How to Sew a Wrap Skirt
Every spring I head to Ventura, California for our annual Craftcation: Business + Maker’s Conference. Ventura is one of my favorite California beach towns because the temperature is pretty much in the mid 70s year round, it has a great downtown filled with restaurants, shops, bars and historic buildings and somehow it’s still held onto this old-school relaxed artsy California beach town vibe. Despite the fact that I spend almost two weeks there every spring, I don’t get to really experience the town the way other tourists do because I’m working long hours for Craftcation. So, last year I decided to have my 40th birthday there so I could finally have a chance to experience the awesomeness of Ventura first-hand (instead of via our Craftcation attendee’s Instagram feeds).
I rented a house right on the beach and packed everything I could possibly need (ie: half of my closet, all of my board games and (of course) a TON of art supplies. At the end of the week, I realized that although I had used most of my art supplies, most of the clothing I’d brought was still in my suitcase. Aside from my bathing suit, the thing I wore every single day was a vintage wrap skirt. It was the perfect thing to throw on for morning beach walks, watching the sunset at night and everything in between. This summer I’m headed back to Ventura (I’m making this trip an annual occasion with family and friends) and now that I know what actually gets not only taken out of my suitcase but worn daily, I’ve created this simple pattern for a DIY easy to sew wrap skirt. I LOVE this pattern because it’s easily adjustable to any size body (even kids), quick to sew and only requires basic sewing skills!
Materials to Sew a Wrap Skirt
- Sewing machine (I used my BERNINA 380) and also can recommend the BERNINA 350 PE
- Open embroidery foot #20
- Skirt fabric 2-4 yards (depending on your measurements)
- Thread to match your fabric
- Iron and ironing board
Instructions to Sew a Wrap Skirt
*The directions are lengthy and may seem a bit complex but if you’re a visual learner, just follow my diagrams and skim the directions and you’ll be in good shape!
We’ll start by taking our measurements to create our pattern. Although I didn’t make an actual pattern for my skirt, it’s a good idea to make one if you think you’ll want to make more than one skirt.
Find your measurements for the back panel of the skirt:
1. Find the measurement for A by measuring your waist then dividing it by 2 and adding 2″. *For example: if your waist is 30″: 30 divided by 2 = 15 + 2 = 17 so A = 17
2. Find the measurement for B by adding multiplying A by 2 *For example: B = 17 (A) x 2 so… B = 34
3. Find the measurement for C by deciding how long you want your skirt then adding 3″. *These extra inches are for the waistband and the hem. *I made my skirt 30″ which falls a few inches below my knees and I’m 5′ 10″.
Find your measurements for the two front panels of the skirt:
4. To find your D measurement, subtract 3 from your A measurement. *For example: A = 17 – 3 = 14 so… 14 = D
5. To find your E measurement, subtract 4 from your B measurement. *For example: B = 34 – 4 = 30 so… 30 = E
Find your measurements for the waistband:
6. To find your waistband length (F), multiply A by 6.5 *For example: A = 17 x 6.5 = 110.5 so… F = 110.5
7. I like a thick waistband, so I made my G measurement 6 inches. If you want a thinner one, just make your G measurement smaller. Using the measurements we’ve been using in the example, our waistband would be 6″ x 110.5″.
NOTE: If you’re creating a paper pattern follow steps 8-20 on paper then place the pattern on your fabric, trace it and cut out your fabric. If you want to skip making a paper pattern (like I did) follow steps 8-20 and mark directly on your fabric. Be sure to wash and dry your fabric before you begin and always mark on the wrong (non-printed) side of the fabric.
Create the back panel for your skirt:
8. Draw a line at the bottom of the fabric the length of B.
9. Fold the fabric in half widthwise to find the middle of B and use your fingers to create a crease down the length in the middle of B (this is the C area in the drawing).
10. Unfold the fabric and measure on the fold up from the center of B the length of C.
11. The top back of your skirt will be at the top of C. Divide A in half (8.5 for the example) and draw half of A on one side of C and the other half of A on the other side of C.
12. Using your tape measure, draw a slanted line connecting 1 and 3 do the same for 2 and 4. These will be the sides of your skirt.
13. Cut along your lines.
Create the two front panels for your skirt:
14. Draw a line at the bottom of the fabric the length of E.
15. Fold the fabric in half widthwise to find the middle of E and use your fingers to create a crease down the length in the middle of E (this is the C area in the drawing).
16. Unfold the fabric and measure on the fold up from the center of E the length of C.
17. Divide D in half (7 for the example) and draw half of D on one side of C and the other half of D on the other side of C.
18. Using your tape measure, draw a slanted line connecting 5 and 7 do the same for 6 and 8. These will be the sides of your skirt.
19. Cut along your lines.
20. Using the measurements from step 6, draw the outline, trace and cut out the waistband for your skirt.
21. Place your cut pieces of fabric on top of each other with the wrong (unprinted) sides of your fabric facing in. 1 and 5 + 3 and 7 should be on top of each other on the left and on the right 2 and 6 + 4 and 8 should be on top of each other. Pin the fabric in place if needed.
22. Sew down the length of the sides of your skirt.
23. Add a side hem for the open edges of the skirt where the wrap will overlap. For the right side it will be from 6 to 8 and for the left side it will be from 5 to 7. Fold over the fabric .25″ then iron and then fold it over again .25″ and iron. Then sew down the folded side hem.
24. Prepare the waistband by folding in half lengthwise and ironing. Then fold over the raw edge of each side .25″ then iron, then fold it over .25″ one more time and iron.
25. Insert the top of the skirt into the waistband you just created (this will be A and both sides of D) about .2″. Fold the skirt and the waistband in half and crease with your fingers to find the middle, then match up the middles.
26. Start sewing your waistband and skirt together from the crease in the middle. Make sure you’re catching the top of the skirt in the waistband as you sew. Continue sewing even after you reach the end of the skirt on both sides and then fold over the raw edge end of the waistband and sew the end closed.
27. To create the bottom hem, fold the bottom of the skirt over 1″ and iron, then fold it over 1″ one more time and iron again.