How to sew a simple skirt – a knit pencil skirt pattern and tutorial

In this sewing tutorial I will show you how to sew a simple pencil skirt from knit fabric and how to make a pencil skirt sewing pattern fast and easy.   

I want to dispel the myth that a simple cut is boring and uninteresting.

The whole secret of any simple garment is fabric. Choose  high quality unusual beautiful fabric that you like. And with the right approach and the right pattern your skirt will be wonderful!

The skirt is very fast and easy to sew even for a complete beginner.

Note: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means I will receive a commission if you order a product through one of my links. I only recommend products I believe in and use myself. 

What you’ll need 

 

Knit fabric for the skirt – medium or heavy weight. Read more about choosing the fabric below.

Serger 

Serger thread

Eloflex thread

Ballpoint/stretch needles designed for sewing with knit fabric

Elastic (about ¾  in wide)

Regular sewing supplies

Buy everything you need for the project here

Brother R1634D 3 or 4 Thread Serger with Differential Feed, White (Renewed)

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Features

  • METAL FRAME: The R1634D is reliable serger made from a durable metal frame and internal parts
  • HIGH PERFORMANCE: A high performance 2 needle, 3-4 thread serger with differential fabric feed for better stitch quality
  • 1,300 STITCHES PER MINUTE: The R1634D has a maximum sewing speed of up to 1,300 stitches per minute allowing you to create more in less time
  • EASY TO THREAD: A Color-coded, lay-in thread system makes for easy threading
  • AT YOUR SIDE SUPPORT: The R1634D serger comes with Brother At Your Side support offering free technical support via online, live chat or phone for the life of your machine

Janome MOD-8933 Serger with Lay-in Threading, 3 and 4 Thread Convertible with Differential Feed

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Features

  • Janome MOD-Serger Overlock with 3 and 4 Thread Options
  • Lay-In Threading System with Color-Coded Thread Guides
  • Quick Change Rolled Hem and Adjustable Presser Foot Pressure
  • Differential Feed helps prevents stretching and puckering
  • Easy Accessible Lower Looper with Pretension Setting Slider

Singer 14CG754 Serger 2-3-4 Thread Capability Overlock with Blind, Rolled Hems and Flatlocking, Take Your Creations to The Next Level, White

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  • SINGER SEWING MACHINE: The SINGER ProFinish 14CG754 Serger has 2-3-4 thread capability providing a wide selection of stitch options for all types of projects with professional results every time
  • ADJUSTABLE STITCH LENGTH SEWING MACHINE: Adjustable stitch length and width, differential feed and color-coded lay-in threading provide ease of use
  • PORTABLE SEWING MACHINE: Carry handle makes it easy to transport your serger
  • FREE ARM SEWING MACHINE: The optional free arm lets you easily sew sleeves and cuffs. At 1, 300 stitches-per-minute with automatic fabric trimming, this machine will have you zipping through projects from day one
  • 4 BUILT-IN ROLLED HEMS: Converting to the Rolled Hem sewing mode is effortless. An easy access lever moves the stitch finger in position for rolled hemming

ThreadNanny 4_White_3k 4 Cones of Polyester Threads for Sewing Quilting Serger, White, 3000 yd, Large

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  • 4 Cones of Polyester Threads for Sewing Quilting Serger White Color as shown.
  • High Quality, High Tensile Strength, Low Lint Thread
  • Each Cone is 3000yards. You will receive total of 12000 yards.
  • Good for any home or Commercial Machine
  • Best Quality - Will not Break at High Speed Machines

ilauke 12 X 1500M Overlock Sewing Thread Assorted Colors Yard Spools Cone 100% Polyester for Serger Quilting Drapery

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  • 12 spools of 1500M sewing thread spool, 18000 meters(19620 yards) in total.
  • 100% polyester, durable and strong. Ideal for quilting, carpet, dress making, general stitching etc.
  • 12 assorted rainbow colors, meet the requirement of projects needing variety of colors.
  • Can be used by hand or machine sewing. For fabric by the yard.
  • Featured polyester covered polyester core for strength. Not only for household use, also a brillant gift idea.

CESDes Bundle of 3 Coats Eloflex Streatch Thread: Black, Silver, and White 225 yds ea Polyester (Black Silver wht)

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Features

  • great for sewing with knits
  • works with conventional straight stitching
  • use in the bobbin as well as the top spool
  • great for serger thread too
  • tackle those knits and have some stretch fun

25 Schmetz Jersey Ball Point Sewing Machine Needles 130/705 H SUK Size 80/12

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  • Size 80/12 is perfect for lightweight fabrics

Ball Point Jersey Machine Needles-Size 10/70 5/Pkg

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  • Ball Point Jersey Machine Needles-Size 10/70 5/Pkg

50 ORGAN Ball Point Flat Shank 15X1 HAX1 Home Sewing Machine Needles - Size 75/11BP

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BindingOffice Product
BrandOrgan
EAN0781490460085
EAN ListEAN List Element: 0781490460085
LabelORGAN
ManufacturerORGAN
MPN15X1 75/11BP
Package DimensionsHeight: 50; Length: 690; Weight: 5; Width: 480
Package Quantity1
Part Number15X1 75/11BP
Product GroupArt and Craft Supply
Product Type NameART_SUPPLIES
PublisherORGAN
StudioORGAN
Title50 ORGAN Ball Point Flat Shank 15X1 HAX1 Home Sewing Machine Needles - Size 75/11BP
UPC781490460085
UPC ListUPC List Element: 781490460085

Hicarer 3/4 Inch Wide Sewing Elastic Bands Elastic Spools 21.5 Yards (White)

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  • Size: 1 roll of 21.5 yards in length, different width of sewing elastic bands for your choices, can be cut into the length you need
  • Material: made of polyster, which has strong elasticity and flexibility, can provide a long service
  • Wide usage: suitable for sewing and crafting, can be applied to kids clothes making, waistbands, necklines, underwears, pants, sportswear, skirts and so on
  • Quantity: 1 roll of 21.5 yards; Color: white
  • Note: new productions of elastic bands may shrink a few days later

Knit garments do not wrinkle and do not constrain movements, which allows you to feel confident throughout the day. 

Of course you can browse the wide variety of patterns to find the one that suits you perfectly. But you can also make a simple pattern yourself – let me show you how to do it. 

This pencil skirt fits most body types, but not EVERY FIGURE. The fit may not be perfect for women with a big stomach, or big buttocks, or a big difference between the waist and hips.

But the good thing is that the skirt would still be wearable even if you feel that you have some problems with the fit. Make the skirt shorter (just above knee length) and wear it with a tunic or long cardigan – they will cover the problem fit for sure. 

First, you will need to take 4 measurements – check out my tutorial on taking body measurements for sewing correctly

Waist

Hips

Waist to hips – just measure the distance from your waist to the hipline

Desired length of the skirt 

You can draw the pattern lines right on your fabric but I advise you to do it on paper first, it’s easier to correct if you make a mistake and it’s easier to cut the pattern this way. 

So, take a piece of paper (I use vellum paper for my patterns) 1 yard x 1 yard approximately and place in on a table. We are going to make just one pattern piece that will be the front and back of the skirt. 

 

How to make a pencil skirt sewing pattern

 

Draw a vertical line in the middle and mark points A and B, the distance AB is equal to your desired skirt length plus 1 inch for a hem. The length for a pencil skirt can vary – below knee, above knee,  midi, mini, etc. But this pattern is NOT GOOD for a maxi skirt. 

Draw a perpendicular line from the point A and find points C and D. The line CD is your waistline.

Distance CA is equal to AD. Calculate the distance CD like this: your waist measurement divided by 2 MINUS 1 3/16 in (or 3 cm).

