How to Make Peasant Skirts

Sewing machine image by Kumar RR from

You can make a casual, floaty, and colorful peasant skirt from fabric remnants. Peasant skirts have moved in and out of fashion scenes since the 1960's. Part of the reason peasant skirts have endured with a measure of popularity is the loose fitting style. Use colorful, light-weight, natural fiber fabric to make your peasant skirt. To make peasant skirts, use basic rectangular shapes to make layers of loose fitting ruffles. A light duty sewing machine will be sufficient to sew peasant skirts.

Measure your waist. Cut a piece of elastic the same length as your waist. Double the measurement. Cut a strip of fabric two inches wide and the length of the doubled measurement. This will the the waistband of the skirt.

Measure your hips at the widest place. Multiply the measurement by 1.75. Cut a strip of fabric the length you just calculated and 18 inches wide. Multiply the total by 1.75 again. Cut a second 18-inch wide strip. This one will be longer then the first 18-inch strip. Multiply the total by 1.75 again. Cut a third strip, 18 inches by the third measurement.

Overlap the ends of the elastic one inch. Sew zigzags back and forth over the overlap at least five times to cover the entire overlap.

Fold the waistband fabric in half the long way. Sew the two-inch wide ends with a straight stitch, making a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Switch the sewing machine to zigzag and finish the raw edge of the seam.

Fold the fabric strip, right side out, around the elastic with the raw edges lined up. It will not fit evenly, so just focus on a three-inch area at a time. Switch the machine back to a straight stitch and sew the three-inch section. Work your way around the waistband, lining up three inches of the fabric's raw edge at a time and then sewing. The fabric will pucker as you work your way around the elastic.

Fold all three of the wide fabric strips in half the long way. Sew the ends together with a straight stitch, then finish the seam's raw edges with a zigzag stitch.

Cut a piece of hand sewing thread four times the length of your waist measurement. Thread the needle, line up the ends, and knot the ends.

Pick up the shortest wide strip, and baste around the top edge with the hand sewing needle. Make each stitch about 1/4 inch long.

Pull the thread all the way through the fabric between every third stitch, and be careful not to twist the thread. The fabric will be ruffled and exactly the length you need when you get to the end of the thread. Long threads are easily knotted. However, starting with the length you need prevents measuring again later and also keeps the ruffles even. Anchor the basting with three tight stitches at the thread's end.

Measure a thread double the length of the first wide piece. Pick up the second wide piece and repeat the basting stitches.

Measure a piece of thread double the length of the second wide piece. Pick up the third, and last, wide piece. Repeat the basting stitches.

Line up the center seams and pin the raw edge of the waistband to the raw edge of the first tier. Sew all the way around twice. Use a straight stitch the first time and a zigzag stitch the second.

Line up the bottom of the first tier with the basted edge of the second tier, with the right sides together. Pin the edges together. Sew all the way around twice. Use straight stitches the first time around and zigzag stitches the second time. Repeat to attach the third tier.

Put the skirt on to check the length. If the length is okay, hem the skirt by folding the edge under and sewing all the way around with a zigzag stitch covering the raw edge. If the skirt is too short, add another ruffled tier.