How to Sew a Skirt (Without a Pattern)

When I was in high school I often sewed skirts for myself on Saturday to wear to church on Sunday. Drove my mom crazy because she didn’t think I sewed them nicely (she’s a perfectionist, I’m not). Today I still like to sew skirts (maxi skirt tutorial here). And I’m still not a perfectionist. That’s why I want to teach you how to sew a skirt without a pattern. It might not be perfect, but it works for me.

DIY skirt tutorial

It’s not a hard skirt to make. You do need a skirt that currently fits you (or you can try with your own measurements but it will be easier with a skirt).

How to Sew a Skirt (Without a Pattern):

Supplies Needed:

1 yard or more of fabric. I used cotton. I used about one yard (slightly less) and I am about a size 6. If you are bigger than that get more fabric.

1 Zipper (about a 7 inch or so)

About 2 yards of premade Ruffle embellishment (optional)

A skirt that currently fits you (if possible)


Fold your fabric in half and lay it out. Place your skirt that you are using as a pattern on top of it. (If you are not using a skirt for a pattern then you need to figure out your measurements-waist width, how long you want it and how much wider you want it at the bottom than the top).

Leaving yourself about 2 inches extra along the top and at least 2 inches extra along the bottom (remembering that you can always make it shorter but you can’t make it longer once you’ve cut it) and about 1-2 inches extra on the sides, cut around your skirt.

sew a skirt without a pattern

*Note-cut yours straight across on the bottom, not rounded like mine. That was a mistake.


Fold it in half to make sure it is even on both sides and trim off any excess:


Now, place right sides together. On one side of the skirt, sew a one inch seam.


Prepare your other side for the zipper. If you don’t know how to do a zipper then you need to read Learn to Sew Lesson #6 here. Make sure to position your zipper in about 1 inch below the top to allow yourself room to create a hem for your waistband later. (You aren’t actually sewing the zipper in yet, just basting the spot where it will go. This picture will show you what I mean about making sure you leave room at the top though. Don’t pin your zipper in place like this yet. You’re going to baste the length of where your zipper will eventually be and then sew the rest of the seam with a regular stitch.


Press your seam open and insert your zipper.

Once your zipper is in place, fold the top down about a half an inch so that the raw edge meets the top of the zipper:


Then fold it down again a half inch so that the top of the folded edge lines up with the top of the zipper:


And stitch it all the way around the skirt.

Now do the same along the bottom. Try on the skirt and check the length and determine how much you want to hem it. Hem your skirt by folding it up once and then again to make it the length you need. Adjust as needed.

Now if you want to add the premade ruffle at the bottom, start at the center of the back and start pinning it in place all the way around.

premade ruffle

adding ruffles to skirt

Once you get back around, fold it in on itself to finish it and pin it in place:


Then top stitch all the way around.

how to sew a skirt

And you’ve got a skirt! I hope it fits. Now try a maxi skirt too.

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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. AnnieG says

    I think I missed the part where I was supposed to hem the second side of the skirt, the side with the zipper on it. Otherwise I think it turned out great! I’m going to upload a picture to your Facebook.

  2. em says

    do you have to use a zipper because i don’t have any zips… i have elastic though, how can i do it with that? thank you :)

    • says

      You could do elastic. You just need to make sure that it is wide enough on your hips that it can slide over them with the elastic.

  3. anna says

    hi, i was inspired by this, and intend to give a go. however, i need to know, is it better to cut the skirt on the bias?? this is new to me, and more than a little bit confusing. thanks, x

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