One-Seam Skirt Tutorial

In an effort to downsize my enormous fabric stash, I’ve been sewing skirts lately. Like this one-seam skirt. It’s a fitted, kinda-like-a-wiggle skirt, one seam skirt. If you would like to sew a one-seam skirt, read on!


For the record, my sewing skills are practically nonexistent. I once made a really cute dress. And forgot to take a bust measurement. The dress was so tight I had to cut myself out of it. Yeah. Super fun. But even I can manage a simple skirt.

Repeat this to yourself if you feel you can’t sew a skirt: At its simplest, most basic form, a skirt is a rectangular piece of fabric sewn into a tube large enough to fit over your hips. That’s it. A lot of them are made with two panels, but I find it much easier (and faster) to make a simple, one-seam skirt from one rectangular piece of fabric.

Want one? Here’s a tutorial.

I can make a skirt in about 40 minutes. If you have mad sewing skills, you could do it in less time. In this tutorial, you use elastic for the waist. If you’re a true vintage girl (or guy. I won’t judge.) you can use a zipper instead of elastic. If you want pockets, add ’em.

This tutorial is for a one-seam fitted skirt. If you would like to make a loose, flowing skirt, the instructions are located in parentheses throughout the tutorial. There are only two differences between sewing a fitted or loose skirt, so either method is equally simple to create.

You will need:

A sewing machine
2 yards of fabric
1 yard of 3/4 inch elastic

Wash and dry your fabric. Iron it flat.

Measure across the widest part of your hips. Add 5 or 6 inches. This is for seam allowance and for free movement around your hips. (For a loose skirt, measure across the widest part of your hips and multiply it by 1.5. Yes, that is a ghastly large measurement. It’s okay. Continue on with the tutorial.)

Measure how long you want the skirt to be and add 3 inches. For example, if you want the skirt to be mid-calf length, measure from where you want the skirt to sit on your waist to mid-calf.

Cut your fabric to fit these measurements. For example, if your waist measurement is 30 (+ 5) and your desired length is 26 (+3), cut your fabric into a 35 x 29 inch rectangle.

Fold fabric in half (into a square), right sides together. Pin edges together, iron flat. Sew with a straight stitch or a tight zigzag. Try on your tube to make sure it fits over your hips comfortably. When you wear the skirt, the seam you have just sewn will be centered on your backside.


Hem the bottom of your skirt using the same pin and iron method you used for the seam, using a straight stitch. If a selvedge edge is at the bottom, there is no need to hem. You may need to cut a 6 inch slit on both sides of the skirt to allow freer movement around the knees. Those will also need to be hemmed. (For a loose skirt, you will not need to do this.)

Now, make the casing for the elastic. With fabric inside out, fold the top over 1 1/2 to 2 inches. This opening must be wider than your elastic, keep that in mind. Pin and sew, leaving a 2 inch opening at the end.


Measure around your waist where you would like the skirt to sit. Subtract 2 inches. Cut your elastic to this length.

Attach a safety pin to one end of your elastic. Push the safety pin into the opening you left on your skirt. Feed the safety pin around the casing, and try not to let the other end of the elastic slip into the casing. Or you’ll have to fish it back out, which is annoying and will make you curse.


When you have fed the elastic all the way around, join the ends of the elastic together and sew.  Sew up the opening in the casing.

Ta-da! You’re all done!

A Few Notes

*For the fitted skirt, I used a cotton fabric with no stretch. Movement is slightly restricted in a skirt like this, so keep that in mind. If free movement is essential, use a stretch fabric. I love using cotton fabrics because they soften over time. After a year of being worn and washed, the fabric is like buttah.

*If you would like to make a wiggle skirt, cut your fabric so the bottom is narrower than the hip/waist measurement, and hugs your knees. This will definitely restrict movement, but makes you ‘wiggle’ when you walk, hence the name.

Have fun!