Boho Maxi Skirt DIY Tutorial

Can we tell you the story of our sensational vintage boho maxi skirt? Do you want to join in and make your own DIY Skirt Tutorial?

Having loved so many patchwork garments in fashion magazines, I had yet to take the plunge with my own creation. One day I saw a picture whilst scrolling through my Instagram feed which stopped me in my tracks…..

The inspiration picture

This simple skirt design was crying out for a re-creation and I knew instantly it was simple enough to be realistic but with all the multi-coloured impact I’d been craving. After studying the picture intensely, I could see that the fabrics were not random but a carefully curated selection of prints and colours that had been ‘mis-matched‘ perfectly.

As dressmakers, we are in a unique position. We have the skills to create wearable patchwork masterpieces of our own for a fraction of the price! Perhaps not quite to the standard of those legendary designers we see on the runway, but when it comes to mixing multiple fabrics surely a more simplistic design is better anyway?! Of course, we want to share this DIY Skirt Tutorial with you too.

The perfect fabric…

When I think of beautifully curated fabric collections, one company comes to mind – Art Gallery Fabrics. These guys release new collections every season from some of the most creative and colourful fabric designers around. I knew from some of my past purchases, that if I was looking for a boho vibe, these were the guys to go to and I was delighted that they wanted to collaborate with me to create this beautiful skirt.


We settled on the new Legendary – Bohemian collection designed by Pat Bravo which was a selection of warm yellows, bold pinks, turquoise and teal. It had a slightly different tone to the blues, reds and yellows in my inspiration picture but I wasn’t trying to create an exact copy, just my own interpretation. Art Gallery kindly sent me a yard from each of the twelve designs in the range.


Creating the pattern…

Now I had the fabric sorted, it was time to deconstruct the skirt in the picture. Counting as best I could, I guessed that there were roughly 24 fabrics visible on the front of the skirt which would mean the same for the back – 48 panels in total. I knew that I didn’t want the top of the panels to be less than 1″ when sewn together as that would have been too fiddly but, any bigger than that and the skirt would have gathered in too much and been bulky at the waist. With 48 x 1″ panels gathered down to fit my 30″ waist I was looking at approximately 1.5x gather which seemed about the right amount of fullness. Again, studying the picture, I estimated the panels to widen out to approx 6″ at the hem. I wanted the skirt to be all the way down to the floor and I wanted to sew it with a 1/4″ seam allowance, so I now had everything I needed to make a pattern piece.

The Measurements

If you want to make your own pattern piece, here are the measurements I used. Of course, you could draft straight onto the fabrics, but I had so many to cut that I thought a pattern piece would be helpful!

Top Width (plus 1/2″ SA)1 1/2″ (3.8cm)
Hem Width (plus 1/2″ SA)6 1/2″ (16.5cm)
Skirt Length (waist to floor, plus 1″ SA/HA)42″ (106.7cm)

Drafting Your Pattern Piece

To draft your pattern piece cut a piece of paper wide and long enough to contain your measurements. Start by drawing a vertical line down the centre of the paper the same length as your Skirt Length – mine was 42″. At the top, plot half of your Top Width measurement either side of the vertical line and draw a horizontal line (mine was 3/4″ either side, giving me 1 1/2″ in total). Then, at the bottom, plot half of your Hem Width either side of the vertical line and draw another horizontal line (mine was 3 1/4″ either side, giving me 6 1/2″ in total). At this stage, it should look like this image A.

Now join up the outer points of your top and bottom line to form the sides of your pattern piece. You should now have what looks like a very tall and skinny triangle with a flat top, as in image B.

One final step for the pattern piece is to slightly curve the bottom edge. Curving the pattern piece now will mean less trimming later so it is an important step. Lay a ruler on the side edge to create a right angle that intersects with the horizontal line, as shown in image C. You’ll be taking a small amount off the side edge but it will all fit together better.

Cutting the fabric…

Now that I had my pattern piece, it was time to cut my fabrics. Now I had twelve fabrics and 48 panels to cut, so the maths was very easy for mine. I needed 4 panels from each fabric. For this DIY Skirt Tutorial, you could just as easily use fewer fabrics and cut more panels from each. Simply divide the number of panels you need by the number of fabrics you are using. As a stash-busting exercise, you could just cut a random number from each of your larger fabric scraps until you have the desired amount!

In order to save fabric, I decided to fold each design in half and then cut two layers with the pattern piece one way and then two the other way. The shape of them allowed me to nestle them in next to each other which meant less wastage.


When one becomes two…

At this point I made an important discovery! I was only using half of the fabric that Art Gallery had sent me!! This meant that I had enough left over for a second skirt………and clearly there are no prizes for guessing who else might want one!!

