Quick-and-Dirty (Renn Faire) Skirt

So last weekend, we headed out to the Maryland Renaissance Festival. Sadly, I have not lost all of the baby weight from when my son was born and all of the “Renaissance”-wear that I have fits my pre-baby size and shape. I spent hours slaving over new clothes for my husband and more hours slaving over a costume for my son, and alright, I even spent a few hours slaving over a Polish Vest (Folkwear 126) for myself, but I left precious little time to make a new skirt, hence, the quick and the dirty. What I came up with required little skill, little time, and made a nice, floaty, self-lined, full skirt.

My New Costume
More pictures on flickr.

Quick-and-Dirty (Renaissance) Skirt

  • About double your waist measurement in a lightweight gauze fabric 60 inches wide (selvedge to selvedge)
  • Thread to match
  • 3/4 inch elastic to fit comfortably but tightly around your waist
  • sewing machine and/or serger
  • iron/ironing board
  • pins


Sew the two cut ends of fabric together to make a tube, with the selvedges on either end. Serge the seam if you want to/have access to a serger.

Fold one end of the tube down over the other end, putting wrong sides together, having the selvedges meet at the bottom, making a double layer tube with a fold at one end a two selvedges at the other.

Measure this against yourself. If it’s too long, leave it as, we’ll cut it later. If it’s too short, lengthen one layer and shorten the other. The shorter layer will become the outside layer. If the length is just right, Congratulations! You’re one of the lucky ones! Once you have the length where you want it, pin the fold in place and press.

Starting from the seam, sew 1 inch in from the fold, all the way around the tube, leaving a 1 inch opening for the elastic.

Open out the two layers and locate the opening for the elastic. This should be simple since you placed the opening near the (one and only) seam. (Ah, see? There’s a method to my madness!) Insert the elastic, make sure there are no twists or rolls in it, test the length/comfort/tightness and sew it back and forth on the machine a few times so you’re sure it won’t be going anywhere.

Here’s where those of you who are tall can stop. The selvedge is all that you need – you don’t need to hem the skirt, unless you REALLY want to. The selvedges on a gauzy fabric are usually perfectly serviceable, especially for a quick-and-dirty costume skirt. For those of you who the two selvedges together was a perfect length can choose to stop here too, or continue on. That’s right, you’re lucky because you have choices.

I like the look of having the two different layers have two different lengths. If you’re tall, you don’t really have a choice – your layers will be two different lengths unless you want your skirt to be short. For me, I removed 3 inches from the bottom layer (I am 5’4″ and I certainly don’t have “legs to there“) and 6 inches from the top layer. You can choose to finish your hem however you like – fold it under and hem it, zig-zag it, or serge it. In the interest of expediency, I zig-zagged (because I didn’t have any black thread for my serger). If you choose to zig-zag or serge, you have one further choice – lettucing the hem. I also like the look of this as it helps the layers to separate.

It took me maybe 2 hours to make this skirt, only because I was doing it for the first time and needed to be sure of all the measurements and things.  I think I could easily whip one up in an hour now that I’ve done it once.

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