August 17, 2010

easy elastic waistband skirt tutorial

The elastic waistband skirt is usually known under the name of "the 20-minute skirt" because it literally takes you 20 minutes to sew it. It's one of the easiest skirts to create and involves only basic sewing knowledge and skills. It can be a perfect first project for a beginner seamstress.

I added some extra elements so it took me more than 20 minutes to finish the skirt. But it was worthwhile.


for the basic skirt
1 yard fabric
elastic waistband

for the extra elements
fabric remnants for the pockets
tulle and rick rackWrap the elastic around your waist, add an extra 0.5" to the length and cut it. Place one end of the elastic on top of the other end and sew them together with a zig-zag stitch, overlapping the 0.5".
Fold your fabric in half and cut it.
Use one of the garments in your own closet to get the shape of a pocket.
Cut four pockets out of your remnant fabric. If you have more than one yard of your main fabric you can use it also for the pockets. I preferred to use another fabric for two reasons: 1 yard was all I had of the green fabric and it's cute to have the pockets of different fabric color though it's a hidden detail.
Pin the pockets to your fabric, right side of the pockets facing the right side of the skirt.
Stitch the pockets to the skirt and press them back.
Place the skirt pieces together with right sides facing each other. Stitch them together going around the pockets.
Turn the skirt and press the side seams flat.
Fold and press the bottom of the skirt to create the hem. Because the fabric sides are sealed you can stitch after the first fold and it won't fray.
I folded and pressed one more time because I wanted to get an above the knee length.
Stitch the hem.
Cut a long strip of your tulle at about 2", place the rick rack right in the middle and stitch them together to the bottom of the skirt. Wrinkle the tulle with a seam ripper or anything you find handy.
Stitch around the top with a straight stitch.
Pull the stitch until the skirt has the same length as the waistband.
Pin the skirt to the waistband.
Sew them together using a zig-zag stitch.
It makes a lovely spring or summer skirt.
If you choose to skip the tulle & rick rack stitching part, go for a bright colorful fabric so the skirt doesn't look dull.
It's not the kind of skirt I would dress when going out, but it's perfect for wearing around the house.


  1. this is just crazy, I was litterally JUST showing a collegue at work the end-of-roll fabric i want to use for a "20-minute-skirt" and I was wondering how I could include pockets in the basic version.
    This is great, thank you so much !

  2. Love your version, especially with the added touch of the ric-rac and tulle. Great tutorial as well.


  3. Hai ca e o fustita draguta! :) Numai ca eu nu am masina de cusut... ca imi faceam de lucru! :D

  4. Thanks for the tutorial! Awesomeness!


  5. Wow, this is great! Yay for easy and cute! I just clicked over from Craft Gossip and I would love to link to this if you didn't mind.

  6. Just a cautionary note: the 'sealed' edge of the fabric, otherwise known as the selvage of the fabric, can draw up differently from the fabric during washing and drying, and cause the hem edge of your pretty skirt to be all puckery.
    Alternate treatment here would be to cut selvage from the fabric, and hem by turning up the raw edge 1/4", turn it up again 1/4" and then proceed per your instructions.

  7. Hi stefi
    thanks again for the tutorial, it was very helpuful.
    I,ve just posted my finished skirt on my blog, if you'd like to check it out...

  8. This is so cute! (SEW cute, LOL). I am wondering, if you do not stretch the elastic while sewing to the skirt, how does it have any stretch to it? When I add elastic to my pieces, I always have to stretch it while sewing, so it scrunches back, then can stretch to go over hips, etc.? Maybe I am missing something :) Anyway, it is really cute!
    Stevie Nicks "style" clothing, jewelry & accessories.

  9. I love this tutorial but am curious as to the answer from the question above. Being a plus size I would need some stretch. I would love to make skirts for my granddaughter as she is at an odd size being a bigger little girl and it is hard to find skirts to fit her. I love how simple your tutorial made this look to make.

  10. I must say I didn't think if this before, maybe because when I measured the length of the elastic I didn't wrap it against the smallest part of my waist so it isn't very tight and I don't have to stretch it too much to fit over my hips. Although stretching is involved and the skirt is handling it ok.

    Here is another way to sew the fabric and the elastic together, a way that will leave more room for stretching:
    Divide elastic and garment into fourth and pin mark. Pin elastic to wrong side of garment, with edges even, matching pin marks and sew them together with a zigzag stitch, stretching elastic to fit between pins.


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