Tuesday, March 19, 2013

DIY Maxi Skirt

When I was little, my mom made a decent amount of our clothes. We'd have play shorts and new dresses every once in awhile, after she'd spent the evening in her sewing room (which at that time was the laundry room). I didn't really think too much about it at the time, since that was normal for me, but I guess that as I've grown up I've seen the beauty in being able to make things for yourself. You can choose the colors, tailor the fit, make the little details perfectly for you. 

Also, thanks to Pinterest, I've seen a number of things that I feel like I could easily make. I think that having a sewing machine gives me an unrealistic view of my sewing abilities which are mediocre at best, but still I like to put it to use. Making anything beyond simple pillow covers scares me though (as even those can be disastrous).

On my last day off, I decided to finally face the fear of cutting into fabric and make a maxi skirt. Thankfully, it wasn't as scary as it seemed. 

I began with 2 yards of black medium-weight knit fabric (I didn't need that much, but I was being safe), elastic, scissors, a white crayon for marking, an old skirt for the pattern, and black thread

I traced my old skirt onto my fabric, which was folded over in half so that my pieces would be exactly the same. I stretched the waistband out as far as I could and held it there with my feet as I bent down to trace. I didn't leave any room for seam allowance because the skirt I was tracing has always been a little long and I didn't mind if it was slightly tighter since the original skirt is fairly loose.

I used an old yearbook to get the straight line on the bottom.

Then I cut.

Then I sewed the sides together with a zig-zag stich. Apparently, the zig-zag stitch helps stretchy fabric to be able to stretch and for the sides not to look bunchy or weird. Despite taking the zig-zag stitch precaution, I feel like bunchy sides have a lot to do with user error (I could very well be wrong).

Then I ran out of thread on my bobbin and had to wind more on there

And then made a waistband. I didn't measure, but I did hold the elastic up to the waistband and go from there. I made it a little wider so that the elastic would fit, and next time, I don't think I'd make it quite as roomy.

 I left a little room to fit the elastic in.

And put it in there using a safety pin as a guide. Before I did this, I'd held elastic up to my waist and determined how big I wanted the waistband, but no pictures because I was using both hands.
Once it was through, I sewed my pieces of elastic together like my life depended on it. I didn't want any wardrobe malfunctions. It also got kind of stuck in my machine, which is why it looks mangled.

Once it was in, I sewed the hole shut, made the bunching on the waistband uniform, and tried it on

And it fit! I took a number of pictures, but the light was terrible and this was the only non-blurry, non shadowy one besides the first picture.

I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with the leftover fabric at first, but finally decided to make a shorter version of the same skirt. I traced the bottom part of a dress, but I should have used a different one because I'm planning on altering this one due to the dress being too wide at the bottom..

And I shouldn't have tried it on with a flowy shirt, but oh well.

I haven't worn the long skirt anywhere yet, but I wore the short one at work the next day and it didn't fall apart so I'm feeling good about it.

The skirts, from first dragging out my machine and setting the fabric down flat, to taking pictures and putting my machine away, took a little less than two hours (total - I made one after the other). Since I can barely sew a straight line myself and this seemed to work, I recommend that everyone make skirts for summer!


  1. Actually the zig zag stitch should be used to finish your edges after you straight stitch the seam. If we ever get together we can play with your sewing machine and have you feeling more confident in your abilities. A great way to hem knits is using a twin-needle.

    They look great! Now you have two new skirts to wear!

  2. Nice work! I have never tried my hand at sewing. It intimidates me so much! Your skirts turned out great. :)

  3. It's so adorable! I'm really wanting to try to make one soon! I'm dying for a comfy black maxi and a couple of fun patterned ones for work! And I'm not gonna lie, I'll probably be in one of these bad boys all the time. Hehe! Thanks for the tutorial!

  4. That's so cute! You did a very good job :) I can't wait to try my maxi skirt project! I think maxi's are the most comfortable thing EVER to wear to work! And I'm not going to lie, I'll probably be in it almost ever day hehe!


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