Mini-maxi skirt tutorial

This skirt is made from one piece of fabric: it has two seams, and two hems – four straight lines and it’s done.  It started off with this coral-colour rayon, which I thought would look great as a summer maxi skirt (following on from my winter maxi skirt).  Thing is, it’s rather see-through in certain lights.  Some sort of lining was called for – but instead of a full length lining… how about a MINI?

I’m smitten with these sorts of skirts just now. The other day I saw a girl wearing one… first I thought, hey, nice maxi skirt! and then hey, that’s really see-through! And hey, she’s actually wearing a mini skirt underneath!

 I’m actually pretty fond of the shape of my legs, but I feel hugely self-conscious if a skirt is more than about an inch above my knee: I just can’t relax in it.  But wearing this?  My miniskirt’s mid-thigh, the outline of my legs is visible… but it’s all demurely covered by the maxi!  Result.


It all starts with a piece of elastic.  I measured it just by wrapping it round my waist, adjusting it until it was comfortable and sticking a pin in to keep it in place.  Cut off the end so there’s about an inch of overlap, then slip it off without removing the pin. 

Zig-zag along each of the raw ends to form the waistband circle, and put it back on to measure how long you want each of the skirts to be.  You’ll need to measure from the top of the elastic – this will be the top edge of your skirt.

I decided I wanted the mini to be 18″ long, and the maxi to be 45″ (to the floor).  Bit o’ maths:

  1. Mini length + hem allowance (18 + 1 = 19″)
  2. Maxi length + hem allowance (45 + 1 = 46″)
  3. Add 1. and 2. together (19 + 46 = 65″)

So the total length of fabric I cut was 65″.  For the width, I measured my waist (30″) and multiplied by 2 (60″).  My fabric was only 56″ wide, so I went with that, ending up with a rectangle 56″ wide x 65″ long.

  • Mark measurement no.1 (i.e. the mini length + seam allowance) along the whole width of the skirt.  I took a picture of this, but the line didn’t show up very well.  You’re basically marking the division between the mini part and the maxi part, which will form the top of the skirt.
  • Fold the rectangle in half widthways, right sides together, and sew along the whole long seam. 
  • Turn the skirt right-side out, so you have a long tube.  Fold this tube around the elastic waistband, along the line you marked out previously.  The longer maxi part will be right-side-out, and the shorter mini part will be folded behind it, so the wrong sides are together.  The elastic waistband should be sandwiched between the two, with the top of the elastic lined up with your marked fold-line.  Pin in place.  Is this making sense? Would a diagram help?
  • Sew all around the waist-line, a little wider than the width of the elastic (mine was 1″ wide, so I sewed 1.25″ from the edge).    This will make the channel to hold the elastic.  Don’t catch the elastic in your seam!  As you get further round the waistband, you’ll need to gather up what you’ve already sewed, keeping the small section you’re currently sewing nice and flat. 
  • That’s the two seams done – just hem each section of the skirt and it’s ready to wear!

I like styling it under a long top with a belt, like this:

(A final word of caution:  While double-your-waist-measurement seems to be standard for a gathered skirt, I find it a little restrictive – I have to hoick the skirt up to stride properly.  So I’m going to add a short slit at the back, along the long seam.)  Even so, I’m wearing it 2 or 3 times a week right now – perfect summer skirt, check.

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