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You may remember that I made a maxi skirt a little while ago. It was so cute and so comfy that I thought I would make another one and I had the perfect fabric just waiting for me (got it from a little local shop – The Fabricker)! It’s seriously like wearing pajama pants in public, but much more attractive (although I’m still not very fond of the name – why ‘maxi’? It sounds like a feminine product). I’ve had a couple of real-life friends ask me how I came up with the pattern, so I thought I would do a little tutorial to show you guys what I did. There are a total of 4 seams (plus one gathering seam) in this skirt so it comes together pretty quick and easy!

salmon maxi skirt

First off, you need:

  • 2 yards of jersey fabric
  • 2″ wide no roll elastic
  • ball point needles
  • scissors
  • thread
  • marker/sewing pencil
  • walking foot (optional but very helpful)
I choose to use a walking foot because it reduces how much I try to push or pull on the fabric. A lot of people are afraid of jersey because of the waviness that can develop when sewing with a stretchy fabric – for me the combination of a ball point needle, zigzag stitch, walking foot and ironing the seams regularly as I go takes care of any waviness. Most importantly, do not push or pull the fabric! Let the jersey feed evenly through your machine. I choose to use a zig zag stitch because it is the best looking stretch stitch from my machine. Your machine may have several stretch stitch options – try them all out on some scrap jersey fabric and see what you like best!

The seam allowances I used were about 1/2″ – I was not very precise as jersey is very forgiving. Back stitch all seams unless otherwise stated.

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You will need your waist measurement (x) and the skirt length measurement (y). Add about 1/2″-1″ to your length measurement to allow for the hem and the attachement of the skirt top to the waist band.

Take your waist measurement and multiple it by 2 – this will allow you to get the gathers at the top of the skirt. You are creating a rectangle that is 2(x) by (y). Check the selvedge of your fabric and make sure to cut off any edges that look bad. The past two jersey fabrics I’ve used have had a glued (?) edge that needed to be removed before I started sewing.

Cut all pieces of fabric.

  • The waist band is 5″ thick by (x) wide.
  • Your skirt body is 2(x) by (y). Here is the easiest way I saw to cut the pieces from the fabric. Lay the fabric out on the fold, selvedge edge to selvedge edge. Cut your length (y) and waistband.
  • You can also cut your elastic to be the length of (x) at this time.
Then sew straight up the open (y) edge to create a tube. This seam will go in the back.

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Next up, the waistband. Fold the fabric in half long-ways and sew up the long side.

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This will create a casing that will just fit the 2″ elastic.

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Bring the short ends together and sew just the inside half of the casing together, allowing for enough room to thread the elastic through.

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Thread the elastic through and overlap. Pin.

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Sew several times so that the elastic lays flat and trim off any excess elastic.

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Pull the waistband so that the elastic lays flat within the casing. Hand sew the opening shut.

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Now to finish the skirt – set your machine to the longest straight stitch and baste, close to the top. Do not backstitch.

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It will look a little wonky when you are done, like this.

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You can see that waistband is much smaller than the top of the skirt, so gently pull the top basting threads, distributing the gathers across the top of the skirt, until…

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The waist band and skirt top are the same width.

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With the skirt still inside out (seam on the outside), place the waist band inside the skirt, with the raw edges matching. Pin.

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Sew, with a zig zag stitch, just below the basted stitch, careful not to catch the elastic. Trim any extra bulk in the seam and iron flat. Hem if desired. I chose to fold the bottom edge up about 1/4″ and zig zag stitched it in place for a clean finish, but since jersey doesn’t fray, this is not a necessary step.

Enjoy your new maxi skirt!

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13 Responses to Simple Gathered Maxi Skirt Tutorial

  1. Sitha says:

    I really want to make this. I have the jersey fabric since August but I have been worried because I don’t have a walking foot :(

  2. Grandcarr says:

    Sitha, You can get a walking foot fast and inexpensively at:
    http://www.sewingpartsonline.com/walking-foot-low-shank-p60444.aspx

    You can also use a serger and adjust the differential feed to prevent stretching and have nicely finished edges. Also a different look would be a lettuce hem. This cam be accomplished bu doing a slightly stretched rolled edge hem.

    Jersey is fun to work with – the possibilities are endless!

  3. Donna says:

    Looking forward to whipping one up for my daughter and myself. Thanks for the super simple tutorial

  4. Kristen Spence says:

    Will be making on my serger!

  5. Michelle says:

    Thanks so much for the great tutorial. By any chance do you remember the fabric content of the jersey? Mine came out really bulky at the waist even after pressing and just doesn’t seem to lay as beautifully as yours.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I’m sorry, I don’t! The pink one was very thin and silky and laid much flatter than the purple one. The purple one was a more traditional jersey material. I had to trim a lot out of the seam at the waistband and skirt to make it lay somewhat flat…

  6. […] used my friend’s tutorial to make myself a skirt!  I feel like I know so much more about elastic waistbands […]

  7. Grace says:

    Unless you used elastic thread to first make the ruffling/gathering won’t those stitches be terribly stiff once you attach it to the stretchy waistband? Even if you used a zig-zag or stretch stitch to attach the skirt to the waistband, the original thread you used for the gathering would hinder the stretch, right? What am I missing? :\ Sorry, I am a beginner and want to make sure I’m thinking of these things the right way.

    • Elizabeth says:

      The zigzag stitch typically has enough stretch to it to accomodate the waistband! I’ve made several skirts this way and haven’t had any problems.

      • Grace says:

        Sorry, maybe I need to explain it a certain way… You use a straight basting stitch and pull on the thread to make the ruffles/gathers…then you attach the skirt part to the waistband with a zig-zag stitch. I know the zig-zag stitch will accommodate the stretch, but what about the ORIGINAL basting stitch (that you’ve pulled taught)? Won’t those pop out once you try to pull the entire waist of the skirt open? I feel like I’m missing something from the tutorial…like when you mention “Trim any extra bulk in the seam and iron flat.” do you mean to actually trim off the basting stitch part of the fabric?? Thanks again for your help! I appreciate it so much!

        • Elizabeth says:

          The basting stitch is just a temporary stitch to create the gather – you can either remove it or allow it to pop. It shouldn’t show on the right side of the skirt. And yes, you can trim off the basting stitch part of the fabric! Good luck!

  8. […] Instead of confusing you with all of my instructions, I urge you to visit Think Liz and her awesome (and helpful) maxi skirt tutorial. […]

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