How to Make a Gathered Skirt

Making a gathered skirt is a good easy project for a beginning sewer or someone who is new to designing their own clothes. Of course, it's also great for anyone who likes gathered skirts! You can make skirts with many different looks by using elastic or a drawstring, making them different lengths, using different types of fabric and different styles of trim, pockets or other decorations. If you're familiar with the process, you can quickly make a new skirt for any occasion.

Things You'll Need

  • Needle And Thread
  • Seam Ripper Or Scissors
  • Pins (Optional)
  • Elastic Or Cord
  • Large Safety Pin
  • Sewing Machine (Optional)
  • Fabric

How to Make a Gathered Skirt

Select a length of fabric at least twice as long as your waist measurement. The easiest way to do this is to use a length of fabric straight from the bolt, but if you do this the length of your skirt will only be as long as the width of your fabric. If you want to make a longer gathered skirt, or if you want to use different types of fabric, you can sew different strips of fabric together to make a long length.

Fold your fabric strip in half with the right sides together and sew the ends together.

Fold the top down toward the wrong side of the fabric, at least an inch or the width of your elastic plus a half inch or so. Do this all the way around the skirt, pinning if you like. Sew a seam all the way around the skirt close to the raw edge you just folded down. This step should leave a casing for you to thread the elastic or draw string through.

Put the large safety pin through the elastic or cord near the end and close it. Remove a few stitches from the seam on the inside of the casing, if you will be using elastic, or cut two small slits about an inch apart on the outside of the casing if you are using cord. push the pin into the casing and start working the cord or elastic through the casing and around the skirt by pulling on the pin through the fabric. Work it all the way around and then pull the pin out through the same opening if you are using elastic, or through the other slit if you are using cord.

Turn your gathered skirt right side out and try it on. If you are using elastic, pin the ends of the elastic together at a comfortable size. Take the skirt off and sew the ends of the elastic together where you pinned them. Trim any excess, then use a few hand stitches to sew the casing closed where you opened it. (If you are using a cord/drawstring you can skip this step entirely.)

If you want the skirt to be shorter, cut it shorter now. Make a hem by folding the raw edge under twice and sewing it in place with small stitches.

Add any finishing touches, such as patches, pockets, or trim to the skirt now.


  • You can make a slightly more fitted skirt quite easily by starting with wedge shaped pieces instead of true rectangles. If your fabric is the same from any direction, you can efficiently create these pieces by cutting at a gentle diagonal first left to right, then right to left and so on. When you've made several pieces, turn every other one upside down. Just make sure the length of the top when it's sewn together is plenty big enough to fit comfortably around your waist.


  • Be careful not to make your tube too narrow, or your skirt could be tight around your legs and ankles when you try to walk. Try pinning a tube of the size you are considering first, stepping into it and seeing if it is comfortable to move in.