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How to Make a Running Skirt

Updated on August 21, 2014

Wear a Sparkly Skirt to Your Next Running Race

Runners, especially women runners, are embracing sparkly and glittery running skirts as a way of adding some fun and of course sparkle into everyday running and race runs.

I was inspired by the price tags on these sparkly skirts ($ 25.00 for a basic up to $85.00 + for a limited edition premium running skirt with shorts) to do some research, look for different patterns and get out the sewing machine to make my own and make skirts for my daughters for < $25.00 total.

There are several different patterns: a basic straight skirt, a circle skirt and a tiered skirt. Making is sparkly is easy - all you have to do is find a sparkly, glittery or sequin fabric.

If your running skirt taste are more whimsical and you'd like to learn how to make a running tutu, see the How to Make a Tutu Skirt for Running lens with all kinds of instructions and ideas.

Finally if you don't have the time and would rather buy a running skirt than make one, I've included links to some of the running skirts that I could find on Amazon and eBay along with two of the companies that specialize in glittery and glamorous running skirts, Sparkle Skirt and Team Sparkle, the ones shown in the example.

Tinkerbell running skirt from RunDisney, Disneyland by angryjuliemonday. Used under a Creative Commons License.

* Show Some Sparkle *

Vote on Running Skirts

Not worrying about what anyone is going to think, if you could wear anything while running...

What kind of skirt would you like to wear running?

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Sparkle Running Skirt on Amazon

If you don't have the time to make one, you can order a pre-made running skirt from Amazon.

Pink Sparkle Running Skirt M
Pink Sparkle Running Skirt M

Order a premade Running Skirt from Sparkle Athletic in an assortment of bright colors and sizes.

Note that these skirts do not have shorts under them.

Measure 12 inches in size medium.

 

A Basic Running Skirt Pattern

Materials Needed to Make a Running Skirt

Making a skirt for running requires very few materials. In addition to scissors and a measuring tape or ruler to make a running skirt you only need ...

  1. Knit sequin, sparkly or sheeny fabric of your choice
  2. Basic elastic, waistband elastic or knit fabric for yoga style top
  3. Skirt Pattern

Sequin Fabrics for a Tinkerbell Skirt

For the Run Disney Tinkerbell Race green sparkly skirts are one of the running skirts of choice. Here are three different shades of green to use when making your sparkly sequin or skirt.

Watch How to Make a Sparkly Running Skirt

Mom Runs this Town shows how she was able to make a basic sparkly running skirt in 15 minutes for under $5.00. She uses 3/8 yard (13.5 inches) of sparkly fabric to make a short skirt and 1 yard of 1 1/2 inch black elastic for the waistband.

My Inspiration for Running Skirts - Run Disney Races

Dressing up in costumes, especially as Disney-themed characters to match the race, is almost the normal attire at Run Disney races. After doing the inaugural Tinker Bell Race (running in the Neverland Fun Run) and dressing up a bit we are planning on even a more elaborate attire to wear when we run the next race in 2014.

What you will find on this page are my 'notes,' what I have uncovered so far with the patterns, instructions, and tutorials to help me make custom running skirts for myself and my daughters. It is my hope that the information here will be helpful to other running readers interested in making their own running skirts.

Run Disney Vacation
Running in a Disney Race was one of my personal and private goals for 2012. For the past several years we normally normally visit Disneyland for Christmas, bu...

Psst... Does this sparkly skirt make my butt look fast?

— Sparkle Skirts
Image by AngryJulieMonday
Image by AngryJulieMonday

Credit to Team Sparkle for the quote, "Does the skirt make my butt look fast?"

Sparkle Skirts and Shoes by AngryJulieMonday. Used under a Creative Commons License.

Glittery Spandex Fabric on Amazon

Just some of the many different color choices of sequin knit fabric that can be turned into sparkly skirts for runners (or anyone else). With so many color choices you might want to make more than one.

44'' Wide Dazzle Metallic Sequin Knit Lavendar/Turquoise Fabric By The Yard
44'' Wide Dazzle Metallic Sequin Knit Lavendar/Turquoise Fabric By The Yard

Sequin knit fabric in an interesting combination of lavender and turquoise.

 
Faux Sequin Knit Fabric - 226 Gold
Faux Sequin Knit Fabric - 226 Gold

Gold is for winners, so make your sequin skirt with this gold knit fabric.

 
Faux Sequin Knit Fabric - 1032 Purple
Faux Sequin Knit Fabric - 1032 Purple

Sequin knit fabric in a light purple or dark lavender.

 

Elastic Waistband on Amazon

Using wide waistband elastic (firmer) or a crochet headband elastic (softer) are two easy ways to create the waistband for a sequin skirt.

StretchRite 1-1/2 by 10-Yard White Heavy Stretch Knit Elastic Spool
StretchRite 1-1/2 by 10-Yard White Heavy Stretch Knit Elastic Spool

Regular white wide elastic in a large spool (so you can make several skirts). Perfect width and heaviness for waistbands.

