Every year the girls at Simple Simon & Co host a series called “Skirting the Issue”. It’s a series designed to inspire makers to create skirts and other gifts for girls in the foster care system. I’m excited to be participating in this program once again this summer. I’m going to be teaching you how to sew a circle skirt. Circle skirts are really easy to make, I’ve made a few for my daughters this summer and am excited to make a few more to donate. If you’d like more information about Skirting the Issue, or would like to donate items that you’ve created, just hop on over to Simple Simon & Co. to get all of the information.
My oldest daughter just spent the summer on a study abroad program with her University. She spent 6 weeks visiting various museums in Europe. The whole thing left me wondering why Mom’s don’t get to chaperone those field trips!! *wink*. We didn’t chaperone, but found a steal on tickets ($450 round trip HELLO!!!) and decided that she had to be dropped off in person :). Before she left she asked me to make some simple skirts that she could take with her. She knew it would be hot, she’d have to pack light and would not have access to laundry facilities.
She also knew they were going to be attending church each Sunday and wanted to make sure she had a few things to wear. Last winter, after LOTS of back and forth via text, we finally decided that I’d make her a few half circle skirts. I texted her photos of fabrics that I had on hand, and she texted me when she liked one. I ended up making 3 skirts. Two from rayon and one from seersucker.
How to Sew a Circle Skirt Tutorial:
I’m going to share with you a tutorial for the one I made from rayon, but the instructions are the same for the seersucker (if you make one from seersucker I recommend hemming it by hand).
Just a note: I did not line these skirts. She decided that she’d rather take a simple white slip. The seersucker one could have used a lining, but it was ok with the slip. If you pick a light fabric you may want to line it. Personally, I think it’s easier to just wear a slip since there is a bit more construction involved in adding a lining to a skirt.
The beauty of these skirts is that they are so FAST to make and you can draft your OWN pattern!! Once you have the pattern made, you can whip one out in about an hour flat. These are made from summery fabrics but they would also be adorable made from wool or chambray for fall or winter.
Before you start you’re going to need to gather a few things. I don’t like buying supplies all the time, but these things, in particular, will make your project a MILLION times easier to sew (contains affiliate links). This cirlce skirt is technically a half circle skirt, which just means that it’s slightly less full than a full circle skirt. It’s a great size and volume for a summer skirt.
Supplies You’ll need for the Circle Skirt:
(to draft your pattern)
Supplies needed for the skirt:
2-3 yards of fabric (it depends on what size you will make, you might want to buy it after you draft your pattern) You also will need less if you buy 60″ wide fabric (mine is made with 44″ wide). You can get rayon at many quilt and sewing shops now, it’s very popular. If you can’t’ find it there try online (I got mine on etsy).
Invisible Zipper Foot (machine specific, check with your manufacturer to see which one you need)
Thread to match your fabric
2 hook and eyes.
Circle Skirt Instructions:
Measure your model (if you are making this as a donation, I’d pick a measurement between 28-35″). Note the waist measurement and the length from the waist to where you want the skirt to hit on their leg (22″ is a good knee-length skirt).
Before you begin you need to do some math. I found this SUPER handy tool to do circle skirt math FOR YOU. Just CLICK here, enter your waist measurement and length. Also be sure to select “half circle skirt”.
Don’t worry about the part where it says it won’t fit on a 45″ fabric, we can fix that.
Make a note of the waist radius (WR).
Add your waist radius measurement (WR) and the length you want your skirt to get your fabric length measurement (LM) (the calculator defaults to 20″ if you want it a bit longer just ignore their measurement, you really only need the waist radius).
For example; my waist radius (WR) measurement was 7 1/2″ I wanted the skirt to be 22″ long. So my fabric length measurement (LM) was 29 1/2″.
Cut your pattern paper so that you have a square that is about 2″ bigger than your LM. For example, my square was 32″ x 32″ – I had to tape two pieces of paper together to get a piece that big.
Draw two lines in an L shape (starting in the corner) each line will be as long as your LM
Now from the corner measure down your WR (waist radius). Mark it on both lines.
Place your pencil inside of the hole in your measuring tape. Hold the measuring tape so that it is exactly at the corner of your pattern piece and the pencil is exactly at the WR mark on your pattern.
Draw an arch using the measuring tape like a compass. Make sure you keep your tape taught, and the part in the corner doesn’t move.
Do the same thing for your LM. You should have a piece that looks like this:
Along one of the sides write FOLD.
Cut a piece of fabric (if it’s 44″ wide) that is your LM x 2 plus a bit extra. So if your LM was 29 1/2″ cut a piece of fabric that is 60″ long. Fold it in half along the 44″ side. You are folding it the OPPOSITE way from how it came on the bolt. The selvages are not together but folded on top of each other.
Place the FOLD line of the pattern on the fold of the fabric. Pin in place and cut out. For rayon, I prefer to cut with a rotary cutter.
Next cut a waistband piece that is 3″ wide by your waist measurement plus 1/2″
Fold your waistband piece in half right sides facing and press.
Run a row of gathering stitches along the top of your skirt piece.
Pin the waistband to the skirt right sides facing. Ease the skirt to fit the waistband. You do not want to gather the skirt. Just ease it to fit.
Stitch in place with a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Finish the seam with a serged edge or zigzag stitch.
Read the directions on your invisible zipper package to see if you need to “prep” your zipper before you install it.
Pin the invisible zipper to your skirt with the right sides facing and the coil of the zipper facing in.
Stitch with your invisible zipper foot.
Repeat for the other side.
Zip the zipper and make sure it works.
If it works, then bring the skirt side seam together right sides facing, and stitch the rest of the line of the side seam. Starting right under where the zipper seam stopped. Tack the end of the zipper to the seam allowance to keep it from moving around.
Fold the bottom of the skirt over a scant 1/4″ and stitch in place.
Fold it over again on itself and stitch.
Press it well with steam and it will lay flat for you.
To finish the skirt stitch two hook and eyes to the waistband just above the zipper.
That’s it! Enjoy making your skirts!
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