Design and Knit a Skirt From a Style in Your Closet

Step 5: Finishing

Finishing a simple skirt consists of sewing the side seams, securing any hems or facings, and inserting elastic into the waistband. Before doing any of these tasks, make sure your pieces are blocked, whether you knit your pieces separately or in the round. Blocking evens the stitches and fibers, flattens the edges, and prepares the pieces for sewing.

Steps to Finishing a Skirt:

  • Side Seams – If you knit the back and front separately, the side seams need to be sewn prior to stitching the hem in place. My seam of choice is the mattress stitch on stockinette stitch. It forms an invisible seam, and is worked from the right side of the fabric. The back and front are joined row by row; this is why it’s important to count your rows so the pieces match. If you knit your skirt in the round you’ve eliminated this step!
  • Waistbands – My skirt waistband is a hem casing with a basic turning ridge. Fold the waistband over at the turning ridge to the wrong side, and pin in place. Starting near the middle of the back piece, sew the facing down with an overcast or whip stitch to the first row of the waistband, leaving a two inch opening at center back. My waistband is one inch in depth, so I’ll cut 3/4 inch wide elastic to the waist circumference, plus one inch for overlapping (my finished waist measurement is 32 inches; cut a 33 inch long elastic). Attach a safety pin at one end of the elastic and draw it through the casing. Make sure the elastic is not twisted, then join the two ends together. Finish by closing the opening. 

    Overcast or Whipstitch Hem (From Complete Guide to Needlework, page 336)
  • Lower Hem of Skirt  – The Picot turning ridge I used at the lower edge forms a row of tiny scallops. Carefully fold the hem over at the row of yarnovers, pinning in place as you move around the edge. Make sure the line of scallops is even. Stitch in place as for the waistband; don’t pull the yarn tight or the piece will pucker. As you stitch, pick up a loop from the main part of the skirt, then into the edge of the hem, checking that the stitches are not visible on the right side. An alternative to the overcast or whip stitch is to sew with a herringbone stitch. It creates a secure seam that mimics a stitch used on a woven fabric hem.

Demo sample; pinning picot ridge hem

Right side of Picot hem
Notice the row of scallops along the edge
Herringbone Stitch
(Vogue Knitting The Ultimate Knitting Book, 2018, page 201)

That’s all there is to finishing a skirt. Although a skirt can be a rather large piece of knitting, the design steps are not anymore difficult than those for a scarf or a simple top. I hope this information helps you to design your next skirt with confidence.