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Stretch Velvet Skirt Tutorial

Stretch velvet skirt

This stretch velvet skirt project is an excerpt from Improv Sewing by Nicole Blum and Debra Immergut and published by Storey Publishing.  You can purchase it from Amazon here.

Modern Stretch Velvet Skirt

Stretch velvet is a luscious gift for the one-day sewist. Woven with just enough stretch, it allows for a lovely garment that doesn’t require zippers, darts, or anything fussy.  Finished at the waist with fold over elastic, with a short or short-ish (just above the knee) hemline, this velvet skirt is a very cool cool-weather look, especially when paired with nice tall boots.

Note from The Sewing Directory – You can buy stretch velvet online at Abakhan Fabrics.


What you’ll need

3/4 to 1 yard of stretch cotton velvet (at least 55″ wide)

Fold over elastic (length equal to your waist measurement)

Spools of coordinating and contrasting thread

Flower Templates

Tip – Stretch fabrics are best sewn with a ballpoint needle.

How to draft a skirt pattern

Measure, mark, and cut your fabric

Measure yourself at your preferred low waistline, pulling the measuring tape tightly around you. Next, determine the desired length.  With the right sides together, fold the fabric in half so it stretches horizontally (from hip to hip). Grab your chalk and mark the following design lines:

Waist: Draw a straight line near the top edge of the fabric that equals half your waist measurement. Mark the center of that line.

Length: Draw a line from the center marking on the waistline to the desired length.  For this skirt it is best to start from the lower waist and measure just to your knee (or above, for a mini) and add 3/4″ for a hem.

Hemline: Draw a line marking the skirt’s bottom edge, 10″ or 12″ wider than the waist (this gives the skirt 5″ or 6″ of flare on each side)

Side seams: Draw lines connecting each end of the waistline to each end of the bottom edge. Curve the bottom edge slightly so the hemline is 1/2″ shorter at the side seams than the center of the hemline. This gives the skirt a more even line.

Pin the fabric layers together and cut along the marked chalk lines through both thicknesses of the fabric. 

Assemble the skirt 

Pin the front and back panels with the right sides together. Using a straight stretch stitch and coordinating thread, sew 1/2″ side seams.

Press the bottom edge 3/4″ to the wrong side to hem. Using coordinating 
thread and a zigzag stitch, sew the hem in place.

Sew fold over elastic along the waistband.

Adding flower applique details to a skirt

Embellish the skirt

Using a straight stretch stitch and contrasting thread, topstitch a few decorative lines at 1/8″ intervals just above the hemline.

Trace the Flower Templates onto the remaining fabric and cut along the guidelines. Position as many flowers as you want on the right side of the skirt in the desired locations. Edgestitch them in place with a straight stretch stitch and contrasting thread. To give the appliques a bit more texture, rough up their edges by rubbing them gently with an old, clean, toothbrush.  

Excerpted from Improv Sewing (c) by Nicole Blum and Debra Immergut, Photography by (c) Alexandra Grablewski. Template (c) Missy Shepler. 

Text altered slightly by The Sewing Directory to avoid repetition whilst combining two sections of the book. 

Illustration by (c) Ryan McMenamy, used with permission from Storey Publishing.