Sewing: Chiffon Maxi Skirt


This was quite possibly the hardest make I’ve ever done. I completed the chiffon skirt I’ve had stewing in my brain for months. It has taken me so long to do it because the material intimidated me. I’d say this project took a total of 6-8 hours to complete. Most of that time was in the pattern and cutting stages.

The plan was to make something that had a nice flow and drape to it for the Friday night parties at Alt Summit, but something that was comfortable and breathable for dancing and running around. I feel like this strikes both fancy and wearable arenas.

I had originally thought about doing some kind of easy elastic waistband to keep the construction simple, but if I really wanted to do it right, I needed a real waistband with an invisible zipper. That also scared the bejeebers out of me as I’ve only put in one invisible zipper in and it was while being heavily supervised by my amazing sewing friend. I used the same chiffon fabric for the waistband, but I interfaced both sides of the waistband for structure. I’m glad I did both sides instead of just the one.

Since the fabric was so cheer, I cut out two layers, unfortunately I didn’t have enough for two full-length layers so the bottom layer hits just below knee length. I feel like it would’ve been better full-length, but it still has a nice effect. Additionally, the two layers together still aren’t opaque enough to hide my underwear, so I whipped up a wiggle skirt out of nude swimsuit lining. It’s just enough opacity to do the trick, but not to add any extra weight.

I can see the little flaws that make it look home made, but I’m hoping that others won’t when I wear it to the mini parties. I’ve also realized that I don’t have a top that goes really well with this skirt. I need a cropped or peplum top. We’ll see if I can whip one up in time for the conference.

This week is crazy busy, but I have so many things I want to share with you before I go MIA for the weekend. Oh how I wish there were more hours in the day!

Outfit Details:

  • top: Target, refashioned
  • earrings: IHAMLT
  • belt: thrifted
  • skirt: handmade
  • shoes: thrifted

I thought I’d include some simple instructions on how I constructed it, in case you’re interested in making your own. Read more for the full tutorial.

Construct your pattern on paper. I used a curved ruler to make the round shape. Lay the pattern on top of your fabric and weigh it down with weights. Cut your material. If you’re doing sheer material like mine, two pieces for each layer you want to include. Interface your waist fabric with fusible interfacing.

Sew one side of your skirt together. I serged these two layers together.

If you’re using a sheer or loose weave material, you’ll want to serge, zig zag or hem the two open ends seperately so your skirt won’t fray. You’ll also want to stay-stitch your waist (a baste stitch all the way around the waist, just shy of your seam allowance).

Pin the waistband to the skirt, right sides together.


Insert your zipper below your waistband. You can follow instructions on your zipper or check out this tutorial for invisible zipper insertion.

Sew the rest of the skirt, right sides together. Fold your waistband down about 1/2 inch, then fold in half to meet the original seam, making sure the raw edge of that original waist seam (and ends) will be encased. Sew the waist band down. I pinned the waistband, then sewed along the right side of the waistband so I could get a perfect top stitch. Add a clasp or button for the waistband. Hem the edge of your skirt using a baby hem and you’re done!

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    1. taylor says:

      Beautiful! I would be so scared to sew with that fabric but you did a beautiful job and I really like that the lining is shorter!

    2. Lindsay says:

      I love it! I don’t think it looks homemade, either. You have such a talent for sewing beautiful pieces.

    3. Heidi says:

      What a very flattering skirt. I haven’t dared to even try sewing chiffon after a very talented seamstress friend (she made my wedding dress) said that a chiffon bridesmaid dress she altered was the hardest dress she ever altered. Of course, it had plenty of gathers and boning, etc but still. It kind of scared me away.

    4. I’ve got to make Elizabeth come over here and check this out—she’s been wanting to make a chiffon maxi since we went to LA in the spring….it’s super cute.

    5. Emily says:


    6. Kristie says:

      Love this skirt. It is so pretty. And I think the top goes really well with it. Thanks for including tips and tricks!

    7. dana says:

      gorgeous Melissa. Wow. Can’t wait to see that in person.
      And your new site looks FABULOUS. Well done!

