Updated: Oct 1, 2022
One of the most attractive and flattering skirts of all time is the circle skirt. It is truly flattering on every shape and has taken on many lives across the centuries. It is most often remembered as it was VERY popular in the 1950s. I have made many of these skirts throughout my time as a costume assistant in college and several different versions throughout fashion school and beyond.
Using the following tips and "cheat guide" I believe even the beginner can cut, and sew a true circle skirt with accuracy and gain that ever so sweet boost of confidence that comes with wearing (or selling) such a flattering garment.
Step #1 - Get your Measurements Ready
For this "cheat guide" to be effective it needs to be SUPER SIMPLE right? My thoughts too! So I will tell you that all you need are just TWO measurements! You only need your waist measurement and your waist to hem measurement to do this ENTIRE skirt.
Designer's Note: If you have a skirt block drafted then you can use the slash and spread method until the skirt front lays 1/4 circle from Center Front to Side Seam on the selvedge (as shown in the cutting guide image below).
Step #2 -Calculate your Yardage
How tall you are and how long you want your skirt hem to fall will determine how much fabric you will need!! For the skirt to be a TRUE circle skirt this means that both side seams of the front half will fall on the same selvedge line. You will cut one entire half of the skirt at a time.
If your goal is a full length skirt (hem to the floor) you will need more fabric than if you're making a knee length skirt (or shorter).
To gauge your fabric needs you must have your Waist to Hem measurement x 4 and then I add 1 yard total for the waist holes. If your waist to hem measurement is less than 30 you can get away with smaller width fabric. If your waist to hem is longer than 45 you will need to use 60" wide fabric.
You can cut your waistband along the selvedge edge. Plan for a long rectangle measuring 3.5" (height) and your waist measurement +1.5" (length). These measurements include seam allowance.
Step #3 - Cut your Skirt Out
Time to cut your skirt.... with just two side seams to sew, this skirt comes together very quickly. Cutting it out takes longer than sewing in my opinion!
Simply fold in half and determine the waist opening while keeping both sides around even. then mark that quarter circle with pins or chalk. Now work your way around the quarter circle marking the waist to hem measurement all the way around. Make sure you have added seam and hem allowance or you will be short when you are finished.
Here is a cutting guide for the circle skirt:
Step #4 - Sew your Skirt Together
Once you have your two skirt halves cut it is smooth sailing from here.
First you will sew your side seams, be sure to leave an opening for your zipper in one side seam. If your fabric is sheer you may want to use the French Seam method to sew the side seams. (adding a zipper to a french seam article coming soon).
You may also choose to sew and serge to finish the seams. Next, attach your waistband and zipper.
Step #5 - Finishing Touches
Hem your skirt according to your fabric. Thick fabrics need thick hems, thinner lightweight fabrics get a thin dainty hem. Put your skirt on a mannequin or on your model and measure all the way around the hem to mark an even hem (this part takes time and patience but is important). For this type of skirt I prefer to use the thin double rolled hem method (read about THAT here).
Most skirts in this style also have a hook and eye sewn above the zipper at the closure to ensure the zipper stays closed.
Final Thoughts on the Circle Skirt
Now you have seen how easy the circle skirt can be, I invite you to give it a try. Leave a comment and picture to show your work! This extremely flattering skirt can be made for you or sold as a special occasion garment from just simple measurements. You will want to make it again and again and again! Happy Sewing <3!
Before you go! Make sure you sign up for my FREE SEWING CLASS (here).
HI! Im Jacquline Terry. I have been sewing for 20 years and I believe sewing is a skill we have to pass on. Even if your experience is just basic sewing, it matters
and taking the time to learn is important work.
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