Liberty of London Tana Lawn + Neon Elastic Skirt

Liberty of London Tana Lawn is one of our favorite fabrics. It has a smooth silky feel (even though it's 100% cotton) and its printing quality is legendary. We recently started carrying a wider variety of the Tana Lawn Classic prints. These are prints that Liberty always reproduces and many have been in print for decades. You may even remember some of them from your childhood!

One of these classic prints is Pepper, a beautifully speckled and rather modern looking print that comes in the coolest colors. The fine details of the printing and the unexpected color combinations make this particular print something very special. Since it's a very tiny print it may not be the first to grab your attention, but once you get a good look at it it's hard to ignore!

We also recently started carrying a wider variety of trims, including some very whimsical and colorful trims from Knit Collage as well as some amazingly bright neon elastic.

I had the idea to make a simple skirt with an elastic top around the same time that all of these new products were coming into the store and Page (who loves all things neon!) helped me pick out this fun combination.

I love how the simple elegance of the Liberty of London Tana Lawn is transformed into something so unexpected and modern with the addition of these neon accents. This is a very easy project to sew and can be made in any size.


To make one size 5 skirt:



Cut the elastic, for the waistband, to a length of 20-inches.

Cut the Liberty, for the skirt panel, into a 13-inch by 46-inch piece.

Using the orange thread zig zag stitch across three of the raw sides of the skirt panel, leaving one long side un-zig zagged. Also zig zag along the two raw edges of the elastic.

This journal makes a skirt for a 4-year old child with a 19-inch waist. However, you can make a version of it in any size you'd like by cutting the pieces in different sizes. Here is the simple formula:

Measure the waist of the person you'd like to make the skirt for. This is the waist measurement, and it's 19-inches in the case of the example skirt.

Cut the elastic for the waistband to be 1-inch larger than the waist measurement, 20-inches in this case.

Measure the distance from the waist to the knee, 12-inches in this case. This is the depth measurement.

Cut the skirt panel to be one inch taller than depth measurement, 13-inches in this case, by 2.4 times the waist measurement (and round the number up to the nearest whole number), 46-inches in this case.

So to review:

Waist band= waist measurement + 1-inch

Skirt Panel= (depth measurement + 1-inch) x (waist measurement x 2.4)

Who said algebra wouldn't come in handy!

Sewing and Gathering

Sew the ends of the elastic right sides together with a 1/2-inch seam allowance.

Then press the seam allowances to open and sewn them down to the waist band with a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

Orient the skirt panel so that the long zig zagged edge is at the top of the panel, this is the top of the skirt.

Using the contrasting thread and your machine's largest stitch sew 5/8-inch from the edge along the length of the top. Leave a long tail of thread at the beginning of this row, and only back stitch at the end of the row, not at the beginning. Then starting from the other side sew another row in this same manner (with your largest stitch and without backstitching at the beginning) 3/8-inch from the top edge. These are your gathering stitches.

Pull the bottom long tail from the 3/8-inch row of  stitches so that the fabric gathers as shown above.

Do the same going the other direction with the bottom thread from the 5/8-inch row.

Gather the top of the skirt until it is 20-inches across. Try to spread out the gathers evenly.

Using the grey thread sew the two shorter sides of the skirt right sides together with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Press the seam open.

Sewing on the Waistband

Turn the waistband inside out and the skirt right side out. Fit the waistband over the top of the skirt and pin them together along the top edge of the waistband as shown above. Line up the waistband's seam with the seam of the skirt panel.

Here is a more close up view of pinning on the waistband. Use a lot of pins. If the skirt panel isn't fitting along the waistband properly make sure to pull on or loosen the gathering stitches until it does.

Sew the waistband to the skirt with a 1/4-inch seam allowance using your machine's stretch stitch or a zig zag stitch.

Turn the waistband up and pull out the gathering stitches.

You're now ready to hem the skirt and add the trim!

Hemming the Bottom

Using the contrasting thread and your machine's longest stitch length sew 1/2-inch along the bottom raw edge of the skirt. These are guide stitches.

Turn the skirt inside out. Press the raw edge 1/4-inch towards the wrong side to meet the guide stitches all the way around the bottom of the skirt.

Then do this same action again, pressing the edge 1/4-inch towards the wrong side of the skirt once again. The guide stitches will now be along the bottom of this double fold.

Sew this fold down with a 1/8-inch seam allowance using the grey thread.

Pull out the guide stitches and press the hem flat.

