|Next generation DIY hiking skirt--in upsidedown tree print!|
|A second glitter camo DIY skirt.|
Advantages of hiking skirts
- Prevent chafe and upper thigh heat rash because they are breezy.
- Easy and fast to pee. Allows peeing standing up.
- Versatile- add long underwear underneath in the cold. Wear rainpants over them, tucking extra material down into the pant legs.
- For thick undergrowth and bushwhacking, wear with tall gaiters.
I am not bothered by biting insects while I hike in a skirt. In camp, rainpants worn over my skirt prevent bites.
My skirt design features
- Side pockets with double layer of material, sized to hold a map and smartphone.
- Low-profile elastic waistband comfy beneath backpacking hipbelt
- Cut to allow freedom of movement. Plenty of material and flare to allow big steps.
- Fabric in prints, colors, and glitter to make me smile.
Considerations in choosing fabrics:
- Stretchy for motion (lycra).
- Abrasion resistant for bushwhacking and overgrown trail (ripstop).
- Doesn’t chafe when wet.
I use more stretchy material on the sides for nice movement as I hike. Lycra isn't as abrasion-resistant as the ripstop. The ripstop on the back panel is good to sit on and provides more protection in front when bushwhacking. Using the two fabric types together is a compromise.
Front, back, and pocket fabric: Ripstop Supplex nylon from Rockywoods.com. More abrasion resistant, but only comes in solid colors. Has slight stretch.
Side panels: Lycra (tree print from a pair of leggings, glitter camo from Joann's fabric). Fabric stores have limited selection of print fabrics, so I used a pair of lycra leggings with gorgeous tree print (my trail name is "Hemlock" because I love trees). I cut them apart to use the material, but had to use it upside-down so it would be the right size. Thus, the "upside-down" finished skirt.
|Ripstop material (left). Cut open lycra leggings (right) to provide fabric for the side panels.|
The pattern is my own design, and I've only ever made this skirt to fit me (about 34 inch waist--varies between 32 and 36 inches depending on weight gain/loss). See Megan's notes below in the comments section for how to alter the pattern to fit your waist size.
This skirt was about 21 1/2 inches long when finished.
|Cartoon of the pattern for the front and back panels.|
|Cartoon of the pocket and side panel pattern.|
Cutting out the material
Be sure to cut on the grain of the fabric. I tried doing a skirt cut on the bias, and it stretched out too much.
My actual patterns are works in progress. Years ago when I was obsessed with my pack weight and dropping ounces, I'd make the skirt short to keep the weight of the skirt down. When I saw how much sunscreen I kept having to apply to keep my knees from burning, I decided to sew the skirts longer to provide more coverage (but I haven't weighted the new version- I know it has to weigh more but now I just don't care).
I allow for about 5/8 inch seams on the sides. The top waistband allowed for about 1 1/2 inch.
|Cutting the front and back panels out of ripstop on the fold.|
|Cutting pockets (left) on the fold. Cutting side panels (right) out of lycra on the fold (cut 2).|
|Cutting the front panel (right) out of blue ripstop material.|
Simple slip pockets were constructed by sewing two pieces of material together (left) with a hole at the top to flip the material through. Then topstitching the fabric around the edges. I sewed the top again using the coverstitch on the serger as decoration.
|Sew two fabric pieces right sides together (left) then flip and topstitch (right).|
|Sewing pocket onto the side panels.|
|Rainbow ribbons to reinforce the tops of the pockets (inside view).|
|Outside view of top pocket reinforcement.|
|Topstitch used the wide cover stitch on my serger.|
I used a serger to attach the side panels to the front and back. The differential feed setting prevents puckering on stretchy fabric. If you don't have a serger, you could use a narrow french hem.
|Sewing the side panel to the front (and back) panel using a serger.|
A narrow elastic waistband has less bulk to fit under the pack waistbelt. I did a rolled hem but didn’t close off the channel. Then I topstitched around the first seam with the serger for decoration. Then, I threaded 1/2 inch elastic through the channel and tied it off with a knot that I can untie and adjust as needed.
|Leaving the elastic band open allows quick adjustments to accommodate weight changes on the trail.|
Length of the skirt depends on preference. Sunburned knees convinced me to lengthen this skirt a few inches to a final length of about 21 1/2 inches. Previous versions used a small handkerchief hem (narrow hem twice). For this version, I did a narrow hem and then added detail with the cover stitch on my serger.
|Hem detail (inside view).|
References and further information
My first hiking skirt (made from an old hiking shirt)
My 2nd Generation skirt in Durastretch camoflague with DWR finish (from Rockywoods).
Can’t sew? Here are two hiking skirts you can buy:
This Melanzana fleece skirt was inspiration for my design, but I’ve modified it over the years.
Purple rain skirts are gaining in popularity.