| Make an A-line Skirt
A piece of stretchy material. For a medium-sized knee-length skirt (32" waist and 24" long), I used a piece that was 54" wide and about 30" long.
Cotton thread in the same or contrasting color
Sewing machine with a 90/14 needle (ball point or stretch needles are best)
3/8" elastic, about a yard
Elastic guide (available at sewing stores) or large safety pin
An A-line skirt that fits you well as a guideline
Making an a-line skirt is a great sewing project for beginners and experts alike, and an easy way to punch up a blah wardrobe. They are also a snap to make, so grab some fabric, pull out the sewing machine, pour yourself a big old cup of coffee and get sewing!
Fold your piece of material in half, with the finished (selvage) edges of the material together, wrong side out. Put your skirt (you know, the one that fits you perfectly) down on top of the fabric, flat and face up, so that one side is closest to the selvage edge and one side is closest to the fold.
Now it's time to cut. Cut around the outline of the skirt, leaving an extra 1/2-1" of material on the sides and an extra 1 1/2-2" on the top and bottom (this extra material will become the waistband, hem and sides of your new cutie). You will end up with two trapezoid-shaped pieces, larger than the finished skirt will be, that will become the front and back of it.
If your fabric isn't wide enough to cut both pieces out when it's folded over, just cut them out separately. If it isn't very stretchy, allow some extra room on the sides to slip the skirt on. This is a simple, forgiving pattern, so you don't have to stress about it, luckily! If it turns out way too small, you can take the side seams out and add panels of fabric to create more room.
After you've cut out the two pieces, fold them down the middle to check the sides, top and bottom for symmetry. This doesn't have to be extremely precise, but it's better to leave too much than too little--you can always tweak & narrow a skirt that's too big, but it's kinda tough to add fabric when the skirt is too tight or too short. Check to see that the flare will be roughly equivalent on each side.
With the right sides of the two fabric pieces together, pin one side together all the way down from top to bottom, about one pin every 3 or 4". Stitch one side about 5/8" from the edge (your sewing machine will have a guideline at 5/8", so it's easy to follow). Backstitch at the top and bottom of each side to hold the seam. Do the other side the same way. Put the stitch length on 6 or 8--it helps to have the stitches big, so they'll stretch with the material.
Iron the two side seams open on the inside, so the extra material is lying flat.
To start the waistband, fold over about 1/2" of material from the top all the way around, ironing it flat as you go. Then fold over once again from the top 1/2" so there's a double thickness. Iron it flat again and pin it together every few inches. Starting at the side seam, stitch close to the bottom edge of the waistband all the way around, stopping an inch or two before the side seam so there's enough room to feed the elastic into the waistband.
Thread the elastic through the guide, or pin it with the big safety pin, and slide it into the waistband with your fingers guiding it from the outside. Guide it all the way around the waistband. When the elastic comes out the other side, pull it as tight as you desire, usually so it puckers just a little bit evenly all the way around. You can pin the elastic together and try on the skirt so the waist feels comfortable.
If the waist is too big, try tightening the elastic. Sew the two ends together securely, either by hand or with the machine, making sure the elastic lies flat and doesn't twist. Then sew the last inch of the waistband closed, backstitching to hold the seam.
Make the hem the same way as the waistband, except that you can sew all the way around without leaving an opening.
Try your new favorite skirt on! If it's too big or a bit lopsided, take the seam that displeases you out with a seam ripper and adjust to fit, pinning and sewing it so you like it.
Now take yourself out to be admired! Maybe you need a pair of legwarmers to go with it-here's a great knitting pattern, designed by Stephanie Japel.
Make it your own
Try using a totally different color thread for contrast stitching (I like red thread on dark denim or black thread on sparkly, for example), or sew a different or similar-colored rick-rack, lace, fringe, ruffle or ribbon around the hem.
Or embroider a cool design on the front! Freehand your own or choose one of the fabulous Sublime Stitching patterns-pin-ups, pirates, martinis…
Another lovely idea is appliquéing a mod felt design-just cut out cool shapes and hand or machine-sew them on the front of the skirt. Instant style!