Homemade strip skirts are great projects for sewers of all ages and skill levels. The technique isn’t too challenging, and there’s plenty of room to get creative with your fabric and pattern choices. In this free video lesson, expert seamstress Ellen March teaches you how to make a fun and elegant strip skirt with an elastic waistband that can be worn on any woman, regardless of shape or size. She demonstrates each step of the easy process from the initial pattern layout to the final hem, and discusses all the ways you can improvise to make your strip skirt beautiful, unique, and comfortable!
Creating the Strip Skirt Pattern
First things first, Ellen shows you how to draw the pattern for your strip skirt, which can be done on pattern tissues, newspaper, cardboard, or whatever else you want to use. To do so, you’ll begin by measuring your waist and dividing by 6. This will give you the length of your skirt’s top, adjusting as necessary up to 2 inches for seam allowance. Then measure the length, which will depend on your skirt type. Ellen is making a maxi skirt for a toddler, so her top is 8 ¼ inches and her bottom is 13 ¼.
Cutting, Finishing, and Sewing the Strip Skirt Segments
Once you have your pattern, go ahead and cut 6 segments. These can be the same fabric and design, or you can experiment with variations to create a truly unique strip skirt! With your pieces cut, you’ll finish each of the edges with a serger, cutting off a ½-inch from each side. Although finishing with a serger simplifies the seaming process, you can also use a zigzag finish if you don’t have or don’t want to use a serger.
Next, sew your segments together. Ellen recommends sewing the front 3 together and the back 3 separately and then sewing these pieces at the side seam, but you can do this step however you’d like. By this point you’ll have the body of your skirt complete!
Attaching the Waistband
When you’re ready to sew in the elastic waistband, Ellen says you have a couple of options to consider. You can certainly opt for elastic with casing and account for seam alignment, but she prefers fold-over elastic. This type of elastic is great for woven and strip skirts, as it’s a super soft and comfortable material that’s used in baby diapers.
Ellen likes to use the widest available width of elastic to simplify the process of zigzagging. In addition to width choices, you’ll also decide whether you want to have the matte or shiny side of the elastic showing on the outside. Totally your call.
Whatever you decide, when you head over to the machine you’ll want to match the top of the fabric with the center fold of the elastic (which is already created for you if you choose fold-over). Ellen shows you how to stretch the elastic as you sew between the seams of each segment, which will give the strip skirt a snug but not tight fit. Always remember to put the needle in the down position as you adjust, if your machine doesn’t automatically do so.
The only thing left to do after you’ve fully sewed on the elastic is to hem the bottom of the skirt. Hemming a skirt is also your preference, and is another opportunity to get creative. You can choose to double turn the hem, which is what Ellen tends to do, or you can add accent fabric or any other hemming solution you like!
If you enjoyed this project and you can’t wait to get going on another, we recommend learning how to make a circle skirt. And once you’ve nailed both of these, dig back through our archives to discover so many more great projects!