If you’re tall like me (5’9″, aka that TALL blonde chick), you find yourself ever so frustrated when you want the latest summer style- because inevitably, you will put on said pants, skirt, dress and it will be either WAY too short, or simply hit you at the wrong spot on your body. The perfect example of this is the Maxi Skirt… on all of those fabulous websites, the models have this awesome floor length skirt… on me, it usually ends up hitting mid calf and doesn’t look so great! So, because I’ve recently become somewhat BRAVE and begun sewing with knits (I’ve made a swimsuit and lived to talk about it!) I decided to try to make my own custom Maxi Skirt!
First, I had to gather my supplies: My cool knit fabric, courtesy of the Fabric Outlet in San Francisco, my tape measure, cutting board, scissors and my favorite pair of yoga pants (Victoria’s Secret is really that she makes yoga pants for tall girls…)
Why the yoga pants you ask? It just so happens that since these pants fit so well, I’m going to use them as the base pattern for my skirt.
First you want to measure your waistband height (I knew I wanted to do a FOLD OVER style waistband similar to my yoga pants, so my waistband would be very wide.) Take that measurement and double it, as well as add-on your choice of seam allowance (I always add about an inch on for seam measurements when it comes to sewing with knits- after all, it’s easier to cut fabric away to adjust – impossible to uncut the waistband if it’s too small!
The next thing you will want to do is lay out your fabric (under the watchful eye of helper cat, of course) and cut your waistband (remember the height measurement!) Now we will measure the yoga pants to figure out how WIDE the waistband needs to be (this will also be the width of the start of the actual skirt, so remember this measurement!
Measure your waistband width and again, add about an inch for good measure (for seam allowance etc.)
Cut your waistband to this width (you will now have a piece that should look about your size). Now we have to get ready to cut our maxi skirt! The yoga pants fit me just about right length wise, so I simply measured the length of the yoga pant leg ( on the outside, not the inseam!) from the waistband to the bottom hem. I added about 2 inches in length to allow for a nice inch wide hem at the end (and also a little room just in case I needed the extra length.)
Its time to cut the skirt! Take your waistband and line it up in the middle of your fabric piece. I then measured from the top of the large fabric piece to where I needed to cut for length. I then cut the bottom hem portion of the skirt (you can see this in the photo below). After cutting that hem (and having a mild panic attack because there is really really no turning back now) I got ready to cut my actual skirt out. I put the waistband piece in the middle of my fabric block. I then used my tape measure to create a nice 45 degree angle to the bottom of my fabric block and cut the one side. Repeat this process for the other side.
Your skirt should now look like this (you will have one waistband piece and two skirt pieces)
First, I needed to sew my waistband. I used my Brother Serger for this step, as it really does a nice job finishing off the seams. It’s not fancy, and can be a bit finicky some times with threading- but you can’t beat getting a Serger for under $300 (I got mine through Amazon). Sew the back seam of your waistband and try it on to make sure it fits you the way you like. This is what your waistband will look like after you’re all sewn up.
Next, I sewed the skirt front and back together, again using the Serger.
Here comes the tricky part- attaching your waistband to your main skirt body. If you’re doing a fold over waistband there are two different ways you can do it- one way will have the seam tucked under the fold (it would be visible if you folded UP the waistband), the other will have the seam on the very top of the waistband/skirt BUT will not be visible when you fold up the waistband. I chose this style because I wanted the adaptability of having the waistband seamless when folded up (maternity clothing, turn it into a dress etc). The only thing to remember with this is that you’ll want to top stitch it so that the seam is sewn down and not visible when you wear the skirt normally.
For a nice seamless waistband, you will want to pin the heck out of your skirt. Normally I’m impatient and HATE to pin, so I usually don’t bother, but for this knit, I absolutely wanted to make sure it didn’t get messed up. After looking at the pins now, I may have over done it a little bit…
Sew your waistband and try it on (also try to see where it falls for your hem).
Now for finishing your skirt! I recently acquired this lovely beauty- a cover stitch machine! Yes, this does mean that I now have a serger, a coverstitch machine, two embroidery/sewing machines and my ever trusty Necchi sewing machine, but hey- whose counting!!
It LOOKS just like my Serger, but it doesn’t cut off ragged ends and gives you that nice 2 or 3 finishing stitch that you see on all the knit clothes you buy in the store. I used the machine to sew my hem, and then used it to do the top stitching on my waistband (to keep the seam down). This is what the coverstitch looks like on the inside of your fabric:
Nice and professional looking! Here is what your finished seam will look like on the outside:
And you’re done!! All in all, it took me about an hour and a half from start to finish… I wore it out that night and got lots of compliments on it. Hope this tutorial helps you to make your own!! Enjoy, and happy sewing!