A Skirt That Can Be a Shirt

I think empire waist dresses are my favorite, but if you’re like me you have…trouble fitting into them at times.  lol  So since I know how to sew I decided to take matters into my own hands.  This is how I did it.

What you’ll need is simple:

elastic (in the tutorial I used 1 1/4 inch, but you can use whatever you want)
fabric pencil for marking or a pen if you’re marking on your interfacing
interfacing (optional)


I’m using the interfacing so that I can make more later and it’s easier for you guys to see what I did.  TIP: get a really inexpensive one that’s relatively thin and comes folded.  Some interfacing can even be run through a printer.


First thing you want to do is make take your measurements.  Don’t be intimidated!  I’m going to make this easy for you.  First you need to measure where you want the skirt to rest.  As mentioned before I want this to be an empire waist skirt I used the measurement for a few inches under my bust.  The general rule for an elastic band is 1.5x-2x your waist (or wherever the elastic will rest) measurement.  I normally do 2x for the ruffle and body but since my boobs are big enough on their own I decided to do just 1.5x.  I will do 2x in the future.  How much fabric you need will depend on your measurements.  I would make a pattern first, then take it to your fabric store and ask for help.  I was able to use 2 yards of 44/45 inch wide fabric with a little leftover.  If your measurements match mine or are smaller than you will be fine with what I had.  I had just enough.

For the waistband:

Use your 1.5x or 2x measurement.  Divide it by 2.  That is how long across your fabric needs to be.  The width of your fabric needs to be twice as wide as your elastic plus 1/8 – 1/4 inch so you can pull your elastic through with ease.  An alternate way to do the waistband is on a fold.  Divide your 1.5x or 2x measurement by 2.  This is how long it will be across.  The width is done the same.

It helps to draw this out first.  The skirt panel is as follows:

With your 1.5x or 2x your waist measurement, divide it by 4.  This will be the top.  Measure from where the elastic will rest to where you want the front center of the skirt to end (the measurement on the right.  Measure from the elastic to the longest part of the skirt is to rest and add about 5 inches.  This part is really trial an error as the way the skirt falls will vary slightly depending on how long you make you skirt in the front center and at what angle you draw the line for the outer edge of the skirt.  When in doubt go a little longer than you think you’ll need.  You can always cut it down later.

PLEASE NOTE:  Add 1 inch to each of these measurements to allow you your 1/2 inch seam allowance and 1/4 inch hem with the exception of the alternate waistband!  Add 1/2 inch to it.


If you have a ruler like mine you can use the degrees lines to get a clean angle, but you can also freehand it.  I used 60 degrees.


Once you have your measurements down and are ready connect the left and right lines you may see that your ruler isn’t long enough.  No worries, just fold the interfacing  under from each point, make a crease and cut.


There is no precise measurement for this part.  Cut away the corner about 5 inches to start and then 1-2 inches thereafter.  Just make sure the bottom point slants further inward than the top point.


I chose to do my waistband on the fold.  It saves fabric…and time.  Cut 4 skirt panels and cut 2 waistband panels.  Make note of the direction the pattern of your fabric goes.  This is important if your skirt has a pattern like mine.


Since I used my pattern I didn’t worry about turning the fabric to the wrong side.  Place your waistband pattern on the fold.  Do not cut down the middle of your fold.


Take 2 skirt panels and place them wrong sides together.  Press along the inner edge.  Do this for the other two panels.  Sew your seams open.


Sew the two panels together at the outer edge.  Press your seams open.


Prepare your waistband by sewing the outer edges together.  Press your seams open, then fold it in half lengthwise with wrong sides together.  NOTE:  don’t do what I did while making this tutorial.  Make sure when you’re sewing one of the edges of your waist band.  Leave an opening large enough for you to slip your elastic through.  *sigh*  My seam ripper an  I have a very close relationship.


With your skirt laying in front of you, top facing you and the bottom facing away from you, insert the waistband inside your skirt matching the raw edges.  Sew all the way around.


To measure the amount of elastic you’ll need, the rule of thumb is 1-3 inches shorter than your waist (or wherever it is you skirt is going to rest).  Use the safety-pin to string the elastic through the waistband.  Once you have the elastic strung through use a zig zag stitch to sew the ends together.  I would start with an inch smaller than your waist and cut it down if you need.  Slip stitch the elastic opening shut or zig zag stitch all the layers together.


For the hem roll the edges 1/4 inch then roll another 1/4 inch.  It helps to press with each roll.  Stitch along the edges and you’re done!


This can easily be worn multiple ways!  With pants or shorts.  Or as a skirt or dress.  Wanna know how I made the belt to match?  It’s super easy!  Click here for a video tutorial on my YouTube channel.  Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment below!  If you run across any problem feel free to contact me.  All of my social links are listed below!

Facebook: Emerald Lily Craft Studio
YouTube: Emerald Lily Craft Studio
Etsy: Emerald Lily Craft Studio
Google+: Emerald Lily Craft Studio
Pinterest: EmeraldLilyCS
Twitter: EmeraldLilyCS
Instagram: EmeraldLilyCS
eBay: ELilyCS

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: