Ever have a piece of fabric taunt you, begging to be made, but unsure of what/how to make it into? This length of denim was that. I ordered it from Fashion Fabrics Club on clearance, since it was a good price, but I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it. A little Pinterest searching, and I realized the Jet Navy Denim piece was destined for sailing. You can take a look at my denim board here.

 We took these pictures after I had sat in church all morning (the fabric’s still new, so it’s hard to iron in the first place) and after I had worn the skirt to feed the chickens in the wet yard, so you’ll have to excuse the wrinkles and mud. 😛

 This skirt features a high waistband, button detail, and pleated, but flattering, skirt front.

 It’s really comfortable, and is perfect for church. The denim is nice enough and dark enough to be not too casual, and the buttons on the front and the style really class it up. I also foresee it as a BBQ skirt with a striped shirt come summertime.

I grabbed some shots of the process with my iPhone, if you’re interested.

To cut the skirt pieces, I used the pattern from my eBook (transferred to the lining of a chicken feed bag for ease of use). For the front, I placed the pattern on the fold, but off-set it by 4″ or so to give me fabric for the pleats. 

The back I cut on the selvage edge at the normal width. (BTW, if you don’t have one of those heavy magnetic pincushions, you need to get one. I use it as a pattern weight and the world’s most convenient pin catcher. My sewing time is drastically reduced by it’s saving qualities. This was not sponsored.)

To draft the waistband, I measured my waist (aka where the top of the skirt’s waistband would be), divided in two (since we’ll have a front and back) and determined the height of my waistband (6″ from my waist to my hip), and drew a rectangle with these measurements. I cut it out.

Then I slashed it in half a dozen points from one long edge to about 3/4″ from the other. I laid this on another two pieces of paper taped together and splayed it out (with the help of some tape) so that the bottom long edge matched half my hip measurement. 

Cut out 4, with seam allowance added. 

For the front detail, I just folded the ends of the waistband piece towards the center. I held the piece up to me to determine the width. 

I interfaced the piece as well. I just slapped it over the folded under seam allowance so that I wouldn’t have to worry about pinning that while I sewed. 
To make sure they lined up, I used the detail piece to measure how/where to fold in my front pleats, making sure to end up with it fitting my hips. 

I laid the front detail over the front waistband piece and just sewed it into the seam as I attached the facing. 
I put in a side zipper, hand-stitched the six front buttons on, and hemmed it to work with heels. 🙂 
If you’d like more detail on exactly how to do this type of waistband (well, this is a modified version, but the principles and techniques are the same), there are 9 pages of instructions and pictures in my Denim eBook

This sailor style skirt was a super fun and easy project. Once you’re comfortable working with denim, a whole range of practical possibilities opens up!

24 thoughts on “|~ Long Sailor Skirt”

  1. It's so darling Olivia! You know, I just saw a skirt with the button features like that only this weekend – you're so creative to come up with the design yourself so quickly! 😀 It's beautiful! Thank you for your tips…I hope to make one for me and my sister someday (striped tops; essential!). 😉


  2. Adorable! Now I'm going to have to find some denim just like it and recreate one for myself… 🙂 I think this is one of the most darling skirts ever, Olivia! Great job!

    Alicia Joy

  3. The last two weeks or so, I've been working this style over in my mind, although picturing a dark twill. The double buttons were a must. The pleats, absolutely. But I was still working out the closure (real buttons? side zipper).
    Then, I visited your blog. I think my grin was larger than my surprise. I think.
    Gotta love it.

  4. I have a skirt pattern that is very similar to that one! It's my favorite. I've made a lot of skirts with the one pattern that I got for 99 cents at a sale.

    Thanks for sharing Olivia!

    Leah Nicolette

  5. Haha… I really like your last picture! It helps to see how much running room there is. 🙂 I have been longing to get my hands on some denim! ~E

  6. Hi Olivia, i am loving your blog. Very inspiring. I've switched to modest dressing over a year ago, and it's been a journey. What's helped the most is that i learned to sew, so i could tailor my clothes to what I'm comfortable with.

    Beautiful skirt! ^_^

  7. Olivia,

    This skirt is such a charm! Fantastic job! It looks really darling on you and fits your personality. Thanks for the how to stuff. I would love to put your denim skirt and swim suit as a button on my blog, if you ever make one for them I will snatch them!

  8. It is beautiful Oliva! 🙂
    I'm about to cut out a denum skirt using your pattern!! 🙂 I'm going to try this tailor- style with some heavier drill fabric for a warm winter skirt.I'll tell/show you how they turn out! Thankyou soooo much for sharing with us and for making the beautiful ebook for the skirt! 🙂
    God Bless you!
    <3 Emily xo

  9. I'm scared of wearing home made skirts because my friend made one and I wore it and then I was riding my bike and it split in the back

  10. Hi Olivia,
    I just wanted to let you know that I used your tutorial to make my own sailor skirt. I found your blogs last February and came across this post. Shortly after I was given some denim fabric and made my skirt.
    I love your posts and tutorials. You have helped me think outside of the box when it comes to clothing.

  11. Hello! I’m french and an old lady (68). I like the style very much but what I liked best is the adress of your material fabric. Thanks a lot, as here, I could not find any of large width denim material. It’ll be very usefull. ‘m a singer and this year I must sing Brahms lieder, and I thought of a long, pleated (large pleats) skirt, and a flowery romantic blouse. The skirt can also be used with a nice belted pulover, or a shirt, and even with a sleevless top!! I’ll try to send you a photo of the result! Bless you dear and see you soon.

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