Sew a Skirt with an Elastic Waistband | Tammy West | Skillshare

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Sew a Skirt with an Elastic Waistband

teacher avatar Tammy West, Love to sew!

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

13 Lessons (23m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Project Materials

    • 3. Taking Measurements

    • 4. Converting Measurements

    • 5. Cutting the Fabric

    • 6. Sew Skirt Front to Skirt Back

    • 7. Pressing Seams Flat

    • 8. Quarter Inch Trick for Hems

    • 9. Pressing the Hem & Casing

    • 10. Sewing the Hem & Casing

    • 11. Inserting Elastic & Closing Casing

    • 12. Professional Finishing

    • 13. Wrapping It Up

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About This Class

In this class, you will learn how to sew a skirt with an elastic waistband. You will learn how to use body measurements to make a skirt in any size. Based on the measurements, you will learn how to cut your fabric to size, construct the skirt, form an elastic waistband casing, and hem the skirt. You will be given tips for a professional finish. This is a beginner level sewing class. You will need to be comfortable using an iron and sewing a straight stitch in forward and reverse on your sewing machine.

Meet Your Teacher

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Tammy West

Love to sew!


Hello, I'm Tammy. I love most things creative, but sewing is my all-time favorite.

I started sewing when I was about 9 years old. Those first projects were pretty interesting! But, I learned new skills with each new project I tackled. I have three daughters of my own and I have loved sewing clothing for them. My daughters have mostly grown beyond the age of me sewing clothing for them, but I just couldn't stop sewing for little girls.

While I prefer to focus on clothing, I've been known to branch out into other areas. You can find my current work on social media (Instagram and Facebook) and past creative projects on my blog. I also sell handmade clothing and accessories for girls (and sometimes boys!) at SheWearsFlowers on Etsy.


