It’s nudging towards warmer weather, which means it’s time to show a little leg! We have a flirty little fast and easy skirt that’s perfect for strolling along under blue and sunny skies. It features a waistband made from Dritz® Woven Jacquard Elastic that is so lovely, we created a unique construction for the top of the skirt. It allows the waistband to be fully exposed while keeping the fabric finished on all sides – all with a minimum of layering. Read on to get all the details.
We love the Dritz Woven Jacquard Elastics. In addition to the 2” we chose, you can also find 1″ options in a great southwestern motif as well as several cool solid colors in both 1½” and 2″ width. There are even three 1¾” metallic choices. These pretty elastics are available at your favorite online and in-store locations that carry Dritz products.
The body of the skirt is a double gauze from Cotton + Steel that is no longer readily available since the Cotton + Steel designers have moved into their new Ruby Star Society collective. However, as a substrate, you’ll find lots of options out there for double gauze, including Shannon Fabrics’ Embrace® line.
We made a sample to fit our lovely model who is 5’ x 7” tall with a 28” waist. To alter for your best fit, measure your waist and add 1”. You’ll overlap the ends by 1½” so the waistband is snug but still lays flat against your body. The Dritz elastic has a nearly 2X stretch so our skirt stretched out to about 50”, making it easy to pull on over the hips.
The Dritz® Woven Jacquard Elastic is very soft, making it a good choice for a waistband, especially when combined with the soft double gauze. Even with the gathering along the top ruffle, there are no stiff or scratchy edges.
The 18” skirt is designed to be short and sassy with the bottom hem floating about 2” from the knee. All our cuts and hemming measurements below are figured at this finished length, but of course you could go shorter or longer with your panel height.
The width of your initial cuts should be figured to match your waist. The standard is to approximately double the waist measurement, so we cut two panels at 28”. Again, your panel widths may vary, and you could even consider adding a third panel for larger sizes or a denser ruffle at smaller sizes.
We used a standard narrow hem on both the main skirt panel as well as the ruffle tier. Other options would be a machine rolled hem, or even a serged finish.
The ruffles really soften the look of this skirt. If you’ve made elastic waist skirts before, you know that sometimes the top can seem a little utilitarian with just a plain elastic adhered to fabric. The pretty ruffle and gorgeous elastic waistband fixes that!
A tasseled and braided yarn belt tie is our suggestion to complete the boho look. Use a yarn that blends nicely with your fabric. The belt and tassel caps add style and texture without pulling attention away from the focal point of the waistband. Finishing at about two yards, the belt simply loops around the waist and knots or ties into a bow just below the waist ruffle. As a rule of thumb for your starting length, the braiding reduces the original length by about 25%.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Quarter Inch Seam foot; optional but helpful for the narrow hemming
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: We recommend mapping out your cuts on paper first to insure you get the correct amount of fabric for your finished size. Our yardage suggestions shown below are for the sample skirt size described above, using a 44” wide double gauze with a random motif that does not require any fussy cutting.
- 2 – 2¼ yards of 44″+ wide double gauze or similar
NOTE: If your fabric is random enough to allow you to cut your skirt panels on the horizontal, you can get away with 2 yards. If you need to cut the panels vertically due to a specific directional motif, get 2¼ yards. And as mentioned, adjust your yardage for larger sizes as described above.
- ONE 2 yard package of Dritz 2” Woven Jacquard Elastic; we used black with bright accents #9109H
- TWO Dritz Tassel Caps; we used brushed antique brass #823
- ONE small skein of standard weight yarn in a coordinating color for the belt; we used turquoise yarn, purchased locally
- All-purpose thread to match fabric and elastic
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Clips to hold the yarn while braiding
- Craft glue to hold the tassel in the tassel cap
- Large-eye yarn needle
- Cellophane tape to temporarily hold yarn ends in place
- Seam sealant; we used Dritz Fray Check
- Small piece of cardboard for the tassel wrapping template
- Tiny philips head screwdriver for tassel caps
NOTE: Refer to the introduction above for details on how we figured the cuts for our finished sample size.
