Thursday, July 12, 2012

DIY Layered Denim Skirt

A long time ago, back when I first found Pinterest, I found this amazing layered denim skirt. I loved it. I wanted to make it...but I didn't have enough jeans to rip up at the time. I started collecting bits of fabric for a few months and I finally had enough of a similar color to make this beautiful and different skirt.

This skirt is very time consuming! It took me two days to make. I could have probably made it in one day, but I started late yesterday afternoon and had to stop early. I only spent about 3 hours on it today. The biggest time consuming part is cutting the strips of fabric to make the  layers, but it's worth it!

What You Need
3-5 pairs of jeans or skirts or denim shorts of the same color/style
Sewing machine
Sewing scissors
Lots of thread (white for light denim like I did!)

1. Cut the jeans into strips. Longer strips are easier to work with, but you do need shorter ones also. Sort them into piles by length.

2. Once that is done find a strip which will fit around your waist nicely. Use that as the base for the top of the skirt.

3. Use a favorite length skirt as a guide for how long this skirt will be. I used one of my green church skirts. Layer the fabric the bottom piece slightly over the top piece so you have a better idea of how many strips you will need. I used 12 strips on mine. They were about 3 1/2-4 inches wide.

4. Once you have your length set, pin matching pieces of fabric to the ones laid out (like the photo for step 3.) Make sure to pin the good sides together, leaving the rough sides out so that it will look right when the skirt is finished. Some strips may need two or three pieces added to make them long enough. You have to remember that the longer your skirt goes it will need more fabric around to make it look right in the end.

5. Now sew the pieces for the layers together. Sew a straight line then do a zigzag stitch. Cut off any remaining bits of fabric on the smallest side. (This makes it easier to layer the skirt later on.) You can see in the picture that the fabric pieces aren't even. This is because I didn't cut them by measuring; I just snipped, snipped, snipped and let it turn out however. After doing the zigzag you can straighten out the leftover piece by trimming it a bit.

6. Once all of the pieces are done and are long you can lay them back on the floor. I had three 'colors' of fabric. A really light denim, a light denim, and a medium light denim. I layered them medium light, light, and really light all the way down the skirt. Pin them in place, overlapping them just enough to give you a good seam. (I think I did about 1/4 of an inch?). On mine I used the left side to put them all pretty much in a straight line so it would be easier to add the zipper later.

7. Now your skirt will look like you are making a denim stripe quilt. Don't worry, that's not how it will look when it's finished! On the sewing machine start with the top of the skirt and do a straight stitch all the way down the first layer. Follow down each layer until it is finished.

8. Zipper time! I had the worst time with my zipper. Probably because it is the first one I remember doing. Basic zipper tips: make sure the zipper thingy is on the outside of the skirt, not the inside, before you sew it in! Also, I had to put two zippers in. The first one I accidently ran the zipper off the top so I had to take it out and put a new one in. In order to avoid this I sewed the zipper together at the top.

9. For the first side of the zipper put the zipper down on the good side of the fabric (zipper pull is facing down). I left my zipper sticking above the top of the fabric a little. You don't have to do this, that's just how I did it. Pin in place along the even edge of the fabric. You may need to trim the fabric to make it even. Sew right next to the zip. Make sure to back stitch at the beginning and the end. I sewed along the edge of the zip twice. Zigzag the raw edge together.

10. For the other side of the zipper put the good sides of the fabric together. Make sure there is a fairly straight edge for this second piece. Line the zippers edge up with the edge of the fabric. Pin in place and repeat step 9's sewing directions.

11. Now your zipper should be well in place and fairly secured. Take the bottom of the zipper and pull it out some. Stitch along the outside edge of the zipper toward the raw edge of the skirt. This is to make it secure on the bottom. I stitched mine 3 times...mostly because my zipper is in the wrong way and I didn't want to take it out since I had thoroughly stitched it the second time around. :(

12. Now that the zipper is finished (except the top, but I'll get to that last) take the skirt and hold the top even. Shake it and lay it out on the floor or a table. The straightest edge needs to be on the top, the crazy edge on the bottom. Trim the fabric so that the edges are fairly close to being straight and in line with each other. Pin in place.

13. Sew the raw edges together with a straight stitch. Zigzag the remaining edge.

14. I left the bottom edge raw to match the rest of the skirt. You can sew it if you want. For the top edge fold it down a little and pin in place. Around the zipper area make sure to tuck the piece of zipper sticking up under the edge so that it will be secured. When you sew the area by the zipper be very careful. Your needle will break if it gets caught in the zipper area. Sew a straight stitch or zigzag (I did zigzag) around the top edge of the skirt. The area's by the zipper need to be stitched well to keep it secured.

15. Throw the finished skirt in the washer. When it's done run it through the dryer until dry. Pull it out and check edge layers. Make sure that it didn't unravel too much (aka there are no holes). If there are go sew them up with a zigzag stitch. (Mine had a few holes from the unraveling process so I just zigzagged them up. In the pic you can see one of the holes in the 4th row from the top.)

16. Pair with your favorite shirt and heels for a nice outfit or with a t-shirt and flip flops for a casual day running errands.

How It Turned Out

Here you can see how the zipper turned out.
Not bad for my first time!
BTW When I'm wearing this skirt my shirt will cover the zipper.
Here you can see that the bottom of the skirt went a little crazy.
I think that even though it didn't line up right it still looks super cute!

Photo Inspiration for this project


  1. Oh my gosh! You are soo creative! Too bad I don't have a sewing machine...I love to model others designs so when ppl ask me, where did you get that from? I start to brag about the

  2. :) Thank you! I love to take pictures I see and try to recreate them. That's what my pinterest board DIY Clothes is for: inspiration! I honestly don't know what I would do without a sewing machine. Even on days that it doesn't want to work right I'm still grateful to have it.

  3. Nice job! I am going to try to make a long denim skirt, like you this will be my first sewing. I have been playing around making skirts for me and others, I have only been sewing for about a year.... I am in an Apostolic church also and I am trying to build my skirt stash up.....

    1. Thanks so much Lisa! On the DIY page there is a tutorial for a long denim skirt using two pairs of jeans...that may be an easier tutorial to start with if you're not used to sewing with denim. I LOVE sewing skirts!! I actually have several more tutorials for different styles, but haven't been able to publish them all yet. You can also check under the label "skirts" to see some more different styles I've come up with...I hope that you will have a great experience with this and love the outcome!

      Awesome! I am always glad to meet a fellow Apostolic girl! :) I have found thrift stores to be one of the most amazing places for building up your skirt collection. I know it really helped mine!



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