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1. Introduction: Hi. I'm Tammy. I loved you. So I especially enjoy making quality for little girls. Probably because I have three daughters of my own. In this lesson, we're going to learn how to make an elastic waist skirt. For a little girl, you won't need a pattern, but you will need to take measurements before you buy your fabric. So go ahead, grab your tape measure and follow along. 2. Project Materials: 3. Taking Measurements: your body measurements. You will need measuring tape, or you can use a piece of yarn or string and a ruler. If you're using your inner string, you need to be care. Stretch it as you measure, because it'll be inaccurate. Grab your things Get started. First measurement are going to take is the waste or hip measurement. You wear things at your waist, your natural waist, and that's where you want to take the major man. If you wear things, Janet your him, then go ahead and measure from the hip hands on what's more comfortable for you? Call it the waste major. Go ahead measurement and record it so that you know exactly what it is you won't forget. Then take that number that you recorded. Double it. Exactly. They record that again. The next one is a measurement for your length. We'll be measuring from the top of the waistband to where you want it to fall, so it's a long or a short as you want it. You can decide on that number. Go ahead and record that on your yeah. Learn about converting these numbers that you can use them to buy your 4. Converting Measurements: in order to convert your measurements to measurements that you can use to buy fabric, you need to keep that waist measurement and your length measurement, but you need to add your length to cover your elastic casing and the hem that you're gonna so into the Spurs. You need a little more fabric, so we're gonna adder 12 inches from the length that we measure. What seven eights of an inch, which will cover our half inch elastic, could make the case seen, and then we're going to add another half inch for the him. So when you put all these numbers together, you have 12 inches plus 7 +87 inch plus half an inch, and the total is 13 and 3/8 of an inch. When I get a number like that, I usually round it up. It's so close to 13.5, and it's not gonna matter if and I add an eighth of an inch to my length. So now we have the wits is 37 the length is 13.5. So using those numbers, I can determine how much fabric I need to buy. The 37 is actually the width of the fabric, and the 13.5 is the length or the amount of fabric you by by the yard. Well, let's look at a visual to see what this actually looks like. Your fabric is made with to salvage edges, which are the two edges that don't freight, but they cut it. Usually it's folded and have at that point with from salvage to salvage, and then they'll cut it along the length of that. So that's why we call that the length of the fabric and the with was the other direction so it would look like this picture on the witness where you need to be able to fit the number of inches that you have for your skirt panel, and the length is the length of the fabric. So in this example, I would need to buy roughly half a yard of fabric, and I would have plenty. While fabric doesn't come in the same winds, most of your cotton fabrics, like the kind we're making this out of, is 42 43 or 44 inches wide. So for the example I have given you, which is approximately a girl sized to T skirt. I have plenty of fabric with just half a yard. What happens if your major men's aren't like that? They don't fit within that parameter? Let's look at what happens. Let's say after taking her body measurements and doubling and the whole process we did before we come up with 48 inches with and 20 inches in length to get 40 interests of with. You can't just cut one panel along the with because your fabric is probably 44 inches wide at the very most. So you're going to cut two panels that are the same length, but each will be half of the wits. In other words, you'll have one panel that's 24 inches wide along the width and another panel that's 20 inches long along the length of your fabric. Then you're gonna cut another panel. That's exactly the same thing. So because of that, you need 20 inches twice. So in this case you would need 40 inches long of fabrics are a little bit over a yard. This visual shows you what it would look like when you cut that much fabbre. You cut those tooth panels you can use this for several different reasons if you have to round up to use the fabric or you might want to round up to use the fabric. In other words, with my 37 inches, I might have just cut it to the full 44 ends or 43 inch wide and just make it a little fuller when I gather it with the elastic, even though with that example, I would still have used just one panel. The other thing you can do is if you need a skirt that's bigger, such as a woman size compared to a little girl size, you're going to have to use two panels or possibly four panels for sure to get enough off the width as well as the fullness of the skirt. The other thing you could do, even for a little girl skirt is cut two panels like this so that you can gather and even more. And then the skirt will be much more gathered or more like a totally skirt. It's completely up to you, but this is how you're going to figure out how much fabric you need. So once you've made the calculations and you figured out how much fabric you need, you need to go to the fabric store and buy your fabric, and then we're gonna get started on kind in and out, and then we'll so 5. Cutting the Fabric: now we're going to cut her fabric to make the skirt panels. I find it easiest to fold my fabric in half online that up along the bottom edge of a cutting mat with the salvage edges at the top there, not usually, even if you have a pattern that you want to keep straight on the fabric. But this added along the side is exactly even, and that's where I line everything up to cut my panels, you will take your waist measurement that how you've doubled and you've added a little bit too it for our seam allowances. And I'm going to cut that out. That is going to be this wit. So my fabric is 42 inches wide and I need 37 inches. So I'm going to go ahead and cut this whole thing and then I'll turn it up at the end. This part from this edge to this side is the length of your skirt, and I need 13.5 inches, so I'm going to light it up and cut off 13.5 inches. Now I just need to clean up the edges, so at this point I'm going to cut off the salvage edge because they don't want that to show up in my skirt. And there's also a cell, the judge here, which is a little more difficult to see, But the fabric just looks a little different. And again, I don't want that to show up. So I'm going to cut that off, uh, straight as I can. Now, this is my friend and my back. So I need to cut it again so that I have two separate pieces. So I'm going toe line these backup and then simply cut on this fold to make two panels. This'll will be the width of my skirt, the waste. You can see it if I do this, and this will be the length of our skirt. 6. Sew Skirt Front to Skirt Back: we're ready to. So our skirt together, you can use a sewing machine or surgery for most of the scenes. I prefer to use the surge on everything I can because it cuts off the excess seam allowance , and it gives it a professional looking finish. But you can do the same thing using his exact stitch after you stitch your straight stitch . Or you can use a technique called a French seem that will hide. This seems so. The finish, seem, is on the inside and on the outside. So the first thing you want to do is put the right sides of your fabric together. So the pretty side is what we call the right side. The inside is, I guess, the wrong side. So put your right sides together and then you're going to so ah, half inch seem right down the edge of both sides. That would be your short edge of your skirt. 7. Pressing Seams Flat: Once you've sold both sides, seems you need to open those seems up and iron it flat. When you press this, it's going to give it a nice, smooth, finished edge. Do not skip this step. Many people are tempted to because they want to go quicker or state their machine as opposed to getting up to go into the iron. But you want to smooth this seem out, so it's nice and flat, and it'll give it a nice finish. 