10 Steps to Altering a Skirt Waist

10 steps to altering a skirt waist

When I mentioned in this ‘Cosy Winter Skirt’ post that I needed to take my skirt in a bit, one of my lovely readers asked me about it and suggested that maybe a post about how I did it would be useful, so without further ado in an extra bonus blog post, here’s my process in 10 steps to altering my skirt waist.

****Bear in mind that not all skirts are made in the same way around the waistline. There may be facings instead of waistbands or the lining might be attached to the waistband differently, but hopefully, this will still prove useful to you. Do let me know if you find this helpful and if you want similar posts in future? I know some of you already know how to do these kinds of sewing jobs, but there are also those who find jobs like this a bit tricky. Either way, I enjoy sharing my methods*****

10 Steps to Altering a Skirt waist….

Step 1

Try on your skirt and determine how much needs to be taken in. I need to take in about an inch in my waist. My skirt is also a little roomy through my hip area, but as I’m rather flat over my bottom, if I just took more allowance in the darts I would get a bit too much fullness over my rear just below the darts. In this instance, I need to do the adjustment down the side seams and stitch further down than dart length.

10 steps to altering a skirt waist

Step 2

Pin skirt to fit and then baste along the line of pins. Also, make a note of how much needs to be adjusted on the waistband length.

10 steps to altering a skirt waist

Step 3

Next, the waistband needs to be unpicked by about  2/3rds. I intend to remove excess waistband length from one end of it (the end without the buttonhole) but if the waistband had a centre back seam or side seams in it then you could adjust at these points…or you could even cut through your band and make a centre back seam. I chose not to.

Step 4

Using the basting lines as a guide, pin and stitch down each side seam on the main fabric tapering off to nothing. Then unpick the old stitch line and press the seam open.

10 steps to altering a skirt waist

Step 5

Repeat the stitching lines down the lining and press flat.

10 steps to altering a skirt waist

Step 6

Mark the new endpoint on your waistband. Now, normally I would say stitch across at this point and trim off the excess. In my case however…I’ve decided to leave the excess, just in case I pile on a few pounds and need to let my skirt out again! Hopefully, I won’t, but never say never eh? I also won’t trim any more seam allowance off either. My seams are small to begin, with so the extra allowance won’t make much difference. Anyway…use the newly marked end of your band as the placement line for the zipper edge.

Step 7

Pin the top edge of the lining to the top edge of your skirt.

Step 8

Pin or pin and baste, the waistband to the waistline (I also pinned my hanging loops in position) and then machine stitch along.

10 steps to altering a skirt waist

Step 9

Fold over the waistband and carefully pin along in the ditch. Baste and then machine stitch in place.

10 steps to altering a skirt waist

10 steps to altering a skirt waist

Step 10

Sew the button back in its new position, give the band a final press and you’re done!

I hope you found this extra post useful. I’ll be back on Friday with a special post so stay tuned. ‘Till then, bye!


10 steps to altering a skirt waist


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  1. January 24, 2018 / 6:08 pm

    Thank you for the tutorial, and yes I’d like to see more like it!

    • diane
      January 24, 2018 / 8:26 pm

      Thanks, Faye, you’re welcome. Yes, by all means…happy to oblige!

  2. January 24, 2018 / 7:48 pm

    Many thanks for this post 😘 I probably would’ve been daunted by making a skirt and finding it too roomy, so it’s helpful to see a matter-of-fact “I just need to take it in and here’s what that looks like” post. Very encouraging!

    • diane
      January 24, 2018 / 8:37 pm

      Ohh, you’re welcome, Kristina. I’m glad you find it useful xx. You’re absolutely right…it is good to share how problems are fixed/alterations done etc. A kind of warts and all…this is how I fix it blog post. I hate having to unpick and re-do stuff, especially when it’s taken time and effort to be neat and precise, but it happens… By the way, feel free to ask questions and make requests, email etc. anytime. xxx

  3. Helen
    January 24, 2018 / 8:30 pm

    I love the “safety net” of leaving the excess there just in case! That would never have occurred to me, I’d have just gained weight and thought “argh my skirt is too tight!”

    • diane
      January 24, 2018 / 8:39 pm

      Hehe…oh absolutely Helen! I used to alter clothes for a lady whose weight fluctuated, so I always left the seam allowances untouched just in case.

  4. January 26, 2018 / 9:18 am

    Excellent, you made alteration less scary and I like the idea not to cut off excess as you never know.

    • diane
      January 26, 2018 / 9:55 am

      Thank you so much, Julia. I love that you feel I made it less scary as that was what I hoped for.

  5. Paula
    February 5, 2018 / 9:56 pm

    Hi Diane,
    I really love your skirt and have been trying to locate the pattern on line, but with no success. Do you know if it’s available on line or st in the magazine? You did s beautiful job!

    • diane
      February 6, 2018 / 9:15 am

      Hi Paula, thank you!
      The pattern was from a 2015 Burda Easy mag and I looked for the pattern online too, but to no avail. I found an edition on eBay from the States but for$21!
      If you’re really keen for the pattern, perhaps I could trace off for you? Email me if you do and I may be able to sort it for you.

  6. February 21, 2018 / 9:26 pm

    I love this skirt… the zippers! Thanks for the tutorial!

    • diane
      February 23, 2018 / 9:26 am

      Thanks so much Linda!

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