New This Month


One-Hour Skirt

This easy project from author Brett Bara's "Sewing in a Straight Line" is the perfect project for a beginner sewer.

Photography: Rob Tannenbaum

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, December 2011


Resources: All tools and materials available from your local crafts or fabric-supply store.


  • 1 yard medium-weight fabric

  • 1 3/4-inch-wide elastic

  • Cloth measuring tape

  • Fabric scissors

  • Sewing pins

  • Sewing machine and thread

  • Iron

  • Large safety pin


  1. Begin by measuring your hip circumference, 7 to 8 inches below your natural waist, or at your widest point.

  2. Cut two rectangles of fabric with a width equal to your hip circumference measurement and the desired length plus 4 1/2 inches to allow for waistband and hem.

  3. Pin pieces together and sew along both side edges with 1/4-inch French seams.

  4. To create elastic waistband casing, turn top edge of the skirt under 1/2 inch and press with an iron. Turn this folded top edge under 2 inches, press and pin. Topstitch folded edge in place, leaving a 4-inch opening near one side seam.

  5. Turn hem of skirt under 1/2 inch and press. Turn this folded bottom edge under 1 1/2 inches, press, and pin. Topstitch hem in place.

  6. Measure your waist circumference and cut a length of 1 3/4-inch elastic to that measurement minus one inch.

  7. Attach a large safety pin to one end of elastic and thread through entire waistband casing, being sure not to twist elastic.

  8. When safety pin gets back to opening, overlap raw edges of elastic 1/2 inch and sew together with a straight stitch, backstitching to reinforce at beginning and end of stitch.

  9. Insert joined elastic ends back into casing and topstitch opening closed.

  10. Distribute gathers evenly around skirt and stitch in the ditch along each side seam at waistband to secure elastic in place. (Tip: "Stitch in the ditch" means sew directly over an existing seam. Simply lower your sewing machine needle into the existing seam, and sew along in the "ditch" over the previous stitching.

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