    8. Kelsey Bang says:

      OH mY you are so dang talented! I am so glad I got to meet you at alt! You are stunning! Consider me your newest follower :)

    9. Charity says:

      This is beautiful! I love the chiffon and the smooth drape of the skirt. Lovely. =)

    10. Julie says:

      I love the tutorial for the skirt! Could you please consider also figuring out how to do one for the top and one for the belt please?

    11. dalilah says:

      When using alining for this skirt do I cut it and measure it the same way I cut the sheer fabric.Im confused.

    12. […] used the same template as I used in my woven maxi tutorial for the underskirt. I did change the zipper to the back rather than the side. So I measured at the […]

      • Roche Lurie says:

        DO I NEED??? I HAVE A 42″ HIP.
        G-D BLESS, ROCHE.

    13. Klutzy says:

      I don’t think it looks homemade but what’s wrong if it does? I would be green with envy!! Thanks for this tut, hoping it will work with any woven fabric.

    14. d says:

      Your skirt is beautiful! thanks for sharing this!

    15. fbzy says:

      hi..tq for the tuto! luv it ^^.but i confious about (hip / 4) + 10 – 20 inches. let say my hips is 40.

      • Melissa says:

        I don’t mean 10 minus 20, I meant 10 to 20 inches (depending upon how much fabric you have and how full you want the bottom of your skirt). Hopefully that helps!

    16. danielle says:

      I love this pattern and trying to do it now but I’m confused.. the measurements for the pattern call for 1/4th.. but if u place on the fold won’t it open t o 1/2? Then later it says to sew the rest of the skirt.. is it 4 panels or 2?? I’m sure i may be thinking too much into this plz help

    17. danielle says:

      Omg it finally clicked.. the 1/4 will open to 1/2.. we are cutting a front n back of the skirt.. I’m so silly! I syared at this for hours yesterday. .plz excuse my pregnancy brain!! Things just don’t click these days!! Love love love this tut trying it today!!!

    18. Leslie says:

      I really loved the top! Did you make this also? If so, is there a tutorial for it?

    19. Beatrice says:

      thank you I have been battling with chiffon maxi skirts for months and every time I tried the result was a disaster. Finally I got it right thanks to you Melissa.

    20. Tee says:

      Beautiful! Thanks for the tutorial too! I want to try it. How did you get the back to be slightly longer than the front. I like the little train effect. Also, how many inches did you add to your hip measurement for the hem of your skirt in particular? The fullness is perfect.

    21. Tee says:

      Beautiful! Thanks for the tutorial too! I want to try it. How did you get the back to be slightly longer than the front. I like the little train effect. Also, how many inches did you add to your hip measurement for the hem of your skirt in particular? The fullness is perfect. Thanks!

      • Melissa says:

        I think the back looks longer than the front just because of the way I’m posed, but if you want to make it longer, fold it in half so the side seams are matching and trim just a little off the front. I think I added 20 inches to my hip measurement for the fullness of the skirt.

    22. Hannah says:

      So you said to add from 10 to 20 inches for the bottom of the skirt. What I was wondering is how much you added? And how many yards of fabric should I get?

    23. Hannah Mangum says:

      Hello! Just wondering if you wanted 8 meters of fabric or a more flowy look, would you make it any differently? Could you email me a pattern for it I need one?

    24. Shalene says:

      Ack! Thank you! This is exactly what I’ve been looking for!!!

    25. Miss Manitas says:

      Suprcute!! I love the pattern

    26. Mandy says:


    27. Nancy says:

      How lovely…you did such a nice job. I do have a sewing tip that might just be helpfulness for you. When sewing with sheer fabric try using the French stitch or mock French stitch. You can google how to. Your garment will come out joking very professional.

    28. cally says:

      hello, i would like some help with the hip measurement portion of the pattern. my hip is 45.5. when i divided it by 4 i got 11.375. then i did the other portion and got 1.375. I know I’m not a math wiz but where am i going wrong?

    29. […] été faite avec un tissu 100% coton (10€ les 3m chez Les Coupons de Saint-Pierre), en suivant le patron ici. Pour celles qui ont peur de la fermeture invisible, l’autre alternative est de faire la […]

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