Learn how to make a simple summer skirt with an elastic waistband and pockets with this step-by-step tutorial. This lightweight, flared skirt fits perfectly and the pockets are so convenient!
To make your own summer skirt you only need to measure your waist and the desired length of the skirt.
Patterns seem too complicated for these hot, lazy days of summer. I whipped up this comfy, no-pattern skirt in less than an hour (including the time for photographing all the steps), and I’m sure it won’t pose a challenge to anyone.
So, here’s how to make this easy flared summer skirt with pockets. The in-seam pockets add functionality to any skirt and they are so easy to sew!
To make my skirt, I used a lightweight cotton fabric and 1/8″ wide elastic for the waistband.
Related: How to make a tulle skirt in 10 simple steps / DIY double gauze skirt with a side slit
Sewing supplies – flared skirt with an elastic waistband and pockets
- free PDF pattern for the in-seam pockets – download below
- cotton/linen/viscose fabric of your choice
- sewing machine
- sewing machine needle
- matching thread
- sewing pins
- fabric scissors
- 1/4” wide (or 1/8” wide) elastic
How to make an easy summer skirt tutorial
Step 1 – draft the pattern pieces
Fold your fabric in half, and measure 1/2 of your waist measurement minus 2 inches from the folded edge.
Remember that this is the front piece on the fold, and the back piece will be identical.
Each of the skirt pieces is half of the total width needed.
So, in the end, the fullness of the skirt will about 1.7 times your waist measurement.
Here’s how I constructed this skirt. It’s composed of 2 identical pattern pieces. In the end, the top of the skirt will be (2x waist measurement minus 8″), while the bottom of the skirt will be (2x hip measurement plus 8 inches).
I did this because I wanted to reduce the gathers at the waist but still maintain the effect of fullness in the skirt.
Then measure your desired skirt length – I wanted a midi skirt, so my skirt length is 27 inches (I added 1 inch for the hem).
At the top of the skirt, I measured 12 inches (my waist measurement is 27.5 inches).
At the bottom, I measured 19 inches – that 1/2 my hip measurement, plus 2 additional inches. That’s 7 inches longer than the top of the skirt, and that means that the fullness of the bottom of the skirt will be about 2 times my hip measurement, plus 8 inches. That’s enough wearing ease, I think.
Anyway, you may add more or less flare to your skirt – just move the tape measure according to how much flare you want your skirt to have. Make a gently curved hemline.
Then add the waistband, straight up and down – just draft a 3” tall rectangle.
Cut out two identical pattern pieces.
Related: Tiered ruffle skirt tutorial
Step 2 – prepare the pocket pieces
After that, print the pocket pattern and cut the pockets.
You’ll need two identical pieces that are mirror images to each other – and these two pieces form one pocket. Repeat and cut out two more pieces for the other pocket.
Measure down about 3” from the top of the skirt pieces (just ignore the waistband piece) and mark that point – this is where you’ll start lining up the top of your pockets. Now take the pocket pieces and pin them, right sides together, on your skirt, matching the edges.
Then stitch the pocket pieces on the side seam of the skirt – make sure the pockets are symmetrical on both sides. Finish the raw edges with a zigzag stitch or a serger.
Step 3 – sew the side seams
Place the two skirt pieces with right sides together and pin. Stitch along the entire length of both side seams and around the pockets.
Zig-zag or serge around the raw edges to keep them from fraying.
While you’re at it, serge the top edge of the waistband.
Step 4 – make the waistband
Fold down 1.5” the waistband. You’ll need to stitch multiple rows and insert smaller lengths of elastic through each casing.
First, edgestitch the top edge of the waistband – stitch 1/8 inch away from the folded edge, all the way around – no need to leave an opening.
Stitch the second row 3/8 inch from the 1st row of stitching, the third 1/8” away from the second, and the fourth 3/8” from the third. For all these rows, you need to leave an opening so you can thread the elastic.
Now you can feed two pieces of 1/8” wide elastic (or 1.4” wide elastic) in the two channels that are 3/8” wide.
I cut both my elastic pieces 4” shorter than my waist measurement.
Join the elastic ends and then sew shut all three openings.
Step 5 – hem the skirt
I made a double-fold hem for my skirt. First, I stitched 1/4” away from the raw edge, then I folded the hem and pressed it in place with the iron.
Last, I folded the fabric toward the wrong side again, by approximately 1/2 inch, pressed it well, and edge-stitched the folded edge in place.
You can also use a serged and turned hem or make a narrow hem with your serger.
And that’s all – this cute everyday skirt is ready to wear!
Related: DIY simple woven top – easy pattern hack
I love having somewhere to put my hands when I’m standing! Every skirt should have pockets, don’t you think?
Did you find this summer skirt tutorial helpful? I’d like to hear what you think of it! And I would LOVE to see pictures if you give this skirt a try.
