Elastic Band Skirt {aka: the fastest skirt you’ll ever make}

As much as I try to convince Elli to wear the shorts/capri’s/pants that are in her drawer……….she only gives in about 15% of the time.  And I better have a really good reason to give her…….because “it’s cold out” isn’t good enough. :)  I’ve decided to give up on it.  And just let her wear a skirt/dress every single stinkin’ day if she wants to.  (Who am I kidding?  I used to come home from elementary school as a girl and put on the same twirly skirt from the costumes box and twirl in it all afternoon.  So what’s the big deal, right?)

 

So, I whipped up a few new skirts this week, to satisfy her skirt hunger……and to shorten my time spent in the laundry room.  Because this girl wants to wear a skirt every day to kindergarten. 

(By the way, after this post, many have asked how Elli is doing in school.  She LOVES it!  She is happy to go every morning and once she gets home, she proudly tells me all the new names she has learned that day.  Sweet little nugget!  I’m just so glad she’s enjoying it!)

 

Before making her a few skirts, I told myself I needed something fast and simple.  And well, this is exactly that!  A simple tube of fabric attached right to some elastic.  Done.  No casing, no hemming, no gathering.

 

 

And yeah, having funky elastic sure makes this simple skirt style, twice as cute.  In case you’re wondering, wide elastic in all these pretty colors is actually really hard to find.  (Yes, I looked.)  But I found it all here.  Bless them for having so many great colors (that’s also super soft too)! :)

 

 

 

Now Elli has 3 new skirts that fit comfortable and are cute and colorful.  And all were sewn together in a little over an hour.

 

 

 

And yeah, labels always spruce up those homemade projects.  So I sewed them right onto the elastic waistbands.

 

 

 

 

Even though I used a serger to finish off my edges, you can use a tight zig-zag stitch as well. (I’ll show you how, down below.)  But keep in mind, that you can also make these skirts out of knit fabric and then you won’t have to serge OR zig-zag the top and bottom edges.  Yay.

 

 

 

Go on Elli, wear a skirt any ol’ day you want to!  I’ll stop bugging you to wear those shorts that are gathering dust in your bottom drawer.

**Headband tutorial can be found here.

 

 

Want to make your own Elastic Band Skirt?

 

First of all, I found my elastic here.  And it arrived quickly.  It’s 1.5 inches wide and is really soft.  So, in case your child doesn’t like to tuck their shirts in, the elastic won’t scratch or irritate.  It’s great stuff!

 

Also, like I mentioned above, you can either use woven cotton (just like your regular ‘ol quilting cotton) or you can use knit fabric.  Woven cotton will fray and you’ll have to finish off the edges like I did, or you can use knit and make this an even FASTER skirt and skip finishing the edges.  (And you know my favorite thing to do is use old Tshirts…..and you can always make the bottom hem of the shirt, the bottom hem of your skirt.  Quick and easy.)

 

First, measure your child’s waist and cut a piece of elastic that long. Then overlap the ends by an inch and zig-zag the ends in place.  (Elli is almost 6 and her waist is 21…..you know, in case you’re making this for a friend or something.)

 

Then, cut a piece of fabric that is twice and long as your child’s waist and is the exact length that you want it to be on your child.  (For my Elli, I cut a piece of fabric that was 42 x 12 inches.)  Then sew the two shorter ends together (with right sides together), using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Then serge or zig-zag that edge.  Then, if you’re using a woven fabric, serge or zig-zag the top and bottom edge of the tube, all the way around.

 

If you’re using a zig-zag stitch (instead of a serger), decreasing the stitch length will make your zig-zags closer together and will help keep the fabric from fraying a little better.  And you may notice that when sewing on a flimsy edge, sewing a zig-zag will actually roll the edge of your fabric a bit.  And even if you make the zig-zag nice and wide (by increasing the stitch width), it will probably still roll. But don’t worry…..that is just fine!  It will still make your edges nice and finished.

