A maxi skirt is the perfect closet staple for transitioning seasons. Wear it with a tank top and sandals in summer and with a denim button-up, a scarf, and boots later—it’s versatile enough to wear year round! And with only three seams to sew, a DIY version is a great sewing project for a beginner seamstress.

Woman wearing maxi skirt

Jess Abbott

Simple maxi skirt DIY

Jess Abbott

Things You'll Need

Tips

Cotton or woven fabric can be used, but are not recommended as they can restrict leg movement when walking. If you do choose either, use a regular point sewing needle.

Materials needed for sewing a knit maxi skirt

Jess Abbott

Step 1: Measure Yourself

Using measuring tape, measure the circumference of your natural waist. Repeat for hips, and add 2 inches to your hip measurement. (If using woven fabric, add 6 inches to hip measurement).

Next, measure from your waist to the floor to determine your skirt length. Add 1 inch to that measurement.

Diagram for how to measure yourself properly

Jess Abbott

Step 2: Cut Front and Back Pattern

Fold the fabric in half so that the selvage ends meet up on the sides. Using your length measurement, measure from the top of the fabric to your desired length. Cut two pieces of fabric, selvage to selvage, this length.

Measuring and cutting your maxi skirt front and back

Jess Abbott

Divide your hip measurement by 4. With the fabric still on the fold, cut an arced line from the bottom skirt hem tapering up towards the top of the skirt to cut the front and back pattern pieces of the skirt. The top waist of the skirt should be the same measurement as your hip (divided by 4).

Tip

Please note, the top of the skirt is not the same measurement as your waist, but rather, as your hips. You want to be able to put the skirt on over your hips. We will use your waist measurement in the elastic steps later.

Arc the side from the bottom, tapering up towards the waist

Jess Abbott

Step 3: Cut Waistband

Fold the fabric in half again, and cut 2 waistband pattern pieces the same width as the upper skirt by 3 1/2 inches long.

Cut out the maxi skirt waistband

Jess Abbott

Step 4: Sew Skirt Pattern Pieces

Place the maxi skirt front and back pattern pieces with the right sides together. Pin and sew the side seams, using a 1/2-inch seam allowance and a small straight stitch or overlock stitch.

Sew front and back maxi skirt together

Jess Abbott

Step 5: Sew the Waistband

Place the two waistband pattern pieces with the right sides together, and pin and sew the side seams.

Sew the waistband right sides together

Jess Abbott

Step 6: Attach the Waistband to the Skirt

Matching up the side seams, slip the waistband over the top of the skirt with the right sides together. Pin the upper edge together and sew around using a stretch, zigzag, or overlock stitch and with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Fold waistband up, and press seam up.

Sewing the waistband to the skirt

Jess Abbott

Step 7: Create Casing for Elastic

Fold the top edge of the waistband 1/2 inch toward the wrong side and press with an iron. Fold waistband in half toward the inside of the skirt, enclosing the raw waistband seam. Pin waistband all around. Sew using a long straight stitch, leaving a 2-inch opening.

Create the casing for the elastic

Jess Abbott

Step 8: Cut and Insert Elastic

Using your waist measurement, cut a piece of elastic to size.

Tips

For a snugger fit around the waist, subtract 2 to 3 inches from your waist measurement. This ensures that the maxi skirt sits on your natural waist. For a looser fit, use your actual waist measurement.

Cut elastic your waist measurement

Jess Abbott

Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic. Insert safety pin into the opening of the waistband, and slide safety pin all the way through and around the waistband. Make sure to hold on to the other end of the elastic when slipping the safety pin through.

Insert elastic into waistband casing

Jess Abbott

Pin the overlapping elastic ends together, making sure the elastic is not twisted inside of the waistband before doing so. Sew a rectangular box over the overlapping elastic, using a straight stitch to secure. Pull elastic fully into the waistband, and finish sewing the waistband closed.

Sew elastic ends together

Jess Abbott

Step 9: Hem the Maxi Skirt

Fold the bottom of the maxi skirt 1/2 inch toward the wrong side and press with an iron. Fold again 3/4 inch and press, enclosing the raw edge. Sew around to hem, using a long straight stitch, double needle, or coverstitch.

Tips

If using knit fabric, make sure you do not stretch the hem when sewing so as not to get “wavy” fabric. If you do not have a coverstitch machine or double needle, you might consider using a stabilizer or interfacing the wrong side of your hem prior to sewing to aid in this process. It helps, but is not necessary.

Hem the skirt

Jess Abbott

Step 10: Press

For a clean professional finish, always press your handmade clothes. This ensures that they look their best at all times!

Press and finish maxi skirt

Jess Abbott

Woman wearing a maxi skirt at an outdoor gardening supply store

Jess Abbott

Fall outfit on a mannequin

Jess Abbott

Woman wearing maxi skirt

Jess Abbott