Why do we need to subtract this amount? Because we are making a pencil skirt from KNIT fabric that is stretchable. It’s called “negative ease”. We don’t want a loose-fitting skirt in this case.

Find a point E on the line AB. Distance AE is equal to your waist to hips measurement. Usually it’s between 7 and 9 in, it’s bigger for tall people usually. 

Draw a perpendicular line from the point E and find points F and G. The line FG is your hipline. Distance FE is equal to EG. Calculate the distance FG like this: your hips measurement divided by 2 MINUS 1 3/16 in (3 cm).

Draw a perpendicular line from the point B and find points H and I. This will be your hemline. The distances HB and BI are equal and HI is equal HIPS divided by 2 MINUS 2 ⅜ in (6 cm)

Now connect points CFH and DGI with smooth curved lines. I am usually using a French curve ruler but you can draw the lines freehand. Just make sure they are completely symmetrical. 

Cut your paper pattern. It’s the same for the front and back. All seam allowances are included, don’t add any seam allowances to the pattern. 

The next step is to choose knit fabric. First, determine how stretchy it is. It has to have at least 25-30% stretch (you can read how to calculate it in this article) – in other words, it better be very stretchy. But it’s not a problem, most knit fabrics are very stretchy. We just made the same pattern for the front and back of the skirt, and we didn’t make any darts to accommodate curves – but with knit fabric we don’t need to. 

The fabric should have good recovery – in other words, it should return to its original size after you stop stretching it. If it doesn’t, it won’t when you wear it either, meaning it may quickly start to look stretched out and misshapen.

Choose medium or heavy weight knit fabric for the skirt – some kind of stable stretch jersey. Thin lightweight knits (like silk or rayon) are not really suitable for this pattern unless you want to make it an underskirt to wear under dresses or skirts. 

Also, think about how you would style your skirt, how it would work with your wardrobe, choose fabric that will be in harmony with most things in your wardrobe. 

Let’s cut the fabric now. 

Place the fabric right sides in, draw a line with a fabric marker perpendicular to the selvage and pin your pattern to the fabric. Make sure the line AB is PARALLEL to the selvages. Cut around the pattern using fabric shears. You will have 2 pieces for your skirt – the front and the back. They are equal. 

Cut a skirt waistband – it’s just a long narrow rectangle 2 ¾ in (7 cm) by YOUR WAIST MEASUREMENT MINUS 2 ⅜ IN (6 CM)

I prefer to sew a waistband for inserting elastic. I think this way I can adjust the elastic better and I can even change it, in case this becomes necessary. 

Now we need to sew a few seams – and we are done. 

First, prepare your serger. Use woolly nylon threads (matching colors) for the loopers (it’s better for very stretchable seams). Insert 2 ballpoint needles. Set the serger for 4 thread 2 needles stitch

Test how your serger sews the fabric you are using for the skirt. Make necessary adjustments. 

More info on woolly nylon threads

YLI 213YLIWHT Woolly Nylon Thread, 1000m, White

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Features

  • King Spool Textured Nylon, For Serger and Decorative Sewing
  • This product is Made of nylon
  • This product is manufactured in Japan
  • Made in Japan

Threadart Wooly Nylon Thread - 1000m Spools - Color 9159 - PINE GREEN - Serger Sewing Stretchy Thread - 50 Colors Available

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Features

  • ✅ Threadart wooly nylon threads have a vibrant shine and color and serges beautifully. Also known as woolly nylon.
  • ✅ It's soft enough to snuggle next to a baby's skin, and full enough in it's relaxed position to provide ideal coverage for seams and rolled edges.
  • ✅ Perfect in upper and lower loopers for rolled hems and edges. Wooly Nylon gives you elasticity and ravel-free finishing that's impossible with other threads.
  • ✅ Stretchy thread for seams of swimwear, lingerie, knits, children's clothing and active wear.
  • ✅ 1000M (1100 yds) Spools, #200, 50 colors available. The stretchy thread that is designed for sergers.