Let’s keep in touch! You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
17 thoughts on “DIY tutorial: No pattern, simple summer skirt with pockets”
I don’t see the pattern for the pocket other than what is shown in the photograph. Am I just not finding it in this post? Thank you.
It happens to the best of us! 🙂 Under the “Sewing supplies” section, you’ll find a pink box where you can enter your email to subscribe. After confirming your subscription, the pattern will be sent immediately to your inbox.
I don’t understand the sewing of the waist band. After serging the sides and pockets it says to do the edge of the waistband but nothing about how it is attached to the skirt.
Never mind I see now that I wasn’t supposed to cut off the waistband. I’ll have to figure that out now.
I am making this skirt for my daughter to take to Europe in 3 days. What I’m not clear on is the angle for the side of the skirt. Do I measure the length of the skirt at the centre fold, and then go outwards? So in my daughter’s case her waist is 28″, so I get the 12″ for the waistband; then do I measure straight down the fold the 22-1/2″ (she is 5’1″ and wants a 21″ length), and with hips of 38″, do I go straight out, perfectly parallel with the waist, the necessary 21″, and then join up the far right edge of the waistband with the far right edge of the hem? If I do that though the “length” of the skirt down the angled side is not 21″, it’s 22-1/2″. How else will I know what angle to put the sides edges at? Without some kind of direction, I could go straight down from the waistband, I could go out anywhere from 20 degrees to 90 degrees out from the waistband. I think my assumption must be wrong because surely in your diagram you would have indicated that the centre fold is also the length of the skirt? But if the centre fold is the length of the skirt, taht makes the right sides LONGER than the “length” of the skirt. Is that why we round off the corner, to bring the length back to also 21″??? Can you pls clarify??
Thank you for any clarification you can give.
You can see here exactly how I cut my pattern pieces https://static.icansewthis.com/2021/06/diy-flared-skirt-tutorial-4-scaled.jpg
As for the process, I measured first my desired length going down the folded edge, then from the far right edge of the waistband (the side seam), then from a few points in between these places. This was enough for me to draw a slightly curved hemline in order to preserve the length of my skirt. With that being said, I think there’s no right or wrong way to make this skirt – differences could easily pass for style/design.
However, if you’re making a 21″ long skirt, you may want to lengthen the back pattern piece a little bit (about 1-2″, I’d say…) to account for the bottom. I would extend the piece from the center fold while the side seams remain the same. I didn’t do this for my midi skirt because I didn’t think it was likely to be noticed. I hope this helps! Happy sewing and I wish your daughter a fantastic vacation!
Love this pattern! I recently started sewing and this was easy and a great learning experience. Thank you!
So happy to hear this, Este! This skirt has a really simple design, but looks pretty cool and it’s one of my favorites in summer. Thank you for the kind words!
I read your comments about the waistband and they just don’t make sense to me. How do you end up with 2X the waist measurement minus 8 inches when you have cut down the waist measurement by 4″ total? I don’t get it. So if my waist measurement is 29″ then half that is 14.5″ minus 2″ equals 12.5″ . Joined to the identical back piece it will be 25″. How is that going to fit my 29″ waist?
Okay, I just realized there are 2 pieces, like you’ve been saying all along. So the front piece would 25″ and the back piece would be 25″. Equals 50″ for the waist.
Yes, JoAnnne, that’s correct. English is not my native language, so if anyone ever comes up with a better description of this skirt, I’d be happy to include it in the tutorial to make it easier to understand. Thank you!
I’m sorry but step one is completely confusing. From what I read you end up with a skirt that is 8 inches shorter than your waist. I think your previous commenter is also confused about this
Thank you for your comment! I updated the tutorial with this drawing https://static.icansewthis.com/2022/05/flared-skirt-pattern-1024×712.jpg – I hope it helps.
I can’t quite make out if the bottom is rounded or straight across. Could you clarify please?
The bottom is a bit rounded – I realised this only after finishing the drawing. I will upload another sketch asap. Thank you !
Thank you for the tutorial. This looks like a fun skirt to make and wear. I do have a question: it isn’t clear to me what length to cut the waistband. Would you clarify? Thank you.
I’ll try to explain better what happens at Step 1.
Your fabric is on the fold, and now you have to trace the first pattern piece of your skirt. Let’s say it’s the front piece.
You have to measure (1/2 of your waist measurement – 2 inches) from the folded edge. When you’ll unfold the fabric, the front pattern piece will measure (waist measurement – 4 inches).
But. Now you have to cut the back pattern piece – it will be identical to the front.
So, the skirt is made with two pattern pieces that measure (waist measurement – 4 inches) each. In total, you’ll have 2x(waist measurement – 4 inches) at the waist (meaning it’s 2x waist measurement minus 8 inches). I did this to reduce a bit the bulk at the waist.
So, in the end, the fullness of the skirt will be about 1.7 times your waist measurement (instead of 2x).
Hope that helps! 🙂 I’m glad you like this skirt (it’s one of my favorites). Thank you for stopping by!