Custom fitted skirt tutorial

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DIY-skirt-tutorialFollow clothing designer Leanne Barlow’s easy tutorial for this beautiful floral skirt. No pattern required.

I have been seriously swooning over all things floral lately. When I saw this amazing poly charmeuse while exploring the warehouse wonderland at Michael Levine, I immediately thought of Rachel’s skirt from this post. I have had a floral midi on my to-sew list for a while, so I snatched this fabric right up. I created a quick tulle skirt to slip on underneath to give it a little extra volume as well. It was perfect to wear at the last night at Alt Summit for the mini parties.


  • 2 yards of floral fabric (I used this gorgeous stretch poly charmeuse)
  • Matching thread
  • Invisible zipper
  • Large hook and eye
  • Small strip of interfacing


Step 1:   Cut 2 rectangles for your skirt sections. Measure your natural waist, divide it by 2, and then multiply that number by 3 to get the width (add 1” (2.5cm) to allow for ½” (1cm) seam allowance per side).  Then determine how long you want the skirt to be and add 2” (5cm) for seam allowance (1/2” (1cm) for the top, 1 ½” (4cm) for the hem).  My skirt pieces measured 42”W  x 29”L (105cm x 74cm).


Step 2:   Place a pin in the centre of the top width, and create 3 knife pleats on either side of the centre that each point toward the centre pin. I wasn’t super exact but tried to eyeball each pleat to be about the same width. You will want the width to measure half of your waist measurement plus 1” (2.5cm) seam allowance when the pleats are complete. Make sure to leave ½” (1cm) per side for the seam allowance.

Repeat with back skirt section. Carefully press the pleats into place and do a quick basting stitch ¼” (6mm) from the top to secure the pleats. (This last part isn’t crucial but it makes things a lot easier when attaching the waistband.)

Tip: It helps to have a measurement tape laid above as you create the pleats to give you a reference as to how thick to make the pleats in order to get the correct total width (see above photo).


Step 3:   Cut your waistband to be 3” (7.5cm) long and the width of your natural waist plus 2” (5cm) for seam allowance (and because it will overlap to close). I cut mine a few inches longer and then ended trimming it a bit. Then cut a 1” (2.5cm) strip of interfacing that is the length of your waist measurement.


Step 4:   Fold the width of the waistband under about ½” (1cm), press, and then apply the interfacing directly above the fold (see photo). Fold the other side over ½” (1cm) and press. Fold the top and bottom ends under ½” (1cm) as well. Then fold in half length-wise and press. All of your seam allowances should now be hidden inside the fold.


Step 5:   Place the front and back skirt sections right-sides together and stitch up all the way on one side with ½” (1cm) seam allowance. Insert your invisible zipper on the other side (match the selvage at the top of the zipper with the top of the fabric).


Step 6:   Stitch up one short side of the waistband, and sandwich the top of the skirt in between the waistband so that about ½” (1cm) of the top of the skirt is covered (make sure that the basting stitches are up inside of the waistband). Line up the stitched side with one of the open zipper sides. Pin all the way around and stitch as close to the bottom edge of the waistband as you can. You will have an extra inch (2.5cm) or so on the waistband. Fold the edge under and hand stitch a large hook and eye for the closure (see close-up shot above).


Step 7:   Serge (overlock) or zigzag stitch all along the bottom to finish off the raw edges, and press under 1 ½” (4cm) for the hem. Blind stitch the hem.


Leanne Barlow blogs over at Elle Apparel. She graduated with an emphasis in interior design from BYU and designs and sells clothing over at

Click through to Leanne’s website for some more fantastic tutorials.


  1. Love it….don’t know where my sewing machine is though….:-(

  2. I love it! It looks like it was made professionally and bought from an expensive store!

  3. loving it beautiful blog.

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