If you are just starting out making your own clothes, a gathered skirt is an excellent project to begin with. It is easy to make and nobody will know that you made it yourself. All you need is the fabric of your choice, elastic or cord for the waistband, a large safety pin, scissors, and a needle and thread. 

It is possible to create lots of different looks so don’t feel as if one skirt will be enough. You can use different materials for the different seasons. You can make skirts of different lengths so for example, you could make a knee-length skirt for day wear and a long skirt for dinner engagements. You can also add pockets and bits of trimming.

Choose Your Material

The first thing you have to do is buy the fabric. If you are planning to make a skirt for the warmer weather, cotton and linen are good choices. If you want a skirt for the winter, a woolen fabric or corduroy would fit the bill perfectly. 

For a knee-length skirt, you will need to have a piece of fabric that is at least twice the length of your waist. For a long skirt, in addition to this, measure the length from your knee to the floor and double this. Add the two amounts together and then cut your piece of fabric. Use sharp scissors so that there aren’t any jagged edges.

Fold Your Material

Once you have cut the fabric, fold it in half and sew the ends together. You can either do this by hand or with a sewing machine if you prefer. You will need to sew the two right sides together, leaving a hole at the bottom and one at the top.

The next step is to fold down the top of the material about one inch on the wrong side of the fabric. It’s a good idea to secure this in place with pins before you start sewing. Measure it at different points to make sure that the fold is the same length all the way around. Then sew the rough edge down on the wrong side of the material, leaving a gap between the edge and the top of the skirt. You might find this easier to do if you turn the skirt inside out.

Thread the Elastic, Cord, or Drawstring

You now have a casing that will take the elastic. You could use a drawstring if you prefer or even a piece of cord, whichever you feel you will be most comfortable with.

If you are using elastic, you will need to take out a couple of stitches so you can thread the elastic through it. Alternatively, you can just stop short when you are hemming the casing. If you are using a cord or drawstring, cut two small slits in the casing. They should be about an inch apart.

Get your elastic, cord, or drawstring, and put the large safety pin in one end. Then put the safety pin in the space in the casing and use it to pull the elastic or cord around the skirt until it comes back out the other end. 

Then it’s time to try the skirt on and adjust the elastic or cord to a comfortable fit. Use pins to secure the elastic or cord while you take the skirt off. Then trim any excess elastic or cord and sew the casing closed. With a drawstring, there’s no need to do anything as you will want to tie up the two ends. It’s a great idea to have a drawstring just in case your weight fluctuates. It is easy to make the skirt looser or tighter.

Sew a Hem

Once you have threaded the elastic, cord, or drawstring, try the skirt on again. You might decide that it’s a little too long. If so, now is the time to cut it to the right length. Of course, if you think it isn’t long enough, there’s not a lot you can do about it now! 

The next step is to sew a hem all the way around the bottom of the skirt. This needs to be no wider than 0.5 inches. It is a good idea to pin it first to make sure that the width is the same all the way around. Sew it with small stitches.

Before you finish, think if you would like any embellishments. Pockets are always useful. Why not add random patches of different colors or patterns to brighten the skirt up. Trim the hem with matching fabric. The opportunities are all there and once you have got used to making a gathered skirt, you can start experimenting. 

How to Make a More Fitted Gathered Skirt

Perhaps you don’t like too much of a flare, but you want a comfy gathered skirt. Well, don’t despair. It’s possible to make a more fitted gathered skirt. All you have to do is cut wedge-shaped pieces of material. Cut at a diagonal from the right to the left and then from the left to the right until you have several pieces. It is easier if you have plain material rather than patterned unless you are looking for a certain look. Pin the pieces together, making sure that the skirt is the right length and the top is comfortable. Then sew the pieces together and follow the instructions for making a standard gathered skirt.


As you can see, it is not difficult to make a simple gathered skirt even for the beginner. All you need is fabric, elastic, cord, or drawstring, a safety pin, and a needle and thread. Don’t worry if you don’t have a sewing machine as it’s simple to make this skirt without one. Of course, if you do have a machine, you may be able to make skirts for your family and friends in no time whatsoever.