As I said yesterday I have been on a skirt making binge lately. And the skirts I have been making the most of are circle skirts…mainly because I can have one cut and sewn in less than an hour.
When I started sewing I avoided circle skirts because every pattern and tutorial I saw had this math diagram with pi…and radius…and circumference….and then my brain turned off and I decided that I would just choose a different skirt to sew. Because even though I like to sew and craft and such I’m also lazy…LAY-ZEE so when I would see all those instructions I’d think it was a good time for some nachos instead.
But then Elizabeth was over at my house one day and she made me try one….and it was like magic! It was so EASY I couldn’t believe it and it has now become one of my go to skirt patterns.
So today I am going to show you how I take two measurements, do one math problem (on a calculator) and then with two cuts have a skirt that is ready to be sewn.
Let’s get started:
First we are going to take 2 measurements:
#1. Measure around (the circumference) for your waist. Write this number down.
#2. Measure the distance from your waist to your knee (or where ever you would like your skirt to land). Write this number down.
Now it’s time for the math…I’m not going to explain all the whys because that is what made me avoid these skirts. All I am going to do is say:
Take your waist measurement and add two inches then divide that number by 6.28. Write that number down.
(For example Ruth’s waist is 20 inches. So 20 inches plus 2 inches = 22 inches so then when I divide that by 6.28 I get 3.5 inches. Done.)
Whew! Now that that is over let’s cut this skirt out!
Take your fabric and fold it in half width wise and length wise…if I was teaching this to one of my children’s art classes I would tell them to just “Fold your fabric in half hamburger way and hot dog way.”. (Like you are beginning to make a giant fabric snowflake.)
Once that is done grab a ruler of measuring tape because it’s time to make the waist of this skirt.
Starting at the folded corner measure down the number of inches that you got from your math problem. For Ruths skirt I measured down 3.5 inches. Mark that spot with a pin.
Then rotate your ruler or measuring tape an inch or two, measure down the same distance and mark with a pin. Continue doing this until you have created an arc across that top corner of your folded fabric.
Next find that first pin you placed in your fabric. From that pin measure down the length of your waist to knee measurement that you took a few minutes ago.
Mark that spot with a pin.
Following the first arc you made measure down that waist to knee measurement and mark with pins until you have a second arc across your fabric.
Once you have your two arcs completed it’s time to cut out your skirt. Simply next to the pin trails you have just created.
Remove the pins and its time to sew!
All you have left to do add a waistband and hem!!! (For a complete tutorial on how to make a perfect circle skirt waistband…that is super easy…click here: Exposed Waistband Tutorial.
See what I am talking about…so easy!!!
I made these particular circle skirts for a project I was working on for The Ribbon Retreat. You see my girls are still all about Frozen…all about it…and would dress like Anna and Elsa everyday if I would let them. So I decided to make them some outfits “inspired” by Anna and Elsa that they could wear everyday without looking like they were going to a costume ball.
For more on that…and for the headband tutorials you can head here: Frozen Inspired Headbands.
And as for the fabric that I made these skirts from it is the most beautiful, soft ruffle fabric I have ever seen. It comes in a wide variety of colors and aside from being so soft and so lovely it also washes and wears fantastic! (Plus the ladies that run the shop where it came from are some of the nicest women I have come across.) And if you want to check it out you can click here for all the details: Ruffle Fabric.
Alright! I think that is all for today. Have a good one everybody!
*NOTE: This skirt is made from that delightful ruffle fabric that I love HOWEVER, it has a definite horizontal stripe pattern that goes funky when cut in this method. That is terrific for the look I was going for with these skirts BUT I would advise you to choose a solid or a non-directional print to make your circle skirts out of especially if it is the first circle skirt you have ever made….just a thought….
These are adorable! And thank youa for simplifying the math. . . Fabulous! Quick question: how do hem the ruffle fabric? I have tried just not hemming and it unravels in the wash. . . Thanks! Leisel
Woohoo for circle skirts! We’re sewing up our first one for Friday…Love the ruffle fabric one, so special!
LOVE the ruffle fabric on the skirts!! I’ve got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for later this morning that links to your tutorial:
This is so pretty and makes me excited to think I could even attempt to sew a skirt! Just for reference…for the skirt you made for your cutie, how much fabric did you start out with?
Thank you for sharing your tutorial and the super easy math calculation! 🙂
For my girls I only needed one yard of fabric for each skirt. And you should try making one of these skirts! You can totally do it!!!
Thank you Anne!
I’ve always just left mine with raw edges and haven’t had them unravel but let me email the company that makes this fabric and ask them if they have any tips. If so, I will reply again with their answer!
