The easiest skirt and pant patterns have an elastic waist. And they are often the first garment a sewer makes.

This post has been replaced by this more recent post on elastic waist garments.

Making the simplest skirt or pants needs basic skills. These skills are used in nearly every sewing project :
Using a sewing machine
Using a sewing pattern
– laying out the pattern on the fabric.
– cutting out the fabric.
Sewing an open seam
Finishing seam allowances with a zigzag stitch
Pressing an open seam
– double fold hem.

Elastic waist skirts and pants also add new skills.
Skirts are easier.

for a skirt :
– make a waist casing.
– thread elastic through.
Here’s a video on doing those processes. (She’s wearing a surprisingly badly made and badly fitted blouse, but the sewing instruction is good.)

for pants :
waist casing and elastic, plus :
– sort out how to combine the 4 seams for the crotch seams and inside legs. There are methods for helping make this fool-proof, but many people land up with oddities at times 😀
– sew curved seams and intersecting seams – skills needed to sew the crotch seam.
The pant sewalongs listed below show you how to do these skills.

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Elastic waist skirt

Here’s a written tutorial from Sew Mama Sew for making a skirt so simple you don’t need a pattern.

A video tutorial from eSewingWorkshop on making a dirndl skirt (not free).

The SewMamaSew presentation is quick and easy, the eSewingWorkshop one is slow and careful. Try both and find which style you prefer to learn from.

For adults there’s a simple beginners’ pattern at Kwik Sew, Kwik Sew Kwik Start 3765.


For skirts which need more advanced sewing skills, see Sewingplums posts on :
Skirts – written sewalongs
Skirts – video sewalongs

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Elastic waist pants

There’s a multitude of patterns for elastic waist pants, for all ages and both sexes.
Most big pattern companies have speedy versions.

Such as beginners’ pattern Kwik Sew Kwik Start 3314.


Elastic waist pants are sewn in the same way as pyjama pants. Non-loungewear pants are usually closer fitted, and often have a side seam.

For links to sewalongs for pyjama pants, see Sewingplums post on :
Pyjamas and elastic waist pants
That post has links to sewalongs for near beginners and for advanced beginners.

For sewalongs for more advanced pant making, see Sewingplums post on
pants, jeans, sweatpants.

Pyjama pants just need to be comfortable, so they’re made with lots of ‘ease’.
When you make slimmer pants you may want to work towards getting a good fit.
Here a page of Sewingplums posts on fit, with 3 specialist posts on pant fitting.

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Celebrate your skills by making dozens of these skirts and pants, or take this as the first step to many other sewing adventures.
It’s your choice 😀

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Links and patterns available October 2013

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