Simple Skirt Pattern


I have a bad habit that dates back to when I was very thin and didn’t have much money. If I see a fabric that I love, I buy only one yard, thinking, “Oh, surely I can make a blouse from this.” Um, no. I can’t.

I’m learning, but in the meantime, I had one yard of patchwork fabric to use up. I bought it with a skirt in mind, but not a pattern. One yard sure is not much fabric! After playing for a little bit, I decided to break the rules, cut the fabric on the crossgrain, and see what happened. The result was the Yellow Patchwork Skirt. It is very easy to make, but it takes a little time to plan.

Design issues:

I expected to make a trapezoid shape, with the front and back pieces identical, so I had to figure out how wide to cut the skirt at the bottom and at the waist, and I needed to figure out how long to make the skirt. As it turned out, the bottom width and the length were determined by the amount of fabric I had.

  • Bottom width:  A yard of fabric meant cutting 36″ for the front piece and 36″ for the back piece. Pretty straightforward. I used 1/2″ seams, which meant 2″ total. Therefore, the total finished width at the hem was going to be 70″.
  • Top width: I wanted a simple pull-on skirt with an elastic waist, so I needed enough ease to slip over my hips. I chose 6″ of ease + hip measurement (I’m glad, since my hips are no longer that size). I also added 2″ for the seam allowances. 38″ + 6″ + 2″ =46″ total width. Of course, half of this needs to go on the front of the skirt, and half on the back, so I divided the number by 2. I would need to cut the top 23″ wide.
  • Length: The fabric was only 42″ wide, or 21″ when folded with selvedges matching. I wrapped it around myself with the fold at my waist and observed:  21″ is too short for a skirt on me. It would need a band on the bottom. I wanted it to be ruffled, so I made it 84″ long and gathered it to meet the 70″-wide hem edge.
  • I figured out in making the skirt that I should have flared the top for 1.5″ so when I folded over the top, the fabric was wide enough to make the casing.

I had my dimensions, so all I needed to do was center them on the piece of fabric. I subtracted the top width (23″) from the bottom width (36″) to get 13″. I split that amount evenly on either side of the edge and marked it on my fabric with a pencil. I carefully lined up my ruler to make sure it was square, and marked the top of the fabric with a pencil.* Then I just used my ruler to connect the mark for the waist with the bottom corner of the fabric, and I cut it with my rotary cutter.

*I should have made this mark 1.5″ from the top, to leave room for the flare, but I didn’t and I managed.


I sewed the side seams together, and then I turned the top over and stitched it 1.25″ from the edge, leaving a space open to insert the 1″-wide elastic. I recommend stitching the elastic in place (at center back and both side seams) once the gathers are where you like them. Otherwise the fabric likes to find its way to the edges, leaving the center of the skirt flat and the sides looking w-i-d-e.

To make the ruffle at the hem, I pieced two 5″-wide strips of fabric to make a really long band. Then I folded the strip in half right side out, and pressed it so it was 2.5″ wide. I ran a gathering line along the cut edge, then sewed the edge to the bottom of the skirt. No hemming required.

I like the skirt, but it is youthful in style, fabric, and design. Although I am currently not working, I feel like maybe my style is a little too young for my age. Not sure I will make another one of these.


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