Thursday, April 1, 2010

Long Flared Skirt Tutorial

I got the idea to make this flared patchwork skirt after I saw one I really liked in a Free People catalogue. The skirt in the catalogue was priced at nearly $150.  I bought this fabric for $5 a yard at JoAnn Fabrics for a total of $20. So, it's not quite as designer looking as the expensive one, but it was fun to make, I wear it a lot, and it didn't cost much!

If you want to try making a skirt like this for yourself, here are some notes to get you started.  (You can click on the image below to see it full size.)

First you determine your measurements (A,B,C,D,E).  Then tape some tracing paper (or any paper) together and make your pattern using these measurements. You will have 3 pattern pieces: one rectangle (the front and back) one triangle (the flare inserts), and one waistband.  See notes above for how to determine the size of your pattern pieces. 

This is the front/back piece (cut 2).  Lay it on the fabric diagonally so the squares on the fabric look like diamonds down the center  front of the skirt (see bottom entry on notes above).  Since I am pretty tall and the skirt is pretty long, this means that the bottom corner (see lower right in picture) is hanging off the edge of the fabric.  I used a extra scrap of fabric and sewed in the missing piece.  Cut two slits up the front for inserting the flares.  The top of the flare will come to about where your fingers reach if you are standing up straight (this is part of the measurements in notes above). 

Then cut 6 triangles straight with the squares (not diagonal).  Sew them into the 4 slits on the front and back pieces.  I don't know how to tell you how to do this other than pin right sides together and fudge it a little so it fits together at the top of the triangle!! Next you need to sew the front and back pieces together leaving a opening at the bottom for the two side triangles (use measurement E for this opening) and an opening the length of your zipper on the top of one side.  Sew in side flares.  I top stitched over the flares, especially at the top point to hold them secure.  

Next insert zipper. Then try it on inside out. It will be too big at this point. You will need to make between 4 and 8 darts until it fits you without falling off, but not tight.  Each dart should be about 4 inches long and 1 inch wide the top (fold it in half and taper it down).  

The next thing you do is sew the waist band to the skirt, right sides together, flip it over so it's folded in half and secure it down on the inside. Attach a button or snap of some kind to keep it shut.

The last thing you do is sew the hem on the bottom. You can adjust the length at this point if necessary.

Here's what you can do with the scraps- make a mini skirt for a mini person- in my case, my daughter :)

Honestly, I didn't even measure the scraps. I just wrapped the rectangle around my daughter to make sure it was wide enough. It was a little tight, so I sewed in a extra strip on the back to make it wider. Since I had 4 triangles, I cut 4 slits in the rectangle and sewed them in.  

The angle of the triangles were pretty big, so they stuck off the bottom of the skirt. I cut them off, but they might have looked cute left on too. Then I folded over the top and inserted some elastic for the waist band and sewed a hem on the bottom.

You could use any fabric with a nice drape to make this skirt. I would NOT recommend using heavy denim. Using the patchwork fabric was nice since all the lines camouflaged any little imperfections in my sewing (and there were many!).  

Do these instructions make sense to you? Feel free to send any questions my way! If you make the skirt, I'd love to see a picture of it :) 


  1. Hi, thank you for the great tutorial!
    I have a question - when you sew the waistband, you sew it to the top of the skirt RTS, flip it over, then fold the seam allowance on the back side and topstitch from the back? And did you topstitch on the fold as well?

  2. Yes, you've got that right except that I did my stitching from the front.

    First I ironed the waist band in half. Actually I made the inside half a little longer so that I could easily catch it when I stitched it down from the front. Then I sewed the waist band to the top of the skirt right sides together. Next I flipped it over and ironed up the inside seam allowance on the waist band. I did 3 rows of stitches. The first one I sewed from the front "in the ditch" (where the waist band meets the skirt, the next one was a 1/4 inch above the bottom of the waist band and the last one was 1/4 inch down from the top of the waist band. Hope that helps and isn't too confusing!

  3. I seeee! Kinda like attaching a bias tape.
    I've already cut the fabrics and think I'm gonna start sewing tomorrow God's willing.
    Thank you so much for you help :)

  4. Fun! I hope it turns out for you!