Threadart Wooly Nylon Thread - 1000m Spools - Color 9110 - PINK - Serger Sewing Stretchy Thread - 50 Colors Available

$8.99  in stock
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Features

  • ✅ Threadart wooly nylon threads have a vibrant shine and color and serges beautifully. Also known as woolly nylon.
  • ✅ It's soft enough to snuggle next to a baby's skin, and full enough in it's relaxed position to provide ideal coverage for seams and rolled edges.
  • ✅ Perfect in upper and lower loopers for rolled hems and edges. Wooly Nylon gives you elasticity and ravel-free finishing that's impossible with other threads.
  • ✅ Stretchy thread for seams of swimwear, lingerie, knits, children's clothing and active wear.
  • ✅ 1000M (1100 yds) Spools, #200, 50 colors available. The stretchy thread that is designed for sergers.

The skirt front and back pieces are already on top of each other with right sides together after you cut them, right?  Pin side seams of the skirt and stitch them with the serger. Don’t leave any seam allowances. Let your serger knife go 1 millimeter from the fabric edge. 

Press the seams on one side. 

Next, make the skirt waistband

Prepare your sewing machine – I advise you to use Eloflex thread in the needle and in the bobbin. If you want to know what Eloflex thread is check out my review of that thread.

The thread is specifically designed for knits so that it stretches together with the fabric. But have in mind, not all sewing machine can sew well with Eloflex in the needle. Use Eloflex at least in the bobbin if your sewing machine refuses to sew with this stretchable thread.

More info on Eloflex thread here

CESDes Bundle of 3 Coats Eloflex Streatch Thread 225 yds ea Polyester (Red Pink Purple)

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Features

  • stretch thread for knits on your home sewing machine and with the straight stitch too
  • Use as top thread and bobbin for balanced stretch stitches
  • Use Singer yellow band or Schmetz stretch needles
  • Makes sewing on knits just plain fun and easy

Coats Eloflex Stretch Thread 225yd-lime

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  • Sewing & Quilting
  • Thread
  • Lime -Thread Eloflex
  • Lime

If you are going to use regular sewing thread set your sewing machine for special stitches for stretch fabric (like small zigzag).

Insert a ballpoint needle. 

Stitch the short ends of the waistband leaving ¼ “ seam allowances.  But leave a hole in the seam for inserting elastic. Measure how wide is your elastic and make sure the size of the hole is enough for the elastic to fit.  

Press the seams open and fold the waistband in half lengthwise and press. 

Pin the waistband to the skirt right sides together. The side seam of the skirt and the waistband should match. 

Stitch the waistband to the skirt on your serger. Press the seam allowances facing downwards towards the hem of the skirt.

Measure elastic around your waist (make it not too tight)  and insert elastic into the waistband. Overlap the ends of the elastic about ½  inch and sew the overlapping ends together. 

Now we have to finish the hem.

We left 1 inch for the hem allowances so measure 2 inches from the edge on the wrong side of the skirt, fold the hem and stitch on a regular sewing machine using a twin needle.

I have a detailed tutorial on sewing with twin needles – check it out if you need to know how to do it. Use Eloflex thread (in the bobbin especially) to sew the hem – you will need two spools and the bobbin.

Press the hem and be careful not to stretch the fabric. 

Buy twin needles here

Schmetz 1774 Twin Stretch Machine Needle Size 2.5/75 1ct (2 Pack)

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  • Constructed to provide trouble free sewing
  • Size 2.5/75
  • 1 per package

Tacony Corporation Klasse Twin Ball Point Machine Needles-4.0mm/80 1/Pkg

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  • Designed and developed in Germany, Klasse twin machine needles are engineered to meet the most exact

The skirt is ready!

Now try it on – does the skirt fit well? If it does – then you are lucky and you can make a few more from different fabrics.

If it doesn’t (well, this can happen also, everybody is different and our curves are different) then don’t throw it away – you can still wear it with long tunics and cardigans because problems with fit happen usually in the upper part of the skirt.