8. Quarter Inch Trick for Hems: now that you're seems repressed flat. I did it on the outside and on the inside to keep it nice and smooth. I'm going to teach you a little trick to make the next the hemming and the waste the next part a little easier. We're going to turn it under 1/4 of an inch, which is just a tiny bit, and I highly recommend you do not eyeball this. You should use a ruler, but it gets a little tedious, and when you're pressing that down, it gets a little hot. So instead of burning my fingers, I've learned a little trick if you just so a line at 1/4 of an inch. Or you can use your surge er both at the top for the waistband and at the bottom for the him. Then when we turn, those seems over to make the nice, neat scene. It will be easy to turn it along the edge of your stitching, so go ahead and stitch that so that you have a guideline so you could turn your seems quickly 9. Pressing the Hem & Casing: Now we're going to press in our him and our casing for the elastic on the other side. So we start by folding at 1/4 of an inch, which should be right along the edge of the seem. You just just so down your search down and it goes pretty quickly because you could just move your iron right along as you fold without having to measure as you go. Now we're making a narrow him on this skirt. So we're actually just going to fold it one more time, right? Exactly where we Kentucky it in on that line that we just sold and we just press down. Since it's such a narrow him, we can be pretty accurate. Just doing this by touch. You can feel the him under here eso that it's all tucked in enough. So go ahead and do that and go all the way around. Just press it in place for the casing on your elastic waistband. You should have folded this down 1/4 of an inch and pressed it flat, but this time you you can't go in like you're him because we need a little more room to do our casing, and this time you need to use a ruler to make sure it's smooth and even all the way around , because our elastic is half an inch. We're going to use, Ah, five eights inch l seam allowance here so that we can have enough room to get our last again and that it won't wiggle around too much. But it will have enough room to get in without twisting or turning. So I will use this ruler to measure out 587 inch, and I just use my fingers to press it down just a little ways. And then I reach in and impressed that part, just the part that I measure down. Once you get the 1st 1 the others go a lot quicker because it's being held down by the pressing and I keep checking for accuracy. I want my him to be very accurate, so my casing is even all the way around. So do this all the way around. Press measure oppressed major press 10. Sewing the Hem & Casing: now that you're him is pressed, you ready to so it in place. I like to start on the seem so that it just ends and starts at a at a natural place. You're going to put it in your sewing machine and line up where you want to. So it make sure you're looking at the inside of the fabric. This makes it so that you could make a really straight line. So when you flip it over, you've got a very straight line and you've caught all of this in case you get a little tight, you could make sure that you catch the very edge of that. Go ahead and backstage, put your needle in and back, stitch a couple of stitches to make sure that things don't pull out or unravel as you go around and go ahead and go forward. So in down your him, holding things in place with your hands as you go. Make sure you use your edge of your sewing machine or your lines on your throat plate to match up the semen, make sure you're following the same measurement. That way it'll look nice and even from the front when you get to the end just so right over your beginning, stitches and then back stitch To lock the stitch in place, trim your threads and then you want to go press this flat. A lot of people skip this step because it's done, and you pressed it already. But when you press it flat, you're really going to make it with professional and smooth the way it should look. 11. Inserting Elastic & Closing Casing: your elastic should be the measurement of the waste, minus about half a niche, and then you're going to sew it together so you'll lose another half of an inch or so. That will make it so that the waste fits, but it has to stretch a little to work, Otherwise it will just slide right off. You'll want to put a safety pin on the end of one of those one of the ends of the elastic. Then I like to fold it back just a little bit, and you're going to feed the safety pin in through the Casey and just gently push it in. Push and pull, push and pull. Using one hand to pull on one hand, just slide back the fabric. When you get to the seems, you may have to wiggle around a little bit to get the pin to go through the scene because it's a little bulky there. Be careful that you don't lose this tale. Usually, I just take this pin down here and pin this on so they don't accidentally pull it through because then you have to start all over again. Don't worry too much about how even your gathers. Are you worry about that after we've sold the elastic into place. For now, you just want to get it all in there, and you want to make sure that you keep it flat, so it's not twisting inside of that casing. Okay, When you get to the end, you're going to carefully pull your elastic all the way out. Remove the pen and go ahead, and under the tail you saved, you might need to pull it a little bit to get it out. We're going to cross it over. Hold that tightly. We're going to go back to the sewing machine and so that down. So those two end pieces of the elastic are securely fasten together, and I just go back and forth back and forth a bunch of times so it feels nice and strong. Trim my ends. Sometimes if you have a little bit hanging here, a little piece came out. I just cut that off. Now is when you start adjusting it. So you let it get all the way back inside of the casing, and then you want to spread your gathers around so it's fairly even. Don't don't go back here. too much. You want to leave this few gathers as possible at the back where you're casing is because now we want to. So it closed again, and we don't want all the gathers in the way because we're gonna have to stretch it out to do that. I'm also going to insert a tag because I sell the items that I make. So this is the time to do that. So first I'm going to line up my needle right on the stitching that I already stitched. Then I'm going to back stitch a couple of stitches, and when I've got it ready, you know, I know I am going. That's what I put in my tabs now A So it all down, trying to stay right to the edge of the fabric so I don't so on top of the elastic that's in the Casey. I'm stretching just a little, pulling back against my machine. Sometimes you need to use a hand at the back as well pulled out, trim your threads, and we're almost done 12. Professional Finishing: with your tags in and everything closed up the back Now, in a gesture it last accepted, it is evenly spaced along the whole waistband. You tell by feeling it that it feels roughly the same. Once you have evenly spaced, we're gonna find your seem lines on the outside, but we're gonna so a tiny little seem Ryan along the casing, through the elastic and through the other side toe hold the elastic in place. This will help prevent it from twisting once it goes through the wash. And while it's being worn, you'll do that on each side. Seam here and here. - This barely shows, but it will help hold it nice and securely in place. The last step is to go give your skirt of final pressing, remove any stray threats and you're ready to go 13. Wrapping It Up: now that you've finished your skirt, I can't wait to see your projects. Be sure to post them in the project section of this project or this class. It could be an action shot, somebody wearing it. Whatever it is, I can't wait to see it. If you have any questions while you're sewing, I hope that you don't You mail me as she wears flowers at gmail dot com, and I'll be happy to answer any questions or try to help you through. The email is best I can. I also sell clothing for little Girls and sometimes little boys on my Etsy site that she wears flowers dot etc dot com. I hope you'll go there to see what's available. You can also find me of social media. I'm on instagram at instagram dot com. Backslash she dot wears got flowers. I'm also on Facebook. If you prefer that you could find me on Facebook at facebook dot com. Backslash She wears flowers. A one word and I post lots of updates. There what I'm working on and what's available in my shop and I have a blawg. If there are other kinds of sewing and craft projects you'd like to do. You can find me at she hyphen, wears hyphen flowers dot com and find lots of different tutorials of things that you might be interested in making. I can't wait to see your projects. Don't forget to post them in our class project section.