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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. just approached by a company who wants to publish my sheet skirt project in their 2010 sewing calendar!

  2. […] to have made something to show. So now I’m going to! Spring is here; when better to try it. Polka Dot Cottage’s I like my skirts fast and cheap tutorial is calling my name and I have just the thrift […]

  3. Hi,

    Great tutorial! I’m totally making one of these. I already have the sheet, but it is a queen so I’ll have more cutting to do. 🙂 I just wanted to let you know that I’ve added this tutorial and a link to your page on my blog, The Handmade Experiment. I saw that new film, Handmade Nation last night. It was so awesome I felt inspired to write a Must Make Monday list. Check it out at



    See what Emily Flippin Maruna has been blogging about: Must MAKE Monday

  4. […] I like my skirts fast and cheap: a tutorial by Lisa at Polka Dot Cottage […]

  5. Wow! I’ve not sewn a skirt before because I have a weird-shaped body (super small top until you hit my gigantor butt and thighs) so this looks perfect! And so easy! I can’t wait to give it a try. I’ll have to splurge for a sheet, though, unless I want to use SpiderMan or Thomas the Tank Engine. (Yes, I’m a momma to boys!)

    See what Mary Anna has been blogging about: Eggstra Cute!

    1. I sympathize – I’ve got boys, too! 🙂
      If you’re kind of big on the bottom, you might want to cut off some of the width of the sheet. The tutorial as written makes a skirt with a lot of gathers, and it may end up accentuating things you’d rather not draw attention to (I speak from experience, LOL!)

  6. Thanks for reminding me how to do this – I knew I was saving that weirdly printed black sheet for something! A skirt to wear about the house during summer, should keep things cool around here, maybe…

  7. How cool are you? And why am I just finding this bit of your world? Congrats on the skirt success(es). Enjoy making pretty things just for you.

    Your picts help me get out of the box in terms of adult fabric choice. For kids it is so easy, me… well. But now, I’m off to make me a loud and proud cutey skirt.


    1. Glad you found me. And I have the opposite problem… all I seem to do sometimes is make things for ME!

  8. I seen your skirt over on Sew,Mama,Sew and thought I’d come tell you how much I loved yours!! Thanks for sharing this great pattern.

    See what Donna has been blogging about: I’ve gotten behind

  9. This is the tutorial I used for my skirt – “I like my skirts fast and cheap: a tutorial” –

  10. Wow. I also found you at sew, mama, sew – I have this EXACT same sheet, I’ve had it since I was a kid. Like from birth I think. I LOVE this skirt tutorial, I am now inspired. Dare I use the sheet? Hmmm…

    See what chasmyn has been blogging about: vancouver aquarium

    1. I love that funky sheet! I also made pajama pants out of it (which I am wearing right now) 🙂

  11. Love Love love the skirt.
    I just recently bought vintage sheets to make PJ”s and skits from, inspired by “SouleMama”

    I stumbled across your blog by searching for the Built by Wendy shirt/mini dress pattern–I’m about to start that also.


    See what Ann-Marie MacKay has been blogging about: Bread

  12. Just wanted you to know…I have a matching pillowcase 🙂

    1. Really?? How cool! I made pajama bottoms out of the rest of the sheet, and I honestly wear them a lot more than the skirt. Wish I’d found the pillowcase along with the sheets when I got them at the thrift shop!

      1. I wish I’d found a sheet with my pillowcase 🙁 I’m not really sure what to make with so little material, so I’m saving it for somethin’ special!

  13. I have a strong urge to try sewing something, preferably a skirt. This looks easy enough, right?

  14. […] Lisa at Polka Dot Cottage posted a fast and cheap skirt tutorial […]

  15. i love this pattern! i used an old piece of fabric that i had that was sufficiently big enough. it turned out well enough (its the second skirt i ever made) but its a bit heavier than a sheet is. i totally can’t wait to try this with an actual sheet. i think it will turn out so much better! thanks so much!

  16. Thank you for sharing your skirt tutorial! I’ve been wanting to make some cute skirts and I like them fuller than what I’ve seen elsewhere, so this is perfect!

  17. I totally made this skirt. I used a vintage Raggedy Ann sheet for mine. Thank you so much for the reminder of how to make an easier skirt. I also have your printed sheet you used to make yours. Your blog rocks the socks! XOXO

  18. […] found this tutorial on how to turn a bed sheet into a simple skirt in around half an hour. It was exactly what I was […]

  19. […] day today. I decided to go to the thrift store this morning to look for sheets. I saw a really cute skirt tutorial where the skirt is made from a sheet. The biggest bonus…no hemming!  I knew I had to make this skirt.  I managed to find two […]

  20. […] also worked on two skirts.  The first is one that I made over a year ago, but I have never been happy with how full it was.  While I liked the “flowy” look, I […]

  21. It looks so pretty and hangs perfectly. Thanks for this, I think I’m off to hunt out a nice sheet.
    .-= See Steph’s latest blog post: Embroidery transfer freebies =-.

  22. That is a really pretty skirt. Could you make another tutorial but with pictures? I `m not that great at sewing but this looks like a very easy project.

  23. wow! so easy! i just made a skirt that looks great! I cant wait for spring to wear it. Thanks for posting this.

    if you ever decide to have another thrifted sheet swap, im all over it!!

  24. I made this skirt in a shorter length. Looks great and was so easy to make! Thanks for the great tutorial!

  25. I have a question. When you measure up from the bottom the length you want, do you cut strait accross or in a curve? Also, do you not measure your waist to make the top the right size or do you just measure the elastic and let the fabric bunch up? Thanks!

    If you could post more pictures and link it to this blog that would be really helpful.

