Thursday, 25 July 2013

How to make a Circle Skirt

In our last blog we showed you how to make a sarong. In keeping with the Summer theme today we present how to make a circle skirt.  I like nothing more than combining my love for sewing with my love for performing magic. (Trust me I am going somewhere with this). In magic a magician will take a trick that is mechanically easy to perform, and then use it to practice presentation. By not worrying about complicated hand movements a magician can focus on other details. It is much the same when sewing. A circle skirt is fundamentally an easy garment, which makes it the perfect garment to practice new techniques with.

The basic pattern for a circle skirt is very simple. Our blog on how to make a petticoat begins with making a very short circle skirt.
I often use brown wrapping paper or pattern making paper for my projects. However I have some wrapping paper that's been getting in my way at home, and so decided to use this for my circle skirt pattern

As with our "how to make a petticoat" tutorial we begin by making two quarter circles on the paper. The radius of the first quarter circle is the hip measurement divided by 6.28 (check out the petticoat tutorial for an explanation of the maths)

The second quarter circle is the length of the skirt from the waist circle. (the third circle in this picture was just an alternative skirt length I was playing around with).

We now have a very sparkly pattern.
Fold the fabric in half and place the straight edge of the pattern on the fold of the fabric.  On the other straight edge of the pattern add a seam allowance. This will give you the front  half of your skirt.

Place the pattern again onto the fabric, And cut out a second panel.

Right sides together pin the two panels together along the straight edges and sew.

 You now should have a full circle which will lay out flat on the floor.

All that is technically needed is a waistband and a hem.

However here is an opportunity to improve on your skills of sewing. The skirt has raw seams which we can now tidy up with bias binding.

Press the seams open, and the wrap bias binding ribbon around the raw edge of the seam. Carefully sew the ribbon onto the raw edge.

We now have beautifully bound seams. These seams not only look neater but ale stop the seam fraying, greatly increasing the lifespan of your garment.

The waistband needs to be as long as the final hip measurement you used for the circle skirt, in my case 125 cm long. Cut out a strip of fabric to this length and make it four times the width you'f like the waistband to end up (I use my metal ruler as a guide).

Now fold in half along the length , wrong sides together and press with an iron.
Open the fold and use the crease as a guide to fold the outer edges of the strip into the middle.

Fold it back in half again and press, this gives you what looks like large bias ribbon (but it is not on the bias).

Pin the waistband onto the circle skirt, sandwiching the circle skirt in between the fold of the fabric.

When the two ends meet stitch the strip of fabric together and THEN fold them over the circle skirt. Then stitch the waistband to the circle skirt, leaving a small gap to thread the elastic through.

Now all that remains is to hem the skirt. Circle skirts can be hard to hem however as there is always more fabric on the hem as there is just above the hem, so you have to pleat the fabric slightly as you hem.

Another option would be to use a roll hem foot. This is a sewing machine foot with a curl set in it which the fabric is fed through. This creates a tiny hem, only a few millimeters wide.
However in this case I decided to use the bias binding ribbon again. Wrap the bias around the hem and top stitch in place. Bias binding can actually bend around the curve of the hem. And much like the seams this hem will be very long lasting.

And so we have a very neat inner view of the skirt. We have taken a simple pattern and used it to try out new techniques and to improve our sewing.

And behold a very simple and flattering circle skirt. Simple to make and a great project to get to grips with a roll hem foot or bias binding. You will be able to make up one of the skirts in no time. Half the battle is in making the pattern. Once you have this you can make a skirt to match any top.

Remember to enjoy your sewing and to keep on learning.

No comments:

Post a Comment