Béatrice Curtis - Egyptian Dance

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Tube Skirt

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This is a very simple straight skirt, for those who are not necessarily over-confident in their sewing skills.


Use a stretchy fabric (there are some great stretch velvets *, which look truly sumptuous), with a slight zig-zag to your stitching to keep some "give" in your seams.

Cut a rectangle that's 3cms longer than the length of the skirt you want and about 3cms wider than your hip measurement.


Fold the fabric in half lengthways (right sides together), so that it is still as long as your legs, but now only half as wide.  Pin and tack about 1½cms from the cut edge and sew down from the top to about half or two-thirds of the way down, depending on how high you want the side/back split to go. Use a low zig-zag setting on your sewing machine, so the zig-zag is only 1 or 2mm wide.  You should now have a tube of fabric.


Elasticate the top (your "waistband").  This is the trickiest bit of the procedure.

Use elastic about 3cm wide, and the same length as your hip measurement, where the "waistband" of the skirt will be.  Overlap the two ends together by 2 or 3 cms so that the elastic is in a ring shape, and sew the ends together.

Then put the ring of elastic inside your fabric tube at the top end (the end without the split), and turn the top edge of the fabric over the top edge of the elastic.  The ring of elastic is slightly smaller than the amount of fabric you have got, so you will need to stretch the elastic a little when you sew the elastic onto the fabric.  Pin it before you try to sew the elastic in, to work out an even "gather" rate. I usually do this by marking the elastic in quarters and the fabric in quarters and matching the marks up.  Pin the fabric and the elastic together at those quarter points, then you can do the same with the midway points between the pins and pin them at these 1/8 points, and if you really want to, again, at the 1/16 points.  When pinning the elastic to the fabric, use the pins vertically, rather than horizontally, with the sharp end of the pin pointing downwards towards the hem of the skirt.

Sew the elastic to the fabric using a wide zig-zag (3 or 4mm wide), so that it goes through the two fabric layers and the elastic.  You will need to stretch the elastic as you feed it through the machine, to maintain the elasticity.


Hem the bottom edge of the skirt including the split.

Decorate as you wish!

The Finished Article

Because the skirt has only one seam, it will look fine whether you wear it with the split at the side (as shown here) or with the split at the back- the shapelessness can become an advantage!


If you are more confident in your skills you can convert this into a Trumpet skirt, by inserting 6 godets of matching (or contrasting, if you prefer) fabric

Trumpet Skirt



If you are working with velvet, remember the "pile".  The velvet texture should feel like you can stroke it upwards (from your knees up to your hips), rather than downwards.  This is because if the pile faces down, any hip belt will slip more easily downwards off your hips.  If the pile faces up, then the velvet is helping to keep your hip belt on.


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Updated 24th January 2010