The skirt is usually very comfortable to wear. I made a few of them and they fit me well. And I know maybe 50 women who made it and liked it. 

You can also watch my YouTube video tutorial on how to sew a simple skirt and make a knit skirt pattern.

By the way, you can use this pattern to make underskirts

I really like to use this easy pattern to make underskirts from compression fabric – it’s called “power mesh”. Usually, power mesh fabric is sold in black, white or nude colors but I bought in New York power mesh fabric with prints, and I used it to make an underskirt to wear under not lined dresses and skirts (sometimes even instead of latex shapewear). 

More info on power mesh here

Power Mesh Fabric | 5 Yards Continuous | 60" Wide | 4-Way Stretch, 10% Spandex | Lightweight, Sheer (Black)

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Features

  • ✔ [ SOLD by INDIVIDUAL PIECES ] - L: 5 Yards (180" Inches), W: 60" Inches // Each quantity comes in separate piece. Ex: If you choose 5 Yards with Quantity of 2, you will receive 2 separate 5 Yard pieces. //
  • ✔ [ MATERIAL ] - 90% Nylon, 10% Spandex (4-Way Stretch)
  • ✔ [ MULTI-PURPOSE ] - Power mesh is a lightweight, sheer fabric used to add extra compression or support to swimwear and activewear and also extends the life of your suit. Power mesh fabric retains its shape and allows the skin to breathe. Due to the mesh texture, it allows moisture to escape, offering greater comfort than thicker stretchy fabrics such as 100% spandex.
  • ✔ [ HOW TO WASH ] - It is recommended to wash and dry your power mesh in the same way you plan to launder your finished suit. You can wash power mesh in warm water with mild soap, and hang it dry or use the 'air-dry' setting in the dryer.
  • ✔ [ BRANDED ] - Our products carry 'Barcelonetta' brand labels on the packaging which ensures you "Customer Satisfaction Guarantee". 30-Day Free Return. (Trademark Registered)

Solid Power Mesh Fabric Nylon Spandex 60" Wide Stretch Sold BTY Many Colors (1 Yard, Nude)

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Features

  • 90% nylon and 10% spandex . 4-way stretch ; Weight: 93GSM and Thickness: 0.35mm
  • Power mesh works great in uniforms, sports wear, undergarments, and many other fashion applications. It is a light, soft, breathable, yet sturdy.
  • ***PLEASE NOTE THAT IF YOU ORDER MULTIPLE QUANTITIES WITH PRIME, THEY MAY NOT COME IN A SINGLE CONTINUOUS PIECE.
  • This fabric is sold by the yard and cut to order.
  • High Quality Power Mesh with thousands of yards in stock!

Ben Textiles Power Mesh White Fabric By The Yard

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Features

  • Fabric Type: 100% Nylon
  • Import Designation: Made in the USA or Imported
  • Fabric care instructions: Machine Wash Cold/Tumble Dry Low
  • 58'' wide. Fabric is sold by the yard and cut to order. For example, order of 1 yard (Qty=1) is 58'' x 36''. Order of 3 yards (Qty=3) is 58'' x 108''.

This underskirt will smooth you out under your dresses and skirts and even will help to hide a tummy a little and make you look thinner.  The big plus of this underskirt – it will hide your underwear lines when you are wearing tight-fitting skirts or dresses.

Power mesh is comfortable, very lightweight breathable fabric. So make yourself an underskirt using this pattern.

But if you want a perfectly fitting skirt from woven fabric then check out my tutorial on making a pencil skirt pattern.

If you are interested in my other fast and easy sewing projects check out these tutorials:

Did you find this tutorial helpful? If so, save this pin (see below) on your sewing board so you can come to this tutorial later when you are ready to sew your own knit pencil skirt and follow me on Pinterest for more tips, tutorials, and inspiration! 

Ready to take the next step in your sewing journey? Check out more step-by-step tutorials from my blog and don’t forget to share ! 

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