 

***NOTE:  If you’d prefer, you can skip the serge/zig-zag edges by adding a little extra length to your fabric dimensions while cutting, and then hem the skirt bottom and top by folding the edge under a 1/4 inch, another 1/4 inch, and then sew it in place.  It’s up to you!

 

 

Next, place pins on the bottom of your elastic band at the sides and the exact middle in the front and back.  Then do the same for the top edge of the skirt.  Now the elastic and skirt are divided into quarters.

 

Then, pin the elastic to the skirt, right where those pins are, overlapping the skirt by about a 1/2 inch.

 

If splitting the skirt up into quarters is too far away for you to pull and sew (as shown in the next step), split the sections up in half again so that now it’s split up into eighths.

 

Now, starting at the back, place your needle down into the fabric, a 1/4 inch from the top of the fabric.  Your fabric will be a little bunchy (shown on left).  So, pull your elastic until it’s the same length as that section of fabric and sew the fabric down to the stretched elastic, using your zig-zag stitch. (the zig-zag will allow for stretch.)   Sew all the way around the skirt, sewing one section at a time.  ****HINT: I couldn’t show you this, because I was taking the picture, but it’s easier if you use two hands.  One hand on the back end of the elastic and one hand at the front, pulling in opposite directions.  And while sewing, be sure that the fabric continues to only overlap by a 1/2 inch (and that you’re sewing a 1/4 inch from the top edge of the fabric), all the way around.  You want it to be attached evenly.

 

 

Once you’re done, and you release the elastic, it will look like this.

 

 

So quick. 

 

And very simple (once you get the hang of pulling the elastic as you sew).

 

 

 

Now go on and make 17 more.  I’m sure there are several girls in your neighborhood who need a few new skirts!

 

-Ashley

 

 

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Comments

122 Responses to “Elastic Band Skirt {aka: the fastest skirt you’ll ever make}”
  1. 1
    Michelle L. says:

    Love it – this is such a clear tutorial, Ashley! thanks a bunch – I am just a beginner, but now I really want to tackle this. Beautiful color combinations on your skirts!

  2. 2
    Anonymous says:

    Fast and simple. Perfect! Can’t wait to make these for my Ellie :)

  3. 3
    Carolyn says:

    Did you sew it on with a straight stitch or zig-zag?

  4. 4
    Brooke says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I wanted to make skirts like this with my Achievement Day girls in September and I couldn’t find the perfect tutorial or site to buy elastic. This is perfect!

  5. 5
    DaNelle says:

    Hey, now THAT’S my kind of skirt! Easy Peasy!

    DaNelle recently posted…Why I changed my mind about Homeschooling

  6. 6
    Lindsay says:

    My daughter wore a dress every day to kindergarten except one (she had to wear pants for the field trip). Now starting second, she hardly wears them at all. Enjoy it!

    • 6.1
      Kim says:

      My daughter also LOVED dresses through age 6, and ever since then (she’s 22 now!) has been willing to do so only for those occasions when dresses are the only appropriate clothing to wear. As Lindsay says, enjoy this stage; it may not last.

      • 6.1.1
        Sara says:

        When I was little, I wore whatever the heck my mom put me in (looking back on those pictures, that probably wasnt too great of a logic!). But during one phase of my life, I only wore tshirts and jeans. Now I’m back to skirts and dresses. Point being, kids go through clothing phases.

  7. 7

    These are so cute!! Thanks for posting!

  8. 8
    Kathy says:

    I can hardly wait to sew a few of these cute skirts for my sweet grand-daughter, Claire Elizabeth ~ thank you!

  9. 9
    Jolynn says:

    My daughter is the exact same way. She even has the cutest girly, flowery capris and will not wear them! I’m just learning to sew, so this would probably be a good project for me! Thanks :)

  10. 10
    Andrea says:

    I could not LOVE this more! So adorable. I ordered some elastic and I’m going to drag my kids to the fabric store today. In fact, I’m even going to try making one for myself :)

  11. 11
    Sarah E. says:

    thanks! I think I’ll get some elastic and make 17 like you said. :) I have a daughter who also lives in skirts (or did, not as much now)…

    Now I need a leggings tutorial so I don’t have to worry about pe or the playground. Do you have one? I guess I’ll go see!

