Sew Your Own Maxi Skirt {it’s easy!}

Back in high school when I was bored on a Saturday night I sometimes would sew myself a new skirt to wear to church Sunday. The thing is, my mom was never impressed by my skirts. I wasn’t enough of a perfectionist in my sewing for her taste. Nevertheless, when I was home in August and bored on a Saturday night guess what I did? I sewed a skirt. And guess what? The next day at church my mom complimented me on it. Do you think she was just being nice? Either way, I love how it turned out. It is SO comfy and it was SO easy to make and I feel cute when I wear it. Here’s my maxi skirt tutorial:

Maxi Skirt Tutorial

I could make a million of them!

Maxi Skirt Pattern and Tutorial:

Supplies Needed:

  • Any sort of stretchy, knit fabric. You’ll need maybe about 1 1/2 yards to 2 yards (assuming your fabric is wide-mine was about 60″ wide). It’s going to depend on your size. I’m short (5′ 4″) and pretty thin, so I need about 1 1/2 yards. Buy a little more if you think you will need it.
  • Thread in a coordinating color


Tips for Sewing on Knits:

Knits can be a little touchy to sew on because they stretch while you try to sew. Frankly, I am not a pro at this, I am still learning too, but her are a few tips to help you out:

  • Try a ballpoint needle. This is optional but these needles are intended for sewing on knits and can help.
  • Make sure that your needle is very sharp (as in newish and hasn’t been sewed with a lot). This will help a lot when sewing.
  • Use a stretch stitch if your machine has one. If not you can either use a normal straight stitch or a very, very narrow zigzag. This will help prevent your seams from popping when you stretch the skirt to put it on.
  • Don’t pull the fabric through the machine, let if feed naturally. Otherwise you will get a weird stretch in your seams.
  • For more info on sewing on knits along with pictures try my ebook.


Instructions for Skirt:

Measure your waist. (For this tutorial I will be using a 34 inch waist as the guideline. Alter yours to whatever size your waist is.)

Divide that waist measurement in half (so for mine it is 17 inches) and that will be how wide you cut the top of your skirt.

***Please please please cut bigger than you think you might need. You can always size it smaller but it’s hard to make it bigger if you cut too small. Add an inch or two at the very least the first time you make this. Also, if your hips are significantly wider than your waist, add a little extra to take that into account.

Now measure your legs to figure out how long you want your skirt. Measure from your waist clear down to your ankles and then add about 2-3 inches extra to give yourself enough fabric for a hem at the bottom.

Now, grab your fabric.

Fold your uncut fabric in half. You will cut your skirt on the fold so that it turns out symmetrical.

Starting at the top of your fabric, cut your skirt out.

Figure out how wide you need to cut the top of your skirt. Remember, my waist measurement was 34 inches, so the top of each of my 2 skirt panels was going to be 17 inches.

Now since my fabric is folded in half, that means I need to half the 17 inch measurement and that’s how much I will cut (because then when I unfold the fabric it will be the full 17.)

So I am cutting mine 8.5″ as you can see here. This is the to of the skirt: (Adjust this to whatever your measurement should be.)


Mark where the bottom of your skirt will be. As you cut from the top, angle gently towards the bottom of your skirt so that it is wider at the bottom than it was at the top. You want it to be about 13 or so inches wider at the bottom. (So divide that in half since your fabric is folded.)

Here’s my bottom:


And here’s what it looks like when it is all cut out: (you should have 2 panels that look like this)


Now, grab both panels and with right sides together, sew both of the outer sides together. Try it on to check the width. If you need to, take it in at the waist. (By sewing further in on the fabric and cutting off the excess.)

Hem the skirt making sure to make it the length you want it. (Fold over about 1 inch. Iron it in place. Fold it over an inch again (so that now you have 2 layers of fabric and sew clear around. Sorry, I took these pictures a while AFTER I made this skirt so it is a little frayed on the bottom from wearing and washing. How to make a maxi skirt

Now, to finish the top, make sure your skirt is still inside out. Cut a piece of fabric that is the same width as the top of your skirt and is about 10 inches tall. Fold this in half making it 5 inches tall by your width-whatever that number is. For this sample skirt it would be 34.

