How to Make a Flared Wrap Skirt

Written by jill brown
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How to Make a Flared Wrap Skirt
Sewing your own skirt is a creative way to express your personal style. (sewing machine image by pavel siamionov from

Wrap skirts are a fashion "must" for just about every figure type. Despite their simple, one-size-fits-most structure, they artfully create the illusion of an hourglass figure, even for rail-thin or apple-shaped women. A wrap skirt that is flared further enhances this effect; it flows freely about legs, making them appear thinner, and the fullness of the skirt narrows the waist by contrast. Wrap skirts are also comfortable and adjustable, making them versatile and sensible, as well as great looking.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Body measurements
  • Material
  • Measuring tape
  • Tailor's chalk
  • Cutting shears
  • Sewing machine

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  1. 1

    Multiply your waist measurement by 1.5 to determine how wide the top of your skirt should be. A wrap skirt, when tied around your waist, should overlap itself by about half for modesty's sake.

  2. 2

    Add an inch and a half to the desired length of your skirt, in inches. This is the length of your skirt, as you will cut it from the fabric, with the inch and a half added for seam allowance and bottom hem. For example, if you want your skirt 26 inches long (which will fall slightly below the knee on the "average" woman), you will cut your skirt with a raw length of 27 and a half inches.

  3. 3

    Determine how "flared" you want the skirt. For a more closely fitting skirt, you will cut panels that are narrower, with less of an arc; fuller skirts will have wider panels, with more arc. Flare can be measured in the degrees of a circle. For example, a 360-degree skirt (all the way around the circle) will be much fuller than a 180-degree skirt.

  4. 4

    Lay your fabric out smoothly on a flat surface and mark your panels. The easiest way to get perfectly arcing panels is by tacking the end of your tape measure into your work surface, placing your fabric under the tape measure (wrong side up) and marking the cut lines for top and bottom as you slowly swing the tape measure over the fabric in a smooth circle. Tailor's chalk works great for making these temporary marks; it washes out easily. The top of each skirt panel will be marked along a smaller radius, roughly 8 to 10 inches from the thumbtack, depending on how many panels you are cutting and the width of the top of your skirt, as calculated in Step 1. Adding the inner radius to the raw length, which you determined in Step 2, will give you the radius of the outer circle, which will become the bottom of your skirt. Mark the sides of your panels using the measuring tape as a straight edge as you gently pull it taut, outward from the thumbtack. The exact number of panels you need will vary, depending on the dimensions of your fabric swatch, the width of the top of your skirt, and how full you want the skirt.

  5. 5

    Cut the panels from the fabric using fabric shears.

  1. 1

    Sew the panels together along the sides, with the wrong sides facing each other. Continue sewing all your panels, one to the next, until you have one long, panel; it should look like the arc of a circle or a big, curving smile.

  2. 2

    Hem the bottom and ends of your skirt. Turn the edge under by one-inch all the way around the bottom of your skirt, pinning as you go. Sew or serge hem into place, keeping a sharp corner where the bottom and sides meet. Do not forget to remove the pins as you sew.

  3. 3

    Make a waistband for your skirt by cutting a long, thin strip of your fabric. This strip needs to be two to three times your waist measurement. The width of the finished waistband will be a little less than half the width of this strip, so cut your strip accordingly. Fold the strip in half lengthwise, with right sides facing, and sew it along the long edge, forming a fabric "tube". Turn inside out (a safety pin attached to one end of the tube and pulled through the "tube" makes this task easier) and finish the ends by tucking raw ends into the tube and stitching flat.

  4. 4

    Attach the skirt to the waistband. Center the panels on the waistband, so that there is a roughly equal length of tie on either end of the skirt top. Fold the skirt top back one half inch and pin it flat to the waistband with the right side of the skirt facing the back of the waistband. Prevent your skirt from being bulky at the waist by pinning the skirt low on the waistband, near the bottom, where your "tube" seam should be. Sew into place and remove pins.

Tips and warnings

  • Wide, sturdy ribbon in a complementary shade can be substituted for the waistband instead of making one from the skirt fabric. This shortcut saves time and work, and comes in handy if your fabric yardage is not long enough for you to cut a strip long enough for a waistband.
  • If you are feeling crafty, sew a buttonhole into the waistband for the tie to pass through. This helps the ties and waistband lay flat when you wear the skirt.
  • Always double-check the measurements before cutting the material.
  • Remove pins from the fabric after sewing the seams; forgotten pins can give you a nasty surprise.

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