 

Cotton Spandex Active Wear Fabric on Amazon

This semi stretch cotton spandex fabric would work well making a skirt with a topper or yoga band for a running skirt. Nylon activewear fabric is another options for sewing running skirts. Both come in a variety of colors.

I've only included one of the many colors for each of the fabrics.

Semi Stretch Cotton Spandex Turquoise Dance & Active Wear 58 Inches Fabric By the Yard (F.E.
Semi Stretch Cotton Spandex Turquoise Dance & Active Wear 58 Inches Fabric By the Yard (F.E.

Semi stretch cotton spandex fabric in turquoise. Comes in other assorted colors.

 
Semi Stretch Cotton Spandex Yellow Dance & Active Wear 58 Inches Fabric By the Yard (F.E.
Semi Stretch Cotton Spandex Yellow Dance & Active Wear 58 Inches Fabric By the Yard (F.E.

Semi stretch cotton spandex fabric in yellow. Comes in other assorted colors.

 
Black - 58-60 Wide Nylon Lycra Swimwear/Activewear Fabric By The Yard by Plangea
Black - 58-60 Wide Nylon Lycra Swimwear/Activewear Fabric By The Yard by Plangea

This nylon activewear also works well for running skirts. Comes in black and other assorted colors.

 

Watch a DIY Simple Sequin Skirt Tutorial

Learn from how to make an easy short skirt from Miss Annielise. This is the simplest type of skirt pattern using just sparkly fabric. For a running skirt you would need to make it a bit wider (add 2 to 3 inches to the width), so there is room to run.

Watch DIY Skirt with an Elastic Tutorial.

Craftyamy93 shares her sewing and crafting skills in creating this video tutorial on making a skirt with an elastic waistband. This is another example of a skirt pattern that can easily become a running skirt.

A Circle Running Skirt Pattern

Making a Basic Circle Skirt Pattern

Making a circle skirt pattern is pretty easy. The hardest part is figuring out the circle math, but for a running skirt you can kind of estimate. You just need a couple of measurements

  • 1.) The final skirt length + 2 inches
  • 2.) The waist or below the waist measurement = 2 inches
For the waist or hip measurements, you have to decide where you want the running skirt to sit when running. Chances are it is not going to be at your waist, rather it is more likely to be a couple of inches below your waist.

If you fold your fabric in half and then in half again, as in this picture, you are cutting out 1/4 of the total circle with the pattern.

To make the smaller circle or top start at the upper right corner (where the * is located) and measure down with a measuring tape or string and mark 1/4 of your total waist measurement (For a 26 inch waist this would be 1/4 of 28 inches or 7). Keep measuring and marking your fabric until you can make a complete arc.

For the bottom circle, measure down from the first or top circle the final skirt length + 2 inches. (For a 15 inch skirt, this would be 17 inches). Measure and mark until you have the complete large arc.

Cut out the fabric, attach an elastic waistband and hem the skirt. With a bit more effort you can attach a yoga style waistband, like in Kwik Sew Pattern 3515 using a knit fabric or old T-shirt.

You don't want your running skirt to be too confining so you can be less exact than if you were doing a more formal skirt. If you want to be really exact on the math to get more help on the circle math, see my Make a Poodle Skirt with a DIY Pattern page.

Circle Skirt Pattern © 2013 by Kirsti A. Dyer.

Watch a DIY Circle Skirt Tutorial

In this online video tutorial from Whitney Sews a.k.a. aglanceatmyworld you can learn how to draft a pattern and make a short circle skirt, which could be easily used as a running skirt, with or without the extra underskirt.

More on Making a Circle Skirt

I wrote an entire page with all of the information on making a circle skirt, in this case a poodle skirt, but the basic circle skirt pattern works well for a running skirt.

Make a Poodle Skirt with a DIY Pattern
When my teenage daughter told me she needed a poodle skirt for their 50s themed sock hop dance at school, I set off to look for patterns on how to help my daughter make her own poodle skirt...

Skirt Patterns on Amazon

Some of the skirt pattern and gaucho pant options available on Amazon.

KWIK-SEW PATTERNS Kwik Sew K3513 Skirts Sewing Pattern, Size XS-S-M-L-XL
KWIK-SEW PATTERNS Kwik Sew K3513 Skirts Sewing Pattern, Size XS-S-M-L-XL

This Kwik Sew pattern has a yoga style top, which makes for a very comfortable running skirt.

 
Kwik Sew K3384 Pants Sewing Pattern, Size XS-S-M-L-XL
Kwik Sew K3384 Pants Sewing Pattern, Size XS-S-M-L-XL

One of my favorite fashion styles from the past, these gaucho pants cut shorter would make great running 'skirts.' Cut them shorter for a running skirt with more coverage.