Nikki was thrilled to be able to get involved with the project and wanted a quick way to make her Vintage Boho Maxi Skirt a bit different. She decided to remove the seam allowance from one side of my pattern and then double it. Her panels would all be twice the size, and so she would only require half as many. Less cutting and less sewing!!

Nikki in her Vintage Boho Maxi Skirt

A super simple sew…

The sewing process could not be more simple, and of course, we wanted to bring it to you guys as a DIY Skirt Tutorial. All of the panels need to be sewn together on the sides to form one giant circle. As we were effectively making a giant quilt, and Nikki is my official ‘Queen Of Quilting’, we followed her tried and tested method for sewing lots of panels together quickly….

All those beautiful fabrics
  1. Don’t bother with pins. Just align the first few inches and then adjust them as you sew. On a long seam you could spend just as long pinning as sewing. Halve the time by foregoing the pins!
  2. Start by sewing pairs. Take any two panels and sew them right sides together on just one side. If you are following a particular order or pattern – make sure you are sewing the correct side!
  3. Chain your pieces. Don’t cut your threads when you get the end of one pair, just pop the next one under and keep sewing. Then when they have all gone through, you can snip between each set to separate them.

Just Keep Sewing!

  1. Pair your pairs. Open out each set of two and place it right sides together with another set of two – again sewing just one side. This will turn your pairs into fours.
  2. Time for triplets. Take three sets of fours. Place two of them right sides together to form an eight. Then sew the third set to the other side to make a twelve. For Nikki’s skirt – a twelve equated to each half of the skirt. For mine, I then stitched my twelves together to create twenty-fours which equated to half of my skirt.
  3. Close the circle. Once you have a completed back and front, each comprising of half of your panels, you can finally lay them right sides together and stitch up both sides.

We also stitched ours on the overlocker as this meant we would not need to finish the many seams afterwards!

Pressing matters…


Like all handmade garments, one of the key things to getting a professional look is a really good press. So despite the gajillion seams in the skirt, it is worth taking the time to press them all. Having overlocked seams means that they can all be pressed the same way. We just fed the skirt inside out over the ironing board and then rotated it whilst pressing all the seams in the same direction.

Time for a waistband…

The Vintage Boho Maxi Skirt in the picture had an elasticated waist, which makes it quick to assemble and comfy to wear. I wanted our waistbands to be as wide as our widest elastic which was 2″. To calculate the waistband channel, simple double the elastic width and add seam allowance. Ours was 4.5″ wide (two times 2″ plus two times 1/4″ seam allowance).

The length of the waistband is determined by your finished skirt. Lay the skirt flat and measure the top edge. Joining the panels will mean that it will now be slightly curved so make sure you run the tape measure along the full length (you are only measuring one half of the skirt). You will need to cut two pieces this length but, you will be joining them together, so you also need seam allowance. We cut two pieces 24.5″ long (24″ plus two times 1/4″ seam allowance). If you have a piece long enough you can cut the waistband as one piece.

It has a simple elasticated waist

If you are using two pieces as we were, start by joining them together on the short edges (RST) to make one loop. Then bring the raw edges wrong sides together and press in half.

Attach it to the skirt

With the Vintage Boho Maxi Skirt right sides out, feed the waistband over the top and align the raw edges of the waistband with the raw edge of the skirt. Pin it to the skirt all the way around the top. Stitch the waistband to the skirt, using the 1/4″ seam you allowed for, but don’t go all the way around. Be sure to leave a 2″ gap somewhere on the seam so that you can feed in your elastic.

Cut your elastic to size by wrapping it around your waist. It should feel snug but not tight. Allow for an overlap so that you can join the ends later. Feed the elastic into the waist channel through the gap you left using a safety pin or bodkin. When it is all the way through, try your skirt on and make sure the elastic is not too loose. Adjust if necessary, but when you are happy you can overlap the ends of the elastic and stitch them together. You can now close the gap you left in your waist seam on your DIY Skirt Tutorial.

The hem that never ends…

Rachel in her Vintage Boho Maxi Skirt

The final step is definitely an exercise in patience. Or delegation in my case as Nikki very kindly offered to hem both of our skirts. Such a big skirt means a really long hem (approx 7m each on ours!) so make yourself a big mug of coffee first! Nikki chose to overlock around the hem first, then simply turn under the overlocked edge and stitch in place. She was confident enough not to have to worry about pressing the hem until afterwards, but if you are not confident about your hemming abilities it would be best to press under the hem first.

The moment of truth…

So, how did I do? Do you think I managed to capture the spirit of the original?

More importantly, did this patchwork boho skirt of dreams live up to my expectations? Did it make me feel like the bohemian goddess I imagined it would? Did Nikki end up loving her skirt too?

Well, I think these pictures speak for themselves….

