How to Sew a Ruched Skirt Without Using a Paper Pattern

by The SILEM
9 Materials
2 Hours

In this tutorial, I'll show how to sew a ruched skirt without using a paper pattern! You’ll need to know how to insert a zipper on your own but everything else you’ll need to learn how to make a ruched skirt is right here!

Let’s get sewing your DIY ruched skirt!

Tools and materials:

  • Fabric 1½ yards
  • Fabric for the drawstrings
  • Measuring tape
  • Ruler
  • Pins
  • Tailor’s chalk
  • Sewing machine
  • Safety pin or long thin stick
  • Zipper
Making the front pattern for the ruched skirt

1. Make the front pattern

The skirt will be based on your measurements. Fold the fabric in half. Mark across the top in a straight line to create a baseline for the waist. 

Marking the front pattern

Mark 8 inches down to serve as the hip line.

Measuring the front pattern

Mark this measurement across the fabric.

DIY ruched skirt sewing pattern

Then measure the length of the skirt to your desired length.

How to make a ruched skirt sewing pattern

Divide your hip measurement by 4 and mark it on the hip line plus 1 inch seam allowance. 

Marking the waist measurement on the fabric

Divide your waist measurement by 4 and mark it on the waistline, plus a 1-inch seam allowance. 

Drawing a straight line

Draw a straight line from the seam allowance point on the hip down the length of the skirt, keeping it as straight as possible.

Cutting out the ruched skirt sewing pattern

Then, draw an angle from the hip seam allowance point to the waistline seam allowance point. Cut the fabric out, keeping it all in one piece.

Making the back pattern

2. Make the back pattern

Fold the fabric again and lay the front pattern folded on top.

Extending the back pattern

Extend the back pattern by 2½ inches to allow for the zipper and the zipper allowance.

Trimming the top area

Trim the top area and cut along the fold so the back is in 2 pieces.

Marking where the casing will go

3. Mark the casing position

Lay the front panel wrong side up. Use the measuring tape to measure across the top.

How to make a ruched skirt

Fold the measuring tape in half, and mark the halfway point on the folded waistband.

How to make a long ruched skirt

From that point, mark straight down at an equal distance until you reach the hem.

DIY ruched skirt tutorial

Use your ruler to make sure this line is completely straight. 

Sewing tutorial drawstring ruching for skirts

4. Cut the ruching ties, waistband, and casing

Cut 2 ruching ties from coordinating or contrasting fabric to your skirt fabric.

Cutting out the drawstring fabric for the ties

Each is 1½ inches wide and twice the length of your skirt. 

Cutting the waistband

Cut the waistband from your skirt fabric 4½ inches wide by your waist measurement, plus 4 inches.

Cutting the casing for the ties

Cut the casing for the ties from the skirt fabric 2 inches wide by the length of your skirt plus a few extra inches.

Sewing the DIY ruched skirt

5. Sew up the back

Place the 2 back pieces right sides together and sew the seam, leaving space for the zipper plus the zipper allowance.

Sewing the drawstring casing

6. Sew the casing

Fold the casing in ¼ inch on either side along its length. Press it flat.

Pinning the casing to the skirt

Pin the ironed casing to the line you marked down the front panel with the folds against the fabric. Sew the casing on either side right at the edge, creating a tunnel.

Marking the center of the casing

Once that’s sewn, mark the mid-point of the casing.

Sewing the casing to the skirt

Sew the center line all the way from the skirt top to the bottom.

How to sew a long ruched skirt

7. Sew the skirt

Once again, fold the front, and using your waist measurement divided by 4, mark the waistline.

Marking the hip line

Do the same for the hip line. 

Connecting the hip line to the waistline

Connect those 2 points like you did before.

Sewing the ruched skirt

Place the back and front right sides together. Sew along the line you marked on the side seam. Then sew the other side.

Sewing darts on the DIY ruched skirt

Place darts on either side of the zipper allowance. Each dart is 3½ inches wide and 5 inches long. Pin and sew.

Sewing the ties for the ruched skirt

Fold the ties in half and sew along the length, keeping one short side unsewn.

Turning the ties right side out

Turn them right side out using a safety pin or a long thin stick.

Inserting the ties into the casing

8. Insert the ties

Use a safety pin or stick on the unsewn short end and insert from the bottom of the skirt directly into the casing, tunneling up to the waistline.

How to insert the drawstrings into the casing

Once you get to the waistline, remove the pin or stick, keeping a firm hold on the tie so it doesn’t slip back down.

Pinning the ties to the casing to secure

Pin and stitch to secure. Insert the second tie the same way. Backstitch for both.

Pressing the waistband

9. Finish the skirt

Fold the waistband in half. Press to flatten.

Sewing the waistband to the skirt

Place and pin the unfolded edge at the raw waistline, right sides together. Start at the zipper opening in the center back, working your way around the waistline. Sew with ½-inch seam allowance all around.

Insert the zipper in your preferred manner. Then, hem the skirt, taking care not to sew the ties to the skirt at the end.

DIY skirt without the ruched effect

Pulling the drawstrings to make the ruched skirt
How to sew a ruched skirt

How to sew a ruched skirt

Pull the ties up to ruche the skirt or leave them as is. You’ve just made a DIY ruched skirt!

Please let me know in the comments what you think of this tutorial and the results, and share your photos if you decide to make your own

Suggested materials:
  • Fabric 1½ yards
  • Fabric for the drawstrings
  • Measuring tape
See all materials

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