  12. 12
  13. 13
    Robin says:

    My daughter is Ellie’s age and super tall so I love that you post the dimensions and all of these adorable projects. Thank you!
    My daughter loves to wear skirts also but she is incredibly energetic so is constantly hanging upside down, doing cart wheels, and doing monkey bars, climbing…. etc. Do you have a tutorial on how to make some little knit shorts (thin and short) or something to go under so she isn’t giving all of us a panty show? :) tks!

  14. 14

    This is such a great idea! My little girl is such a tomboy but has to wear a skirt or dress every Wed to her school’s chapel. She’s a first grader this year. I think she will love picking out the elastic and fabric to suit her style. Thank you for posting!

  15. 15
    Elena G. says:

    Once again something awesome and (better yet) doable!! I have a six year old girly girly too, so you always have something new and fun to make for her. Thanks!

  16. 16
    Kati says:

    Love this! Simple and cute! Might have to get some elastic!

  17. 17
    Marcie says:

    Thank you soooo Much! My little girl (age 7) would also live in skirts but I hate that the stores are only selling them mega short. I love that these are made just above the knee. Thanks for the link to some super cute elastic. I’m going to go order!

  18. 18
    Tracy says:

    I love these! I am ordering some elastic from there right away so I can make my girls some skirts! Thanks so much!

  19. 19
    Sarah says:

    Whipped up three of these baby’s tonight for my three year old who lives in skirts and dresses! After I got the hang of sewing with the elastic they came together in a snap. I’m already contemplating a few more, including a bigger one for myself! Thanks for the awesome tutorial! :-)

  20. 20
    Emily says:

    She’s so cute! Love that elastic and the fabric sewn to the outside. :)

  21. 21
    aussiebushgirl says:

    Hi Ashley. Where did you get your custom-made labels from? They look so good and really finish the products. Hx

  22. 22
    Carina Garcia says:

    Que lindas!!! Las voy a hacer para mis hijas!!!
    Besos!!

  23. 23
    Penelope says:

    I have a daughter that was just like that. She’s the one that wore a tutu until forced to remove it to sleep. She still prefers skirts/dresses. She is going off to college in a couple of weeks, one where the dress code doesn’t allow for shorts or capris, so she wants more skirts…. and this sounds like a good way to adjust her wardrobe. Thanks.

  24. 24

    I need to make these for my daughter!!! thank you for the awesome tutorial :)

  25. 25
    christelle says:

    Hello, I am living in France, and I follow your blog every weeks (I am sorry for my bad English) your blog is super, and very well explicated. I have a little girl and I would like to do the same skirt but I can’t find elastic band in France, do you know how I can buy elastic band in your country and send me them in France ?Thank you very much

  26. 26
    Carrie says:

    I am so glad my daughter isn’t the only one that doesn’t want to have anything to do with shorts or pants. It made me crazy at first, now I have just given up…This skirt tutorial is great!! Thanks so much! You are fantastic!

  27. 27
    Alida says:

    How clever to stitch the fabric to the outside of the elastic!

  28. 28

    I have the same problem with my seven year old. She loves her skirts/dresses. She is going into the 2nd grade, I thought that she would take to pants/shorts more by now, esp. when she tried to jump rope at recess and the rope would get caught on that skirt. (That’s what happened with me. :)) But nope, she still loves them and she loves to jump rope. Go figure!
    These skirts will be great for her. Even in the winter time (in Vegas) these will be great with some leggings. Thanks!

  29. 29
    Michelle says:

    Hi Ashley, I’m totally new to sewing and I am in the UK and I’ve searched everywhere but I can’t find the coloured elastic bands you use. Could you tell me where you get yours from please? Thank you, Michelle

  30. 30
    Susan says:

    love the labels you sewed on waistband! What is your source for those? I like your idea of sewing the skirt on the outside of elastic…pretty look!

