How to calculate correct skirt length

One of the most important aspects of the skirt is its length .

Skirt lengths vary vastly from micros ( just covering the bum ) to floor sweeping maxis. You can choose any skirt design you like, but it is the length of it that will determine its appropriateness.
And so, you must discuss the skirt length with the client while you are taking her measurements. It is especially important for very short skirts, when 5 cm can be crucial.
If you forget to take client’s skirt length measurement and all information you have is “make it shorter” or “make it longer” you can use the rules for approximate skirt length calculations below.
These calculations are correct for the majority of female figures and use only one measurement – the height. The same rule can be used for sewing trousers and shorts and if you are working with standard industry measurements.

Micro mini

This is the length that reveals the whole leg, just covering the underwear. Measure from the waist line over the buttock to the highest point of the leg. This is the minimal length of the skirt, and making it shorter is not recommended. This length can be calculated as L (length) = 0.18xH (height)


You can wear the mini in public without a fear of “sending the wrong message”. This group has a bigger variation of lengths, the average one can be calculated as L= 0.26xH but can also vary from 0.22xH to 0.3xH

Knee length skirts

The knee level (KL) can be measured from the waist to the knee. The only problem is if you cut the skirt exactly to the knee point, the edge of the skirt will crinkle. To avoid this problem you can make the skirt L=KL-3 cm for  younger girls and L=KL+3 cm for the elegant ladies. The knee level can be calculated as KL=0.35xH

Midi skirts

This type of skirts edge falls between the ankle and the knee. The length formula is L=0.5xH . But you can also choose from the range of 0.4xH to 0.55xH

Maxi skirts

These skirts almost sweep the floor. The length formula is L=0.62xH. When you calculate the maxi length, allow a few extra centimetres for the height of the heel, or take a few centimetres off if you plan to wear it with flats.

All formulas listed above are based on Golden Ratio and allow you to create the garments ideally suited for your height and proportions.

And one more thing. You must consider your leg shape when choosing the skirt length. The horizontal line of the skirt “cuts” the legs and draws attention to the part of the leg it falls to. If you like to create the effect of slender legs, choose the skirt that ends at the slimmest part of the leg – whether it is above or below the knee. This rule can also be reversed – if the skirt ends at the fullest part of the leg, the legs will look fuller.

Lena Merrin
Lena Merrin

A dressmaker of many years, I enjoy drafting patterns and create custom garments.

10 thoughts on “How to calculate correct skirt length

  1. rosa says:

    When a catalogue gives a skirt length measurement from center back to hem, do they include the waistband?

  2. nat says:

    Thankyou for answering :) Just measured, its a 40″ bust and 35″ waist/hip.

    Hmm toned upper arms, not really, I was actually thinking of making a light bolero type thing to wear over it to cover the arms.

    I have a very stretchy knit, sort of a bit shinyish, in a dark chocolate brown.

    I might finish what I am making at the moment and think about cutting it out, as I really do like the look of it. Complete beginner here :)

    When I do make it, I will post a pic on my blog (I use the term loosely LOL)

    You do lovely work by the way :)

  3. nat says:

    HI Lena, thankyou for your reply on PR about how much fabric you buy :)

    Your skirt article is very interesting. Can I have an honest answer on this :) is there a skirt length that can be flattering for a short woman, and I mean short 4 ” 11″ . and not slim, 40″ bust and waist :(

    I would love to sew a dress I have the fabric the pattern, but cant bring myself to cut it as I dont think i can wear a skirt LOL

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