tutorial: how to sew a garterized paper bag skirt

I know, I know, paper bag skirts are very 2008. And that I can’t possibly look great in them because I am short and I have round-ish hips. But screw that. Today, we squint at the words “dress up for your body type” until they whimper in fear.

Okay, enough squinting. On to sewing!

To make this DIY paper bag skirt, you will need: 1 to 2 meters of fabric (depends on length of your skirt), 1-inch elastic, matching thread


Cut two rectangular pieces. They will make up the front and back part of the skirt. The width should be twice your waist size minus 4 inches. The top part of these pieces should have an allowance of 3 inches. The three other sides will have an allowance of 1 inch each.

You will also need pieces for the waistline straps. Dimensions: 4 inches x your desired length. The length should be enough for you to make a bow by the waistline of your skirt.




1. Normally, you would sew the sides together first before making an elastic piping for your waistline. But you have to attach the waistline straps between the front and back parts, hence, you need to sew the sides AFTER attaching the elastic. Do not worry, the side seams will not be visible by the waistline because of all the “paper bag-ness” going on.

2. You can also tie the straps by wrapping them around your back first and bringing them to the front to make a knot.

3. Use a plain-colored skirt and a waistline strap in another plain color for a bit of color-blocking.

/End of Notes

My DIY paper bag skirt has a pocket but I eyeballed that part and made a lot of mistakes. And by mistakes, I mean sewing a shallow pocket that even a child will find inadequate for her hand. I was able to make it deeper but I figured I should not sully my tutorial with my freestylin’ pocket-sewin’ methods.

19 thoughts on “tutorial: how to sew a garterized paper bag skirt

  1. That’s a great skirt! (and fabric :) and pattern! It’s just great, okay?)

    But I have a question regarding the straps – you need just two pieces, right? The length is 4Xlength so you can sew the same strip right sides together – yes?

    Thanks for the tutorial, it seems that even a noob like me can hack it!
    BTW – I stumbled it :)

  2. I whole-heartedly agree: SUPER CUTE design with FABULOUS & UNIQUE “paper bag skirt!” I love the multi-color print fabric featuring vertical stripes — at an angle! Thanks for this tutorial. Sarah in Minneapolis

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