Knit Gathered Skirt Tutorial

Posted by Mandy Pickle on 7th May 2015

As a mother of two growing girls, I'm always looking for an easy sewing project that will get lots of use.  Skirts are a must have on a daily basis around here.  Having skirts around means less arguments when getting ready and I can use these same steps to make one for myself.  

Materials needed:

  • 1/4 yard knit fabric for the waistband
  • 1/2 yard knit fabric for the skirt
  • Twin universal, ballpoint or stretch needle

Wash, dry and iron all fabric before starting.

Take Some Measurements

You will need to take two measurements. Measure around the waist and from the waist

to the knee.

Cut Your Fabric

I love skirts because you don't need a pattern since you are just cutting rectangles. I like to use a rotary cutter, ruler and mat which makes cutting straight lines super easy, accurate and fast. Keep in mind the stretch should run horizontal when cutting. 

You will need to cut 1 rectangle for the waistband and two rectangles for the skirt. The rectangle for the waistband should be 6 1/2" wide by the waist measurement minus 1 inch. My daughters waist was 19 inches so I cut her waistband 6 1/2 " x 18".

You will need to cut 2 rectangles for the skirt. I like to use the waist measurement for the width and the knee measurement plus 2 inches for the skirt length. For my daughters skirt I cut two rectangles measuring 11" x 19".

Sewing the Waistband

Fold the waistband in half with right sides together. Using a 1/4" seam allowance, stitch along the short edge using a serger or small zig zag stitch on your sewing machine. This will turn your rectangle into a loop. 

Next you will need to fold the waistband in half wrong sides together.  The raw edges should now be lined up.  You can try the waistband on at this point to make sure it isn't too tight and make adjustments if needed.


If you have a serger, serge the bottom edge of both skirt rectangles. If you don't have a serger, you can use an overlocking foot on your sewing machine.  If you don't have either, don't worry, you won't be able to see this edge on your finished skirt.  

Some people like to save hemming for the final step, but I have always found it easier to hem before sewing the two skirt rectangles together. I made a 1/2" hem on this skirt but you can make a wider hem if you like. Fold the bottom edge of the rectangles up a 1/2" with wrong sides together and clip or pin it in place.  

Twin Needle

I was recently introduced to the twin needle for sewing knits. If you have never used one, it's a game changer for sure and worth every penny of $3-$5. I picked one up at the local hobby shop and loved it so much, I ordered several different twin stretch needles for the shop. The twin needle allows you to sew the two stitch lines at once and since the bottom thread zig zags, it allows for the stretch in knit fabric. Instead of sewing two rows of tiny zig zag stitches, you end up with two rows of perfectly straight stitches and a hem that lays perfectly flat. You will need to reference your machines operators manual for directions on how to install the needle and thread your machine.  

See my twin needle results below!  If you do not have a twin needle, select a small zig zag stitch (the one that looks like a lightning bolt).  Stitch about a 1/2" in from the edge.  Then sew a second row of stitches 1/4" in from the edge.  Make sure the stitch that is around a 1/2" in is catching both layers of fabric.  

Sewing the Skirt Together

Place the two skirt rectangles right sides together. Make sure you line the hem up at the bottom and pin or clip along the sides. Using a 1/4" seam allowance, serge or stitch the sides together.  You can use your handy dandy overlocking foot if you have one. 

Gathering the Skirt

Select the basting stitch on your sewing machine and sew a 1/2" in from the edge of the top of the skirt. Then sew a second row of basting stitches a 1/4" in from the edge. You are probably wondering, do you I really need two rows of stitches? The answer is YES. Sewing two rows of stitches will give your gathers a very neat look. You also want the insurance of the second stitch in case the other one busts as you gather. I have busted a stitch more than once!

Once you are done sewing the basting stitches, you are ready to pull the threads at your beginning of your stitches to start gathering.  As you pull the threads, push the gathers around.  You will need to gather until the waist of the skirt is about the same size as the waistband.  Make sure your gathers are evenly distributed.  Once you are satisfied with the gathering, tie the threads off at the ends to keep the gathers from pulling apart.

Attaching the Waistband to the Skirt

You will need to slide the waistband over the skirt.  The two should be right sides together and the raw edges should line up at the top.  You will want to make sure the the seam of the waistband is lined up in the center of the back of the skirt.  I like to pin or clip the waistband at the quarter points to ensure it's evenly distributed around the skirt.  

Using a 1/4" seam allowance, serge or stitch the waistband to the skirt.  You can use an overlocking foot if you have one.  If you don't have either, don't worry, you won't be able to see this edge since it will be on the inside of the skirt.

Flip the waistband up and use a seam ripper to remove any visible basting stitches.

The Finished Skirt!