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DIY Maxi Skirt & Dress

I have a happy accident to share with you today!  A while back I started on a project to make a cute maxi skirt.  I started it and couldn’t find the elastic I wanted, then I had to leave for France.  I came back and realized I had made it too short so I added some to the top.  Then it was too long, so I took some off the bottom and I created a maxi skirt & a summer dress in one!  I am so happy with the way it turned out that I wanted to share with all of you!

I am just going to break it down for ya because there really isn’t a pattern or anything.  I also just want to say, I am not a sewer!  I will not share tutorials on here that are complicated and difficult.  I am all about ease and cost.  If it’s not easy, forget about it.  If it’s gonna cost the same as it would in a store, I’ll buy it.  Although I must say, there is something kinda fun about saying “I made it!”

Measure your waist where you would like it to sit.  For me, I wanted a high-waisted maxi skirt so I measured right at my belly button.  Lay your material out flat, double layered.  Then fold it in half.  Then from the folded edge, measure in half of your waist measurement.  From that point, measure down to the edge of the width of the skirt.  When you unfold it, it should look like the picture below, two exact layers, sitting on top of each other.   Make sense?  I didn’t get a picture, but this one from  Elle Apparel is perfect.

Sew each side seam together and set it aside.  Like I mentioned, I tried the skirt on and it was way too short.  So I thought, “okay, I’ll just add some material to the top of it, from my waist to under my butt, and then have it flair out.”

So for that part, you have to horizontally measure your true waist, hips, butt, and just under your butt, and vertically from your waist to just under your butt.  Cut out a piece of fabric using these dimensions.  Add 5/8 inch for seam allowance.  I sewed those together, both sides, and made sure it fit.  It didn’t, so I took a little extra off and it worked.  Then sew the top of the skirt to the extra piece, right sides together.  I knew I wanted some give when walking etc. so I sewed a casing and added some elastic to the skirt, just under my butt.

This picture was taken after the dress was complete, that's why the elastic is attached


Now it was time for the elastic for the top of the skirt.  JoAnn’s didn’t have what I was looking for, thick navy blue elastic, but my mom was in downtown LA and found some that was perfect!  I actually messed up the first time I did this.  You need to measure the elastic a little tighter than your waist size.  Obviously, make it comfortable.  Then sew the ends together as pictured below.  Pin the skirt waist to the elastic right sides together.  It will be gaping because the elastic is smaller than the waist of the skirt.  When sewing, pull the elastic tight in between pins.  I usually don’t pin my material when sewing, but I did for this to be more accurate.  Stretch, sew, stretch, sew, you get the idea.  When finished sewing, turn it right-side out and the fabric should fall nicely.

After I had that all sewn together, voila! Right?  Not for me.  The skirt was then too long.  Easy fix though, just cut the extra off and hemmed it up.  Per a suggestion from one of my cousins, I cut it a bit shorter in the front.  Not a ton, but just enough to be barely noticeable.  Thanks Steph!

It might not sound as easy as it was but don’t be fooled, I am just not that great at explaining!  I also realize it might not work for all body types.  But I was so happy with the outcome I just had to share!  It’s a perfect option for summer, easy breezy, cute and cheap!

I am working on a maternity/non-maternity version for Christie.  Something she can wear now and after the baby’s born.

So what do you think?  Is it something you would make?  I am pretty sure you could.  Like I said, I have very minimal sewing skills and it turned out great!  Hope it was helpful!

31 Responses to DIY Maxi Skirt & Dress

  1. terra June 8, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    LOVE IT!

    • Natalia June 8, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

      thank you!! 🙂

  2. Alyx June 8, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    Oooh, I am so going to try this!! 

  3. MiMi June 8, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    Yeah, I would totally wear that if I wasn’t short and fat. LOL But it looks SUPER comfy!

    • Kelley June 8, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

      Mimi your nuts.. and that is so not true!  

  4. Kelly June 8, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

    I LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I totally pinned it!  

  5. Gina_AcuteDesigns June 8, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    This is so awesome!  And you look fab.  I am totally going to try this . I have been wanting a maxi skirt and a dress, so I might as well try to make one :).

  6. shannon June 8, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    Really great job!  Totally love it!

  7. Kelley June 8, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    Love it Natalia!  I like the print you used.. very nautical and summery 🙂 

  8. Amanda {at} Royal Daughter Designs June 8, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    You are seriously gorgeous. Love the dress – great for summer!

  9. irene wibowo June 9, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    wow.. so great.. i like the dress. 🙂 

    Irene Wibowo

    • Natalia June 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

      Thank you, Irene!

  10. Jenn@eatcakefordinner June 9, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    Way cute!

  11. blissfulsewing June 10, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

    What a pretty skirt,who wouldn’t love it! 

    • Natalia June 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

      Thank you so much!I am glad you liked it!

  12. Taylor June 11, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    I love it!!

  13. Aimee Seaberry June 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    Loved this idea! Visit me at!

    • Natalia June 11, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

      Thank you! I’ll stop by!

  14. Jess June 11, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    Wow, that is really adorable! I want to make one, but as a beginner sewer it still sounds a little complex for me to attempt. I’ll probably take a sewing class or buy a book that breaks everything down further for me, but it looks amazing! 🙂

    Jess @The Delightful Crafter

    • Natalia June 11, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

      Let me tell you, I am a beginner sewer too! Seriously, I haven’t done much before, but I am sure you could do this. I probably just don’t explain things well! I do have an easier skirt tutorial coming on the blog soon, stay tuned, I am sure you could do that one!

      • Jess June 11, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

        Your explanation is perfectly fine, it’s just hard for me to compute it in my head still. I could really benefit from a class. If you go to my blog so far I just have accomplished pillows and tote’s sort of, lol. I’m a tough critic on myself! I will definitely stay tuned! 🙂

  15. Mandy June 13, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    This is awesome!  I love it 🙂

  16. Sumo June 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    Love the versatility of this! I am pretty sure I need one!  I’ll be featuring this on my blog on Saturday! Thanks for linking up!


    • Natalia June 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

      Wow, thank you!! I am glad you like it! 🙂

  17. Abby June 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    Super cute! Love it with your red shoes!

  18. Jessica at Me Sew Crazy June 14, 2012 at 4:31 am #

    Just gorgeous.  Love the fabric you choose for this lovely skirt / dress.  Well done!

    • Natalia June 14, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

      Thank you! I actually found the fabric from my mom, she had gotten it from her sister a long time ago. I thought it was way too cute not to make something out of!! Thanks for stopping by!

  19. Rose :: Fine Craft Guild .com June 14, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    i think it is a great dress / skirt !   really lovely & fashionable. want to invite you to come share this and participate in our linky party: 

  20. Wendy Hayden June 15, 2012 at 7:44 am #

    I love dresses that can be worn as skirts.  It is a really cute design with the stripes, not sure if I am brave enough for stripes but it looks wonderful on you!

    • Natalia June 15, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

      Thank you so much! I actually found this material in my mom’s closet and knew I needed to use it!


  1. Simple DIY Summer Skirt | Ma Nouvelle Mode - July 2, 2012

    […] Then sew a basting stitch which is just a really long stitch.  Then if you hold the material and pull on the looser stitch and the fabric will bunch.  Cinch it all together to fit the widest area of your hips.  I made the mistake of making it the size of my higher waste and need to redo it so it fits better.  Cut the elastic band the size of where you want it to fit at the waste.  You can sew it together like I did for the DIY maxi skirt/summer dress. […]