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Easy Cosplay: How to Make a Drawstring Skirt

Easy Cosplay: How to Make a Drawstring Skirt


No patterns required. This flowing skirt is a breeze to make! No sewing experience is needed, this is a great beginner project. It is also completely customizable, so seasoned DIY seamstresses can add their own flair.

What You’ll Need:

  • Fabric- How much fabric you need depends on your measurements. Measure around your waist and multiply that by four. Write this number down and take it with you to the fabric store. Ask the clerk to cut that many inches of fabric from the kind you choose.

    Alternately, you can cut this measurement from a sheet. I have seen Care Bears and Smurf skirts made from sheets. Trim the sheet to this size across the length. We will trim it to height later.

  • Ribbon – Use enough to go around your waist, plus 20”

  • Scissors

  • Chalk

  • Measuring tape

  • Sewing Kit or Sewing Machine

  • Iron and Ironing Board

  • Safety Pin

  • (Optional) Grommet Punch- For much faster drawstring holes. Cheap and easy to find at your local craft store or Wal-Mart. These attach round metal grommets to fabric. Perfect for drawstring holes.

Once you have your supplies together, you can cut the fabric to your length.

1. Cut to Your Length

Your fabric should be as wide as you need it, so now we will to trim it to your height. Measure from your waist to your ankles. For a shorter skirt, measure to your mid-calf. Add 5” to this number to allow for the hem.

Lay your fabric out flat on the floor and measure your height + hem allowance number from bottom to top. Measure every foot or so, marking the measurement with your chalk. In this way, you will be marking it all the way down and it will be easier to cut. Cut along the dashed lines you just made, all the way down the fabric.

Fold the long edge of the fabric in half. Cut along the crease to make two large pieces, one for the front of the skirt, and one for the back. Separate the pieces and fold each piece in half again, lengthwise, the same direction you folded it before.

Now you can measure your panels.

2. Measure your Panels

For the best fit, you will want the skirt to be about six inches larger than your waist when the drawstring is open. Divide your waist measurement in half and add three to that number.

  • For Example: If your waist is 30”, divide that in half to reach 15”, and then add 3” to get 18”.

Now we will cut the top of the front of your skirt to this size. With your fabric folded, make a small mark at the crease, and then measure half of your final number across the top away from the crease. Mark it with the chalk. With our example, half of our final number, 18”, would be 9”. Flip the fabric over and measure it again from the crease, marking it again at half your final number. Open the fabric and you should have two chalk marks that are half your waist size + three inches apart. We did this so that this measurement was right in the middle. Repeat this step with the other panel.

3. Cut the Panels

Start your measuring tape at the bottom left corner of the fabric panel and point it diagonally to touch the left chalk mark you made at the top of the panel. Use your chalk to draw along the measuring tape, making a diagonal chalk line from the bottom left corner of the panel to the top left chalk mark. Do this again with the right side, marking from the right bottom corner to the top right chalk mark. Cut along the diagonal lines. Repeat with the other panel.

You should be left with two flat-topped triangular shapes.

Now let’s make drawstring holes.

4. Make Drawstring Holes

This step is faster if you have a grommet punch, but it can also be done by hand or on a sewing machine.

At the top of the front panel, measure three inches down from the middle crease mark. Mark it with your chalk. Now measure one inch on either side. Mark these points, too. This is where your drawstring holes will be.

Use a grommet punch to make drawstring holes the fast and easy way. It takes seconds, while cutting and sewing button holes can take up to an hour. The grommets also hold up well under stress and repeated washings.

Otherwise, you will need to sew button holes. Carefully cut two vertical half inch slits at your chalk marks. Use a needle & thread to sew around the slits to reinforce the holes. You will need to cover the holes. A sewing machine can also be used, set on 'button hole' mode.

Now you can stitch the panels together.

5. Stitch the Panels Together

Lay the panels inside out, on top of each other. From the bottom left corner to top left corner, sew a 1/4” from the edge of the fabric. You will be sewing all the way up the long side. Repeat with the other side so that you have a wide tube of fabric.

Now you are ready to hem the top and bottom.

6. Hem the Ends

Hemming is easy when you have an iron. At the bottom end of your skirt, fold in about 3” and iron flat, all the way around. At the top end of your skirt, fold in about 2” and iron flat all the way around. While you are ironing the top, make sure that the top hem extends at least a ½” past the drawstring holes. If a 2” hem isn’t enough to fold over the holes, try folding a bit more and then re-ironing.

Your panels should still be inside-out. With a needle & thread or a sewing machine, start to stitch all the way around the bottom of the skirt, just about 1/8” from the top of the hem. Do the same with the top hem, but be careful not to sew through your drawstring holes.

When your skirt is sewn, you will be ready to thread the ribbon drawstring.

7. Thread the Drawstring

Get your length of ribbon and fasten a safety pin to the end. Push the safety pin through one of your drawstring holes and begin scrunching the fabric to work the ribbon all the way around. Pull the pin out of the other drawstring hole and adjust the skirt to be evenly distributed on the ribbon.

Tips to Customize

Try your skirt on for size. You can add your own flavor to this skirt with these helpful tips.

Piece together your own fabric. try sewing strips of Hello Kitty printed fabric with strips of solid red fabric. The size of the strips is up to you. No matter how you put your strips together, you're always going to cut it out in the same way. Try sewing different blocks of fabric together for a patchwork look.

Use some glitter fabric spray to add some shine. Glitter fabric spray is easy to find at your local craft store and one bottle goes a long way. The glitter also won't come off in the wash.

When you select your ribbon drawstring, go for something that matches a small part of the pattern or contrasts with most of the skirt.

Go for the girly look and sew some ribbon or lace around the bottom of the hem.

This casual look goes will with a fitted tank top made from a t-shirt.

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