Monday, March 13, 2023

Plaid Skirt Tutorial

Hello All!

I have been asked for a pattern for the plaid skirt I put on the blog once. Since I didn't use a pattern, here's a tutorial instead! I'd like to introduce my guest editor, my mother, who helped with part of this tutorial. 

I'm doing this skirt doll-sized, but the tutorial is for YOU...or your doll :)  

For you, you'll need fabric, (How much? I estimated 3 yards) and, if it's for you, a short (~ 8") zipper, or other fasteners (example: skirt hooks, snaps). 

I suggest reading through this tutorial, or at least looking at the photos, before you start. 

You can do it. Enjoy!

Miss model today

For reference, this is the shape that you will be cutting on the fold of your fabric, but first we have some measuring to do. 

1. First, measure your waist where you want the skirt to sit. Divide that measurement by 4.  Dolly's measurement is 12", so that'll be 3". I'm doing this because the skirt is 2-paneled and we're working with 1/2 of one panel right now.

2. Our final measurement was 3", however we must allow for seams and ease, so I added an inch to that measurement (that will include 1/2" seams).  I would suggest adding 3/4" to 1" if you're making a skirt for yourself, but for the doll version you will only need to add 5/8" or so. 

3. Next, decide how long you want the skirt.

4. Measure that length on your yardage, and cut across your fabric at that point. You want two of these panels.

5. Now make a diagonal cut (you can draw first if you like!) from your waist measurement (with what you added in step 2!).


6. Unfold your skirt and sew up the sides! On one side, leave the upper part of the side unsewn about 8" from the waist to put your zipper or placket in. For the doll version, leave about 3" for a placket. 

7. If you wanted to put a zipper in the side, now is a the time to do it. Use your favorite method to put in a zipper, or find a video tutorial if you do not know how. For the doll skirt, we did a placket. You can do a placket for an adult skirt as well, and if you choose that option you will need a skirt hook and some snaps. For the doll skirt, velcro works!

Now, it's time to put the placket in! 

7a. Open up the side where you didn't quite sew up the seam all the way. Take a strip of your fabric (about 2" wide), of a generous length. It really doesn't matter how long it is, as we will cut off any extra after we sew it on. 

7b. Pin that strip to your open side, paying special attention to the very middle (an extra pin on each side of the very middle helps). Make sure the side seam of your skirt is open flat. 

Here it is from the other side (splay the side open so that it is almost flat).

7c. Sew down from the top edge of skirt, start at 1/2" and taper down to 1/8" or less at the very middle. Take it slow as you get to the middle, reaching under and feeling for folds or wrinkles, getting them out of the way so that your sewing remains as flat as possible. When you get to the middle (where the skirt side seam is), pivot slightly and sew up the other side, going from your tiny seam allowance back up to 1/2 at the top. Check the middle and make sure it was sewn without any tucks, wrinkles, or holes! You may have to fix it by hand sewing a bit if you mess up. 

7d. Now fold back one side of your strip of fabric (the side that is on the front of your skirt), leaving the other side open flat. Pin back that folded part. Trim off the excess evenly with the top of your skirt. 

7e. Since this is a doll skirt, a quick zig zag on the edges worked for finishing. You might want to do something more on the adult version. 

The placket should lay flat against the other side, a perfect extension of your seam. 

 8. Now for the waistband!

You could measure and do some math for the waistband, but here is the "customize as you go" method!

8a. Cut a strip long enough to go around your waist with a generous extra bit on each end (for seams and overlap etc.). Make this long strip about 3"wide. 

8b. Find the middle of your waistband and put a small snip in the edge. Pin band to the skirt waist, right sides together. You want to match your snip to the side seam that doesn't have the placket. All excess waistband material will be hanging over at the placket side-- don't worry about it for now. Pin around, and when you get to that folded part of your placket (photo 7d) make sure it stays folded when you pin over. Make sure the lay-flat side of the placket stays flat when you pin over. 

8c. Sew waistband to skirt, right sides together. 

8d. Trim off the edge of your waistband material, leaving at least 1/2" or a bit more past your placket 
(here you can see the folded-back part of the placket, and how it is sewed right into that waistband seam!)

8e. Now fold the top down a bit toward the inside of the skirt...

...and then fold the whole thing backwards (in half, right sides together). Your waistband should be the shape in the photo.

8f. Sew down over all your folds. Notice that the edge of the placket is your guide for your sewing.

Now turn the waistband, utside out and inside in.  Voila! A perfect finished edge, enclosing all those seams. 

8g. Whip stitch the waistband down all around. 

(You see the how the waistband goes over the  flat side of the placket here)

When the placket is closed, you can hardly tell it is there. 

9. For the doll skirt you can use a snap or a bit of velcro to fasten the waistband. For your skirt, you will want to put a skirt hook on the waistband here, and possibly snaps on the placket. 

10. Time to level the bottom of this skirt!

 Measure the shortest point of your skirt (the place where it's furthest from the floor) when it's on a model/dress form (if you don't have a dress form, put on the skirt and have a friend help you). Place a pin just above that point. Move around the skirt a few inches and place another pin at your measurement. Repeat the process until you have come all the way around to the front again. 
Next, take your scissors and trim around the skirt, using the pins as your guide.

11.  Hem your skirt. This is the shape of my skirt, trimmed and hemmed! 

(Yes, I did my doll skirt hem before the waistband)

Side view

This tutorial has been a long time in the making, hopefully it will work for you! 

To God be the glory,
Mrs. and Miss Humphrey


  1. It's an excellent tutorial. Well done.

  2. Thank you for the lovely tutorial! I will try to make this skirt after I’m finished with my current sewing project :)
    In regard to choosing fabric, what kind do you recommend using (polyester, cotton, etc)?

    1. Thanks for asking! I used some synthetic wool I was given. (We don't know for sure, but that was my mother's best guess as to what it was!). I think this skirt would work with anything. I mostly use cotton when I'm sewing :)


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