The Natalie Skirt

By Janet Gilbert

Sew a skirt with two easy pieces
Double layer skirt from the “Natalie” pattern. Skirt is made from the Sew Beautiful “Natalie” pattern (knee length).The Natalie skirt sewing project

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Sew a skirt with two easy pieces: From Sew Beautiful magazine Issue 144.

Turn a dress pattern into a great fashion skirt. This pattern and method is so easy you can even make it without a pattern. Learn how in this step-by-step tutorial.

Follow along as Janet shares how to make a double layered elastic-waist with a center panel. Ruffles and topstitched tucks add easy economical embellishment with a splash of color. Janet used the “Natalie” dress pattern from the Sew Beautiful pattern collection from Martha Pullen Company.

This article is a free tutorial in conjunction with the article “Skirting Around,” a pictorial featuring six skirt designs you can make yourself from the Sew Beautiful Fall Issue #144. An A-line skirt pattern is the featured free skirt pattern included on the free pattern pullout section of this issue. Pattern instructions include two ways to style it — with or without godets.

Materials List


  1. Trace the front panel of the “Natalie” pattern. Cut the pattern on waistline marking. You can also make your own front panel from a straight rectangle or create one with a slight angle on each side as shown.
  2. Cut out 2 front panels. Set one aside as a front lining.
  3. The elastic skirt sides and back require two rectangles cut or torn from 60-inch fabric. For a smaller sized skirt, two 45 inch wide pieces could be used.
  4. The length of the bottom layer is equal to the side seam of the front panel + 3/4 inch allowed for tucks. To accommodate a ruffle hem, remove 2-inches from your desired finished length.
  5. For the double layer affect on the side/back skirt, make the length of the top layer five inches shorter than the bottom layer and 3 to 4 inches for smaller sizes.
  6. Ruffle is gathered at a 2 to 1 ratio and is finished with a narrow hem. For a 2-inch finished ruffle cut five, 3-3/4-inch to 3-1/2-inch wide fabric strips from selvage to selvage.


Wing Needle Folded Tucks

(Side/Back Elastic skirt)

  1. To create the tucks on the bottom edge of both side/back skirt layers, measure 2 inches from the bottom raw edge and mark the first line using a white wash away marking pen on the right side of the fabric.
  2. Mark second tuck line 1 inch about first and third tuck line 1 inch above second, making tuck lines spaced 1 inch apart.
  3. Working a single tuck at a time, starting from the bottom and working upward, fold the skirt on the bottom line and pin.
  4. Stitch 1/8-inch from fold edge using a wing needle and a modified machine Pinstitch.
    • On my Bernina, I set the pinstitch to a length of 3 and a width of 0. This gave me the desired stitch without the side stitch.
    • I used Stitch n Ditch tear away stabilizer behind my fabric when I stitched. I cut the stabilizer into long 1-inch strips.
    • Tucks could also just be stitch with a straight stitch and a regular machine needle.
  5. Repeat these steps to complete the rest of the tucks.
  6. For a touch of color, weave three strands of DMC embroidery floss through the pinstitch holes with a tapestry needle. I used DMC Floss #322 (DK DK Baby Blue) and #597 (Turquoise). The holes created by the pinstitch create perfectly spaced running stitches.
  7. Repeat these steps to complete the tucks along the bottom edge of the bottom skirt layer. Set bottom layer aside
  8. Make self-made piping by covering cording with bias strips of floral fabric. Pin and stitch to the bottom edge of the top skirt layer only. To reduce bulk, grade the seam allowance of the piping.Set aside skirt layers to prepare ruffles.

Prepare Ruffles

  1. Join ruffle strips end-to-end to create one very long strip.
  2. Narrow hem strip with a rolled hem foot.
  3. Use a ruffle foot to gather entire strip, or run two rows of gathering stitches that run the length of each section. Pull bobbin threads to gather strip.
  4. Cut strips to fit per instructions.

Skirt Assembly

  1. Cut a ruffle strip to fit width of top skirt layer and stitch to bottom, piped edge with right sides together (push back gathers to flatten each end of ruffle approximately 1/2 inch for seam allowance). Finish seam and press up. Top stitch 1/8 inch from seam line.
  2. Pin the right side of the shorter, top skirt to the wrong side of the longer, bottom skirt and stitch the waist seam 1/2 inch.
  3. Flip top skirt to the front, enclosing seam between layers and press seam.
  4. Top stitch 1/8 inch from the seam edge, then stitch 1-inch from the edge to create a casing for the elastic.
  5. Insert 3/4 inch elastic through the casing. Stitch elastic ends to secure within side seam allowances.
  6. Baste stitch layers of skirt together at each end. These are the seams that will join the center panel (fig 1).

    Click to Enlarge
  7. Prepare the front panel: Fuse a 1-1/2 inch strip of fusible interfacing cut the width of the center panel to the wrong side at the waistline.
  8. Stitching from the bottom up, sew self-made piping to each side of the front skirt panel. To reduce bulk, grade the inside seam of the piping. Finish the seam with a serger or a zig-zag stitch.
  9. Stitch the lining panel to the front skirt panel across top edge. Trim seam allowance to 1/4 inch and press. Under stitch the lining seam to keep it from rolling (fig. 2).

    Click to Enlarge
  10. Separate the lining from the center front panel. Pin double layered skirt to center panel with right sides together. Align top edge of elastic waist to center panel/lining seam. Stitch together with a 1/2 seam allowance. Press seams toward center.
  11. Before stitching lining in place, stitch piping and a two-inch ruffle around the bottom of the entire skirt with a 1/2 seam allowance. Press seam up. Top stitch 1/8 inch from seam line (fig. 3).

    Click to Enlarge
  12. Press under side seam allowances and bottom edge 1/2 inch on skirt lining. Fold lining to inside of skirt and enclose seams. Hand slip stitch the lining along each side and across bottom seam to finish skirt.


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