We Love Our Vintage Boho Maxi Skirt

If you decide to make your own Vintage Boho Maxi Skirt, we would love to see your variations! Why not play with the length or the fullness (if you opt for less full, make sure the waist can fit over your hips or add a zip instead). Try wider or narrower panels. Try using two matching fabrics in different colorways or print sizes. Go themed with mixed animal prints, mixed florals, or mixed polka dots. Go full rainbow with plain fabrics, or tonal with slightly varied tones in the same colour palette.

If you do make a Vintage Boho Maxi Skirt, make sure you tag us on social media using @thestitchsistersuk or use the hashtag #ssbohoskirt so we can find your makes.

And, if you don’t yet know how to sew but you fancy giving it a go. Why not check out our completely free Learn To Sew class to get to grips with a sewing machine before you try out this project?

If you enjoyed this DIY Skirt Tutorial, make sure yo check out our other blog posts.

Happy Sewing!

17 thoughts on “Boho Maxi Skirt DIY Tutorial”

  1. Absolutely wonderful! I am thinking of making a version all in black and white prints, but using 50 panels as a celebration of my 50th birthday later this year. I only have 2 prints so far though so need some more (and my own pattern piece).

    1. Thankyou for the tutorial and your skirts are lovely. I dont understand how you got 42 inch long panels out of one yard of fabric however.

      1. Hello, we used cottons that were 44″ wide and our panels were cut on the cross-grain (perpendicular to the selvedge). Most fabrics will be wider than 42″ and unless you are using a very small directional print, this should be possible. We hope that helps. Happy Sewing!

  2. Caroline Perreau Perreau Pradier

    Hello ladies,
    I am busy making your beautiful patchwork skirt during the confinement here in Paris! Can you tell me what I should do as I don’t have an overlocker.
    Many thanks , and keep safe and keep sewing!

    1. Hi Caroline. We are pleased to hear you are making the skirt. You can finish the seams on your sewing machine with a zigzag stitch on the edge of your fabrics. Or if you are using cottons, you could trim them with pinking shears. Happy sewing!

  3. I so love this skirt & all your videos. I want to make it out of quilting scraps. I, too, want to make it with 50 or more strips. However, I’m stuck already. I’m a phat ol’ granny. I want it to be only 26 inches (calf-length) long. Your waist measurement is 30 inches; mine is 48 (I like cake:) how wide should my 50 strips be at the top & bottom?

    1. Hi Rachel, so to keep the same amount of gather in the skirt you need to multiply your waist (48″) by 1.5 giving you 72″. Now you could just use the same measurements I did and make a skirt with 72 panels (where I used each fabric twice you could use it 3 times) or you could make the panels bigger. To keep the same 48 panels in your skirt, divide the finished waist by the number of panels. So 72 ÷ 48 = 1.5″ plus 0.5″ SA means the top of your pattern piece would be 2″. To keep the same ratio of fullness in the hem, you’d want the bottom of your pattern piece to be 6 times the top (before seam allowance) so 1.5″ x 6 = 9 plus 0.5″ SA means the bottom of your pattern piece would be 9.5″. In summary: Top Width 2″, Hem Width 9.5″ and Skirt Length 27″. Hope that helps. Can’t wait to see your skirt!

  4. ThanQ so very much! Your kindness, to do all the math for me, is so appreciated. You’re a glorious soul! ~ Peace & blessings!

    1. Hi Rachel,

      From one cake lover to another: I would also love to see how your skirt turned out. I am a bit new to sewing, but I absolutely love this pattern. I am just a bit worried that the volume of the skirt would optically increase the volume of my backside as well :-S

  5. I love this pattern, the only thing better would be hidden pockets in it. What would be the best way to incorporate pockets without them being obvious?

    1. Hi Jenny
      You could just add any pocket pattern piece into what would be the side seam. As there is no official side seam you would just need to make sure you make sure you add them halfway around the patter. It may even be easier to sew the whole skirt up, put it on and then decide where you want the pockets and just unpick the seams to insert them.
      Hope this makes sense

  6. Hiya, I’m planning to add panels to a maxi skirt that I already have, how would I go about it? It’s hurting my brain ?

  7. Elizabeth Valencia

    I found your Boho Maxi Skirt DIY Tutorial and i have been searching for skirt pattern to do/for a 8 meter(9yard) skirt.

    My inspiration was a cumbia, Colombian skirt and an Indian lehenga.

    But im having problems with haw many piece that i need for an 8meter (9yard) skirt and for haw wide the prices need to be?
    My waist is around 94-97cm. The skirt would be around 1 meter long/tall?.

    Loved 😍🤩 the skirt by the way and i will be fallowing you on YouTube from now on. Hope to here from you soon and have a happy weekend

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