Maxi Skirt Step by Step

Maxi Skirt Step by Step


I absolutely love making maxi skirts. They work for every season and they’re easy to make. Other than making bellydance costumes, my first sewing projects were maxi skirts. This skirt has Pockets, because everything needs Pockets, but these are completely optional.  For a step by step tutorial on how I made the skirt, keep reading.

Most waxprint fabrics are sold in 6-yard pieces, so while you probably won’t use all six yards, I recommend having a full piece for this project. This particular fabric came from House of Mami Wata in Georgia. When I saw the design I absolutely fell in love with it. It’s perfect for the fall and the colors are just so freaking stunning! I wore the skirt to go vote earlier this week and everyone from the workers in the courthouse to people on the street complimented this skirt. So if you make this, be prepared because it is a definite showstopper!








1.  Gather your supplies.  For this maxi skirt, you’ll need the following:

6 yards of woven fabric
Matching thread
1 inch elastic to fit around your waist
Fabric marker/chalk
Scissors/rotary cutter
Tape measure

Measure your fabric to make sure it’s long enough to give you the desired length. Most waxprint fabrics are around 44, 45 inches long.



2.  Take a look at your fabric’s design. Which direction do you prefer? With waxprint, it can sometimes be hard to see which side is the right side and which side is the wrong side. What I like to do is to make sure that the writing on the selvage is going in the right direction. However, this is your garment so you can use whichever side you like better.  


3. Once you figure out the design, measure your waist. Then, take that waist measurement and cut two rectangles with your waist measurement as the width. For example if your waist measurement is 36 in, cut two 36 by 44/45 inch rectangles of fabric.  You want the total width of the fabric to be double your waist measurement because we are going to gather this skirt.






4.  Next, take the fabric you just cut and mark 4 inches from the top. This is the fabric we’re going to use to make the waistband.  Once marked, cut the 4 inch strips of fabric and set aside. At this point, check the height of the fabric against your body. Is it too long? If so, trim a few inches from the bottom. Keep in mind that we still have to hem the bottom of the skirt so leave about 5/8 of an inch for the hem.  I’m 5’7, and because of my height I find that I don’t really have to trim much from the final project. But if you’re shorter than me, you may want to trim a few inches now so that you don’t have to deal with all of the bulkiness. If you’re taller than me, then I would definitely wait until the end of the project to trim anything from the bottom of the skirt.



5.  Now for the fun part – adding pockets!  If you don’t want to add pockets, then skip down to step 7 to sew the side seams of the skirt. For this skirt, I used a pocket pattern piece from another pattern that I really like. You can do this or you can draft your own pocket piece. To do this, just take a piece of paper, place your hand on the paper, and draw around your hand. The piece should look a bit like a misshapen U. This is totally normal and is a great starter piece for pockets.  Once you have your pattern piece, cut four pieces from your leftover fabric.




6.  To attach the pockets, pin one pocket piece 3 inches from the top of the front skirt piece at the right side seam. Make sure that the right side of the pocket is facing the right side of the skirt piece. Continue by placing the other three pieces on the other side seams.  Sew the pocket piece onto each side seam using a straight stitch.







7.  Open the pockets right side up and the place the front and back skirt pieces on top of each other, lining up at the pockets.




8.  Pin the two sides together and sew using a zigzag stitch. If you’re using a serger, one thing I like to do is to retract the knife when I am switching from the side seam to the pocket. This area can be a little tricky and I found that retracting the knife and very slowly and carefully serging the pocket results in a better finish. Once I work my way around the pocket and I’m back on the side seam, I set the knife back in its normal position.




9.  Take a second to look at your beautifully sewn seams.  Aren’t those pockets sexy? You did that!  Let’s revel in our success while we work on the waistband.





10.  From the two 4-inch cut strips you set aside, cut the length of your widest part of your body (usually the hips) + 4 inches (2 on each strip). Then sew the short ends together.  This is where the elastic will live. Cut a piece of elastic that snugly fits your waist. Some people cut a strip the same length as their waist, but for me that’s always too long. My measurement ends up being about 70% of my waist length.




11.  We’re soooo close to the end – you got this! Next we’re going to gather the skirt. Crank your sewing machine up to the longest straight stitch length and sew a line 3/8 inch from the edge of the fabric. Don’t backstitch at the beginning or end.  Make sure you have long tails on the thread in the machine because you’re going to use these to gather the skirt.




12.  Gently pull one of the thread tails to begin gathering the skirt. Take your time with this step because the thread can easily break. You want to end up with a skirt that has the same waist measurement as the waistband. So play around with your gathers. Do you want them to be more even? Do you want to have little clumps of gathers here and there?  Do you want to focus the gathers at your hips? It’s all up to you – make this your design.







13.  Once you’re done gathering the skirt, pin the right side of the waist band to the right side of the skirt. 




14.  Attach the waistband to the skirt with a zigzag stitch. Try on the skirt to make sure you can get it on and off easily without the elastic.



15.  Fold the waistband onto the wrong side of the skirt and pin to the seam allowance inside.  Sew the waistband to the seam allowance, but leave a 2-inch gap so you can insert the elastic. 






16. Insert a large safety pin into one end of the elastic and feed it through the waistband casing that you just created. Make sure to not lose the other end of the elastic. Then sew the two ends of the elastic together.  Finally, sew up the two inch gap that you left open.




17.  Now all that’s left to do is hem the skirt and wear it to your heart’s content.  If you make this skirt, I’d love to see it! Tag me and use the hashtag #stitchandshimmy. I can’t wait to see your skirts! 








By Stitch and Shimmy

*Photo by Carrie at the Dancers Eye -*

American Cabaret Bellydancer.  Cheese Goddess. Crafty Chick. Seamwork Ambassador. Minerva Maker. Feminist Badass.

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