  31. 31
    Diana says:

    These are adorable! I’ve done a similar technique with a circle skirt, but I like the idea of using just a tube of fabric, too. Thanks! Oh, and if you don’t have a serger, you can also use a rolled hem foot to easily hem the bottom and top. :)

  32. 32
    Sunshine says:

    Wow that is so cool! I think I’ll try this when I get more fabric. It looks so very simple! Thank you for sharing!

  33. 33
    Sandi says:

    I was in JoAnn Fabric today and saw that they have specialty elastic like those you have used on these skirts…they come in a two-pack. With a 40% off coupon, it is quite reasonable.

  34. 34
    Tessa says:

    Does this same style work for a womens skirt as well? Or is it better as a little girls skirt? I want to make one for me

  35. 35
    Alesia McDaniels says:

    I got mine in the mail today! Pink, purple, blue, 3″ black, cheetah, and red & black polka dot! My girls (10 & 7) are excited!! Me too :) Thanks for the great source and tutorial.

  36. 36
    Heather says:

    These are really cute skirts, and I love Ruffle Fabric- they have such reasonable prices and shipping! I can’t wait to make several of these skirts for my little girl.

  37. 37
    Emily says:

    These are so cute! I have 2 lil girls who’ll definitely be getting some of these soon! :)

  38. 38
    Lindy says:

    Wow, I love it so simple! I wish my little girl would ware these but she won’t. She has to have the skort kind or she throws a fit about it and don’t really like to ware skirts. But if she did I would so make her some of these.

  39. 39
    Bethany says:

    Ok, so I never comment on blogs but I just had to on this one! I’m a beginner when it comes to sewing, but I do love it so much. I made matching skirts using this pattern for my daughters for the first day of school. They absolutely love them, only wish I could add a picture to show you how cute they turned out! Thanks for the tutorial!

  40. 40
    ali says:

    Have you ever tried dying elastic to match?

  41. 41
    leah says:

    just made one for my 2 1/2 year old – she LOVES it! I made myself a straight skirt last week and she wanted one too. I used the same fabric for her elastic band skirt and she is just over the moon! I’m going to have to order some of the cutie elastic that you have, too. Thanks for another great tutorial!

  42. 42
    Jen says:

    Finding cute elastic is hard, thanks for the link! What size width did you use for the skirts?

  43. 43
    Alisha says:

    I tried to make this skirt. Every time I try to sew my fabric to the elastic my thread keeps getting wadded up on the bottom & my machine jerks to a halt. Any suggestions? I tried loosening my tension & it did not solve my problem.

  44. 44
    Rebekah says:

    I just made one and it turned out so cute! I found some pretty colored elastic at Joanns and it worked great!

  45. 45
    Karen Hinson says:

    I bought some double knit argyle and am finally going to make skirts for 2 of my granddaughters. Thanks for your great tutorials!

  46. 46
    Michelle says:

    Can you share on how to make your labels or the site you can purchase them from?

  47. 47
    Maggie says:

    This was one of the best tutorials I have found. Brava!!!

  48. 48
    cliquez ici says:

    C’est si bon de trouver quelqu’un avec quelques idées rafraichissantes sur ce thème. Bravo !

  49. 49
    Lyntha Tye says:

    Hi,

    Even though this tutorial is for a child size skirt, do I follow the steps as is for an adult size skirt or is there something else that I should be aware of?

    Thanks.

  50. 50
    Katie says:

    I just wanted to let you know that I used this tutorial to whip up a skirt for my daughter on Christmas Sunday. Thanks! It turned out wonderfully and she loves it! I’ll be making more!

  51. 51
    Jessica says:

    I made 2 of these tonight. One for my 4 year old (spider man fabric) and one for my 1 year old(orange flowers). They turned out perfect. I can’t wait until they can wear them to school tomorrow. I feel crafty but not exhausted and frustrated. Great tutorial, thanks!

