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I like my skirts fast and cheap: a tutorial

So, I went ahead and did it. It only took about 1/2-hour, and used up 1/4 of a sheet I had thrifted for $4. Quick and inexpensive – just the way I like it 😀

Would you like to know how to make your own fun and full Spring skirt? It’s pretty easy.

Here’s what you need:

  • twin-size flat sheet (72″x104″)
  • yard stick
  • washout cloth marker
  • scissors
  • sewing machine
  • thread to coordinate with the sheet
  • iron
  • 1/2-inch or 1/4-inch elastic to fit comfortably around your waist

New skirt

Cut out the fabric:

Determine how long you want your skirt to be, and add 1.5 inches to that number. Mine was 21 inches, but let’s refer to that number as X.

Fold the sheet in half lengthwise and spread it out. We will be using the hemmed edge of the sheet as our skirt hem, saving us the trouble of doing it ourselves. Measuring from that hem, use the yard stick to mark off X inches in several places along the length of the hem. Connect the marked dots, and cut along them.

You should now have a single piece of cloth, 72″ x X”.

Sew it together:

Fold in half, right sides together, so the two selvage edges meet. Stitch together along the selvages, leaving a 1/2-inch seam allowance. You should now have a tube with a 71″ circumference.

New skirt

Make the elastic casing:

Fold the raw edge at the top of the tube over 3/4″ and press. Fold down another 3/4″ and press again.

Stitch along the inner edge of the fold all the way around the top of the skirt, leaving about a 1-inch opening near the seam.

Thread the elastic into the opening, through the casing, and back out the opening again. Stitch the elastic together and close the opening in the casing.


Try on your skirt, pose for a picture, and tell everybody you know that this skirt only cost you $1 and a half-hour of your time 🙂

Things to note:

  • This makes a very full skirt.  If you prefer something less full, you can always cut thirty to forty inches off of the width.
  • I’ve never tried to explain how to sew anything before, so there may be some confusing bits. If so, please let me know and I’ll do my best to clarify!

2013 Update:

It’s been five years since I wrote this little tutorial, and it’s still one of the most popular posts on my blog! I’ve gained a lot of sewing (and photography!) experience since then, and so I’ve decided to put it to good use. If you would like to see this tutorial fully-illustrated with step-by-step photos and additional instructions (how to make it a more fitted version, how to deal with fabrics that don’t have a built-in hem, etc.) then you might like this ebook. You can order below, or get more details here. Thanks, and enjoy!

166 thoughts on “I like my skirts fast and cheap: a tutorial

  1. Thanks for posting this. I used this tutorial to make a skirt the other day and it hardly took me thirty minutes! It was a little full for my taste, so I’m going to try again cutting some of the width out of the sheet.

    1. Glad it worked for you! I had the same issue with fullness. In fact, the skirt that it is the photos here drove me crazy until I cut several inches off of it. I like it much better now 🙂

  2. […] can you not want to wear this skirt?  Perfect for summer and so much less work than a whole dress! Lisa Clarke from Polka Dot Cottage created this gem and has a great tutorial so you can make it too!!! I’d kinda like to see it […]

  3. Wow, this looks like it’s easy enough for me to make! I have a thrifted sheet in mind, will make this tomorrow! Thanks!

  4. […] Ihr hier nun also seht ist mein allererster, selbstgenähter Rock nach der megasimplen Anleitung von Lisa Clarke. Allerdings verwendet sie Baumwollstoff in ihrer Anleitung. Versucht mal Jersey umzubügeln, […]

  5. You might try using a skirt you already own and like for shaping the new skirt. Fold the fave skirt in half lengthwise and put the fold where the fold is on the sheet. Then you can cut the selvage side to match the fave skirt before sewing. This will make the shape closer to how you want it if the typical tube shape seems too full for you.

    You can do this with shirts too. I am going to try this with a dress but I’ll have to keep in mind that the width from the chest to the hips will have to be as big around as the chest to put the dress on without having to add a zipper to the side. I can stitch elastic to the inside around the waistline or wear a belt to define the waist.

    1. Thanks for the tip! I used a favorite skirt to make a pattern a few years ago, and I love it – each skirt I make from it comes out fitting me perfectly.

  6. Just realized I goofed in the directions. If you have a full size or queen size flat sheet and fold it lengthwise twice then you can follow my directions above. Otherwise you probably want to fold a twin sheet in half and then fold lengthwise (the dress will only be so long though). If you don’t do that first you’ll have only one side of a dress. I would recommend using a full or queen sheet and fold it lengthwise twice, then folding your fave dress in half lengthwise and place it on the sheet’s lengthwise fold before cutting it out. Make sure to leave a seam allowance when cutting. By using a larger sheet you get more choice on the length.

  7. […] Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged Sewing. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  8. […] Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Leave a Comment by JRJ2015 on August 10, 2012  •  Permalink Posted in Sewing Projects […]

  9. […] hat . Und so habe ich – inspiriert durch Sari – die ziemlich einfache Anleitung von Lisa Clarke […]

  10. […] you been collecting vintage sheets for future projects?  Well, this vintage sheet skirt can be made in 30 minutes!  This is a fun spring project!  Visit Lisa Clarke’s blog for more […]

  11. Have you ever thought about publishing an e-book or guest authoring on other sites?
    I have a blog based on the same ideas you
    discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information.

    I know my subscribers would enjoy your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e mail.

  12. […] can you not want to wear this skirt?  Perfect for summer and so much less work than a whole dress! Lisa Clarke from Polka Dot Cottage created this gem and has a great tutorial so you can make it too!!! I’d kinda like to see it […]

  13. […] item that has been on my to-do list for the last two years: re-write, re-photograph, and re-package my most popular blog post into a handy-dandy ebook […]

  14. Hi there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group?
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  15. […] cool fabric decoupage….I have SO many items in my house I want to redo with this… 3. Beautiful skirt that I want to make! 4. Love these ornaments for next Christmas but I’ll have to start them soon or they’ll […]

  16. Hi! Don’t have a blog nor a website. I’m an accomplished seamstress but like “fast-and-cheap.” Need a white skirt this weekend for a ceremony and this should fill the bill without breaking the retirement bank. Thanks

  17. […] got the idea from here. Sorry, no pictures of me in it.  I’ve got to start getting the hubby to take some in […]

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  19. Your blog caught my eye on Pinterest for 2 reasons: Simple and the color of the skirt. I had sheets almost like this in the 70s, a blue set and an orange set. I managed to save one of the orange sheets. And this evening I made your skirt out of my sheet, which I received as a wedding present back then. I took a picture but I don’t see a place to post it. Thanks so much for the great idea for my sheet!

  20. […] I like my skirts fast and cheap: a tutorial […]

  21. […] I like my skirts fast and cheap: a tutorial […]

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