Running Kilts
FREE Pattern and Sewing Instructions
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FREE Running Kilt Pattern and Sewing Instructions

(I know, I know, its not as good as Butterrick or Vogue patterns, but I'm sure you can figure it out!)

Making your own Running Kilt is easy and fun.  Let's get sewing!

Detailed Sewing Instructions for Running Kilts and Lounging Kilts


You can purchase a wide variety of fabrics at your local fabric stores – some of which are great for Running Kilts.  (You can also try online fabric stores such as www.fabric.com).  You are indeed lucky if you can find some Nylon Supplex, which is one of the best fabrics available for athletic wear (most running shorts are made from it). 

Lounging Kilts can be made with acrylic fleece, cotton flannel, or even denim.  Use your imagination.

For most waist sizes, one yard will make one Running Kilt.  Two yards should yield 3 Running Kilts.  Measure your pattern just to be sure, and check the widths of the bolts at the store.  Fabric comes in a variety of widths, and a yard is 36 inches in length.

Pattern:  First, you'll need two panels of fabric in a trapazoid shape.

Take your waist size and divide by two.  Example:  Waist size is 34" divide by 2 = 17"

Now add 6", and that's the top length of the front panel.  The bottom length of the  front panel should be 4" more than top.  Example:  top length is 17" + 6" = 23", bottom length is 27"

The rear panel is 1" less for top and bottom lengths.  Example:  22" and 26"

For a Running Kilt length of 17", the height of the two trapazoids should be about 19".

Cutting:  Lay your fabric out on a smooth surface, preferably a large table, but even the floor will work.  Pin the pattern on to the fabric, making sure there are no wrinkles in the fabric.  Cut around the outline of the patterns to create a front and rear fabric panel.  The smaller panel is the rear panel.

Pinning:  Pin together the two panels at the edges.  If your fabric is one sided, pin it so that the “outside” side is on the outside – so it looks ready to wear.  Do not pin the lower 7-1/2 inches, leave that portion unsewn as it for the side slits.

Sewing:  Sew along the edge from the waistband area down to within 7-1/2 inches from the bottom.  Sew as close to the edge as you can (1/2 inch).  After sewing, trim the edge of fabric to a maximum of ¼ inch.  Sew both sides.

Turn the whole thing inside out.  Sew along the same area again, sewing at least ¼” to cover up your last seam (practice on some scraps first).  Turn it inside out again.  Congratulations, you have just sewn a french seam, which hides the edge of the fabric and prevents fraying.  

Side Slits

You are now ready to sew the side slits.  Fold about 1/16" of the side slit twice and pin.  Sew from the bottom edge up to where the front and rear panels meet.  This will hide the edge of the fabric and prevent fraying.  Do all four side silts (right front, right back, left front, left back).

Bottom Hem

Make sure the fabric along the bottom hem is straight, and fold twice as you did for the side slits and pin.  Sew the bottom hem of both the front and back panels.


Get your elastic for the waistband at a fabric store.  I prefer a ¾-inch elastic waistband, however, you’ll be able to also find 1-inch and wider elastic.  Cut the elastic 3 to 5 inches shorter than your waist size (but first pin it and try it out to see what feels comfortable).  When you have the correct length, sew the ends together to make a loop.

Place the waistband inside of the Running Kilt with the sewn ends at the center of the rear panel.  Pin it about ½-inch below the top of the fabric.  Measure from the bottom hem to the bottom of the elastic, this will be the length of the Running Kilt.  Relocate the elastic if necessary.  Stretch the elastic until it hits the other side of the Running Kilt, and pin it in place.  Continue stretching and pining until you have it pinned in about 8 places.

Place the waistband and fabric on the sewing machine, and after inserting the needle, stretch out the elastic and sew using a zig-zag stitch at the top of the elastic.  When you have sewn completely around, trim off the excess fabric.  If you have access to a surger, you can use it to sew the elastic to the fabric.

Fold the elastic band down inside the Running Kilt, stretch and pin.  (Fold down once if the elastic was surged, or twice if attached with a zig-zag stitch).  Sew with a ziz-zag stitch on the bottom edge of the elastic (you will be sewing over the previously completed zig-zag stitch (or the surged edge)).

Congratulations, you are finished and ready to try it on!

How did your Running Kilt turn out?  Let me know at scott@runningkilts.com.  If you are happy with it, and want to help out a struggling business, you can make a small donation to help keep this website available.

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