  52. 52
    Sue says:

    Those skirts are magnificient. I would love to know where to buy the coloured elastic as I cannot get it in Australia.
    How lovely to be able to make heaps of those skirts for the disadvanaged children all year round not just Christmas and Easter.

  53. 53
    Anonymous says:

    What should the fabric tension be on the sewing machine?

  54. 54
    ricka says:

    I’ve been searching clothing labels can u please give me that information.Thanks in advance

  55. 55
    ricka says:

    Looking for clothing labels…..please help…thanks

  56. 56
    Helen says:

    A good tutorial and a charming girl

  57. 57
    Lauren says:

    Thanks so much for the clear and easy to follow tutorial! I am a total amateur and let’s just say it took me a whhiillle…but it turned out great!!! Now I know what to do I will definitely be making a bunch more for my litter one…and all her friends! Thank you! Sale fabric + elastic = brillant gifts for less than $1!

    • 57.1
      Melissa says:

      Lauren, did your fabric go onto the elastic evenly? Ive made about 6 so far and everytime, where I sew the fabric onto the elastic, it is all over the place! I really want mine to be nice and evenly stitched like the bloggers.

      • 57.1.1
        Loz585 says:

        Hi Melissa,

        Im not too sure what you mean, but ensuring that you fully stretch out the elastic as you sew the fabric helps. Pull back from behind the machine away from the presser foot with one hand, and towards yourself pulling both elastic and fabric together tight, as it feeds through. If you mean is it sewn on wonky, not leaving a perfect inch of elastic showing at the top for example, you may just need to go a little slower, ensuring you measure on the machine plate? Hope that makes sense!

        Lauren

        • 57.1.1.1
          Melissa says:

          That’s it exactly, it goes on wonky. I will try to go slower. I tried using “softer” elastic and it helped a little from the stiffer elastic I was using before. I need three hands :) I actually did have my husband hold the machine down so I could concentrate on pulling the elastic and fabric from the front and back without the machine slipping (its not in its desk right now but on the dining room table). I guess I just need to practice!

          • Loz585 says:

            I hope it works out for you next time Melissa, it is a cute easy wear skirt regardless of wonky seams!! :-)

  58. 58
    Ella says:

    Love this tutorial! I’m making it right now! Just thought I might let you know this: I found something called “Liquid Stitch” at my local craft store. It can be used for stitchless sewing! It’s not quite strong enough for putting elastic on a skirt (learned that the hard way:-), but it is perfect for hemming up the bottom! By the way, my daughter also insists on wearing a skirt everyday, so thanks for your help!

  59. 59
    lalala says:

    where can i find fabrics like those??

  60. 60
    Alanah says:

    Hello Ashley! I was just wondering how you complete step 7 without a sowing machine? Any tips :) ?

  61. 61
    Rheda Lewis says:

    i have trouble keeping the fabric straight as i sew………..it whompycatus……what’s your trick to keeping it straight. your tutorials are excellent…………… Rhe

  62. 62
    Jessica says:

    Thank you so much for posting where to find these elastic bands. I have been making my daughter’s diapers for a year now and havent been able to find cute, soft elatic. THANK YOU!!!!!!!! You will nevre know how much this helps me out.

    J

  63. 63
    faith graham says:

    So glad i found your blog. My daughter is 10 but is already wearing junior sizes but they dont always fit right. I just bought a sewing machine to try to make clothes for her and me. She loves skirts and yours are awesome for her!

  64. 64
    Ally says:

    I have 4 little girls all under the age of 5 this will very much come in handy!!

  65. 65
    Anonymous says:

    wowo

  66. 66
    Mimi says:

    I just found another good source for nifty elastic: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Elastichouse?section_id=11387478

  67. 67
    GoGayleGo says:

    Hi there,

    Am almost through making my first two skirts…I have the “tube” of fabric sewn and the edges finished, but am having a lot of trouble joining the elastic to itself. Since the distance to be sewn is short (my elastic is only 1″ wide), I’m having trouble feeding it through, it gets stuck and I keep getting a rat’s nets/hairball of thread instead of a nice zigzag. Any tips?

