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Craft workshops in Chelsmford, Essex

This project is written Lynne Sharpe from The Make It Room.  Lynne teaches craft classes in Chelmsford, Essex including feltmaking, beginners sewing, dressmaking, knitting, crochet and embroidery.

No Pattern Skirt Project

How to make a skirt without a sewing pattern

2 metres of 150cm wide fabric ( I used Budquette Dayspring from the Emmy Grace collection by Art Gallery Fabrics. Kindly provided by Hantex, the UK distributors for Art Gallery Fabrics).

Co-ordinating cotton Emmy Gace - Bari J - Art Gallery Fabrics

17.5cm/7 inch zip

Lightweight fusible interfacing

Hook and eye

Sewing machine

Needles and pins


This is a quick and easy design to make using one and a half or two metres of pretty fabric, we have used ‘Emmy Grace’ by Art Gallery Fabrics.  You only need your waist measurement to make this skirt. The measurement will be for the waistband which draws the fabric of the skirt in to fit perfectly around the waist.

How to sew a simple skirt 


Start by laying the fabric out with the selvedge edges together, make sure the selvedges are lined up accurately and that there are no folds in the fabric, press if necessary.

Sewing a waistband for a skirt


Before starting, trim the edge of the fabric to ensure the edges are even then cut a strip 10cm wide from the end of the fabric, make sure the strip is the same width all the way along.  Put this to one side as this will be used to make the waistband later in the project.

Free skirt pattern 

Cut along the fold of main piece of fabric so that there are two rectangles exactly the same size, the long side of the rectangle will be very long, make sure that the pattern on both pieces of fabric is correct way up.

 Summer skirt tutorial

With right sides of the fabric together pin the right-hand edges together (this is the short edge), machine together with a 1.5cm or (5/8 inch) seam.  Overlock edges together from top to bottom, if an overlocker is not available use a zigzag/overcasting stitch along the edge.  Press the seam to one side.Before sewing the other side seam overlock/zigzag both short edges separately.

Inserting a zip into a skirt

Place the right sides of the fabric together and measure the opening  for the zip.  Line the top edge of the zip with the edge of the fabric and make a mark at the bottom of the zip. 

Skirts pattern free


Pin and stitch the whole seam, the top section above the mark in the largest stitch the machine will sew, then sew the rest of the seam in a smaller stitch to the bottom.

Learn how to make a skirt with a zip

Use the iron to press this seam open so that it is a crisp seam. Then cut the thread between the larger and smaller stitch and remove the top section of stitching, this will leave perfect straight edges for placement of the zip.

How to sew zips 


Turn the fabric so that the right side is outside and place over the ironing board.  Place the zip underneath the edges and carefully pin in place, pin down one side of the zip and then down the other.

How to sew a zip into a skirt or dress

Tack in place to hold while machining.  Use the zipper foot on the machine to sew down one side, open the zip and machine to the puller, make sure the needle is in the fabric, raise the foot and pull the zip up to the top, change the foot to the other side and repeat – on reaching the end sew across the bottom of the zip to secure this and prevent the seam opening up.

 Making a waistband for a skirt


Take your waist measurement for the skirt waistband and add 6 cm for the overlap then cut the 10cm strip to this length.

How to sew a waistband

Apply a strip (7 cm wide) of lightweight fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the waistband, this should be ironed to the wrong side of the waistband fabric and then press waistband in half. Fold lengthwise in half with right sides together and machine across each short end as seen in image.  Turn the waistband out to the right side and press.  Sew two lines of stitching along the top of the skirt between the side seams using the longest stitch on the machine (sew both sides separately).

Free project - gathered skirt 


Fold the waistband in half to find the centre and then pin one side seam to the raw edge of the band, right sides together to pin on the outside of the skirt, pin the opening where the zip is to the end of the waistband leaving a 1.5 cm space at the end. Start to gather up the top edge of the skirt to fit the waistband, pull the underneath thread as this is easier to gather.

Sewing a gathered skirt


Once the fabric is gathered enough to fit this half of the waistband, tie the ends of the cotton together and ease the gathers along so that they are equally spread along this part of the waistband, use plenty of pins to hold in place.  Repeat for the other half of the waistband, making sure to leave at least 2 cm at the end to overlap the sides of the skirt together.

How to sew a skirt without using a sewing pattern 


With the gathered side upwards machine around the top of the skirt keeping the gathers even as sewn and keeping a 1.5cm/5/8 inch seam.

Beginner's dressmaking projects


Turn the waistband to the outside.

Pressing fabric


 Press with the iron and measure the width of the waistband to ensure it stays the same width all around.

 Dressmaking tutorials and projects


Turn the skirt inside out and fold the raw edge of the waistband under so that the folded edge meets the stitching line and press. 

Dressmaking tips - sew a skirt


Pin in place and sew by hand using a hemming stitch to achieve a neat result. Remove tacking stitches and tie ends.

Once this has been completed, add a skirt hook and bar to secure the waistband in place and keep the zip from coming undone.  Overlock/zigzag stitch around the bottom of the skirt and use the iron to press a 1 cm seam, pin in place and machine around the edge, tie off ends and the skirt is finished.

Gathered skirt project


 To find out more about Lynne and her craft workshops in Essex visit

Click on the images below to view some of Lynne's other tutorials for The Sewing Directory.

How to sew a pencil case   Sew a fabric book cover
 Girls dress sewing pattern free  Purse sewing project with a metal clasp