Very gathered A-line maternity skirt

top/sunglasses: f21   skirt: self-made   shoes: steve madden
Sarah Jane, amazing illustrator, makes fabric patterns and prints and asked me to make a very gathered a-line skirt for her! And of course I couldn’t resist, especially when I saw her amazing anchor fabric she illustrated. This skirt is super easy and happens to be an amazing maternity skirt and non-maternity skirt (Sarah is not prego!) due to the elastic and the intense gathering. It has the illusion that there is a zipper from the front with the flat waistband. I really think this is my favorite way to make a waist band now.
1 3/4 yard to 2 yards light, or flowy fabric – not stiff, it will be too poofy (if you want to do cotton, then gather it way less, and use less fabric then this tutorial)
*can use contrasting fabric for pockets or waistband
elastic (try to make it as thick as your waistband will be, I doubled up with 1″ wide)
interfacing – don’t need very much
sewing machine
measuring tape
1. Cut 2 rectangles at the length you want, from salvage to salvage (around 45″). For example, my rectanlges were 45″ wide and length was 24″.
Cut a waistband width you like, doubled, plus one inch with the length just as long as the rectangle (salvage to salvage). For example, I wanted 3 inches wide – so 6 inches (doubled) plus one inch (for seam allowance) = 7 inches.
Cut 4 pocket pieces, shaped like image below, make sure to include a quarter to half inch of a lip fo attaching to the skirt.
2. In the top four corners of all 2 rectangles, sew the lip of the pocket (right sides of pocket and main fabric together), quarter inch in or half inch in.
3. flip the pocket over and topstitch the pocket to the salvage of the skirt.
4. Join the rectangle’s corners and sewn pockets by pinning and sewing around the edge of the pocket over and around the pocket into the 3 edges of the skirt, making sure to go in just a little bit past the pocket.
5. Gather the front rectangle to half your waist size.
6. Iron the waistband’s edges in a half inch both sides and then in half. Cut a piece of interfacing the same width as the waistband, but length of half of your waist.
7. Place the interfacing (iron on or not) in the very center of the waistband. Place the elastic to the right of the end of the interfacing (should line up with the pocket). Fold the waistband back down and pin interfacing and elastic in place. Sew a straight stitch over the waistband across the edge of the elastic (see this in 9).
8. Flip the waist band open at the ends and sew right sides together. Fold back normal. Now it looks like a tube with the elastic sticking out and the end still open.
9. Looks like this.
10. Sew the center front of the waist band (which is half your waist size, but NOT half your waistband) to the gathered front rectangle piece by slipping it between the waistband opening. For example, your waistband should be salvage to salvage long (one of the rectangles) which is around 45″ depending on the fabric. So the center front of the waistband should only be half waist size, whereas the back side is dramatically bigger.
11. Gather the back to fit the same size as the remaining wasitband. This will be quite bigger the the front. The idea is the front looks nice and flat as if there was a zipper, and the back waistband will be really gathered with elastic so there is no need to have a zipper. creating comfort and room to grow (if prego).
12. Slip the gathered skirt into the folded waistband, pin and sew. Leave a few inches at the end for the elastic.
13. Try the skirt on and stretch the elastic to where it feels comfortable. Make sure it can still slip over your hips. Mark where you will need to cut it. Don’t do this before you sew the elastic because the fabric and such will really affect the stretch.
14. Pin and sew a straight stitch on the edge of the elastic, to the waistband (which is folded back down). Should line up near the pocket. So at this point the two ends of the elastic create the side seams of the skirt/waistband.
15. Close up the hole.
16. Evenly space the bunchiness, and flatten a little with hands.
17. Put your straight stitch at its widest, I did 5. Pull the elastic as wide as possible, making the back flat as you sew. Repeat as many times as you want. I did twice.
18. Hem the bottom.

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  1. Brittany McDorr says

    Hi, I was wondering how long should the waistband be cut to? Not the width but the length. I know it needs to be longer than your actual waist but 45′ seems too large.

  2. Sarah says

    So is the waistband one long rectangle 45×7? And if so are you ending up with on seam on the center back of the waistband? And how long is the elastic?

  3. Ashley says

    So if I do want to make it out of cotton, how much smaller should I make it? Do you know?? I just don’t want to make it super poofy or too small for the bump, ya know? I already have some super cute cotton… Thanks!