    Thanks!

  68. 68
    Kaia says:

    I am a beginner sewer, and this was super easy! I made it for my 10 year old sister (I’m 14), and it looks sooo cute!
    I used the elastic from the site, and it was here really quickly.
    Thanks for sharing!

  69. 69
    Heather says:

    Just used this technique to modify an old long wrap around skirt (that didn’t quite wrap far enough around to wear modestly – there was leg split many red-carpet models would be happy with haha). I can wear the skirt again now, as a normal maxi with this elastic banded top – thanks!

  70. 70
    mmeeeele says:

    I WILL be doing this project to make skirts for me to wear. what about if we want em’ longer? just increase length?

  71. 71
    Jennifer says:

    I divided the fabric and elastic evenly like you said, but maybe I had to much fabric because it wouldn’t stretch to fit. I ended up making a casing and putting the elastic through, which was much easier! :)

  72. 72
    Rachel says:

    I have a question about sewing this out of a knit. If you are using a knit, how do you attach the elastic to the skirt without stretching the skirt too much?

  73. 73
    destiney says:

    omg yay i have a TUN of foe elastic left over from my cloth diaper days and never got rid of it because it was so expensive now i have a use! plus my daughter went threw that only wear dress phaze (or maybe still is) we just put short and jeans in the winter under it lol

  74. 74
    Claire says:

    I used this tutorial, but made the skirt fuller and used a “lettuce hem” on the bottom. So cute!

  75. 75
    paula deville says:

    Ashley, love your creativity. Precious little skirt!

  76. 76
    Domi says:

    Hi! I just wanted to say thanks for explaining the pull and sew thing. I’ve wanted to add elastic waistbands to things for ages but could never figure out how to get it even. So, thanks!!

  77. 77
    JoJo says:

    I am in my 20′s and have severe psoriasis on my legs and don’t like to wear shorts or capris in the summer. They rub on my “spots” and the shorts don’t hide them. Skirts are much more comfortable and I can wear them in multiple lengths to hide my psoriasis. Using your instructions I can make several quick skirts in various lengths. I am a beginner sewer so this should work well for me. Thank you!

  78. 78
    Kimberly Thompson says:

    I love this idea, it’s super cute, and super easy. I just have one question: How would I have to adapt these instructions to make it by hand? (It’s a surprise, and there is no way to be covert while using our noisy sewing machine!)

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    Thanks for this tutorial! I’m an aspiring fashion designer and this is a great project to begin with.

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  13. […] I got elastic I ordered from Ruffle Fabric in the mail, and made this skirt. It was super easy, so when I was done, I took Eva (10) outside, and took some pictures of […]

  14. […] stitch and a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  (If you need another visual of this process, check out this elastic waistband skirt.  Same idea…..except the elastic is exposed.  The the pulling of the elastic while you’re […]

  15. […] My daughter started middle school this year (which has been an adventure) and her new school has a dress code. She can only wear shorts and skirts that are at least to her fingertips. The problem is that she has fairly long arms and legs so clothing that might work on another girl just won’t work for her. I shopped around a bit but couldn’t find much so I thought ‘why not make something’? I happened to run into Hobby Lobby and noticed they had this super cute mustache fabric that would make a great skirt. So I searched around for the simplest way to make a skirt and found this tutorial: Elastic Band Skirt {aka: the fastest skirt you’ll ever make}. […]

  16. […] uma saia nunca foi tão fácil e prático: o site Makeit Loveit ensina um passo-a-passo bem simples para criar uma saia-elástica infantil, que pode ser facilmente […]

  17. […] Now, overlap the 2 ends of the elastic by 1 inch and sew together.  Then divide the elastic waistband into 8 equal sections and mark with a pin.  Divide the opening of the skirt into 8 equal sections and mark with pins as well.  (This step will completed just like the Elastic Band Skirt Tutorial.) […]

  18. […] The Elastic Band Skirt (aka: the fastest skirt you’ll ever make) […]



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