How to Make an Easy DIY Paper Bag Skirt From Scratch

7 Materials
2 Hours

Don’t worry – this DIY paper bag skirt isn’t named for the material it’s made out of. This cute ruffled, high-waisted, elastic-waist skirt just resembles the top of a paper bag.

In the tutorial, I will show you how to make the paper bag skirt pattern and how to sew the skirt. It’s simple from start to finish, so let’s just get started!

Tools and materials:

  • Cotton fabric
  • Sewing elastic
  • Sewing pins
  • Scissors
  • Fabric chalk
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
How to make a DIY paper bag skirt pattern

1. Make your DIY paper bag skirt pattern

I’m drawing the pattern on paper just so it’s easier for you to see, but you can go ahead and draw the pattern directly onto your skirt fabric.

Take your measurements for your skirt. My measurements are indicated in the image above. 

How to draft a DIY paper bag skirt pattern

Draw one half of your skirt on your fabric, connecting the outer edge of the waistline with the outer edge of the hem line. If you are drawing the pattern directly on your fabric, fold your fabric and place the centerline of the skirt on the fold.

Marking the paper bag skirt pattern

Mark 12 centimeters (4.7 inches) in from the outer edge along the hem line, and 2 centimeters (0.78 inches) up from the hemline along the outer side edge. Join those two marks with a gently curved line.

Measuring the paper bag skirt pattern

Extend the centerline and outer edge line of the skirt up 12 centimeters (4.7 inches) and place a mark halfway up that, at 6 centimeters (2.36 inches).

Joining the lines together

Then join the top of those lines and the center marks.

DIY paper bag skirt pattern

Here is the completed DIY paper bag skirt pattern. Cut two of these skirt pieces, for a front and a back piece.

Cutting out the skirt pockets

2. Make skirt pockets

Download the free printable PDF pocket pattern. Cut out the pocket pieces.

Marking the pocket placement

On the outer edge of the front of your skirt, mark 4 centimeters (1.5 inches) below the center waistband line. 

Pinning the pockets to the skirt

Pin the pocket piece to the skirt at that mark and sew along the raw edge.

Sew the corresponding pocket piece to the corresponding side of the back piece and repeat for the other side of the front and back.

Sewing the side seams with pockets

3. Sew side seams

Place the front and back together with right sides facing in, aligning the pockets.

Sewing around the pockets

Pin the side seams and pockets together. Then sew the side seams from the top, around the pockets and down to the bottom. Down sew straight across the pockets and you will be sewing your pockets closed!

Making the waistband

4. Sew the waistband

Here comes the paper bag element! Mark the side seams at 12 centimeters (4.7 inches) from the top of the skirt and join the marks with a line. Do the same on the other side of the skirt.

Sewing the waistband

Sew a zigzag row of stitches along the top raw edge of the waistband to keep it from fraying.

Now, fold down and pin the waistband so the top raw edge meets the 12-centimeter (4.7-inch) line. Leave a 4-centimeter (1.5-inch) gap when you are sewing, to insert elastic.

Measuring casing for the waistband

Cut your sewing elastic to fit your waist. Lay the elastic at the bottom of your waistband and mark just above the elastic on the waistband. Sew all the way around the skirt along that line to make your elastic casing.

Feeding elastic through the casing

Feed the elastic through the gap at the bottom of the casing, gathering it in the casing as you go. Pin and sew the ends of the elastic together. 

Sewing the elastic into the casing seams

To prevent the elastic from twisting in the casing, sew it in at the side seams.

Hemming the skirt

5. Hem your skirt

Double-fold, pin, and sew the hem of your paper bag skirt.

Adjusting the pockets

6. Adjust the pockets

Mark a 5-centimeter (2-inch) line along the side seam of your skirt starting at the bottom of your pocket and sew along that line. Repeat for the other pocket. 

That gives you an ample pocket opening with a deeper pocket.

DIY paper bag skirt

DIY paper bag skirt

Here is the finished DIY paper bag skirt. Can you see the paper bag resemblance at the waist? This skirt is so versatile and easy to make. It would be even easier if you skipped the pockets, but who wants to skip pockets?

Try making this paper bag skirt for yourself and leave a comment to let me know how it turned out. 

Suggested materials:
  • Cotton fabric
  • Sewing elastic
  • Sewing pins
See all materials

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