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How to Lengthen Skirts with Patchwork

By: Rose Smith

Use this free, easy sewing pattern from Rose Smith to learn how to lengthen skirts with patchwork. This sewing tutorial teaches you everything you need to know about making a band of Seminole patchwork and how to use it to lengthen a skirt.



  • 1 skirt that you either wish to lengthen or add a pretty border to
  • 2 strips of blue fabric 1.1/2" by width of fabric (usually about 42")
  • 2 strips of pink fabric 1.1/2" by width of fabric
  • 2 strips of black fabric 1.1/4" by width of fabric
  • 4 strips of black fabric 1" by width of fabric
  • 2 strips of black fabric 2.7/8" by width of fabric
  • Matching thread (I used black)
  • Rotary cutter, mat and ruler help a lot but are not essential

This will make 2 lengths of border each about 39" long


  1. The first thing to do is to unpick the existing hem. The seam would be too bulky if you just added a band of fabric to the hemline. I find that it's not worth trying to use the fabric below the fold because usually that fold will always show no matter how many times you wash and press the skirt.

  2. Trim the skirt hem 1/4" below the fold of the hem. This will enable you to use the fold of the hem as your seam line when you add the patchwork band to lengthen your skirt.

  3. The seminole patchwork band was made by sewing together two 1.1/2" strips of blue and pink fabric and one 1.1/4" strip of black fabric, with the black fabric in the middle. For this particular patchwork band I used pink and blue rather than the blue and yellow shown. These strips are then cut at 1.1/4" intervals.

  4. Sew the strips together with the top of the black strip matching the bottom of the black strip on its left. Alternate the strips so that pink is at the top of one strip and blue is at the top of the adjacent strip. I find it easiest to sew these together in pairs, then fours and so on till they are all combined in one length. Usually this is around 39" long, so for this skirt band I had to use 2 lengths of each colour to get the required length with a little left over - I might add the extra round the pockets.

  5. Press carefully and add a 1" strip of black fabric to each side of the seminole patchwork strip.
  6. My patchwork strip was 2.7/8" wide so I cut a strip of black fabric the same width and sewed them together using a 1/4" seam.

  7. With right sides together, pin the patchwork strip to the hem of the skirt, with the patchwork side of the strip nearest the edge of the hem. Sew with the skirt on top and the seminole patchwork underneath so that you can follow the original fold in the hemline.

  8. Flip the black part of the strip under to the inside of the skirt, turn under a small hem and slipstitch in place. You now have a really individual skirt that is also long enough!


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