How to Make a Pencil Skirt

A pencil skirt is a form-fitting garment that usually falls to the knee or just below. It is often paired with a jacket as part of a woman’s suit and, as is the case with all fashion, it comes in and out of favor. If you make a pencil skirt for yourself, you’ll have one in your closet the next time they hit the fashion catwalks.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Needle And Thread Or Sewing Machine
  • Pattern
  • Zipper (7 Inches)
  • Fabric (2 To 2 1/2 Yards)
  • Tissue Paper

Take accurate measurements of your waist, hips (around your bottom) and thighs.

Make pattern pieces on tissue paper: a waistband approximately 3.5 inches by 30 inches (your waist plus 1.25 inches); a rectangle for the back, measuring approximately 14 inches by 32 inches; and a rectangle for the front, measuring 14 inches by 32 inches.

Cut your fabric using the pattern pieces you made. Cut one waistband, two skirt backs and two skirt fronts. (If you fold your fabric so you have a double thickness, you will need to cut front and back only once.)

Make darts (tucks that start at the waist and taper to a point) in the center of both fronts (1 inch by 6 inches long) and the center of both backs (2 inches by 6 inches long).

Put the right sides of the fabric facing each other and stitch the back pieces together in a half-inch seam. Do the same to stitch the two pieces of the skirt’s front.

Pin the front to the back on the sides with the right sides of the fabric facing each other, leaving enough room for you to step into the skirt.

Step into the skirt, and pin the skirt so that it fits snugly but comfortably around your hips, leaving enough fabric for a half-inch seam allowance on each side. Carefully, step out of the skirt.

Trim the fabric, and stitch the side seams, leaving open the top 9 inches on the left side.

Sew the zipper into the open side seam, following the instructions on the zipper package.

Fold the waistband in half lengthwise, with right sides of the fabric facing each other. Stitch each end closed.

Trim the seams, turn the waistband right side out, and press.

Stitch one edge of the waistband to the skirt, right sides facing each other.

Turn the raw edge of the waistband to the inside half-inch. Press.

Top-stitch the waistband to the skirt.

Sew hooks and eyes on the waistband opening at the side.


  • Linen, denim and lightweight wool work well. It is easiest to make a pencil skirt from a preprinted pattern.