  26. […] made a skirt today from this *very* easy tutorial via Aux petits […]

  27. I’m so confused. This tutorial wasn’t that clear. 🙁 Which is a shame because this is the EXACT skirt I’m looking to make! I guess I don’t understand where to cut or what to mark.

    1. For the cutting and measuring, you basically want to decide the length you want your skirt to be, and then cut a strip off of the bottom of the sheet. You cut all the way across, so that you have a strip that is as wide as your sheet, and as long as you want your skirt to be plus 1.5 inches.

      Does that clear it up any?

  28. great upcycling: new skirt from thrifted sheets by @polkadotcottage #craftsocial

  29. RT:@penguintrax: great upcycling: new skirt from thrifted sheets by @polkadotcottage #craftsocial – so cute

  30. Oh, I love this too! RT@varouna: RT:@penguintrax: great upcycling new skirt from thrift by @polkadotcottage

  31. I just made my first skirt ever with this tutorial. I found a really pretty sheet at the thrift store and went to town. Everyone keeps complimenting me on the skirt and no one believes it’s from a sheet. 🙂 Thanks for this awesome tutorial, I will make many more skirts with it.

    1. Isn’t that the best?! Glad you had fun with it!

  32. Hello! Writing to thank you for the really great tutorial! I’ve just made this skirt, and it looks very pretty.
    It took me about an hour to make it (bear in mind that I’m a beginner in sewing and that i had to stitch the steam at the bottom).

    So, thanks thanks thanks!

    p.s. BTW, I’m from Russia, just for you to know that your tutorial helps girls from different continents to have nice cheap skirts (:

    1. That’s excellent! Thank you for telling me – I hope you enjoy your cheap skirts as much as I enjoy mine 🙂

  33. RT @lclarke522: I like my skirts fast and cheap: a tutorial

  34. […] up on the lower right to receive posts via email. Thanks for visiting!A few weeks ago, I made the Fast and Cheap Skirt from the Polka Dot Cottage, which is now one of my absolute favorite garments.  Not only was it […]

  35. I love this tutorial. I can’t wait to try it out!
    Thank you!

  36. […] Fast and cheep skirt tutorial from Polka Dot Cottage – love this one! […]

  37. Hey! I tried making this skirt this weekend, and love the way it looks on the hanger, but not on me. I’ve got serious hips, and this just makes me look about a mile wide. Any ideas on how to fix it? I already chopped a whole lot off the width. Is it the elastic?

  38. Thanks so much for sharing this!!! I bought an arm load of sheets at a yard sale 2 days ago for $5 and now have an adorable spring skirt for literally pennies!!! Woo Hoo!!

    1. That’s great! (The summer I wrote this tutorial, I made at least a dozen skirts out of thrifted sheets, so be careful – it’s addicting!)

  39. I love the skirt 🙂 perfect for summer. With your tutorial here, even an amateur sewer like me can do this, thanks for the inspiration.


    1. Glad to hear it! And if you do have a problem, come back soon because I have a more detailed tutorial in the works – one with step-by-step photos. I hope to get it posted within a few weeks.

  40. So, I just made this skirt… well I made 3 of them: 1 for me and 1 for each of my girls… and did it in less than 30 minutes!! That’s my kind of skirt! <3

  41. So this is my second attempt at the skirt, and again, it’s way too wide. I know you said to take width off, but 40 inches off? So, if you were to indicate measurements again, would you do around your hips plus 3 inches? or something?
    (p.s. I have no problem with the skirt having fabric, but the elastic doesn’t pull it all in, therefore the skirt just falls off)

    1. I wonder if maybe your problem is more with the elastic than with the amount of fabric in the skirt. If the elastic is pulled tightly enough, it should hold the skirt up, even with a large excess of fabric. You should try opening up the elastic casing, cutting off a few inches of elastic, and trying the skirt on again. See if that helps.

      If you do need to cut off more fabric, 3-4 inches wider than your hip measurement should work, but it will result in a much less full, less swingy skirt.

  42. thank you for your response! when i do the elastic, am i pulling it tight around me, to measure before i cut? maybe that’s my problem–i was just measuring around, normal (elastic not stretched) so maybe that was part of my problem. I did cut some width off and cut the elastic shorter–just need to finish the ends 🙂

    1. Oh, definitely that is the problem – I’ve made that mistake, too 🙂 You need to pull it tightly. Not so tight that it cuts off your circulation, of course, but tight enough that it will stay put. It might take a little experimenting, which is why I suggested trying it on the existing skirt first 🙂 Hope this helps!

  43. Holy moly…that was easy!!! I will be scouring my local Goodwill for more vintage sheets. If I find enough of them, I may wear nothing else this summer. Thanks so much for the fabulous idea!
    P.S. – My husband said that he could have even made this skirt.

    1. High praise from the husband! 🙂 So glad you had luck with the tutorial – hope you find more fabulous sheets to play with (I think finding good sheets is the hardest part of the whole thing!)

  44. RT @lclarke522: I like my skirts fast and cheap: a tutorial

  45. hi lisa,

    i love the pattern, i think i will sew a lot skirts this summer :).

    greetings from munich!

    1. Glad to hear it! Thanks for sharing the link on your blog 🙂

  46. Thanks heaps for this tutorial–I am making a skirt for a cosplay that doesn’t need to be ultra fancy as the top portion is covered by a corset, but needs to be full bodied and this is perfect!

    I bought a sheet from the salvo’s the other day hoping I could whip something up on my own and you’ve saved me the time of having to think about how to do it.

    Thanks a bunch!

    1. That sounds perfect! Glad I could help 🙂

  47. […] wanted to try out this simple full skirt from a sheet tutorial I’d found online, so I took a thrifted sheet I’d only used part of and […]

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