31 Days- 30 minute skirt

I’m so excited about our October Focus and Refresh challenge! I think it will be a really neat chance to get in the habit of doing some things that I’ve been wanting to fit into my life, and a good reminder to spend a bit less time playing on the computer.

My first project of the month is one I saw awhile back on Pinterest and wanted to try.  It’s a little girl’s skirt that you can make in 30 minutes or less using only half a yard of fabric.  Even taking time to snap photos for you, mine took only 35 minutes to make.

Here’s the fabric I started with — it’s just a half-yard remnant of simple cotton fabric.  I got it out of a remnant bin at WalMart after Christmas last year– paid probably $2 or so for it.  Half a yard was a great length for my 7 year old. For a little girl  in the 3-5 year old range you could probably get by with 1/3 of a yard.  An 8-10 year old might need 2/3 of a yard.  Just hold your fabric up to your child and decide on a length that is good for her.

In the photo below you can also see the stretchy 1-1/2 inch fold-over elastic that will form the waistband.  You can buy this kind of elastic in really cute patterns– polkadots, etc– with diaper-making supplies at JoAnns, or online (here’s one place).  For my smallish 7 year old (she weighs 52 pounds) I used 20 inches of elastic for the waist, and could have easily done with only 18 or 19 inches.  The waistband turned out just a little loose, and the skirt turned out long enough that it should fit her for a year or two.

The first step is to form a tube out of your fabric by folding it in half, right sides together, and sewing a seam in the selvage edges (the finished edges) of the fabric, on the side of the fabric opposite from your fold. Here you can see my seam with the selvage edges pressed open.

Next step: hem the bottom and top of your fabric. Here’s where it really helps to get out the iron–sometimes I don’t and then am less than pleased with my results. I did about a 3/4 inch hem in what was going to be the bottom edge of the skirt, ironed it, then tucked the cut edge in under the fold and pressed again so that the edge would lie nice and flat when I went to sew it.  Below you can see the pressed edge, and how I sewed my hem right next to the folded-over edge. I repeated the same thing at the top edge of my tube so that all the edges were finished and would not get loose threads in the wash.

Once both the top and the bottom edges of the skirt were finished, it was time to pin on the elastic. I’d already sewn the two ends together so that it was one continuous piece. Then I pinned the elastic to the skirt first at both sides and then at the front and back. Pin so that the skirt fabric is on the outside, and the elastic is on the inside of the skirt, with as much elastic as possible sticking up above the edge of the skirt. If this is your first time using elastic in this way, you’d probably be wise to pin it in more than 4 places to make the sewing easier.

Now it’s time to sew the elastic to the waist of the skirt.  I used a straight stitch. Stretch the elastic out so that it is as long as the section of waistband onto which you are sewing it. Then begin sewing, going slowly and making sure that you’re catching both the elastic and the skirt fabric with your stitches. I set it up so that as much of the elastic as possible was above the edge of the skirt.  It feels a little tricky at first, but go slowly and you’ll get the hang of it. And really, more pins are better for your first attempt at this project. Just be sure to remove pins when you come to them, so that you don’t break a needle.

Here’s a closeup of the finished top edge of the skirt after it was sewn. As you can see, there are two rows of stitching which I tried to keep parallel as I sewed the second. One is the hem, and then the other is what attached the elastic to the top edge of the fabric. If I had sewn a little further from the edge, and sewn my second line of stitching directly on top of my first row, I’d have gotten more of a ruffled effect.

And here’s the final project on my little girl. As you can see, I wasn’t the only one delighted that I’d finally gotten around to this project.


Like this project? Be sure to see what my daughters are doing this week. And we’d love to have you along for the ride this month too. So blog a project and join in!

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  1. Jennie C. says:

    Cute!!! I’d love to know more about your daughter’s hair! Are those ribbons woven in the braid? My daughter would LOVE this!

  2. You’ve really inspired me! I set my computer to only let me on my “time-waster” websites for 30 minutes a day. Most of the extra time will probably be spent on work. I’m a first year teacher, so I’m mostly just developing lesson plans, and could use the extra sleep. But I’m hoping to get a few minutes extra per day to crochet, cook, bake, or run as well. I think I’ll be amazed at how much MORE time I have without Facebook!

  3. At first I was thinking, that’s a cute skirt. But then I instantly switched gears to “that’s super cute hair!” What a darling model you have there.

  4. Oh, this looks fun, simple, quick, & cute!! My style!! Can’t wait to try it for my own 7 yr old, or 4 yr old, or 11 yr old!!

  5. Wendy Peltzer says:

    I love your project! I also think your daughter is so adorable!! My little girl has just taken to sewing yesterday! I had her look at your project and now we have our own to complete! Thank you so much for this timely post. (PS I missed seeing you at testing this year:)
    God bless,

  6. Love the skirt! That fabric is so cute – perfect for your daughter 😉

  7. mama bear w says:

    That is a cute little skirt. She looks great in it.

  8. LOVE those blue braids! So cute! Did you do them?

  9. Love! Such a cute, simple design. I am going to include this in my “31 Days” challenge.

    P.S. Your model is lovely!! She is so beautiful and photogenic. 🙂

  10. Love simple sewing projects like this! Thank you for sharing… 🙂

  11. I really want to make time for sewing again. The skirt looks great.

  12. I love the fabric!!!


  13. If I were to try to sew something, I guarantee it would take a whopping lot more than 30 minutes. 🙁 It takes me that long just to thread the machine. Sewing was not a gift I was blessed to receive, much to the consternation of my professional seamstress mother. Your results are adorable, though, so congrats on finally getting around to it!

  14. Cute skirt!