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Sweet & swishy skirts for Spring

It may still be unacceptably freezing here in London Town, but judging by the "cute" little birdies that insist on waking me up at 5.30am from their blossom-clad branches, there's no denying that Lady Spring is finally waking up. In a bid to whip up some quick mix & match-able skirts out of my usual go-to half circle comfort zone, I turned to my pals Kim, Flora & Sophia for something a little more exciting...

You will need:

  • Any dress pattern that has a waistline seam (and that you like the skirt portion of!). I'll be using the Kim Dress (Variation 2), the Sophia Dress (Variation 1) and the Flora Dress for this tutorial
  • Your fabric. How much will depend on the individual pattern's fabric requirements (omitting the amount you would have needed for the bodice of course, but factoring in a small amount for a waistband)
  • An 8" or 9" invisible zipper
  • An invisible zipper foot and a regular zipper foot for your sewing machine
  • Your usual tools and sewing supplies

(This pretty floral cotton that I'll be using for my Kim skirt was a Village Haberdashery find!)

Tip: As the following three skirts are all fitted on the waist and full at the hips, adding a simple lining is easy - use our app to cut a half circle skirt from your lining fabric, using the finished waist measurement of the size you have chosen to cut. Then simply baste this half circle lining to your main skirt, wrong sides together, at the waistline. Leave the lining free when you come to inserting the zipper, and finish the back seams and hems of the skirt and lining individually.

To make a Flora Skirt

Start by cutting and assembling your Flora skirt pieces (size chosen according to your waistline measurement) as normal. Assemble and baste the pleats on both front and back skirt pieces, and stitch the side seams.

*Skip down to the bottom for waistbands, zippers and hems...*

To make a Sophia Skirt

Start by cutting and assembling your Sophia variation 1 skirt pieces (size chosen according to your waistline measurement) as normal. Assemble the straight panels and insert the godets. If you're having some trouble with the godet panels, have a read of our how-to here.

*Skip down to the bottom for waistbands, zippers and hems...* 

To make a Kim Skirt

Start by cutting and assembling your Kim variation 2 skirt pieces (size chosen according to your waistline measurement) as normal. Stitch the side seams, assemble the pin tucks and gather the waistline. If you're struggling with the gathering, check out our post on 3 ways to gather.

The waistband

Cut yourself a strip of fabric for the waistband. It will need to be your skirt's finished waistline measurement plus two lots of seam allowance long, and your desired finished width doubled plus another two lots of seam allowance wide. I always find things easier with a little diagram...

Press your waistband in half lengthways, wrong sides together. If you're using a particularly lightweight or drapey fabric, it is a good plan at this point to reinforce your waistband with a length of fusible interfacing.

With right sides together, pin one length of your waistband along the waistline of your skirt. Stitch into place with your usual 5/8" or 15mm seam allowance.

Press the waistline seam up. Fold and press in the seam allowance along the loose length of your waistband and pin to the inside of your skirt along the waistline. You could now either machine stitch this loose length into place from the right side of your skirt, or sew by hand with a blind slip stitch.

The zipper

Insert your invisible zipper as you would normally, aligning the top of the zipper teeth with the top of your waistband. You'll need your invisible zipper foot for this, and if you're overlocking/serging your seams, it's a good idea to finish your open back seam now before inserting the zipper. Just be careful not to trim away any of the seam allowance!

Switch to your regular zipper foot and close the back seam.


The technique you choose to hem your skirt will depend entirely on the type of skirt you've made.

For the gathered Kim skirt, which has a straight hem, I simply turned up the hemline twice by 1/2" and machine stitched into place.

For both the Flora and Sophia skirts which are completely or mostly curved, I applied the quickest and easiest technique for curve hemming: I overlocked/serged the raw hemline, then turned it up once and machine stitching into place, easing the curves as I went. For more techniques to help you deal with a curved hem, see our tutorials - 3 ways to hem a curve and how to sew a rolled hem.

~ The Flora Skirt ~

~ The Kim Skirt ~

~ The Sophia Skirt ~

Comments on this post (8)

  • Jun 16, 2016

    Hi Emma, if I were you I’d line a gathered skirt with a half circle made from your lining fabric so as to avoid extra bulk at the waist.

    — Elisalex - By Hand London

  • Jun 02, 2016

    Hi, I’m making the Kim skirt but need to line it, would I gather the lining separately or pin it to the shell and gather them together, any advice would be very much appreciated, thank you.

    — Emma Lawson

  • Mar 26, 2015

    Hi Caitlin,

    To make a straight hemmed pleated skirt, it’s simply a case of pleating a straight length of fabric. Hope this helps!

    — Elisalex - By Hand London

  • Mar 26, 2015

    Hi Sew Little Time!

    The floral rayon we used for the Flora was a Goldhawk road find!

    — Elisalex - By Hand London

  • Mar 26, 2015

    Love the cherry one so cute

    — Nicki

  • Mar 25, 2015

    How lovely, and well timed even though it’s chilly in London! Do you have any suggestions for altering the Flora skirt to be straight at the hem? I looove the pleats, but dislike hemming curves. Thanks!

    — Caitlin

  • Mar 25, 2015

    Patterns so fitting for spring! LOVE!

    -Cory U of CUExperiments |

    — Cory U

  • Mar 25, 2015

    where is the lovely fabric you used for the flora skirt from? it is your own print?

    — sew little time

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