Monday, May 7, 2012

Flat Elastic Waist Band Maxi Skirt

       If there is one thing I absolutely cannot have enough of during the summer months, it is skirts, maxi skirts being my favorite. They are cool to wear, and always look fabulous. This version I am going to show you today, has a flat elastic waist band. Elastic is a great choice for waist bands because it very simple, and, obviously, adjustable. However, elastic can be quite unflattering if it causes gathers of fabric at the waist. I for one, do not need any extra padding in the waist area! For this maxi skirt, I used a very stretchy, baby rib knit and two inch wide elastic. The following measurements work perfectly for this stretchy fabric, but if you choose something less stretchy, you will need to add a few inches to the width measurements.
     Start by folding your fabric in half length wise ( like it comes off the bolt) and then in half again. You will be able to cut both front and back panels at one time by folding the fabric this way. Make sure the stretch of the fabric is going width wise.

       Now cut out the main body of the skirt. I turned the picture oddly, so that you could clearly see which is the top and bottom. I added four inches extra to the width at the bottom so that the skirt has a slight A-line shape. If you leave it straight, you most likely will need to add slits, as it will probably be uncomfortable to walk in it.

     Now, you will need to cut out a waist band. I must have snapped this picture before I straightened the edge, it looks a little wonky here. If you are using a fabric that doesn't have much stretch, don't subtract that inch from the band.

        I didn't show a picture of this, but you'll need to also cut a strip 2 inches wide for the ruffle around the bottom. I just made the strip to be twice as long as the width of each panel. You will also need to cut your elastic the width of your waist minus 4 inches.
       To sew it all together, I started by putting the ruffle on first. I chose to pleat mine rather than ruffle it.

       Once the ruffle was attached, I sewed the front of the skirt to the back of the skirt along the sides.

      At this point, if your fabric is quite stretchy, your seams might look a little scary like mine. Don't worry about them just yet. When working with knits, your iron is your best friend. We will straighten all that out at the end. The next step, is to sew the front waist band to the back along the sides.

       Fold the raw edges together like so.

      With your skirt facing wrong side out, place the waist band inside it. You should have three raw edge together along the top. Pin the side seams together.

      Continue adding pins as needed, and sew the band to the skirt. Make sure to leave about 3 inches open so that you can thread your elastic in. Because the waist band is slightly smaller than the skirt, you will need to stretch it as you sew.

       Again, don't worry if your seams look curly. They will get fixed. Now, thread the elastic through the waist band. Use a safety pin to make it easier.

      Sew the elastic together, and then sew the hole closed.

      The last step is very important not to skip, ironing. I hate ironing, but with a knit garment, it is a must! The trick with ironing knit, is to steam it and pat it with a hot iron, rather than rubbing it. The intent is to shrink the seams straight, not to stretch them out further. Make sure you iron the seams flat, facing down.

      See how much nicer the bottom edge is after ironing?

      The waist should be quite flat. It won't be perfectly flat though, because it does have still have extra width to get it on and off.

      The little rumples will smooth out when wearing, as is the intent in the first place.

       Both this white one, and this polyester knit one, are available in my Etsy shop.

     Since we're on the topic of maxi skirts, one other little trick. If you use a woven fabric (not stretchy fabric), cut out the skirt the same as above, but add an extra 2inches or so to the width. Then cut out a waist band just like above, but out of some stretchy fabric. Sew it together and you'll get something like so. It's my cheaters way to make a quick skirt without having to add a zipper. It literally only takes about 20 minutes to whip out a skirt this way.

    You can also check out my older tutorial on how to make a maxi skirt with a shirred waist, here. 

      Do you have a favorite maxi skirt tutorial? Feel free to leave it in the comments for us all to see!

2 Corinthians 8:9   For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 


  1. These are all so nice! My daughter has requested that I make her some of these - I sew mainly crafts but I think I can swing this one - thanks for your tutorials!

  2. thanks for linking up to Make it Monday! I've shared your link on the Brassy Apple FB wall! :)

  3. OOoh I love these! That ruffle at the bottom is just so cute!

  4. This is so cute. I am all about maxi dresses/skirts lately! I love the ruffles!

  5. Super, super cute! I love them all! Well done!

  6. How gorgeous! My daughter wants me to sew her a dress with an elastic across the chest, so this tutorial comes just in time :-).
    thanks so much!

  7. I LOVE these skirts!!!! I've made skirts for my girls, but I haven't tackled the process of making myself one yet. I'm thinking it's about time. =)


  8. Cute! I love maxi dresses and would love a skirt like that. Found you on the Vintage Farmhouse party!


  9. fantastic tutorial and lovely skirt! X

  10. Beautiful skirts, I love maxis!

  11. I love maxi skirts. I'm sure I'll make one for me, thanks for tute!

  12. Hello!

    This tutorial was very very helpful in figuring out how to measure for my fishtail skirt! I linked your blog and this tute in my post:

    Fishy Fishtail Skirts

    Thanks! :)

  13. thanks for sharing.

  14. I love this maxi because of the pleated ruffle! But I was wondering ... what is the easiest way to go about pleating the ruffle and attaching it to the bottom? Since the strip is double the length of each panel would each pleat be 2 inches? And how do you pin the pleat to the bottom? I'm just wondering what's the easiest way without it all falling apart when I try to put it on the sewing machine. Can you help?

  15. Oh, I love this but sans ruffle. Super cheap to make with all the sales fabric stores seem to have or the 50% off coupons. It fits into my budget and I can make several for the price of one store bought skirt.

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