Tutorial: Easy 1-Hour Skirt

I am not kidding, you can make totally this skirt in an hour. And is it not SUPER-cute? Scale up or down to make the size you need, and have fun making loads of these easy, reversible skirts for all the little ladies in your life. Let’s get started so you can see how easy this project really is.

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris


  1. Two pieces of coordinating fabric (see “math” too figure out how much)
  2. 1 pkg of Dritz 1″ fold-over elastic in a coordinating color
  3. 1 pkg of extra-wide double fold binding in a coordinating color
  4. Matching thread
  5. Sewing machine (duh)
  6. Basic sewing supplies

First off, let’s do a little math to determine how much fabric you need. You will need to know your child’s hip and skirt length measurement to determine the amount of fabric you need, and later you will need their waist measurement to cut the elastic.

For the width of fabric needed, multiply child’s hip measurement by 1.5, plus add 2 seam allowances (I used 1/2 ” seam allowances). For my DGD, I cut my skirt fabric sections (21 inches * 1.5) = 31.5 + (.5 * 2) = 32.5 inches wide. That means I can get my skirt pieces out of a single width of cotton fabric that is 44/45 inches wide. Great! Only 1 joining seam.( If the skirt width you need ends up more than 44/45 you might want to adjust your skirt pieces so that you have 2 equal sections, which would mean doubling the number of seam allowances in the calculation above.)

For the length of fabric needed, just use the skirt length number. No seam allowances, nada. Because this skirt has a binding at the bottom instead of a turned under/joined hem, no need for extra length. Same with waist – no casing here. So again for my skirt for DGD, I just need 9 inches for the length. Easy peasy, right?

Now that you know the dimensions of you skirt pieces, you can cut two pieces of coordinating fabrics for your skirt. My two pieces are 32.5 inches wide x 9 inches long. I bought 1/3 yard of each of these two fabrics, just to allow for crazy-crooked-cutting at the fabric store and shrinkage.

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris

Next, right sides together, stitch each skirt into a tube by stitching the short ends together.

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris

Turn one skirt right side out, and place the two skirts together with the WRONG SIDES touching. Now you have one tube of fabric, aka a skirt, with a “pretty side” visible on the inside and the outside. See? Weird birdy-things on one side and blue flower-y things with yellow leaves on the other side of DGD’s skirt.

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris

Now the skirt hem. I always wash purchased binding to take care of any shrinkage and also to get rid of that nasty, stiff sizing. Cut a piece of binding (be sure it is extra wide double fold!!) several inches longer than the circumference of the skirt, and pin the binding in place with the skirt edges together and “sandwiched” into the center fold of the binding.

At the join, I like to put the partially open binding on top (on the right below) of the completely opened binding (on the left below), which also has the front edge folded back about 1/4 inch. Then wrap the completely open binding over the partially open binding, and sandwich the skirt edge inside the binding.

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris

See how this technique results in a very neat, clean join without any little hanging bits of the “inside” binding side poking out? Tidy!

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris

Stitch the binding to the skirt. You can keep the inside edge of your presser foot close to the binding, or use an edgestitch foot if you prefer. You could also use a pretty decorative stitch.

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris

OK, your skirt is hemmed and now you are ready to attach the fold-over-elastic (FOE) at the waist. Run a basting stitch around the waist about 5/8″ or 3/4″ from the raw edge of the skirt waist. You do not want this basting/gathering stitch to be caught under the FOE—you want to be able to easily remove it after the elastic is completely attached – so that is why it should be more than 1/2 inch from the raw skirt edge .

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris

Next, cut a length of Dritz 1″ FOE 3-4 inches SMALLER than you child’s waist measurement. Stitch the short ends of the elastic together forming a circle.

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris

Pull up the gathering stitch at the skirt waist so that it is the same circumference as the elastic circle, and pin the elastic to the skirt with the elastic “fold over” line even with the skirt waist raw edges. Do not stretch the elastic to fit—you will end up with a skirt that is waa-a-a-y too big in the waist. Trust me.

Using a basting stitch, and with the elastic against your feed dogs, baste the elastic to the skirt. Be sure this basting stitch is approximately in the center of the elastic. You also are going to want to easily rip this out later.

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris

Switch to a medium-long and medium-wide zig-zag stitch on your machine, and then fold the elastic over the skirt completely encasing the waist. Stitch near the bottom edge of the elastic, making sure to catch both edges of the elastic with the zig-zag. See the basting stitch? It is barely under the right side of the presser foot of my machine in the image below.  Purrr-fect!

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris

After you have completed the zig-zagging around the waist, very carefully rip out the basting stitch in the center of the elastic and also the gathering stitches in the skirt fabric. Be really, really careful with your seam ripper in that FOE. It is very soft, and it is soooo easy to snag an elastic thread when you are trying to remove those basting stitches. Ask me how I know! 😉 This is how the elastic should look at the skirt waist when you are done. Zig-zag stitches close to the edge, catching both sides of the elastic on both sides of this stinkin’ cute reversible skirt.

Reversible Skirt tutorial by Sew Maris

And this is how your finished skirt will look. Now it just needs to be on a cute child!

Reversible skirt tutorial made by Sew Maris

I hope you find this tutorial helpful, and have some fun combining fabrics and trims to make a cute skirt or two for your favorite little girl. I’d love to see your pictures, and as always, LOVE to get your Comments!

Happy sewing!


15 Responses to Tutorial: Easy 1-Hour Skirt

  1. Love this!!! I’m making a little black chiffon ballerina skirt for myself, and your super clear instructions on how to gather and baste, and do the foldover have made the project so much easier than what I would have put together myself.

  2. So glad I found this! You saved my sanity! I was trying to use fold over elastic for the first time on a skirt waist. I was trying to stretch it as I have in the past using regular elastic and as you said (that no one else said) I kept ending up with the waist getting wider and wider. I tore it out twice and while I was sitting there tearing out the second attempt I finally came across your blog and finally got my skirt finished. Thanks to you!

  3. Dear Maris,
    What an adorable skirt! Have you ever made it for an adult? I think it would make a great spring/summer skirt with a cotton tee and cute sandals!
    There are so many beautiful cotton coordinating fabrics to choose from. I found a trio of very pretty spring prints. My thought was to make my own bias binding out of one of the fabrics.
    What do you think?
    Thank you,

    • Hey Jacque – great idea to make it for an adult, and to make your own bias binding! Of course, making the binding would mean it would take more than 1 hour – but you would have a darling, very custom skirt when you are finished. Love the idea!

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