Jil Sander’s S/S 2011 RTW Collection was filled with punchy-bright minimalist maxi-skirts with gathers at the waist – making all the models who walked in the show vaguely reminiscent of upside-down tulips.  I re-created the bright column skirt with knee-length slit in one side, to herald the beginning of Summer and the return of warmer days.  (I would have shared this much earlier, except I left my paper scribbled with all my measurements back in the States, during the last month I spent in Tokyo.  So here it is finally!)

How to Make a DIY Jil Sander Column Maxi-Skirt

Since I wanted to make this DIY as simple as possible, I created instructions for a straight skirt (not a fishtail-cut like the peplum version), along with a removable peplum.  In the Jil Sander Collection the fishtail orange skirt has an attached peplum, and there are also separate peplums that can be worn on top of pants or other pieces as desired.  Therefore I decided to make two separate pieces for ultimate versatility; these are the instructions for the skirt.

You Need:

*stiff cotton twill fabric (min of 54″ wide), about 91″ long or just under 2.75 yards

*1/2″-wide waistband elastic, enough to go around your waist

*matching colored thread




*measuring tape

*marking chalk

*fabric scissors

*sewing machine

*machine needle for med-weight wovens

*iron & ironing board

*serger (optional)


How To:

1. Pre-wash and iron fabric to get out the creases.

2. Fold fabric over and cut according to diagram above.

3. Overcast/serge the raw edges to prevent fray (you can leave the selvedges alone if they don’t fray).

4. Sew the side seams of the skirt together at 1/2″ seam allowance (right sides together).  Stop at point A on one side, and backstitch a couple stitches to create the slit.

5. Press the seams open, including the 1/2″ seam allowance on either side of the slit.

6. Stitch down the seam allowance around the slit.

7. Mark the inside of skirt about 3/4″ down from the top, all the way around.

8. Cut waistband elastic to your waist size minus 1/2″ to 1″, depending on how snug you like your waistbands.

9. Make sure the elastic lies flat, and overlap elastic by 1″ onto itself and stitch ends together to make a loop.

10 Place loop of elastic inside the skirt, right on top of the line you drew in Step 7).  Pin the stitched part of the elastic to the inside of one of the side seams; pin the center front of the elastic loop to the other side seam.

11. Stitch through the elastic to secure it to the skirt fabric, stretching the elastic as you go.  Once you let go of it, the skirt fabric will naturally create large gathers.

12. Fold the waistband down once to the inside, so elastic is enclosed.  Stitch in the ditch about 1.5″ through each side seam of the skirt at the top, to secure the elastic waistband down and create the illusion of the gathers going straight up into your waist.  (You can also hand-tack parts of the waistband down, if they start to ride up as you’re wearing this piece, hiding your stitches within the gathers.)

13. Hem the skirt to the length you like.  Probably the best type of seam would be an invisible one, but of course I was rushing and so I just made a regular seam.

You’re done!

Upon examination of the skirt I do believe that the fabric could actually have been a little less wide than I made it – perhaps 33″ was a little too much and 31″ might create a little less gathering at the waist.  Anyhow, experiment and have fun with it!

 BTW – DIY tute for the removable peplum for this skirt coming later!!

Thanks a bunch and Happy DIY’ing!


-runway photo: Monica Feudi / GoRunway.com; collage, illustrations, and other photos by me

~If you liked this post, please share it!  It’s all because of all of you that I’m able to put these ideas and how-to’s out there, so I’d love it if you could throw a little love my way and spread this out over the Internet to perhaps help someone else out who’s trying to figure out how to make their own.  Lots of love and DIY!~



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