It’s not difficult to sew a simple skirt with an elastic waistband, so even if you’re a beginner at sewing you should be able to accomplish this without any problems. You can make unique garments with different materials, and using different lengths.You are sure to be admired for your skills.

In this article, we will be taking a look at making a gathered knee-length skirt with elastic enclosed in a casing. It is simple, yet elegant, and is easy to sew. 

Decide on the Measurements

The first thing you must do is take the measurements of your proposed skirt. Most knee-length skirts fall between 18 inches and 30 inches, depending on your height. You will need to take the measurement from your waist down to your knee. Of course, if you want a longer skirt, there is nothing stopping you from making a maxi skirt or even a shorter skirt.

To get the width of your skirt you need to measure your waist and double it so that there is plenty of room to gather the skirt. If you want a fuller skirt, there’s nothing wrong with extending the width measurement, even tripling your waist size. If you want a tighter skirt, feel free to use a measurement less than double your waist measurement.

Cut Out Your Fabric

The next step is to cut out your fabric according to your measurements. If you have a large piece of fabric, you can cut out the whole rectangle in which case you would have to sew the seam at the back of the skirt. However, it is often easier to cut two pieces of material and have side seams. 

Press the Waist Edge

Once you have cut out the material and before you sew the seams, it is a good idea to press the waist edge to make it easier to sew the casing accurately. An ideal width of elastic is 1” so fold the waist of each skirt piece 1 ¼ “ to enable you to thread the elastic all the way through. It is easier to complete this before you sew the pieces of material together. 

Sew the Pieces Together

Once you have pressed your casing, it’s time to sew the seams of the skirt. You will need to use a ¼” seam for the best results. This turns the skirt into a tube and it is up to you how gathered you want it to be.

Sew the Casing for the Elastic

Once you have sewn the seams of your skirt, turn your skirt inside out and pin the waist edge down along the crease you made earlier. Stitch all the way around, leaving 3” free. This you will use to thread the elastic through the casing. Make sure that before you stitch the casing, that you have measured the elastic exactly as you don’t want to sew a casing that is either too big or too small for the elastic.

 Cut the Piece of Elastic

You will need a piece of elastic at least an inch longer than the length of the casing. Doing this will enable you to sew the two ends of elastic together when passed through the casing. You will need to measure your waist and then add on the inch. Apart from helping to sew the ends together, you will be able to gather your skirt around your waist so that it fits comfortably. However, if you want a tighter fitting skirt you can cut the elastic a bit shorter. 

Thread the Elastic

The elastic needs to be a ¼ of an inch less wide than the casing so that you can thread it through with ease. What you need to do is put a large safety pin at one end of the elastic and then pull it through until it comes out the other end. It is important to keep the elastic flat and not twisted as you thread it through, otherwise it will be uncomfortable to wear. It will probably take a little effort on your part to pull the elastic through the casing. 

Zigzag Stitch the Elastic and Casing Closed

When you have threaded the elastic through the casing and you have the two ends free, hold them together making sure that they are overlapping by about an inch. Zigzag stitch them together so that they are secure and won’t come apart. Make sure that the elastic is positioned exactly where you want it. Pull it so that it falls into place. 

The next step is to stitch the opening and for this you need to use a straight stitch. Because you will have zigzag stitching on the elastic, it will have the flexibility to move and stretch without pulling out the stitches, but this isn’t necessary for the opening.. 

Hem the Skirt

The final thing to do before you can wear your new skirt is to hem it. For this you will need a straight stitch and you can either sew by hand or with a sewing machine. Fold the skirt over by a ¼ inch and press it. You can also put in pins to make sure that you have the exact same distance of hem all the way around. The stitching will ensure that the fabric won’t come undone. You will need to stitch it about 1/8th inch from the bottom of the skirt. It is easiest to do this if you turn the skirt inside out. 


As you can see, it’s not too difficult to sew a simple skirt with an elastic waistband. Even beginners should be able to accomplish this. Although we’ve talked about a knee-length skirt in this article, it is just as easy to make a shorter or longer skirt. All you have to do is follow the instructions but use different measurements. You can make a whole closet full of different skirts in different colors, materials, and styles. Happy sewing.