High-Low Skirt Tutorial by Crystal

Thursday, May 31, 2012
Hey everyone, my name is Crystal from hey COOBABE. I blog about daily life with my husband and sweet baby girl with budget style and beauty thrown into the mix. I love a good deal but I don't like to sacrifice great style so I try to find trends for cheap or make it myself. Recently, I've been looking for a modest high-low skirt everywhere and finally refashioned an old dress to make one. I hope you enjoy the tutorial and feel free to stop on by and say hello! Let's jump right in, shall we?

What you'll need:

Go get an oversized dress from a thrift store. You'll want it to hit at least mid-calf. Don't forget to wash your dress before you start sewing.. (Gross.) Measure how long you want the low part of your skirt to be and cut the dress across. Now you have an ugly crop top!

Measure your waist and cut a strip of the 1" wide elastic in your waist length plus two more inches.

Turn your skirt inside out and iron down a 1/4" hem around the waist. It will look like this when you are done ironing.

Iron an additional 1 1/2" hem. I did it in sections by first measuring, pinning, and then ironing over the metal pins. (If you use pins with plastic heads, it will melt when you iron over it.)

After it is all ironed and pinned, sew a straight stitch along the pinned hem. Make sure you back stitch and DO NOT sew all the way around. Leave at least a 1 1/2" opening at the end. This is where the elastic will go in.

Put a safety pin on one end of the elastic and feed it through the waistband. Be sure to pin the other end of the elastic to the opening so you don't lose it. You want both ends of the elastic to meet at the opening. There will be a lot of gathering so as you push the elastic through, be sure to even it out.

Once you have both ends of the elastic at the opening, take off the safety pins and use a pin to overlap the elastic over each other an inch. Make sure the elastic did not get twisted in the casing.

Sew a box with a dash through it on the overlapped part of the elastic. (I used white thread so it would show up in pictures.)

Push the elastic through the waistband casing and sew the opening shut.

Now you have a rad midi skirt! But, you're not done yet... Undo the hem of the skirt. You can do this by either cutting it off or unpicking the hem with a seam ripper. I chose to unpick because I wanted as much length to work with as possible. I was left with just a surged hem which is fine. It can be a raw hem too - either way works.

Try on the skirt and with the marking chalk, mark where you want the "high" part to hit on your body. The mark will be how short the skirt will be.

Fold the skirt in half with the front of the skirt on the right and the back of the skirt on the left. So what you are looking at in the below picture is of the SIDE of the skirt. You want to make sure the skirt is as flat as can be so make room and spread out the skirt as much as you can. Oh, and for this part, make sure you are on a surface that you can use a rotary cutter like on a mat.

Using a rotary cutter, start cutting at the front (right) of the skirt 1 1/4" below the chalk mark you made. and gradually finish cutting to the back of the skirt. You may not be able to tell from the picture but I stayed pretty horizontal at the front of the skirt and at the back. I honestly just eyeballed it. Before I started cutting, I quickly used my chalk and drew a line across the skirt of where I would like to cut to get that nice gradual diagonal almost 'S' shape. It is really IMPORTANT that you keep the fabric FLAT where you will be cutting (The top of the skirt can be bunchy.) before and during cutting or else you will cut the skirt weird.

Turn the skirt inside out and iron a hem of 1/4". Then pin and hem an additional 1". This part can be tricky because the hem is bigger in circumference at the bottom of the skirt and becomes smaller the higher up the skirt. When you are pinning, you'll have to push and stretch a bit between each pin so the hem lays as flat as possible or else there will be extra bunching in your hem.

Once the skirt is pinned and ironed, sew the hem down. Make sure to back stitch at the beginning and end. When you are done sewing, do a quick run through of the skirt and cut any loose threads. And, you're done!! You look fabulous!!


  1. That is amazing I can definitely see that in a department store somewhere.

  2. Wow simple and easy! Now i think i can make another skirt i've wanted to make.

  3. If only i had a sewing machine! Lovely diy! I'm so crazy over the high low look!