- From the double gauze, cut the following:
TWO 28″ wide x 19″ high rectangles for the main skirt panels
NOTE: As mentioned above, it is a more efficient use of fabric if you can cut these panels from your yardage on the horizontal, placing them side by side (19” by 19”) across the width. If you have a vertical directional motif, cut the panels as they’ll be used: 28” wide x 19” high.
FOUR Width of Fabric (WOF) x 10” high strips for the bottom ruffled tier
TWO 28” x 2” strips for the small waist ruffle
- From the Dritz Woven Jacquard Elastic, cut 29” for the waistband.
- From the yarn, cut SIX 108” lengths for the belt tie.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the lower ruffle tier
- Find the four WOF x 10″ strips. Remove the selvedge from each end.
- Stitch together the four strips, using a French seam. To do this, pin the first two panels wrong sides together, aligning their 10” sides. Pin in place.
- Stitch together, using a ⅝” seam allowance.
- Trim back the seam allowance to ¼”.
- Refold the two panels right sides together. Pin in place.
- Stitch again, this time using a ½” seam allowance, concealing the original seam to produce a clean finish from both sides.
- You can either just press the finished seam to one side. Or, you can add additional line of topstitching to hold the encased seam allowance securely flat. This is what we did.
- Repeat to stitch the remaining strips in place.
NOTE: If you’re brand new to this type of seam Finish, take a look at our full tutorial on French Seam finishes.
- With your ruffle panel sewn end-to-end and flat, make a narrow hem along the bottom. We used a double-fold ¼” hem. To do this, fold back the raw edge ¼” and press well.
- Then, fold an additional ¼” and press again. Pin in place.
- Topstitch the entire length to secure. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot to keep a nice, straight line.
- You could also use a Rolled Hem instead of the narrow hem if you prefer.
- With the bottom hemmed, finish the raw upper edge. We used a simple zig zag. You could also use an over-edge finish or a serged finish.
- Press this finished top edge to the back (just a single fold) 1½”.
- Run one or two gathering stitches across the top, approximately ¾” down from the top folded edge. Work with your panel right side up. If you are new to this technique, check out our tutorial on Machine Gathering.
- Set aside the bottom ruffle tier – you’re not gathering it quite yet.
Create the upper waistband ruffle
- Find the two 28” strips. Pin them together along one 2” end. Using a ⅝” seam allowance, stitch them together.
- Press open the seam allowance.
- Fold the strip in half, wrong sides together. Press well.
- Set aside the upper ruffle.
Create the main skirt panel
- Find the two skirt panels. Stitch them together along one 19” side, using a French seam as you did above with the ruffle tier. First stitch wrong sides together with a ⅝” seam allowance, trimming that seam allowance back to ¼”.
- Then stitch right sides together with a ½” seam allowance to encase the seam.
- Remember, as above, you can simply press the finished seam or topstitch.
- Finish the top and bottom of the sewn skirt panels in the same manner as you did above with the ruffle tier: hem the bottom (we used a narrow ¼” double turn hem), and finish the top (we used a simple zig zag finish).
- Along the top of the skirt panel, fold the finished edge to the front ¼”. Press well.
Attach the ruffles and create the final skirt seam
- Place the skirt panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Find the upper ruffle. Pin it across the top of the skirt panel. The raw edges of the ruffled should be tucked just under the folded top edge of the skirt panel. Pin in place.
- Stitch in place across the skirt panel through all the layers.
- Find the bottom ruffle tier. Fold it in half to determine its center point. Place a pin to mark the center. Align that pin with the seam of the skirt panels. If you used more than two panels, find the center of the overall width of the skirt panel. Align both center pin points.
- The bottom hemmed edge of the ruffle tier should sit 1” up from the bottom hemmed edge of the skirt panel.
- Pull the gathering stitches to fit the ruffle tier against the skirt panel, Place the raw side edge of the ruffle tier about 1″ in from the the raw side edge of the skirt panel (finish at this same point on the opposite side of the skirt panel). Work from each outer side edge in towards the center.
- Pin as you go, making sure to maintain an even 1” distance from the skirt panel’s bottom hem.