 

A Tiered Running Skirt Pattern

Make a Tiered Running Skirt

The tiered running skirt design by Sparkle Skirt and Team Sparkle is my inspiration for making my own sparkly running skirt. Out of all the pattern options it looks like it is the easiest and least expensive to make, since it takes way less fabric than a circle skirt.

A basic sparkly skirt can be made with 1/2 yard of fabric, whereas the circle skirt is going to 1 1/2 yards for a basic skirt, along with 1 yard of elastic or 1/8 to 1/4 of a yard of spandex fabric for a yoga band.

For an elastic waistband - Measure the elastic around where you want your skirt to sit and cut this amount with an extra 1 1/2 inches to overlap. Overlap the ends of the elastic and stitch the elastic together to make a large circle.

For a yoga waistband - Measure where you want your waist band to sit comfortably, probably below your waist. Cut a long strip of cotton spandex the length of your waist/hip measurement + 2 inches by 7 to 9 inches wide (depending on if you want a 3 inch or 4 inch wide band. Sew the short ends together to create a tube.

For the skirt - Figure out the final length you want the skirt to be e.g. 12 inches, 15 inches and then decide how much of the skirt you want to be the upper tier (2 to 4 inches finished) and how much the lower tier (8 to 10 inches). You will need to cut two pieces of the sparkle fabric to make the tiers,one for the upper, one for the lower. Remember to add an inch for seam allowances.

For the top tier, cut a piece the measurement using the low on the hip measurement for where you want the skirt to ride + 3 to 5 inches depending on how tight you want the skirt by 4 to 6 inches, depending on how wide you want the upper tier. Sew this tier together along the short edge with a 3/8 to 1/2 inch seam allowance.

For the lower tier, cut a piece of fabric the width of your hips + an additional 3 to 6 inches or more, depending on how full you want the lower tier of skirt to be by 9 to 12 inches. Gather the top edge, hem the bottom edge if desired (depends on whether your fabric will fray or not). Sew this tier together along the short edge with a 3/8 to 1/2 inch seam allowance.

To assemble the skirt, attach the gathered lower tier to the top tier. To make pinning easy, mark the 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 marks for both tiers. Pin the bottom to the top and gather in each quarter of the skirt into the upper tier.

Using the same technique of dividing the fabric and the elastic up by 1/4 intervals (mark the elastic with a pin or chalk), pin the upper tier to the elastic or the yoga band. Stitch into place.

As you are going along, try on the skirt carefully (mind the pins) to make sure it doesn't need to be adjusted.

Tinkerbell running skirt from RunDisney, Disneyland by angryjuliemonday. Used under a Creative Commons License.

Watch How to Make a Tiered Petticoat Skirt

LadySasa1000's tutorial on How to Make a Tutu/Petticoat Skirt Tutorial is the best one I could find that helps explains how to make a tiered skirt. Her final skirt is a cross between a traditional tiered skirt and the puffiness of a tutu skirt.

Premade Running Skirts

Team Sparkle at Disneyland

Image by AngryJulieMonday
Image by AngryJulieMonday

Team Sparkle at Run Disney by AngryJulieMonday. Used under a Creative Commons License.

Dress up Like Minnie Mouse

With this red and white polka dot Sparkle Running Skirt you can dress up like Minnie mouse instead of Tinkerbell.

Add a pair for Mouse ears with t big bow, a black shirt and mouse paws and you've got your costume.

Red with White Polka Dots Sparkle Running Skirt L
Red with White Polka Dots Sparkle Running Skirt L

If colorful running skirts are more of your style, you can order this red with white polka dots (and dress up like Minnie Mouse).

Note that this skirt does not comes with shorts, which have to be purchased separately.

 

Use Your Imagination with a White Sparkle Running Skirt

With a white Sparkle Running Skirt you have all kinds of options for costume choices.

White Specialty Sparkle Running Skirt L
White Specialty Sparkle Running Skirt L

You have even more color and size choices with these Sparkle Running Skirts.

Note that these skirts do not come with shorts underneath.

 

Sparkly Running Skirts on eBay

You may be able to find some colorful or sparkly running skirts on eBay.

Running Skirts with Shorts on eBay

Running Skirts with shorts available on eBay. This practical style lets you run in capris, while covering up part that you may not want seen with the skirt.

* Show Your Sparkle *

What do you think about running skirts?

Comment on Making Running Skirts

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    • profile image

      Holly 

      23 months ago

      this is great! Makes me want to learn how to use my sewing machine.

    • HealthfulMD profile imageAUTHOR

      Kirsti A. Dyer 

      5 years ago from Northern California

      @LisaDH: You might try the tutu, which you can do without any sewing (just cutting and tying) skills.

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 

      5 years ago

      I can barely sew on buttons, so this is beyond my skill level, but I did thoroughly enjoy the pull quote: "Does this sparkly skirt make my butt look fast?" LOL!

    working

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