With it folded in half, sew the short ends together so that is makes a big loop.

Now (with it of course still folded in half-because it should now be sewn in place that way), pin this piece in place around the outside of your skirt waist. It should be touching your unfinished part of your skirt because your skirt is inside out. Sew around the waist.

Maxi skirt tutorial and free pattern

Free Maxi skirt pattern


This part will fold down over the top of the skirt to make a nice looking waist band.

When it’s sewn in place and the skirt is finished, it should look like this:

Free long skirt patterns

And that’s it. Now make one in another color!

How to Make a Maxi Skirt

Free Maxi Skirt Pattern

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Hey there! I'm Amber, mom of 4 crazy boys, wife of 1 and non-stop, always busy, crazy project doer. (There's a reason why we call it *Crazy* Little Projects.) I love chocolate, reading, sewing and being with people!
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  1. says

    Thanks for your tutorial. I’ve been wanting to make a maxi-dress, but for some reason, the only tutorials I’ve found for them are maternity ones. I’m pinning this to make when I’m caught up on my other projects. And as for your mom… I bet she was being nice and honest. My mom has always been the same way, so when I get a compliment out of her, it means a lot because I know it’s sincere.

  2. Carolyn says

    I was hoping to make this skirt, but following your instructions only gives me one piece (the skirt front?). Where are you getting the piece for the skirt back? The instructions say to sew both sides together, so I think that I would need two pieces. Can you help?

          • Mommameah says

            I’m sorry…I guess what is confusing me is how many times you fold the material in half based upon the instruction to cut the waistline in half yet again (to get the 9.5 inches) So if I have one big piece of material…I fold it in half right sides together. (17 inches) then do I fold that in half again (9.5) and cut down only one side to get the two pieces? I’m sorry I’m such a simpleton on this.

          • Amber says

            You would fold it in half once vertically (so the big fat piece is not a skinnier piece) and then once the other direction so that the skinny piece is now a loop or a waist band.

  3. Carolyn Bradshaw says

    Okay, but my length is 41″, and if I cut the front on the fold from the one and a half yards of fabric, there’s not enough left to cut the back piece on the fold. I am folding the fabric lengthwise (selvege to selvege). Is that how you are folding yours?

    • Amber says

      Shoot. I’m thinking you are quite a bit taller than me and that’s the problem. You might need more fabric. Sorry! I just updated the post to reflect that it’s going to depend on your size how much you need. Also, how wide is your fabric?

  4. LonnieQ says

    I think Carolyn’s problem is that you must start with a double layer of fabric. Then fold it in half. That way you will end up with two pieces. The front and the back. If your fabric is 60 inches wide to begin with then half would be 30 inches. Then when you fold it in half again you can begin to cut your measurement. Keep in mind that the finished skirt is not going to be any wider than the 60 inches you began with. I made mine with 2 yards of fabric because I’m 5’9″ and needed the extra fabric for the waste band. Great skirt pattern and I can relate to your perfectionalist Mom. I grew up with one as well. My sewing never satisfied her but then she didn’t have to wear it.

  5. Mary Kate says

    I think I will just fold the fabric in half and measure 1/2 of my waist measurement instead of folding twice and measuring 1/4th. So excited to make mine(I actually started on Saturday…messed up…about to sit in front of the TV now and pick out…and then do it right!). Since I am so short(5′) i only needed 1 yard! Thanks for posting!

  6. Mary Kate says

    let me clarify….i didn’t mess up because your instructions were clear…i always mess up the first try! :)

  7. Karen says

    Did you add any seam allowances? I see your instructions say to cut the fabric 17″ wide at the top for the front of a piece for a 34″ waist, but this leaves no room for a seam allowance…is your fabric just that stretchy, or does this give a tight fit (especially for curvier types whose hips are larger than the waist measurement?) Thanks for any tips!

