A Maxi from Scratch

While searching through a box of stuff at my Aunt’s recently, I stumbled upon a fab piece of fabric.  My sister got it at the Salvation Army for a hundred  and ninety-nine pennies several years ago but somehow it got lost in the shuffle of moving, marriage, babies…you know how it goes.  Well, finders keepers, right Farrah?  Or, I asked her if I could have it and she said “yes”.  Either way, it’s mine now…har har har. blueorangemaxi 001

My plans?  A maxi skirt.  How I did it?  Read and learn…and then make one yourself because it’s that easy!

Things you’ll need:
-Sewing machine (or your hands, a needle, and thread if you’re that good)  I used to use a hand-held machine I bought at Wal-Mart for $15.  That’d work too.
-Elastic – at least 1/2 inch thick
-Measuring tape
-Pins – stick and one safety
-A piece of fabric (read on to determine measurements)

First, I cut my newly-acquired fabric to the desired size.  I didn’t mess with the length but did have to cut some off the future waistline.  All cut my fabric measured 60 by 44 inches.  (Detailed measurements below.) 
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Then, I sewed a straight stitch up the side, connecting the two cut ends and making one large tube of fabric.  I finished that off with a zig-zag stitch for fray protection.   blueorangemaxi 003

Next, I grabbed a package of two-inch wide elastic I purchased awhile ago at JoAnn’s for this exact purpose.  (It should read “Underwear & Pajama & Maxi Skirt Elastic”…note to Dritz.)  :) blueorangemaxi 004

Then I folded and pinned down a hem at the top of the skirt into which would fit the elastic.  Since I was using 2 inch wide elastic, I made a 2.5 inch hem.  You want to make sure the pocket that houses the elastic fits around the elastic snugly so that, once installed, the elastic doesn’t have room to twist.  (Side note:  the top and bottom ends of this fabric didn’t need to be hemmed since I was changing the length of the skirt.  I just left them the way they were – you can see how they looked in the above picture.  If your piece of fabric is cut on either of those ends and needs reinforcement or if you just want a sewn hem, you’ll have sew that in now before you continue to the next step.) blueorangemaxi 005

Starting close to my sewn side hem just because, I sewed a straight stitch all around the top of the skirt, making sure to leave a 3 inch opening through which to feed my elastic.  I also made sure to backstitch at each end…very important if you want your stitch to stay intact.  This just involves sewing a few stitches, reversing over them, and sewing forward.  At the end of a hem it’s the same – reverse a few stitches and go forward a few stitches. blueorangemaxi 006

After cutting my elastic to the desired length, I attached one end close to one side of my hem opening and to the other I attached a safety pin.  Attaching the safety pin helps you feed the elastic through the hem.  
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You just push and pull the elastic through while holding onto the safety pin through the fabric, like so: blueorangemaxi 009
(Just make sure you feed the elastic through without twisting it!)

Eventually I maneuvered the elastic all the way through until the ends met once again. blueorangemaxi 010

I sewed those together…blueorangemaxi 011

…and then sewed the opening I left to thread the elastic through closed, making sure to backstitch at each end again.blueorangemaxi 012

Just in case you want some measurement technicalities to make your own:
The piece of fabric I used measured 60 inches (hip/waist and bottom hem) by 44 inches – a big rectangle.  I’m 5’9” so without cutting the length, 44 inches allowed me a 2.5 in hem at the top to house the elastic with the bottom of the skirt grazing the ground just a tad…just the way I like it.  I cut the elastic to 27 inches long, allowing a 1 inch seam overlap once the two ends were sewn together.  So, the finished elastic piece measured 26 inches.  I’m a size 2-4 generally so this length fit snugly around my hips and will hopefully accommodate a growing belly…thank God for elastic.  For each size up I’d say add an inch, however it’s always best to pin it around your hips first before cutting.  I tend to wear skirts on my hip vs. my waist.  Keep how you wear yours in mind when figuring out elastic length.  :) 

I did all of this in a half hour time period yesterday morning and wore it to church last night like this:blueorangemaxi 058

Top:  Goodwill – altered
Skirt:  Home.Made.
Flips:  unseen but Wally World
Baby belly:  Well, you know.  ;)
-Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple for (drumroll) What I Wore Sunday!-

But hold up!  I’m not stopping there.  I got a little crazy and went all “How We Wear It” with Shana and Camille

I typically wear maxi skirts with a form-fitting shirt, tucked in.  See?  So blahzay, I know.  But, to amp up my plain jane pairing, I figured out a few ways I could “maximize my maxi.”, if you will.  Here’s how:

> > >By adding a sarong over the top.  If I had an orange or even a yellow piece of extra fabric lying around, I would’ve used it for a blast of color with a hint of pattern buuuuut, all I had was the excess fabric.  So, I grabbed it and tied it around, creating a multi-layer skirt.
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(Throw an intermission into the photo sesh…a twin awoke.)

> > >By adding a belt.  It’s as simple as it sounds.  Throw a belt around the elastic.  Could work for a grocery run but since I hate, hate, hate those, I’ll wear it to Target instead.blueorangemaxi 071

> > >By tying a scarf around the waist.  This might be my favorite.  All I did was grab a coordinating scarf (really any color would work) and tied it in a big ‘ole knot under the 19 week fetal bump.  Bam!  Ship me to Barbados, I’m ready!
blueorangemaxi 081

How do you wear a maxi skirt?  Head over to Ain’t No Mom Jeans and Life In Mod and share (or use hashtag #howwewearit on Instagram!)  And, as always, comment with any questions or send me a line at beaninlove.gmail.com!  I won’t ‘skirt’ around any issues you might have, promise.  ;)


  1. Aaahhh- love it! How about.. You make me a maxi. You're a pro and I haven't a single handy stitch in my being. :)

  2. I love this and I think it's official. I need to buy a sewing machine.

    1. Yes, yes you do. Amazon has great deals!!!

  3. This fabric is such a find...I'd steal it too! Haha. Loving it...

    and how you styled it with the sarong, extra fabric(!) and belt. Nice.

    Thanks for linking, Sheena! :)

  4. Sheena, you're amazing! :) And adorably cute ... :)

    1. And you're going to make my head explode...now stop. ;) Thanks Rebekah. :)

  5. Great looks, Sheena! All of them are stylish and fun, even the one that you think is blahsay! The skirt and fabric give it such a pop and all the other additions just make it pop more. pretty, pretty, pretty and congrats on the bun in the oven!

    1. Thanks, thanks, and thanks Laura Rose!!! :)

  6. Every time you post a sewing project, I hear my sewing machine sign longingly from the closet. So sad and unused.I just yell at it "shush up or it's the basement for you!"

    Awesome skirt and great styling. I love it with the orange and its a great dress up or dress down fabric!

  7. Love this! I really am going to get a sewing machine of my own one of these days... I so want to learn to sew! And you could totally use that extra fabric to make matching skirts for the girls if you want to go suuuuuuper cutesy!

    Also, your tummy is so tiny! Does it feel totally crazy to be pregnant with just a singleton?

  8. That fabric is awesome! Great tutorial.

    1. Thank you!!! I'm so lucky she said "yes"! Haha! :)