Nel Nan and Nora’s Tie Waisted Skirt – Tutorial

Simple Sew Blogger Duo Of Skirts, Tutorial 3 Comments

Duo of Skirts: Tie-waisted skirt

By Eleanor Thomson (

This pack contains two pretty skirt patterns: a relaxed tie-waisted option, as seen here, and a more fitted Wiggle Skirt (with tutorial by Gabby of Gabberdashery)

The fabric that I have used here for the tie-waisted version is a red and grey floral cotton print, kindly provided by WhiteTree Fabrics. The skirt can be made with just 1m of 150cm wide fabric (or 1.5m of 115cm wide). This fabric is works well for the waist tie but makes for a very lightweight skirt. It is good to sew with as it keeps its shape well when pressed and slips very little. When I have some more time, I’ll write up a pattern hack for making the skirt with a lining, which is less scary than it sounds!

This skirt is satisfyingly quick to make and I expect that I will make a few more from both patterns, in heavier weight fabrics, to see me through this autumn and winter and smarten up my wardrobe a little. I started cutting it out one afternoon, began sewing that evening (rather slowly, so that I could take photos for you) and finished it the next morning.


Wash, dry and press your fabric. Cut out the pattern pieces in your size, or trace them onto paper if you prefer to keep the original intact. Here, I have cut a size 10. You might find it helpful to iron the paper pattern pieces too, with a dry iron on a low heat, to reduce the creases and help them sit flat on your fabric. For the skirt front, take your time to identify the cutting lines for the top edge, to ensure that you will be able to pleat as easily as possible. Mark the notches with a small snip into the fabric edge, chalk or a suitable fabric marker (air- or water-soluble).


Lay the fabric out on the largest flat surface available to you. I am fortunate to have an island in the kitchen which is perfect for this, but would otherwise use a clean floor or the dining table.

Pin the paper pattern pieces in place (or use weights if you prefer). The main skirt piece is placed on the fold, whereas the waistband and ties are cut on a single layer of fabric. I cut the skirt first and then opened out the remaining fabric, cutting the waistband and one tie, then the second tie.





Lay out the interfacing (I used Vlieseline/Vilene F220), pin and cut out the waistband pattern piece. You can keep the fabric piece pinned to the paper while doing this, so that all the pieces stay together.


On the skirt front, finish the three long edges with a zigzag or overlock stitch (I use a three thread overlock stitch). It is generally easier to do this on a flat piece of fabric than on a part-sewn garment, I find.

From here, we will follow the numbered steps in the printed instructions, adding further information and images where it might be helpful.

  1. Pin the skirt pleats in place, following the arrows and notches. Take your time with this, keeping them as neat as possible (accurate cutting pays off here) and then stitch along the waistline, about 1cm from the edge, using a long stitch. This will help keep the pleats in place and also acts as staystitching, reducing the chance of the waistline stretching out of shape.





1e-pleats-pinned2.Iron the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric waistband, following the interfacing instructions.

Finish one long edge of the waistband with a narrow zigzag or overlock stitch, then turn up the same edge by 0.5cm to the wrong side and press in place.

2-finish-and-turn-lower-waistband-edge3.Pin the unfinished edge of the waistband to upper edge of the skirt, right sides together. Stitch in place; press the seam open and then upwards.


3-stitch-waistband-to-skirt4. Fold each waist tie in half lengthways and pin along the long open edge and the wider end, leaving the short end open for turning through. Stitch the seam, then snip the corners to enable neater turning. Turn right side out and press the seams; stitch across the open end for neatness (along or within the 1.5cm seam allowance).



    5.Pin and stitch the left waist tie to the lower half of the waistband and press flat.

6. Pin the left zip tape in place (over the waist tie), right sides together with the skirt centre back edge. The top of the zip tape should lie just above the waistband fold line (midpoint). Hand tack (baste) the zip in place, remove the pins and using a zip foot, machine stitch and remove the tacking stitches.

Repeat steps 5 & 6 for the right waist tie and zip tape. Press flat.


6-hand-tack-left-zip-and-waist-tie7. Turn the skirt inside out and pin the lower centre back seam from the base of the zip to the point at which you wish the split to begin. This is not marked on the pattern piece and is up to you. I chose to have a split 16cm from the lower edge, so placed two pins at this point to mark the end of the seam.

Still using the zip foot (though you may need to switch sides), stitch from the base of the zip to the start of the split, using the reverse stitch several times to reinforce this point. Press the seam and split open.


7-sew-from-zip-to-split8. Top stitch from the lower edge of the split, pivot approximately 10mm above the split point, stitch across and then back down the other side to the lower edge.

Change back to the standard presser foot on your sewing machine.

Turn up the hem by 0.5cm or the desired amount (I used the overlock stitch as a guide here for easier turning), press and stitch in place.

(NB for a neater finish you could slip stitch the hem and split, but for speed and durability I have machine stitched here.)

8-stitch-split9. Flip the waistband back over the zip, so that it lies right sides together with the skirt; pin and stitch in place, while keeping the waist ties free. (I used the zip foot as I found it easier.) 


9-fold-and-pin-waist-band-over-seam10. Turn the waistband right sides out; pin and stitch the waistband in place from the outside, through the waist seam. Take your time  over this, with your machine running at a slow speed to give you control over your sewing, enabling the stitches to be hidden as well as possible in the little valley that the seam creates.



After a final press of all the seams and hems, your skirt is finished and ready to wear.


Comments 3

  1. Pingback: Crafty Clyde’s Duo Of Skirts – Bloggers

  2. Pingback: Smartening Up: The Tulip Skirt by Sew Over It | nelnanandnora

  3. Like it. Maybe a little too mellow dramatic, but very nice at any rate. By the way, I'm a new suerscibbr to your site and a fellow UX designer on the other side of the States. Howdy 🙂

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