Updated: Nov 2, 2021
The following project is a historically-inspired circle skirt made from beautiful cotton poplin supplied to me by Modes4U. It is made from eight gores of fabric, with a skirt-placket closure. Skirt plackets were the historical way of closing a skirt before the invention of zippers. They require a little more effort, but produce a beautiful finished-result which could potentially last forever.
I have a confession to make. I have been running a sewing blog and Youtube channel for a year and a half, and I have never made a circle skirt before. It was one of those projects I had always thought about making, planned on making, felt like I had made already, but upon closer introspection realized I had never, in fact, made a circle skirt. The biggest sticking factor, I believe, is the process of calculating the radius of the circles, and how on earth to fit, fold, and cut the fabric for this kind of skirt. I will go over a method I found for making a circle skirt pattern with zero math involved!
First of all, I would like to give my review of Modes4U, the online fabric store which kindly supplied me with the fabric for this project. They have also kindly offered you, my readers and viewers, a code for 10% off any orders placed for the next two and a half months: katherinesewing
Their store has so many options of fabric for historical, modern, or history-bounding garment creations. There are so many beautiful natural fibres, like cotton and linen, organic fabrics, solid colours, as well as prints - more muted, basic prints, as well as cute modern prints that could make a cute history-bounding garment. Check out their range of organic fabrics. I chose a beautiful organic cotton poplin for this skirt, in a burnt orange colour perfect for autumn. This cotton poplin is very high quality, medium weight, feels luxurious, has a subtle sheen, and contains the perfect drape and body for a circle skirt. Although I chose a solid colour of fabric for this project, stay tuned for my next video and blog post about an 18th century corset using a cute modern print of fabric from Modes4U!
What is a Circle Skirt and How Did I Make the Pattern?
A circle skirt is just what it sounds like: a skirt made out of a big circle, with a smaller circle opening at the centre for your waist. The larger circle forms the outer hem circumference of the skirt. A circle skirt is so beautiful and classy because it forms beautiful ruffles and flare at the bottom, while being perfectly sleek and fitted at the waist line. No extra bulkiness from pleats or gathers. In order to make the pattern, you need your waist measurement, and the length of your desired skirt. That’s it. Using some sort of pi equation, you use your waist measurement (ie. the circumference of the smaller circle) and find the radius of that circle. After drawing out that circle, you measure out from it the length your desired skirt hem, and draw a much larger circle at that distance.
I found a very helpful online calculator that takes all the legwork out of this, and provides you with a handy diagram for how to lay out your pattern on the folded fabric, as well as what width of fabric you will need.
Happy circle skirt making! But let me fill you in on a problem I encountered, which you might as well. If you desire a full circle skirt like I did (as opposed to a half or quarter circle skirt) you will need fabric much wider than the standard 45” (unless your skirt is super short). I had already selected and received my fabric, and I loved it, but it was only 45” wide.
Alternatively, perhaps your fabric is wide enough, but you don’t want all the fabric wastage that results from cutting out a circle skirt in one piece. Here is a blog post I found, from the same website that provides the skirt calculator, on how to split a circle skirt into eight panels, making it easier to cut a full circle skirt out of narrow fabric, or even mix and match fabrics.
Following the process above, I created my circle skirt pattern, and separated it into an eighth-sized paper patten piece. I then folded my fabric into an eight layered rectangle and cut it out, traced off my pattern piece, and cut it out. There was just enough fabric left over to cut out my skirt plackets and waistband. Almost zero wastage!
For the waist band, I made a curved rectangle shape of my waist length, so 27 inches, plus enough for the skirt placket (about an inch) plus seam allowance. Just over 29 inches in total. I cut out four of these from the leftover poplin, enough for the inner and outer layer, and two layers for interfacing the inside.
This was my first time making a skirt placket, and I found a helpful blog post to walk me through the process.
For the skirt placket, I figured on about a 12” long placket, of an inch wide, so I multiplied that inch by two so it could be folded in half, plus seam allowance.
I also cut bias strips of cotton muslin of about 2 inches wide, to create a hem racing out of. A ham facing is a great finish for any skirt because it adds stiffness and body to the skirt, helping it flare out at the bottom. It os doubly helpful for finishing a curved circle skirt hem , where a rolled hem would be nearly impossible.
Sewing the Skirt
I first sewed my gores together using french seams. Then I added my placket panels to the side of two of the skirt gores which would later create the side seam, by stitching up to the bottom of the placket. But before stitching that final side seam, I attached the skirt facing to the hem and pressed it upward.
To make the waistband, I pad-stitched the interfacing to the inner waist band piece. I then machine-stitched it the inner piece to the outer waist band piece with right sides together, before turning and pressing. I pressed the bottom edges of the waist band under to make attaching it to the skirt easier.
I first stitched the outer layer of the waistband to the outer side of the skirt, by placing right sides together and then pressing. Then, I attempted to hand stitch the inner side of the waistband to the inside of the skirt but it looked bad, so I machine stitched it down from the outside of the skirt. Check out the video for a visual of this process.
Then I machine stitched the hem facing up against the skirt to keep it invisible. Finally, I hand stitched snaps to the skirt placket for closure.
What Do I Think?
I love this skirt. Circle skirts are so flattering, “floofy”, and twirly. I can’t wait to make some nice blouses to go with this skirt. Even without a petticoat underneath, it has that 1950’s flared skirt shape that is so flattering.
Thanks again to Modes4U for the stunning poplin for this project. I definitely recommend their fabric and website, and if you would like 10% off your order use the code katherinesewing which will be valid for another two and a half months from the posting of this article.
Have you ever made a circle skirt? Would you like to? Let me know in the comments section!
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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