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How to Make a Simple One Yard Skirt without a Pattern

Updated on May 26, 2015
Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing

New Complete Guide to Sewing: Step-by-Step Techniques for Making Clothes and Home Accessories
New Complete Guide to Sewing: Step-by-Step Techniques for Making Clothes and Home Accessories

This book just about covers it all when it comes to sewing techniques, tools needed for specific sewing jobs, and sewing machine maintenance. You can learn to set in a sleeve, make a buttonhole, or reupholster a favorite chair using the instructions in this book. Highly recommended by someone who has an an earlier edition of it and uses it frequently!


How to Make a Simple One Yard Skirts: No Pattern Required

Sewing a simple skirt from one yard of fabric is probably the easiest sewing project there is. You don't even need a pattern!

All you need is elastic, thread, and a yard of fabric of your choice.

For this pattern to work, your hips must be six to eight inches smaller than the width of the fabric.

If your hips are much more than six inches smaller than width of the fabric, and you don't want a full gathered skirt, you will want to cut some inches off one selvage side.

Just be sure that you have at least six inches extra for the width to allow for movement. Otherwise, the skirt will not hang properly.

Get someone to help you measure from your waist to the length you want the finished skirt to be.

Once you have this measurement, add five inches to the length to make the casing for the elastic and a hem.

If the fabric is a cotton or cotton/polyester blend, first make sure the edge is cut straight, then measure the selvage.

Cut or tear (tearing works great with woven fabrics) the fabric to the length you have previously determined.

If you don't have anyone who can help, you can measure the length of a skirt from your closet that fits well.

The one yard skirt is an excellent beginner's sewing project.

When I worked with Girl Scouts, my troop had a weekend sleepover at the Girl Scout lodge to learn to sew. The skirt project on this page was the one we used.

Each girl brought a yard of fabric, matching thread, and a package of elastic. By the end of the weekend, they each had a new skirt they made themselves.

In the process, they learned how to sew a straight line, how to make an elastic casing waist, and how to hand-hem their skirts.

One Yard Skirts

are great first sewing projects for the beginner!

Fabric by the Yard


This pretty purple print would be great for a shirt, skirt, curtain, pillow, apron, or any other sewing project!


You can get the right length by

measuring a skirt from your

closet and adding five inches

for the casing and hem!

Fold the fabric with the selvages (or lengthwise edges, if you cut out some of the fullness) together, and the outside of the fabric on the inside of the fold.

Pin the selvages, and then sew a 5/8 inch seam, using a locking stitch at the beginning and ending of the seam.

To create a locking stitch, after stitching three to five stitches, reverse the machine and go backward for three to five stitches, then go forward over the stitches again. This creates a locking stitch that will prevent the seam coming undone.

Iron the seam open. If you fabric has a one-way design with a definite up and down, put the hem at the bottom of the design. At both top and bottom of the skirt, fold up 1/2 inch and press it.

On the top edge, fold the fabric down 1 1/2 inches and press again. Stitch this down close to the edge of the fold, leaving at least a two inch opening to insert the elastic into the casing.

Cut the elastic to your waist size plus one inch. Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic and thread it through the casing, taking care not to allow the opposite end of the elastic to enter the casing.

After the fabric casing is gathered on the elastic, sew the elastic ends together, then stitch down the opening in the casing. Slide the fabric around the casing until it gathers evenly.

Stitch the casing from top edge to bottom edge at center back, and at each side to prevent the elastic from twisting.

Try on the skirt and determine how much to turn up the hemline.

Remove the skirt, fold the bottom edge up to the amount needed for the hem, and press.

Use a needle and thread to hem the skirt, or alternately, stitch the hem on the sewing machine.

Hand hemming will, however, look much nicer and give your garment a more professional appearance.

Add a matching or coordinating blouse from your closet to your new skirt and you have a brand new outfit!

Who knew one yard of fabric could liven up a wardrobe?

One yard skirts are great gifts!

Making a Simple Draw String Skirt

DIY How to Hem a Skirt

Sewing Book for Beginners

Sewing Fun!

Sometimes you find a great remnant at the store, or have a yard or so of fabric left over from another project. There are many creative ways to use up your fabric and have gifts to give friends and family. Check out these sites:

Image courtesy of

One Yard Skirts

are quick and easy to make!

Image created by Linda Pogue
Image created by Linda Pogue

Have you sewn a one yard skirt?

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    Post Comment
    • Linda Pogue profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Pogue 

      4 years ago from Missouri

      It works great. If, like me, you need a larger circumference than the fabric, just use two yards instead and sew them together on the selvages.

    • Frischy profile image


      4 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      What a great idea! I will have to give this a try!

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 

      4 years ago from West Virginia

      Cool idea; I'll mention this one to my daughter. Pinned and shared.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great idea for the novice sewer. I also used to love being creative with my sewing. I remember making a whole outfit out of a long black skirt once for something different. Wish I still had the photos.

    • Linda Pogue profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Pogue 

      6 years ago from Missouri

      @Snakesmum: For those of us who can't fit into a one yard of material, the skirt is easy to make using two yards. Thank you for commenting!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I haven't made a skirt like this, because there's a little too much of me to fit into one yard of material! :-)

      Nice lens.

    • Linda Pogue profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Pogue 

      6 years ago from Missouri

      @captainj88: I used these instructions with a group of 4th grade Girl Scouts years ago. The girls all made themselves a skirt in an overnight meeting. It was lots of fun, and the skirts turned out really cute. It really is a good pattern for beginners.

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 

      6 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      This looks like a very easy pattern for a quick addition to a wardrobe, or as a way for beginners to dip their toes in the world of sewing.


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