If you have a few minutes, you can make this breezy peasant skirt. It is very simple and can be done as a beginner’s project. This should fit either a small or medium. If you are a size large, increase fabric measurements by about half a yard.

What you need:
3 yards of lightweight fabric
Several inches of wide elastic 
*Optional several inches of elastic lace

Cut two rectangles for the top and bottom parts of the skirt. The top part should be roughly 54×22 inches and the bottom should be 108×22 inches. (I cheated. I cut the three yards in half widthwise, then one of the pieces lengthwise, to be the top and bottom. Does that make sense?) It doesn’t have to be exact. The lovely thing about peasant skirts is that since they are so billowy, there is a lot of room for error.

Take the top piece and sew a french seam in the side. Repeat with the bottom piece. 
1. Hem the bottom piece, if needed. (I used fabric with a finished salvage so it did not need to be hemmed- hooray!)
2. Baste three rows around the top of the bottom piece. Pull the threads to create a ruffle. Pull the seams until the bottom piece matches the size of the top piece (see picture of how it should look finished). 
3. Repeat three rows of basting for the top of the top piece (where the waistband will go).
Now the top and bottom pieces will be sewn together using a French seam. 
(Need help with that? First, pin the wrong sides together. Be careful with the ruffle and sew the seam as close to the edge as possible. Trim the excess, then fold and pin the right sides together. When you sew the seam, pull the ruffled part gently as you go (to prevent unsightly puckering). You can email me if you have questions about this.)
This is what it looks like when you are finishing the French seam. Try to keep your seam very straight because it will show when you are wearing it. 
It’s time to sew the elastic waistband. Cut it one or two inches smaller than your waist. Overlap the ends by an inch (to create a circle) and sew together using an elastic stitch (or zig-zag). 
Pull the basted threads on the top part of the skirt to match the size of the waistband. Pin the skirt to the waistband and sew together using either an elastic stitch or zig-zag. Now you will want to remove the basted stitch or your skirt will not stretch! I just give it a good ol’ pull and the old threads break. You can use a seam ripper if you are working with a delicate fabric, or like to be precise.
*If you are also attaching a lining, sew that to the waistband first, or pin together with the top of the skirt. I didn’t bother with one since I wear a slip all of the time anyway. 
Obviously this is a different skirt. I included a picture to show how you can cover the ugly seam with pretty elastic lace. I did not do this because I didn’t have the color I wanted when making the skirt.
Tada! Elegant! 
It is a lot of fun to wear!
Now go make one!

6 thoughts on “Make your own easy peasant skirt

  1. Shalom, elizabeth–it sounds as if you don't have a sewing machine. there are several things you can do here…

    1–your university extension may very well have a Master Seamstress program. call them and ask or maybe the school system may have adult education programs. you can call them and ask. many times these classes have nominal fees or none and they have some sewing machines to learn on already in place in the classrooms.

    2–i have four very high-end (but several decades' older) sewing machines (2 elnas, 1 pfaff and 1 necchi of which 1 of the elnas came to me from my mother's passing–i'd trade that machine for having her back, any day!; the other elna i paid for and had it on layaway for a year!; the pfaff (an original 'portable' industrial machine that weighs a bloody ton!) i bought for $45 from an elderly man who'd cleaned it and the owner never returned, so he gave it to me for what he'd charged her (i recently had the machine cleaned–it cost $100 and was worth every penny); and the necchi was given to me by the sister of a good friend who passed away. my point being is that you can get them in various places and sometimes for nothing–ie. i ended up with two working sewing machines, over the years' past, and i posted them on freecycle–they were gone the next day! check out that avenue, as well.)

    3–you can go take a walk on the 'wild side' and visit the local pawn shops. i've seen really, nice very high-end machines for very little (comparatively) and you can put it on layaway–just be sure you take someone along with you that knows machines and then have the staff run the machine–take along some medium-weight cotton. let your 'expert' ask them questions and then both of you run it on your cotton. if it is a really good machine, you may need to have it cleaned, but it will be worth it. and with everything, you can more-than-likely obtain all instruction manuals online nominally. (i was given a viking–about 30 years' old. i took it to gnome's sewing machine shop-repair. they charged me $25 to see if it could be cleaned and repaired. it could not. i gave-donated the machine to gnome's and they tore up the $25 charge, as they now could use the viking for parts for future other vikings' repair–and i already knew the machine barely worked–it had a bent shaft and was effectively out-of-the-biz of being repaired.)

    4–i have sewn entire simple blouse and skirt outfits (even as gifts) completely by hand. my hand sewing is not absolutely perfect, but it holds and it's never seen on the outside as long as i keep a straight line (in a great many ways, i actually have more control when stitching by hand). the outfits turned out beautifully and i got such solance from hand-stitching them, it was doubly beautiful. it is a way to begin learning how to sew and work patterns and not feel disenfranchised from not owning a machine and can't begin to sew after looking at these free wonderful tutorials because of a machine lack. just pick up your fabric, cut out your pieces and carefully and prayerfully thread your needle and begin… (in the past 20 years', i've also gotten a great deal of gratification from hitting the thrift shops and looking for very good cotton, satin and-or wool or gaberdine outfits and carefully cut and unstitch them [after washing] and using the former-clothing clothes as new outfits' projects [or quilt tops]. i started out sewing by hand–and it is a wonderful way to relax.).

    i hope these ideas help you and that you continue to want to learn to sew. don't peruse these web pages and tutorials and 'think' you can't do them, too–do them, ANYWAY!

    God Bless you and
    a designer and teacher in san antonio, tejas


  2. As far as not hemming the skirt “just using the selvedge edge” (woven edge of the fabric that does not unravel)— your skirt will hang nicer with the added weight and finish of a real hem–at least 2.5 inches of hem. Why do I have this opinion? Made a lot of skirts. But you have done a beautiful job and made a gorgeous skirt!


  3. This skirt is PERFECT! I am heading to Haiti this summer on a mission trip to lead a teacher training and I need a bunch of long, breezy skirts…BUT I am a beginner with a brand new sewing machine so I needed something simple and easy to follow. THANKS and blessings!


  4. I love this skirt… but I agree with the Anonymous comment of January 18, 2014. The skirt would look nicer with a real hem. However, I also disagree with that comment about the depth of the hem. 2.5 inches is a deep hem, which, IMHO is seldom called for and can be problematic in various ways. I prefer a hem depth of 1 inch to 1.5 inches or so. If the edge of the fabric wants to ravel, I use 1.75 inches to create the depth of the hem. Out of that fabric, I will fold over a small amount (maybe a quarter of an inch) to provide a clean finish for the hem. No matter what the final depth of the hem ends up being, I do prefer a real hem to using the selvedge. I also prefer a real hem to using a serged or overlock finish, as was done on a skirt I bought that was ready to wear.


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