Jeani Mills says
Love this skirt! Reminds me of the felt skirts of the fifties, with the poodle dogs. No hemming on felt. Great for a sock hop!
Thanks for the simple math!
I am learning so many great tips for sewing for my two granddaughters who are 11 months and 1 1/2. Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful clothing ideas.
thanks so much! you’re so clever!
I’m making a costume for my little sister, and like you, it just looked like so much math, I thought it would be very hard to do. End result? This is the most perfect thing I have ever created!! Like, whoa!!! Thank you so much for this tutorial, I’m going to share it on my Facebook for my friends to see!
Hi.. i’m a bit confused at the folding part.. how many panel do you have ? 3 panels ( 1 circle skirt panel + 2 quater skirts panel) or 2 half circle skirts panel, or 1 full skirt panel?
Emily Alter says
So this may be a dumb question but how do I know how much fabric to buy? I’m making a skirt for me for a Halloween Costume.
Its beautiful and easy.Thank you.
When I cut out the skirt, two edges were rounded and two were straight. Like a circle with 2 of the ends cut off. Do you have any ideas about what I did wrong?
Rebecca Schamess says
I’m making this for an AG doll, and the circle for the waist won’t go over her “hips”Should I cut a slit and then make a seam?
How much fabric would you say a 6.53 inch waist by 27 inch long skirt would take?
Colleen Woodcock says
what do you do if your hip is wider then your waist will it still fit??
In my experience, circle skirts are pretty full and forgiving. My waist is 40in with hips that are 49in, and this type of skirt is the easiest to fit my shape. If you’re worried, instead of cutting into nice fabric first buy some cheapo-cheap cotton and make one to see how it looks on you ( I use whatever cheap cotton Walmart has on sale/clearance for these so I don’t waste pretty fabric). This method is also pretty fantastic for fitting every other garment.
I’m having trouble wrapping my head around what width of fabric to pick up. I need coffee so bad. I love the method though!
Thank you very much for this simple method. How many times did you fold the fabric? This one you have don is it an half flared or full flared. I am still confused with the folding. But for the maths, you have adone a wonderful work. God bless you
Could you please tell me how much material i need for 41 in waist and 26 length what width of material would i need many thanks
You would need 60″ wide fabric.
Nayomi Lips says
thanks for the lecture. it has helped me
Thanks for making it so easy. I Always avoided making circle skirts too cuz of the math.
Thank you sooo much!! I can’t believe how sonething so simple and quick turned out so beautiful! My daughter loves it so much she keeps twirling around.
My hips are bigger than my waist so i always use my hip measurements for the math
Yay! I am so glad!!!
I did it with your help- Thank you!
Great Nice and easy step by step tutorial!!
I got lost at the folding. Help. Do I fold unfolded fabric once and then fold again the other direction?
I love the ruffle detail. Thanks for this post!
Hello, I came across your page on a ‘circle skirt’ google search, I also came across this app on another site which is really useful, you may like it!
Eileen de Lapp says
Thanks for the easy instructions! I made a skirt for my daughter years ago (small waist) and I guessed it all. It came out great!
Now I want to make a dress for myself, (with a much larger waist) but I didn’t have a clue what size to cut. I thought about trial and error (or a newspaper) ‘pattern’ but this has helped me save a lot of time. I am using faille fabric (falls beautifully) but wondered if I should cut a slightly smaller hole, since it may stretch a bit? What do you think please?
For others: as far as the sewer with two unplanned cuts is concerned, (old post I know) the secret is to ensure the material is centered before you cut anything (fold in half and then quartered). The pointed bit should be the middle of the fabric. If you’re not sure……….. simply pin the point and unfold to check………… then repeat.
My problem with full skirts is that no matter what I do, the skirt hem is always higher in the back, very noticeably, about 3 inches compared to the front. I could understand this if I had a big butt, but my backside is relatively flat. I do have a large tummy. But just adding on extra length at the him doesn’t look right either. What to do?
Manuela Tetley says
I have been racking my brain on how to make a circle skirt for my daughter for months. I borrowed library books and couldn’t follow any patterns. After reading your simple method I made 3 in a day. One for myself too. It was so simple. You made my day and my daughters. she is walking around the house proud as punch in her new circle skirt. Thank you so much.
Wow! I’ve made one. It’s fabulous.
Thank you for the simple calculation.
My youngest granddaughter is in 5th grade and she still loves her circle skirts, from cotton, to lace to bright red vinyl, you name it she loves the big swing skirt. I actually put large visible elastic waistband and decorative zipper on outside, she loves them and yes very quick making them.