How to choose the right skirt shape

Are you skirt savvy? Do you know which skirt style is best for your body shape? Knowing this can help you choose the right sewing pattern for you!

What’s the best length skirt for you?

Whether you like it or not, the following factors come into play when choosing what skirt length is best for you. Skirt shape, your shape and then governed only a little by the fashion of the time! So here’s how to choose the right skirt shape.

Skirt shape

The right hemline for you will depend on the shape and cut of the skirt. Age shouldn’t matter but many women will draw the line at wearing a certain skirt styles such as a mini length skirt if like us, you hate your knees or have chunkier legs (although a thick pair of tights can often solve problem!).

Choosing a skirt style

  • The length of the hemline constantly changes with the times, but it’s important to stick with a length that flatters you the best. The best length is often where the hem hits the leanest part of your legs – usually mid-thigh, just above or below the knee. Hems should sit straight when the skirt is on, without dipping front or back, if they don’t the fit isn’t right for you.
  • Pretty obvious but worth a mention, pattern size is important. If the skirt is too tight, it will feel uncomfortable and pull in all the wrong places but if too lose, it will look frumpy and hang off you. Both can alter how the hemline looks on the final garment.
  • Always wear the heels you plan to wear with the skirt when measuring a hemline and check in the mirror to see how it looks all round.

Body shapes


Choose a knee length slim fitting skirt such as pencil, wrap or A-line. Make in a lightweight to medium weight fabrics. Skirts with slits either centre or off-centre are great for making your legs look longer. Stay clear of frilly bits and embellishment as these can also make you look dumpy.

Apple or Pear Shape

Select a skirt shape that shows off your legs and draws the attention away from your lack of a waistline. Choose a skirt pattern with a drop waist or no waistband such as A-Line and pencil skirts. Bottom heavy figures should avoid any frilly styling around the middle such as pleats, darts and front pockets.

Top Heavy Shapes

Skirts should aim to even out your top and bottom so choose A-line skirts and skirts with volume such as tiers, dropped waists and pleats.

Hour-glass curves

Pick skirts with more subtle shaping like A-Line and other styles that have a defined waist such as a yoke or tulip. Skirts with subtle tapering and flat fronts look understated and stylish. Select more fluid fabrics to skim over curves. Avoid boxy style skirts and stiff fabrics. Adding peplums and flounces to accentuate your curves like the Charlotte skirt from By Hand London.

Boyfriend straight up figures

Anyone this shape needs to choose a skirt that will create a defined waist. Choose skirts with high waists or detailing such as pleats, slits, belts, panels, wrap around, slant pockets, and asymmetrical skirts and those cut on the bias. Maxi skirts also suit straight up and down kinda gals too.

Happy Hemlines

  • Short mini length – Best for petites (5ft 3” or less), short/slim legs. Not good for women who don’t like focus on the tummy area. Perhaps not professional enough for wearing to work.
  • Just above knee length – Universal length that is flattering on most body shapes.
  • Mid-calf length – hemline that hits around here can make legs look short so best suited to taller women. It can also be tricky to wear as this length falls at the widest part of your leg.
  • Maxi length – Choose a maxi skirt that doesn’t have lots of fabric around the waist, a length that sits at the ankle and wear with a semi-fitted top. Gypsy style and flooring skimming skirts leave for the tall folk, if you’re short or small framed avoid at all costs this length as it can make you look even shorter.

  • Maxi skirt – This is a favourite in summertime but becoming popular in winter too and covers all. It’s the same shape as the pencil or can be slightly A-line but more ankle length.
  • Mini skirt – The casual mini was an essential in 1960’s. Curvier body shapes, wear it in straight mini style. Make it in a medium to heavy weight fabrics like denim or corduroy.
  • Pencil skirt – This skirt shape hugs your body and is usually worn mid-calf and made from stretch fabrics and slims down the figure. Made in a woven fabric it’s a more practical solution for other body shapes.
  • Sarong – Made from fine fabric and a beach classic for covering up and tied into place.
  • Straight skirt – The same shape as the pencil skirt but with slightly more room and looks stylish when finished with a knee-high hemline. Any shorter this style of skirt can be a bit of the revealing side when you sit down. Made in a longer length and side slits it can look very elegant worn with heels.
  • Tulip skirt – Tulip by name and tulip shape by nature. This style of skirt exaggerates any curves and has a slimming effect.
  • Wrap skirt – A wrap skirt is fastened around the waist and is suitable for most body shapes and come in lots of different lengths.

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