Guest Post: DIY A-Line Maternity Skirt

This post is written by Diana from Saving By Making.

Have you priced maternity clothes lately? It seems like even for basic items, if they say “maternity” on them, they’re a good $5 to $10 more than a similar non-maternity item. Crazy!

I knew I was going to want some comfortable skirts for this pregnancy, so I decided to make some instead of shopping for them. I used an a-line skirt that I loved and took some measurements from it. Then I adjusted them for my bigger-than-I’ve-ever-been-before size. :)
If you have an a-line skirt that you like, pull it out of the closet. You can get your measurements straight from it, or you can measure yourself.
What you’ll need to make the pattern:
  1. newspaper or tracing paper (to draw the pattern on)
  2. a tape measure (to measure yourself)
  3. a ruler (for drawing straight lines)
  4. scissors (to cut it out)
What you’ll need for the skirt itself:
  1. 1 ½ yards of a good skirt fabric (more if you plan to make it ankle-length)
  2. a piece of 2” wide elastic long enough to go around your waist
  3. knit fabric enough to cover the elastic (¼ yard should be fine)
  4. sewing machine and coordinating thread
And just a disclaimer: it was hard to figure out how to explain how I did this! So if you’re confused just by reading through it, don’t worry. Get your stuff out and actually do it, and it should start making sense. :)
Let’s get started!
The Basic Shape of the Skirt
The basic shape of an a-line skirt is very simple:

The problem is getting it to fit properly. In reality, most skirts are shaped more like this:

Measure Yourself (or your skirt)
You’ll need three measurements:
  1. waist width
  2. skirt length
  3. hem width
Waist width and skirt length will be the easiest to figure out; I’ll help you on the hem width.
Waist Width:
Measure around your waist where you want the top of the skirt to fall (remember, we’ll be adding an elastic band at the top, so you may want to measure a little low). Write down this number.
Skirt Length:
Measure how long you want the skirt. This may be easiest on a skirt whose length you already like, or you may ask another person to measure on you. I’m just over 5′ tall, and I wanted mine to hit right below my knees. I made it 22″ long. Yours will probably be longer or shorter, depending on your preferences.
Hem  Width:
This will be a little bit wider than your waist width was.
Here’s a table with some common waist widths and lengths:
Find the number closest to your waist width (round to the closest one; it’ll be fine) and your preferred length. The number in the table where those columns/rows intersect is your hem width measurement.
  1. the “waist” measurement is your whole waist measurement–all the way around
  2. the hem width measurement is half of the total hem measurement
  3. we’ll halve the waist measurement in a minute, so no worries
Start Your Pattern
Take your newspaper or tracing paper, and draw a straight line half the width of your waist width measurement. (Told ya we were going to halve it!)
Right in the middle, measure down 1 ½ inches and make a dot.
Freehand a curve that slants down to the dot and then back up to the other side of the line.
This will be the top of your pattern.
At both the right and left sides of your straight line, measure down the distance of your skirt length. Make marks.
Draw a straight line through these marks. This line should be the width of your “hem width” measurement (that you found from the table). Center it evenly underneath the waist line.
Draw a dot 2 inches below the hem line, right in the center.
Freehand a curve just like you did before.
Connect the two lines on the sides, and you’ll have your pattern!
Cutting Out the Pattern
Right now there’s no seam allowance factored in to your pattern. A ⅝” seam allowance is pretty standard for clothing, so we’ll cut the pattern out ⅝” away from your drawn lines.
Grab your scissors and start at one of the bottom corners. Using a ruler to measure, cut up towards the top (NOT across the hem!), ⅝” away from your drawn line.
When you get to the top, cut ⅝” away from the curved line, NOT the straight line.
Cut down the other side towards the hem, still ⅝” away from the drawn line.
When you get to the hem, you’ll want to change the amount of allowance you’re adding. Add at least 1 ½” to make sure there’s plenty of room to give it a good hem, but you can decide how much extra you’d like. (The heavier the fabric is, the deeper you’ll want your hem.) Cut extra so that you don’t end up with a skirt that’s too short. :)
So cut at least 1 ½” away from your curved hem line (NOT the straight one) and you should meet back up with the side you’ve already cut.
To make the skirt, we’ll use this pattern piece to cut out the front and the back. Then we’ll sew them together, add the waistband, and hem it. Easy peasy! :)
For the skirt tutorial, see Or, if you’d like to make it your own way, by all means, go right ahead!
Thanks to Debbie for letting me guest post today!
Diana Still enjoys making things instead of purchasing them–saving trips to the store as well as some hard-earned money. She enjoys cooking, baking, sewing, knitting, and crocheting, but puts off painting projects as long as possible. Find her over at for tips and tricks that will save you time and money.