  8. Laura says

    I’m pregnant and wonder how I could alter the pattern to fit me? I’d still like the waist band to fold down under the belly but I don’t have a waist measurement to figure out the pattern. Any tips?

    • Amber says

      You know, I would just make it to fit right under your belly, whatever your measurements are there. Since it’s so stretchy it’s very forgiving and you can probably wear it both pregnant and not pregnant.

  9. Rachael says

    Is there a way to measure taking into account the stretchiness of the fabric I’m using or should I just cut it the way you instructed and then keep taking it in at the sides as needed? I’ve been trying to draft my own skirt patterns lately but the mathematical part kills me.

    • says

      I recommend going on the larger side first and then sizing down if needed. I’ve done them too small before and that can be a major bummer. :)

  10. Shannon says

    My knit fabric is a bit thin and I will have to do a different knit to line (I’m guessing lol). Should I leave the hem of the knit separate from the lining or sew them together at the bottom? Thanks for any advice!

    • liz says

      Sew them separately but for the lining make it about an inch shorter than the skirt itself so there’s no chance of it showing

  11. Julie says

    I love this pattern! I just made my first one and plan on making a bunch more for my trip to Haiti. They will pack well and with the right jersey fabric wont wrinkle which is a huge plus for packing! Thanks for posting this!

  12. Penny says

    Your instructions say “So I am cutting mine 8.5″ as you can see here. This is the to of the skirt: (Adjust this to whatever your measurement should be.)” Did you mean “This is the top of the skirt”?

  13. Tina says

    Good project. One thing I might suggest you try next time, as I find with knits it offers a much more flattering fit is to angle the fabric on the bias. (Instead of pointing the grain of fabric straight up and down, point at 45 degree angle). It does tend to take more fabric, however I have always found it to be worth it! The drape from the hips and sway of movement are more flattering. Also, you can turn a horizontal stripe fabric into a cute chevron skirt, (which is also more flattering pattern for curvy girls). Where this pattern instructs to fold in half, create a seam of the two 45 degree angle pieces. Love maxi skirts!!

  14. Mickey says

    Hi Amber I am new to sewing and I really really want to make it I kinda got lost where the 8.5” came into play is there way you can quickly describe it.

  15. Elizabeth says

    Thank you for this tutorial! I’ve been wanting to make maxi skirts for girls now I know how to measure and sew!

  16. Alex says

    I am confused- so when making the waistband, do I pin it directly on top of the skirt (when inside out)? Or do I attach it to the top, making it longer? And do I sew around the top of of the skirt, with the rough edges upwards, and the folded edges down? Oh gosh. Please help- I am a beginner sewer and just so confused. Thanks!!

    • says

      With the skirt inside out you slide the waist band down over it so that raw edges are meeting at the top. Then sew around the top. When you turn it right side out you will then fold that waist band down over the top to make a nice waistband for yourself.

  17. heatherr says

    When it comes to sewing the sides of the skirt is it ok to do it with just a thread and needle or machine better ?

  18. Kimberly says

    Thank you! This was so easy and fun! I’m also going to make some just below the knee length for these hot Georgia summers!

    • StacyLV says

      If you want to stay cool in that hot summer Georgia weather you need to buy natural fiber knits and stay away from the man made fibers, they are like wearing plastic wrap in the hot, humid weather! Good luck with your sewing!

  19. Jacque says

    Thank You very much for the tutorial. I was going to start mine tonite, however, I am worried about lining it. Is the lining going to make it heavy so that the waist band won’t hold it up?

  20. says

    Wow! I love how you make all of your sewing projects without patterns. This maxi skirt looks cute and easy to make. Thanks for sharing and have a blessed week!

  21. says

    Awesome! As soon as I read this I knew just what to do with some knit fabric I’ve had for 10 years! I made it this afternoon in about 30 minutes and it is so comfortable! Thanks for the great tutorial!

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