elastic but it would have to be at least 1″ to hide the seam. I used 2″ elastic for this skirt and I’d probably keep using around 2″ so it looks like a black belt.

  9. Rachel July 9, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

    Gorgeous! I love both versions. I’ve made a few of these for friends/family in my first days of sewing – allowed me to give a hand-sewn gift without all the nightmares of fitting someone else’s body!

    Love the fabric – you have the best taste!

  10. The Cupcake Goddess July 9, 2010 at 5:53 pm #

    I love the 2nd version! The entire outfit has such a great feel to it! And yes, I judge my clothing fit by what I can eat and still feel comfortable in. I think I’m in need of an easy project. Easy fit too! Great look!

  11. rita July 9, 2010 at 7:44 pm #

    Love! Especially the 2nd one. Would you do a tutorial?

  12. Amy July 9, 2010 at 11:18 pm #

    Very cute!

  13. Jessica July 10, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

    Love your skirt – I’ve been planning something similar, and yours is a definite inspiration!

  14. Tasia July 12, 2010 at 7:38 pm #

    @rita: I could do a tutorial, if people are interested! The pink text where it says ‘Alli’s tutorial’ links to One Pearl Button’s tutorial, it’s similar but not exactly the same. I made up the two-tiered look on my own :)

  15. Gail July 12, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

    You certainly have an eye for great fabric.

  16. sulovesew July 15, 2010 at 10:39 pm #

    Hi Tasia, i love the skirt. so gorgeous and quick to make. what kind of fabric is it? I am trying to venture out of cotton and am looking for non-cotton inspiration

  17. Tasia July 15, 2010 at 10:46 pm #

    @sulovesew: Hi! It’s a lightweight polyester charmeuse-type fabric. Super light, a little bit slippery but overall not too bad to work with, since you’ll be sewing mostly straight lines. I like the fabric enough, but it’s SO lightweight that it blows around in the wind…you get what I mean :) If I were to make it again, I’d go for a rayon print, something with a nice drape, but a little more body to it. Hope that helps, somewhat! I wish there was an easier way to describe fabric. Blouse-weight? If you can picture it in a drapey blouse, then it will probably work. The key to making this skirt, is picking a fabric that will gather well. Something stiff like cotton will be SUPER bunchy around the hips, and may stick straight out!

  18. Alli (One Pearl Button) August 13, 2010 at 8:45 am #

    This is so adorable!! I absolutely love it in this light fabric, and the print is GORGEOUS. I do know what you mean about blowing around a bit too much for comfort, though – even my lightweight cotton versions can get a little difficult to deal with in a strong breeze. I wore one in Rome this summer and it was a *really* windy day – I think every tourist on the Palatine hill knew what color underwear I had on, haha!

    PS – your photo styling here is gorgeous, as always! I need to learn from you!

  19. Gabby April 2, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

    Soooo cute! Could you do this with two layers? Cotton inside and a flowy outside?

  20. Kathy October 22, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

    I would love to know where to find the fabric with the elastic already in there, I am not good with doing gathers, so I need real basic. I’ve looked online and can’t find any – what would that be called? I only found one black skirt fabric with the elastic in all the stores I have shopped in and I want colors! Any help is appreciated.

  21. pam May 21, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

    Please help, the link to how to make the skirt is broken or gone. This method you used is one I can’t find anywhere else, where you gather the skirt before placing the elastic on it. Usually they want you to pin the elastic on and stretch as you apply it. I don’t care for that method very much. Can you tell me how to do your method??

    • Tasia June 1, 2015 at 11:44 am #

      Ah, too bad that the original post is gone! It was from a blogger that must have taken down her blog. It’s been five years so it’s hard to remember, but I think I gathered it like you would a regular, gathered, skirt, then sewed it to the elastic with a zigzag stitch. It has to be a zigzag stitch so it will stretch with the elastic. Then, remove the basting stitches. You need to remove them because they won’t stretch when you pull the skirt over your hips! It ends up with the same result as the stretch-and-zigzag method, but you treat it more like a regular gathered skirt application. Hope this helps!


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