Maxiskirts Spring 2011 How to Make Your Own DIY Designs

Olivia Palermo at the Matthew Williamson show during London Fashion Week and a look from Lanvin's Spring 2011 collection. Photos: Getty (2)

Maxi skirts are back in a big way for Spring 2011, and while floor-length dresses are everywhere in stores, their skirty counterparts are not as easy to find. Fret not. You can whip up one of these ground-grazing looks in no time, for a fraction of the cost of a ready-to-wear version, and be full-on stylish for spring and summer. Here's how:

Who's got the pattern? While maxi skirts, with their easygoing boho chic, are simple to sew, you may have a bit of trouble finding the right pattern. For the most authentic looks, start with '70s vintage patterns. You can also modify a more common ankle-length skirt pattern to make it truly maxi. Start with a long-skirt pattern, preferably a simple A-line style. (All of the major pattern companies carry this perennial style.) Lay out your front and back pattern pieces and tape tracing paper to the bottom of each. Extend the side seams by drawing them to the desired length, then drafting the new hem.

Fabric finds: Graphic and solid cotton jerseys are a popular fabrication this spring, and truthfully that's not a fabric you will find listed as a suggestion on the back of most long-skirt-pattern envelopes. Don't let that stop you. As long as the pattern recommends slinky textiles (such as georgette, lightweight crepe, lightweight faille, challis) you are safe to use drapey cotton knits as well. Just remember that jersey knits need less ease, so you may need to narrow the hip width on the pattern. Another plus with jersey fabrics: There's no hemming needed, so you can subtract the hem allowance. P.S. If you are extending the length of your skirt, be sure to get some extra fabric (a half yard, at least).

Patternless sewing: I know what you're thinking: It's just basically a big, long tube. How hard can it be to make a one of these without a pattern? Well, it's true that's there's not much to fitting a maxi skirt, so drafting your own pattern isn't that hard, if you are willing to overlook some of the finer points of construction. Check out this two-in-one skirt project for a maxi skirt that can do double duty as a dress, a lace maxi skirt how-to video and fabulous tutorial. Many, like you, have figured out it isn't that hard, and you'll find no shortage of patternless, floor-sweeping skirt projects online. Don't be surprised if you make more than one!

For more "DIY Design" columns, click here. Next week: how to embellish a scarf with beads or fringe.

Also be sure to check out our new Maxi Skirt Mondays feature.