Design and Knit a Skirt From a Style in Your Closet

Knitting an A-line skirt

Step 4: Knitting a Skirt

The planning is done and now we get to sit down and knit. If you’ve chosen a hem like me at the lower edge, and are knitting from the bottom up to the waist, we need to knit the hem first. I’ll discuss knitting hems, followed by shaping skirts, waistbands or casings, and blocking your pieces.

Hems or Facings

A hem or facing is an ideal edging for the bottom of a skirt. One method of knitting a hem with a clean finish is adding a turning ridge or fold-line. After completing the desired hem depth, a basic turning ridge is made by knitting one row on the wrong side of the facing. When finished knitting, you simply fold the facing at the turning ridge and sew in place to the wrong side of the skirt.

Instead of the turning ridge described above, I chose a decorative Picot ridge hem for the bottom of my skirt. How to knit a Picot ridge: With smaller needles than the main part of the skirt, cast on the required number of stitches, and work the depth of the hem ending with a wrong side row. (I casted on 202 stitches with 3mm needles and worked one inch in stockinette stitch for the hem). A Picot ridge is worked on an even number stitches as follows: change to your larger needles (I switched to 3 1/4 mm needles) and with the right side of your work facing k1, *k2tog, yo; rep from *, end with k1. Continue in the chosen pattern stitch for the body of your skirt. When the Picot ridge hem is folded under, it forms a decorative row of small scallops along the edge.

Shaping a Skirt

Because there is little or no shaping a straight skirt is easy to knit. You may decide to taper this style from the widest area at the hips to the waist. The taper can be worked along the side seams if flat knitting (pieces are knit separately on straights), or around the circumference of the skirt if knitting in the round.

My skirt style is A-line; the width tapers continually from the lower hem to the waist. I’m knitting on straight needles, and making the back and front pieces separately. Shaping an A-line skirt requires placing decreases at regular intervals along the length of skirt. Instead of placing decreases along the side edges, I wanted a decorative effect by placing the decreases approximately 9 inches from both side edges. My skirt will have a visual line of fashion marks or decreases sloping to the hip measurement.

Placement of my skirt decreases:

My first decrease row sets the arrangement of decreases; 9 inches from both side edges. I decrease 4 stitches on each decrease row. I need to decrease  a total of 54 stitches to reach 148 stitches at the hip (202-148=54 stitches). My decreases begin on row 13, then every following 14th row 12 times, then one stitch at each side edge once.

First decrease row (RS): k59, ssk, PM (place marker), k1, k2tog; k to last 64 sts, ssk, k1, PM, k2tog, k to end. All the decrease rows are made on the right side of the skirt.

Design and knit a skirt - Step 4

The placement of decreases or increases is determined by a math calculation, and is the same one for shaping any garment area such as sleeve edges and sleeve caps. Refer to How to Figure Out Decrease and Increase Placement…for this calculation. I also have to calculate the placement of decreases from the hip to the waist. I’m decreasing this area along the side edges, not internally.

Waistbands or Casings

I’m going to make a casing for elastic in stockinette stitch with 3mm needles, adding a basic turning ridge. When I reach the waist, I’ll switch to smaller needles (3mm) and work the one inch height for the waistband, ending with a right side row. At this point, knit one row on the wrong side to form the turning ridge. Continue in stockinette stitch for one inch, then bind off.


Block the front and back pieces to the same measurements as in the schematic. I like to block each piece as its finished.

I will do a final post for this series next time, covering the finishing steps. Because it takes awhile to knit my project, I won’t be able to show my finished skirt until a later date. If you have any questions about your skirt design, I’d be happy to help.