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Tutorial: Elastic-Waist Flirt Skirt

 Tutorial: Elastic-Waist Flirt Skirt

Simple Elastic Waist Skirt Tutorial | Learn how to create a simple elastic waist skirt in a custom size tailored to your measurements! This versatile skirt can be sewn using a variety of fabrics depending on your desired style.

I love the shape of this skirt!  It has pockets at the sides (a must for me!), and a waistband that is full only in the front.  This feature gives the look of a gathered skirt without looking poofy.  

 It’s a chino, elastic-waist miniskirt. No zippers, no gathering, no darts; just elastic, cotton, and thread. It cost too much for what it is ($58--ouch), but it fit so well and seemed so perfect for momming around with the boys on hot summer days that I convinced myself to buy it anyway. On one condition: that I would use it as a pattern for making a few more just like it. And so, the Flirt Skirt (a.k.a. the J.Crew Copycat Skirt) was born.

Tutorial: Elastic-Waist Flirt Skirt

Before I go any further, let me tell you this: making this skirt is EASY. Easy enough to be the third or fourth thing you ever sew, in my opinion. 

Tutorial: Elastic-Waist Flirt Skirt

Tutorial: Elastic-Waist Flirt Skirt

Ironically, though, the construction isn’t obvious. When I convinced myself to make one, I thought it was just a simple elastic-waisted skirt--made basically the same way as Basic Boy Shorts, plus pockets, minus a crotch. I found this tutorial from Freshly Picked and this one at What a Nerd Would Wear, and figured that I could copy the pattern pieces from the J. Crew skirt and then use their instructions to put them together. But there were a few details I missed.
See, the first step in copying any piece of clothing (or, in other words, using a piece of clothing to make a pattern) is turning it inside out. And when I did that, I found this:

Rectangular pockets attached up underneath the elastic casing. My guess is that this makes the pockets less bulky and more streamlined--overall more flattering than the semicircle version.

There is a seam on top of the elastic, which gives the top of the skirt a cute little ruffle. Seemed easy enough, and I liked the detail.

The elastic doesn’t go all the way around. EEK. My first thought was, “well, mine will.” And then I realized that the flat (no elastic) sections, which are about three inches wide around either side seam, have much to do with the look of this skirt. Because of those flat places, you get the cute, full look in the front without the pouf at your hips. Yeah, I admit it. I love J.Crew.

So I was left to figure a few things out by myself again. And it turned out that it wasn’t very hard at all--in fact, the finished process (detailed below) is really easy, even for a novice like me! As you use the tutorial, though, please do be careful to read the text. Now that I’ve done this once, I have a few ideas about ways to make it even quicker--and I’ll share those, too. 

Tutorial: Elastic-Waist Flirt Skirt

I love my new skirt. It’s not chino, so it’s probably a little less versatile than it’s older sister (I wouldn’t sit down in the dirt in it), but the fun, summery pattern makes it more festive, and a bit more dressy. And the price? Well, I bought 1.5 yards of Scarf Stripes in Scooter Grey/Sherbet Pips by Anela Hoey for Moda from Whipstitch for $15 and one package of elastic for about $1.50. So, even after buying designer fabric, I saved over $40! Results like that have a bit of a narcotic effect--they make you want to sew more, try more, make more...


1.5 yards of skirt fabric
1/4 yard of contrasting fabric (if desired) for pockets.
1 yard of 1.5 inch wide elastic
Basic sewing supplies
Disappearing ink fabric pen
Two safety pins

1. Cut your pattern pieces: two skirt pieces and four pockets. Start by measuring your natural waist and deciding how long you want your skirt to be. Determine the width of your skirt pieces by subtracting 4 to 5 inches from the size of your waist. Determine the length of your skirt pieces by adding 6 inches to your desired skirt length. I wanted the finished length of my skirt to be 18 inches and measured my waist to be about 29 inches, so I cut TWO pieces that were 24 inches wide by 24 inches long. I cut four pockets 9 inches long by 6 inches wide, although you could easily make them bigger and keep the same proportions.

2. With right sides facing, pin two pockets to each skirt piece, four inches from the top of the skirt. 

Sew pockets to the skirt pieces with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

3. Press pockets to the outside of the skirt, and place skirt pieces on top of each other with right sides facing and pin pockets and side seams. 


Using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, sew ONE side seam* from the top to the bottom of the skirt, going around the outer edges of the pocket.

4. Create your hem. Open the skirt and lay it down on its right side (the sewn side seam will be in the middle).

Create a hem by first turning the bottom edge of the skirt up 1/2 inch, pressing, and then turning the edge up 1.5 inches. 


Sew the hem up as close to the inner edge of the hem as possible. 

5. Close the skirt with right sides facing, lining up the raw edges and pockets exactly. Sew the second side seam with a 1/2 inch seam allowance, and STOP 1/2 inch ABOVE the top of the pocket (note that in my pic, I stopped at the end of the pocket. Do as I say, not as I do!)

6. Now, create the elastic casing. With the skirt still turned inside-out, fold the top edge of the skirt down 1/4 inch, press, then fold down 2 inches and pin.

Using a disappearing ink fabric pin, mark the pinned casing 1.5 inches from each side seam on both sides of the skirt--see those purple marks? (Nighttime lighting is so ugly, sorry folks).

Create the cute ruffled top edge of the skirt by stitching into the casing the entire way around the skirt using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.   

Now, sew down the casing between the fabric pen marks ONLY on each side of the skirt. Place the seam as close as possible to the inside edge of the casing.    

Cut your piece of elastic in half. Attach a safety pin to the end of one half and use it to push the elastic through one of your two sewn casings. Once the elastic has passed under the fabric pen mark opposite to your entry point, pull it about an inch further, and pin through the pen mark.     

Now gather the fabric on your elastic until the distance between the two fabric pen marks is about 11 inches (you might change this significantly after trying it on, but it’s a good starting point). Pin at the second pen mark, flip the skirt over, and repeat on the other side.    

With the elastic pinned this way, try your skirt on (and try hard not to stab yourself with a pin--I wasn’t successful:)). With the skirt on, take some good hard looks in the mirror. Adjust the fabric on the elastic and make sure that fabric is lying down nicely at the pins and around the side seams. If the fabric is pulling, take the skirt off, flip it inside out, and increase the distance between the pins.

Stitch vertically along the pins/purple marks.

Trim the elastic beyond the vertical stitches, then tuck back under the open casing.

Sew down the open casing around each of the side seams. Be careful to line up your stitch with the casing seams that are already in place.


And that’s it!  Now, put on that pretty skirt, stick your hands in the pockets, and ask someone you love (or someone you’re itching to flirt with:)) out on a date.

Tutorial: Elastic-Waist Flirt Skirt

A final note: If I were to do this again (and I will!), I would make one change for efficiency’s sake. I would sew both side seams (including the pockets) all the way up at the same time, then sew up the hem with the skirt closed, as well as the front and back sections of casing (as discussed above) and then thread the elastic through the un-sewn bottom edges of the casing around either side seam.

Tutorial: Elastic-Waist Flirt Skirt


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