Patterns! High-Waisted Skirts

I got some really fun, pretty fabric…


…and with it I’m making a high-waisted skirt!  So after lots of demand, here is a tutorial for how to pattern your own high-waisted skirt.

There are two different kinds of high-waisted skirts: Cupcake and A-Line:

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The difference between these two skirts is that in the A-line, there is no waist seam and with the cupcake, there is.

Patterning the Waist Portion

First, decide how tall you want your high-waisted skirt to be.  Mine tend to be around 5″.  Unless you have a complicated shape, it will be the same height all the way around.  Now, draw a rectangle, like the one pictured below, that is your height (i.e. 5″) by HALF your waist/underbust measurement.  For me, this measurement is the same, but if they are different, accommodate for that in your rectangle, making it a…polygon?

If you plan on having shirring in the back of your skirt, instead of a zipper, the center back panel should be large enough to add the extra room to fit over your hips.  (When I get my shirring tutorial up, there will be more information on calculating that.)


Now, decide where your seams are going to go and simply draw them onto your rectangle.  I am going to have 3 seams on each side: side front, side and side back.  The center-front panel will be on the seam.


If you are making a cupcake skirt, your style lines/seams are all that you need for this pattern.  If your skirt is A-line, there is a little bit more math to do.

On the bottom portion of my pattern you see two numbers:
The green numbers equal the percentage value that the given piece is out of the waist portion as a whole.  Confusing?  For example, the Center Front (CF) piece is 15% of the total half-waist measurement.
The orange numbers are the width of the hem for that given piece.  Example: my hem is 120″, divided by 2 is 60″.  15% of 60″ is 10″.

Now we can move onto the skirt portion.

Patterning the Skirt Portion

If you are making a cupcake style skirt, them you can pattern out your skirt goes as you usually would.  If you need a refresher on patterning skirt gores, I have a video tutorial here.

For A-line skirts, each gore will most likely be different, unless your waist seams are all equal distances apart.

Instead of using a bunch of paper to pattern 4 different skirt gores, I used one pattern.  The top of the skirt pattern should be the same as the waist pattern it is connecting to.  The hem of the skirt should match the number we calculated earlier.


Cutting Time!

Before you cut your waist portion into separate pattern pieces, cut up one rectangle.  This will be the facing for the waist portion, and give you an opportunity for boning casing if you wish.


Now cut that rectangle apart!


To cut how A-line skirt pieces, simply match each waist pattern piece with the coordinating skirt gore.

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And that’s all I have got for you today!  If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments!

More tutorials to look forward to:

19 thoughts on “Patterns! High-Waisted Skirts

      1. Thanks for your answer, but…no, not really. I know how to do shirring, but I don´t know, how to do pattern for this…I mean…there must be a “little bit more fabric” in waist to do it elastic, right? But…where? I try it on my skirt, but…i don´t understand it. Maybe I´m not so clever 😀

      2. I usually have mine in the back panel, using the same style of patterning for the shirring as I do in a JSK. A high-waisted skirt is almost simply a JSK without straps haha so I tend to be able to use my shirring “pattern” for both. If it is an A-line skirt, then I add the extra fabric to the entire CB panel (assuming that is where my shirring will be). If the waistband and skirt are separate, then make the CB panel of the waistband the “shirred pattern” (aka the extra fabric). Does that help any further?

      3. 2.5-3 yards, but it depends on how long your skirt is going to be. You can usually nest two or three gores side by side, so if you have 6 gores, you going to need approx. 2 or 3 times the length of your skirt, depending on the width of your fabric. I hope that helps!

    1. An easy way to figure this out is to put on your petticoat and use a tape measurer to see how big your petticoat is in circumference and length. I tend to make my skirts one or two inches longer than my petticoat and 3 times my waist for the waist fullness. I would say that most skirts have at least 90″ in the hem and 19″ in length, depending on your height. I hope that helps!

  1. Hi…. I was trying to make the cupcake style skirt but I am lost on the seam lines you talk about…. I really dont know where to put mine because I want to make it so I can have a corset like back with a shirring panel…..

    I just dont know @~@

    1. Hello Mari! If you are making a cupcake skirt with shirring, then you don’t need to worry about the seam lines. With an A-Line skirt – like in the tutorial – you want the seams of the skirt to match the seams of the waist so each gore of the skirt is an all-in-one skirt-and-waist pattern because there is no waist seam. With cupcake skirts, you don’t need to worry about this because you will have a waist seam in which to pleat or gather your skirt fullness into. Just don’t gather any in the back, because when you lace it up with the shirring, it will gather in 😉

  2. Hi, I noticed that your video on skirt gores is gone, can you upload it somewhere please?
    It’s the best tutorial I’ve seen on it and now that I’m finally going to make something with it, I can’t find it! Your blog is amazing,


      1. O hey it IS still there 😀 your “here” link above isn’t working though. God I feel stupid, I was looking through my favorites for the video and browsing youtube while I’m actually subscribed to your channel, I forgot this blog and the channel were from the same person.
        I still think you’re awesome and your stuff is beautiful!

  3. You look absolutely beautiful. You perflectly co-ordinated the skirt with the red blouse and socks, it;s very hard to do. I am saving up now but in future I’d be interested in commissioning a high waisted lolita skirt from you

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