The Starboard Skirt Tutorial

Want to make an easy pleated gorgeous-looking skirt?  This Starboard Skirt (and tutorial) are so simple you can make a great skirt in one afternoon and you will find yourself wearing it forever.  The other perfect thing is that you can make it for yourself, your tween or your little girl!  It’s such a versatile skirt pattern for all ages!

Women's Skirt Tutorial (
Easy Pleated Skirt Tutorial from Simple Simon and Company

Are you ready to make one?  This is a great sewing project for a beginners.  (I promise.) So, if you have a sewing machine that is collecting dust in your closet of doom— now is the time to get it out!  Every little girl (or even bigger girl) needs an easy pleated Starboard Skirt this summer (or fall, or winter).

One note about fabrics.  I think that these skirts look cuter with a thicker, heavier-weight fabric.  This yellow chevron print is actually a home decor fabric, and is a heavy-weight cotton twill.  The heavier the fabric, the more structure this skirt will have.  Do your measurements below to figure out how much fabric you will need.  Also, remember to wash your fabrics first, and in the case of bold colors and whites combined  (especially reds) put some salt in the washing water to keep the color from bleeding out.

You will also need a piece of elastic.  I used 1 inch, but you could use 3/4 inch just as easily.  (The following measurements will tell you how much you need.)

Ok, first you have to do some math….but I promise it’s not hard.

*Measure your little girl’s waist.  (My little girl wears a 5/6 but she has a 20 inch waist, more like a size 4.)
*Divide this measurement in half.  (Mine is 10 inches, one 10 inch measurement for the skirt front and one for the skirt back.)

Now you need to do the math for the front piece.

*Take your front skirt starting measurement (10 inches) and add 8 inches for the front inverted pleat plus 1 inch for seam allowances (they will be 1/2 inch seams on each side).  (My front panel is now 19 inches.)  Find the length you want plus 2 inches for a casing and hem.

*Take your back skirt starting measurement (mine was 10 inches) and multiply it by 1.5 for the elastic back plus 1 inch for seam allowances.  (Mine skirt back  is now 16 inches).  Use the same length measurement.

One more measurement…take your starting measurement (mine was 10 inches) and subtract 2 inches to get the measurement for your elastic.  (Mine is now 8 inches of 1-inch elastic.)

Now that you have your pieces cut, here is what you do.

Summer yellow chevron skirt

Easy enough….now go, run to the fabric store…grab some fabric and GET sewing.  And trust me, I apologize in advance when you are up sewing a million skirts at 1 a.m.  I truly am sorry….

Please remember to wash and dry both fabrics (they are both 100% cotton-or be prepared to dry clean)…..BEFORE you sew….and I put some salt in the water so the colors wouldn’t bleed.

16 thoughts on “The Starboard Skirt Tutorial

  1. Oh. goodness. Thank you soooo much for the tutorial!!! How do you continue to be so absolutely amazing???? I’m definitely going to be making some of these for Kate. Maybe for me, too…although I have to find a source to get me some legs like those on the model first…;)

  2. Thank you for this beautiful, simple and professional tutorial, it’s because of you ladies that I have gained confidence with my sewing. Thanks also for the advice on the fabric, I am going to look for something similar now. xxx

  3. You are such a gem! Thank you so much for the links to the store you can get the fabrics from. I’ve just sent them an email pleading with them to ship to here in the UK, they don’t do that normally, but you never know, if you don’t ask. I’ve been searching the web for stores here in the UK selling this sort of fabric, but with no joy, it’s so frustrating. I wouldn’t normally be so obsessive about slavishly copying the fabric I see something made from, but your skirts are just sooooo stunningly gorgeous, I don’t care if I’m one of many people wearing the same skirt with the same fabric! From a purely selfish point of view, I’m wishing you sold kits for these skirts using these two fabrics, for an adult. I’m sounding very desperate aren’t I! Sorry, but I am, the fabrics you’ve used are perfect, perfect, perfect. And just as an aside, I am almost finished on my first skirt using your pattern, it’s such a great pattern, I’ll let you know when I’ve finished it and put it on my blog. Just a suggestion, how about a flickr group for this skirt? I think it might hepl with those pesky imitators? My warmest wishes, Vanessa xxx

  4. i just took measurements (for me) and i’m hoping that i really *can* make this skirt without a total meltown (on my part) — i’m not that great of a sewer….
    and i agree: you should do a skirt for us big girls…i’m just hopeing that i’ve measured right. :)

  5. I made a red/white skirt for me. Thank you for such an easy tutorial to follow. I get heaps of compliments every time I wear (at least once a week).

    I got my fabric at ikea. Huge selection of thicker weight fabrics.

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