- With the ruffle even side to side and securely pinned, topstitch it in place through all the layers. Your seam should run 1” down from the top folded edge of the ruffle, which should be ¼” below your gathering seam.
- Remove the gathering stitches.
- Create the final skirt seam with the same French Seam finish as above. Pin along the remaining raw edges, wrong sides together.
- Make sure that the bottom of the ruffle tier lines up.
- Then, make sure the top of the ruffle tier lines up.
- Once again you’ll use a French seam. First, stitch together, using a ⅝” seam allowance.
- Trim the seam allowance back to ¼”.
- Turn the skirt (which is now a tube) wrong side out and place the layers of the seam right sides together. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch again to enclose the original seam.
- Remember, as above, you can simply press the finished seam or topstitch.
Attach the elastic waistband
- Find the Dritz Woven Jacquard Elastic, which should be cut to length (ours was 29”).
- Overlap the raw ends 1½”. Pin in place.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the elastic in the top and bobbin.
- Zig zag both sides of the overlap in place through all the layers to create a loop. Use a tight zig zag.
- Find the quarter points of the loop. The center of the overlap is the first quarter point. Place a pin at each point.
- Find the four quarter points of the top of the skirt. Your two skirt panel seams are two of these points, the remaining two are directly opposite. Place a pin at each point.
- Align the waistband pins and the skirt pins at the four quarter points.
- The bottom of the waistband elastic should just cover the upper fold and seam of the waist ruffle.
- Starting at the center back (where the waistband elastic overlaps), stitch pin to pin, stretching the elastic as you go so it lays flat against the fabric. Stitch first along the very bottom edge of the elastic.
- Then, once again stretching as you go, stitch a second seam approximately ⅛” above the first. We adjusted our distance to stitch within the black, just above the first woven design (the pink dot).
- Once stretched and stitched in place, when you release the elastic the top of the skirt cinches up to 29″, which is what creates the soft upper ruffle.
Create the optional braided tassel belt
- Find your six lengths of yarn and the remaining yarn on the skein; you’ll cut some additional shorter lengths directly from the skein.
- Gather together the six 108” lengths so they are flush top and bottom. Knot together the strands at one end.
- Braid from that knot down to the other end.
- You are doing a standard three strand braid, but are using two lengths of yarn for each strand.
- As mentioned, we wanted to end up with about 72” in total length. If you wish to change your finished length, keep in mind that the braiding takes up about 25% of your original cut length.
- When you get to the end, tightly wrap tape around the ends. Place a pin approximately 2” up from the taped end
- Find one of the Dritz Tassel Caps. Slip the taped end through the jump ring.
- Pull it back on itself to the 2” marking pin.
- Cut a 24” length of yarn. Fold it in half and place the looped center point under the folded-back braid just above the tassel cap’s jump ring as shown in the photo below.
- Bring the tails of the yarn through the loop and pull to secure. This is just how you’d attach a price or gift tag.
- Wrap the two strands of yarn around the double braid. You want your wrap to be quite tight. When your wrap gets to the tape, stop. Hold onto the wrapping and snip off the tape.
- Continue wrapping until you’ve fully covered the raw ends of the yarn.
- Still holding the wrap in place (you can tape it in place temporarily if you feel like you don’t have enough hands), thread one of the yarn tails through the large-eye needle and feed the needle down through the center of the wrap to secure. Repeat to thread the second tail down through.
- At the bottom, trim the raw ends flush and add a drop of seam sealant.
- Repeat to create a matching wrap at the opposite end of the belt with the remaining tassel cap.
- Create two approximate 3½” tassels. We simply used our ruler as our “wrapping template.” You can also use cardboard or plastic cut to size. We wrapped around 36 times. If you want a fluffier tassel, wrap more. For a thinner tassel, wrap less.
- Secure the top.
- Cut the bottom loose.
- And wrap with a separate length (about 10” is good) to create the head of the tassel.
NOTE: If you are brand new to making your own tassels, we have a full step-by-step tassel tutorial you can review prior to starting the project.
- Place a drop of glue inside the tassel cap and insert the head of the tassel.
- Drive in the tassel cap’s tiny screw to finish.
- Repeat to add a tassel to the opposite tassel cap.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild