DIY maxi skirt pattern

Portia Lawrie puts a luxe twist on festival-inspired style with this paisley-print skirt made to your exact measurements. Read on to find out how to make a maxi skirt.

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DIY maxi skirt

Whether you’re looking for garments to make for an upcoming festival season or you’re looking for Autumn/Winter dressmaking ideas to ramp up your new season style, we’ve got you covered with this free boho DIY maxi skirt tutorial. The main body of the skirt is just three simple rectangles of fabric! It doesn’t get any simpler than that, right? 

Don’t want a maxi? Easy – the same process will work for mini, midi, maxi, whatever length you like. This could be the only skirt pattern you’ll ever need!

For more like this, see our collection of free sewing patterns and for more beginner-friendly patterns, head to our round up of the best sewing patterns for beginners.  And if you’re new to making your own clothes, you might also like our guide to sewing for beginners and our sewing kits for beginners round up.

DIY maxi skirt sewing pattern

How to make a maxi skirt

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You Will Need

  • Fabric (150cm (60in) wide fabric: 2m (2¼yds)), Light to medium weight fabric
  • Iron-on interfacing (20cm (8in))
  • Zip (23cm (9in))
  • Basic sewing kit

Total time:

Measuring up

Step 1

Measure and take a note of your waist measurement – this is described as W.

Step 2

Decide and measure what you want the finished length of your skirt to be and write it down – this is described as L.

Cutting out

Step 1

Begin by cutting a rectangle from your fabric that is the same width as W + 3cm (1¼in) which gives a 1.5cm (58in) seam allowance either side.The length is the same as L plus your preferred hemming allowance. This will be the front of your skirt.

How to make a maxi skirt step 1

Step 2

Cut a second rectangle 3cm (1¼in) wider than the first but the same length.

Step 3

Cut straight up the middle of this rectangle to create two narrower rectangles. These will become the back of your skirt. The  additional 3cm (1¼in) width you added will give you a 1.5cm (58in) seam allowance on each piece, for a centre back seam.

How to make a maxi skirt step 2

Step 4

Cut two pairs of pockets. You can draw your own or copy them from an existing pattern. Either way, ensure that there is a 1cm (38in) lip along the long edge and that the two straight edges are at right angles to each other.

How to make a maxi skirt step 3

Step 5

Cut three pieces for your waistband:

  • Front piece: 8cm (3in) wide x half of W + 3cm (1¼in) seam allowance.
  • Back piece A: 8cm (3in) wide x quarter of W + 3cm (1¼in) seam allowance.
  • Back piece B: The same as back piece A but 4cm (1½in) longer as this extra piece will form the button extension/overlap of your waistband.

Step 6

Cut three pieces of interfacing 3cm (1¼in) shorter on the length and width as the three waistband pieces. Press them centrally to the wrong side (WS) of each waistband piece.

How to make a maxi skirt step 4

Constructing the skirt

Step 1

Finish the raw edges of all the long edges of the skirt pieces and the long straight edge of the pocket pieces by working machine zigzag stitches or overlocking.

Step 2

Join the two back pieces right sides (RS) together at the centre back seam, and insert a zip using your preferred method, either invisible or standard. Make sure that the top of the zip extends 5-8cm (2-3in) above the edge of the fabric once stitched in. The base of the zip needs to sit at or just below hip level.

How to make a maxi skirt step 5

Step 3

Pin and sew your pocket pieces to the front and back sections of your skirt, RS together and using a 1cm (38in) seam allowance. Press the pockets outwards.

How to make a maxi skirt step 6

Step 4

Place the skirt front and back pieces RS together, aligning pockets and side seams. Sew the side seams, leaving a gap in the stitching for the pocket opening. Then sew around the curved edge of the pockets, continuing the stitching line to meet with the side seam stitching of the skirt

How to make a maxi skirt step 7

Step 5

Press the side seams and pockets forwards, then tack the pockets to the waistband along the top edge.

Step 6

Gather or pleat the front and back of the skirt so it is the same size as your waistband measurement. Tack the pleats in place.

How to make a maxi skirt step 8

Making the waistband

Step 1

Join all the waistband pieces together with a 1.5cm (58in) seam allowance, with the front piece between the two back pieces.

Step 2

Press the entire waistband in half lengthways, WS together. Then press one of the long edges 1.5cm (58in) to the inside.

How to make a maxi skirt step 9

Attaching the waistband

Step 1

Pin the unpressed edge of the waistband to the skirt with RS together and matching side seams and raw edges and sew in place using a 1.5cm (58in) seam allowance. 

Step 2

Press the waistband upwards and remove any tacking stitches at this stage. Cut any excess zip up to the fold line of the waistband. A word of warning: Do not attempt to close up the zip until you have completed the waistband, as the zip pull will come straight off the top of your zip at this stage! (Go on….ask me why  I mentioned that!)

How to make a maxi skirt step 10

Step 3

For both ends of the waistband, repeat the following steps. Fold the waistband end in half, RS together. Stitch together down the short edge, then trim the excess seam allowance to within 1cm (38in) of the stitching line and across at an angle at the corner. Make sure you cut close to, but not actually through, the stitching. For the side with the zip, mark the sewing line on top of where the zip is, then move the zip out of the way before sewing.

How to make a maxi skirt step 11

Step 4

Turn the waistband RS out and poke out the corners. Pin the folded edge of the waistband to the inside of the skirt.

How to make a maxi skirt step 12

Step 5

Topstitch the entire length of the waistband from the outside, catching the underside of the waistband as you sew.

Finishing off

Step 1

Add hook and eyes or a button to close your skirt.

Step 2

Hem your skirt by turning under the hem allowance you added when you cut out the skirt, and your maxi skirt is ready to wear!

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DIY maxi skirt tutorial
Shape your maxi skirt using pleats or gathers to give it a flattering fit.

More ideas to try for your DIY maxi skirt

  1. Try huge oversized patch pockets instead of the inseam pockets for a slightly easier make and a different look.
  2. Make a midi or mini version.
  3. Make a matching obi tie and belt loops.
  4. How about a high-low hem?
  5. Make a cute top out of the same fabric for a matching two-piece set.

Looking for more sewing patterns to try? Find out how to make an infinity dress with our easy infinity dress pattern. If you’d like to try your hand at another skirt project then you’ll love our free wrap skirt pattern – it can be made in an afternoon. Another great quick project is Portia Lawrie’s DIY wrap dress pattern, which can be stitched in a day.