High-Waisted Maxi Skirt {tutorial}

So sorry it's taken me a few weeks to get a new project up! I was actually on vacation and now I'm back and sewing again! And once again I made a skirt :) What can I say it's just in the air! This skirt is super comfy but it comes with a warning...it's NOT for beginners. In fact, unless you have the patience of a Saint, I would only attempt it if you have access to a serger. I was lucky and borrowed a friend's.
If you're brave you can accomplish this on a regular sewing machine...but don't say I didn't warn you!

Here's what you'll need:

Cotton stretch fabric from Fabricate (mine was 60"w x 52"h , I didn't use the full height of it so you'll need to decide how high up you want the skirt to sit and how long to the floor you want it to be)
Elastic strip for the belt (mine was 26" in length for my size, see below to find your size)
Sewing serger 
Sewing machine
Coordinating thread
Measuring tape

The material.

This serger was a bit ancient but it did the job wonderfully!

To begin you'll want to take the bottom edge of your skirt and run it straight through the serger giving the edge this overlock stitch. Cotton stretch is a difficult fabric to work with because the edges curl up as you're working with them. When you use a serger it trims off the edge fabric as it stitches so you never have to mess with the curling edges!

And you get this beautiful perfect edge when it's done.

Once you have serged the bottom seam you'll want to bring the two side edges, raw seams together, if you are using a regular sewing machine you'll want to pin the two sides together. If you are using a serger then you will skip the pinning and serge the two sides together.

Next you will want to "gather" the top. See link on how to gather fabric.

Once the top has been gathered you'll need to figure out your belt size. My rib cage is 28" around but in order for the skirt to stay up it needs to be snug. I cut my belt at 26". Make sure it feels comfortable wherever you cut it and remember that there will be some fabric in there too when it's complete.

Here's a handy trick I learned for putting the belt together. Place the two raw edges against each other.

Cut a smaller strip of elastic and pin it in place over the belt seam.

Stitch down the strip and cut off the excess on the sides. Please note that I did the white thread so that you could see it. I didn't complete the skirt with the white, I used black so that the seam couldn't be seen in the end.

To attach the belt you'll need to divide the skirt in 1/4 increments and place one pin in each spot (there will only be 4 pins total, one at the front, one at the back, and one on each side). Since you need the elastic to remain stretchy you cannot just run the skirt straight through the sewing machine. You'll need to begin to secure the elastic on the back side of the skirt with about 2 or 3 stitches. Once it's secure, with the needle down in the fabric, you'll need to pull the elastic toward you stretching it out and then run the belt through the sewing machine. Be mindful of keeping the fabric gathered evenly along the belt. Work your way around the skirt keeping the elastic stretched. 
Once the elastic is on you're all done!
Looks simple right? If you only knew how much of a pain this skirt was ;)

As always I'm here for questions!

Good luck and Happy Crafting!


  1. Ok. So I was just thinking...how do I make a Maxi skirt?! Now I know!! You read my mind!

  2. Great job Amy- looks very cute- I made a skirt similiar to that called the LuLu Skirt on the blog. I made it in a sheer fabric and found it was super easy and fast....but I didn't do the elastic tight enough though :( Your tips on that section will be very helpful for people like me :) While I love knit it is such a hassle sometimes... I feel your pain...but it looks super cute!
    Shannon @ 2ndstorysewing.blogspot.com

    1. Thanks Shannon! Yeah if I didn't have a overlock/serger machine I don't think I'd attempt the cotton stretch fabric...what a hassle! Thanks for stopping by and if you feel like making any of my stuff for you blog feel free! The High-Waisted Sash Skirt is a HIT(26,000 page views!)

  3. I'm not into sewing, but I just like this skirt!!

  4. Can you make me one?! I have NO idea how to sew and can't seem to find one online cheap enough!

    1. Hi Kira, Thanks for checking out my blog :) I do make things custom order, the material alone was $25 plus the man power I'd put this skirt at $50 plus shipping. If you're still interested shoot me an email at amy@thisbigoaktree.com Thanks!

  5. can you serge by hand ?

    1. Hi! There are certainly similar ways to create the effect but that would be a tone of work. If you use a stretch cotton fabric it would make it tougher since the edges like to roll. A serger is the only way I will work with stretchy fabrics. Hope you find this helpful and good luck!

  6. Gorgeous skirt, great combination. I am not sewing right now, but it's really helpful tips for dress designers. High Maxi Skirt is always favorite among women.

  7. Hello. I just found this tutorial piggy backing off of one of your other ones (regal skirt) that someone just posted on a sewing fb page. Unfortunately, everyone doesn't have a serger (me for one). Could you please provide options for those that don't have sergers? Thanks so much. :-)

    1. Hi, Sorry it took so long for me to respond I recently had a baby. I created this skirt using a stretch cotton knit fabric which is difficult to work with and I would not recommend trying to sew it with a regular sewing machine because edges roll in and there are specific settings your machine would have to be on. I'm sorry I can't provide instruction on completing this with a regular machine. Take care!

  8. Found this article and trying sewing for past few days the results of making High-Waisted Maxi Skirt just like above seems far from simple (For Me) thinking to take sewing classes as i have many dresses which i am since long thinking of giving new look. Any suggestion for online sewing tutorials. Thanks


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