Adding the Trim

Starting at the skirt's seam and leaving a 1/2-inch tail pin the trim along the bottom of the skirt using the hem seam as a guide for the bottom of the trim. Leave a 1/2-inch tail at the end of the trim.

Edge stitch along the top of the trim using the orange thread.

Leave a 1/4-inch gap at the beginning and end of the sewn on trim (at the skirt's seam)

Using a seam ripper open up the skirt's seam just at the point where the trim meets the seam. Stuff the tails of the trim into this little hole neatly as shown above.

With the skirt inside out re-sew the part of the skirt seam that you just ripped out and then press the ends of the trim to one side and sew over them a few times. Trim the ends.

The front of the skirt will look like this where the trim meets itself.

The skirt is now all done! Wear it with the seam in the back.


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16 Responses to Liberty of London Tana Lawn + Neon Elastic Skirt

  1. liko says:

    what type of stitch should i use to attach the waistband to the skirt?

  2. KJ@letsgoflyakite says:

    I love the colour combination Page chose. This is darling.

  3. Renee says:

    That 'sweet skirt' is darling on the girl model! What a quick and fun project. I would like to make one for myself.

  4. purl bee says:

    HI Liko-

    Just use the regular medium straight stitch for all of the sewing (including sewing on the waistband) unless told otherwise (like when you zig zag stitch the edges for example.)

    Thanks for you comment!


  5. corinne says:

    but if i use a straight stitch, won't the stitch break when pulling on the skirt?

  6. purl bee says:

    Hi Corinne-

    Good point! For this skirt it isn't much of an issue since this particular elastic is not very stretchy. Thus the waistband of the skirt is the same diameter as your waist so it doesn't have to stretch much.

    However if your machine has a stretch stitch you should go ahead and use it just to be safe.

    Thanks for pointing this out!

  7. Helen says:

    Thank you for the tutorial and excellent timing – I was half way through a very similar skirt for my daughter and had been wondering how to join the ribbon.

  8. spanky says:

    This is really cute. Just one thing, though–the hem of the skirt looks a little puckered in the photos of it on the model. Could this be because you stretched the braid trim just a tiny bit as you stitched it to the fabric?

    I would do a deeper hem on the skirt and sew the trim 2 or 3 inches from the bottom edge, partly for a contrasting look and partly to get a nice, clean bottom edge.

  9. Elizabeth Beattie says:

    What a wonderful skirt and tutorial! Your instructions are so clear and easy to understand. Especially for newbies like ME! I will definitely be making a bunch of these for my twin daughters and myself. I was wondering where your beautiful model got her adorable shoes and plain white top. Do you have a source for those items? I would love to get some for my girls.

    Thanks for you incredible website! I am in San Diego and every time I visit your site I wish I lived in NY so I could take classes and visit.



  10. purl bee says:

    Hi Elizabeth-

    Thanks for your nice comment. The shoes and shirt are both from Flora and Henry. They no longer have the shoes but here is a link to the shirt:

    - Molly

  11. Ashley says:

    Just wanted to share my version of this skirt. Just finished it today, using an elastic waistband and trim I purchased from you online. I love you guys and cannot begin to tell you how much you inspire me. Keep up the great work! One of these days, I hope to visit your shop in person! I posted the pictures of my skirt just today!

  12. Louise says:

    Hi! What a great tutorial! I am new to sewing and was wondering if this pattern could be used for making a skirt for an adult? I thought maybe wider hips would be a problem when pulling the skirt on…

  13. purl bee says:

    Hi Louise-

    You could easily adjust this for an adult, just make sure to use the stretch stitch on your machine to sew on the elastic band.

    Thank you for your question!


  14. Kristin says:

    So.,.. i LOVE THIS and your site and everything BUT…. when i saw a link back to this from pinterest…. BUT i have no interest in neon green elastic, like most people, i guess cause it looks green is the only elastic left? in all these tuts im seeing neon pink, orange and like a red and yellow, but i dont see any of those any where…. are yall out, or did u never have the colors, like the neon orange on this tut?

  15. purl bee says:

    Hi Kristin-

    We should be getting more in stock. If you drop our webstore an email about it they will let you know when the orange comes back in stock:

    customerservice AT purlsoho DOT com

    Thank you!


  16. indun says:

    I finally got around to making this skirt for myself. I don't sew much at all, but it turned out really cute, thanks for the excellent tutorial. I learned so much, and got a lot more comfortable with my sewing machine!

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