The World’s Most Comfortable Travel Skirt

Just having returned from several weeks in Spain, I’m still in the mode of thinking about travel clothing – what worked and what didn’t.  In the coming weeks I’ll share some tips on making travel clothes but for now I need to tell you about this travel skirt which is sooo comfortable.  

Initially I made it for our 2 month trip to Central America where it got a lot of wear. I liked it so much that although faded and somewhat worn, I took it on this trip to Spain.  Honestly, it’s the most comfortable skirt I’ve ever owned.  The inspiration came from a travel skirt on an internet site I can no longer find.   Essentially it is made of 6 panels with ruching on each side of the seams, made from woven cotton/poly with lycra.  This photo is a little better at showing the detail.


  • 1-1/2 to 2 yards of 45″ fabric or 1 yard of 60″ woven mid-weight fabric with lycra
  • 1 yard of 1-1/4″ wide elastic
  • 4-6 yards of 1/4″ elastic depending on skirt length
  • Twill tie if desired


1.  Before cutting or sewing, do a test with the elastic and a fabric scrap to determine the ration of elastic to fabric needed to create the desired ruching effect.  

2.  Cut six pieces of fabric 9-10″ longer than the finished length (mine was 30″ for a 20″ skirt).  For the width, use the following formula.

  • Divide hip size by 6.
  • For each piece, add 1-1/2″ for the seams and 1″ to create the puffy effect.
  • If desired, you can flare slightly, making the lower part of the skirt wider.
  • For 40″ hips, my panels were 30″ long by 10″ wide at the top and 11″ at the bottom.
Cut panels. Middle panel has elastic applied.

3.  Cut 12 pieces of elastic based on what you learned when you ran your test.  (My elastic pieces were about 18″ long)

4.  Serge or zig-zag edges to reduce raveling.

5.  Starting 2′ from the waist edge, stretch fabric while sewing to each side of panels, one inch from each edge.

Note:  You start 2″ from the top as ruching in the waistband makes it too bulky.

6.  Sew panels together with a 5/8 to 3/4″ seam.  Press the seams open although this is somewhat useless as the seams don’t lay flat.

7.  Repeat for all panels.

8.  Turn waistband over and sew 1-1/2″ from the edge.

9.  Insert elastic to desired length.

Note:  I also put a twill tie in the waistband but it’s not necessary.

10.  Turn over 5/8″ at the bottom edge for a hem.  Machine sew with a straight stitch.

11.  Because there aren’t pockets in this skirt, to have a secure place for my passport, add a travel security pocket on the inside.

You are done!  Roll it up and put it in your suitcase.

4 thoughts on “The World’s Most Comfortable Travel Skirt

  1. i’m making this now from blue satin and i have a store bought one, same style. thank u for this simple tute for what is being made these days that people actually wear AND it’s comfortable! I’ve made your stretchpants pattern as well and those turned out beautifully; again thank you so much. You literally cannot find a free strechpants pattern out there.
    not pickin’ bones here, just to clarify…skirt pattern: the instructions say to stretch the “material” when sewing the elastic to the panels. is that transposed with elastic or was it meant literally. stretchpants pattern: when constructing these are you supposed to sew them one leg separately and THEN join them at the inseam…or is it front seams sewn together, and back seams together, then join? maybe i am just super confused…(?) probably, but do u mind bestowing ur knowledge?
    i look at A LOT of blogs & tutes, ironically i don’t use many…but i’ve made 2 from your blog!! something keeps bringing me back… great joh! i particularly like how down to earth you come across and honest your titles and subjects, ie. failed projects, etc.
    I’ll be checking back and i hope to see more stories of your travels and “real” posts. Thank you thank you, take care!!

  2. Fey,
    Thank you for your kind comments. It is always good to get feedback on the clarity of my instructions.
    Skirt: I think you are referencing item #5. When sewing the panels together (after the elastic is attached), you do need to hold the fabric “taunt” or “stretch it out” as you sew. I’ll modify the instructions.

    Pants (Leggings): First you sew the front and back together at the crotch seams. Then you sew the inseams.

    Hope this helps and am looking forward to future comments.

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