How to Make a Circle Skirt

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Made from a full circle of fabric and a waistband, circle skirts are fun and flattering and can be made to look modern or with vintage flair. Follow these steps to learn to easily draft and sew a perfectly tailored circle skirt.

Circle Skirt
(Seamstress Erin Currie)

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric (washed and ironed, amount depends on length of skirt)
  • Pattern paper
  • Measuring tape
  • Pins
  • Shears
  • String
  • Marker
  • Thread
  • Zipper (7 inches long, or trim down longer zipper)
  • Sewing machine (not pictured)
Step 1

You will need fabric and a zipper and basic sewing supplies to make the skirt. Pattern paper and string are the only extra supplies needed to draft the pattern. Please see the last slide for an itemized list of tools and materials.

Things you'll need to make a circle skirt.
Seamstress Erin Currie
Step 2

A circle skirt is a large circle of fabric with a smaller circle cut out of the middle for your waist. Measure your waist where the skirt will fit. This measurement is the circumference of the inner circle. You will need the radius to draft the pattern. To get the radius from the circumference of a circle, divide by pi (3.14), which gives you the diameter. Then divide the diameter by 2 to get your radius.

Circle skirt drafting instructions.
Seamstress Erin Currie
Step 3

On your pattern paper, draw a 90 degree angle. Tie a knot in your piece of string and pin it to the corner of your drawn angle using a pin through the knot. Mark the string so that the distance between the knot and your mark is the radius of your circle. Hold a pen at that mark and rotate the string to draw a quarter circle.

Draw the inner circle.
Seamstress Erin Currie
Step 4

Decide roughly how long you want your skirt to be. Add your waist radius plus 3 inches so you have plenty of room for a hem. This is the outer radius of your circle. Mark this length on your string and draw the outer circle on your pattern paper. On one side of the pattern, draw brackets and write “Cut on Fold.” On the top and other side of the pattern, add 5/8 of an inch for a seam allowance. Cut out your finished quarter skirt pattern.

Final circle skirt pattern.
Seamstress Erin Currie
Step 5

Make your waistband pattern. To make a 1 1/2 inch-wide waistband, draw a rectangle that is 3 inches wide and the length of your waist. Add 1 inch to one side to be the underlap. Then add 5/8 of an inch to all sides to account for a 5/8 inch seam allowance. Cut out your waistband pattern.

Waistband pattern.
Seamstress Erin Currie
Step 6

Cut your skirt piece twice and waistband once from your fabric, making sure that you cut with the “Cut on Fold” edge of your skirt pattern on the fold of the fabric. In most patterns, you are instructed to fold your fabric parallel to the selvedge, the self-finished edges of fabric. If you aren’t sewing a short circle skirt, you may need to fold perpendicular to the selvedge so that your pattern will fit on your fabric.

Cutting diagram for circle skirt.
Seamstress Erin Currie
Step 7

Stay stitch on the curved waist of the skirt. This means sew a line of stitches less than your 5/8 inch seam allowance to prevent the waist from stretching as you construct the skirt.

Stay stitch top of skirt.
Seamstress Erin Currie
Step 8

Insert a 7 inch-long zipper in one of the side seams (or use a longer zipper cut down to 7 inches). This is now the left side. Pin and sew the rest of the left side, right sides together. Pin the right side seam right sides together and sew. If desired, finish your edges.

Zipper in circle skirt.
Seamstress Erin Currie
Step 9

Press one of the long sides of the waistband over 5/8 of an inch. Pin the non-pressed side of the waistband to the skirt, right sides together, so that the band sticks out by 1 5/8 inches on the back and 5/8 of an inch on the front. Sew the waistband onto the skirt.

Add waistband to skirt.
Seamstress Erin Currie
Step 10

Fold the waistband in half, right sides together, and sew the short sides of the waistband with a 5/8 inch seam. Trim the corners and turn right side out.

Short sides of waistband.
Seamstress Erin Currie
Step 11

Pin the waistband so that it extends slightly below the seam on the inside. Stitch-in-the-ditch on the right side of the skirt, making sure that you are catching the waistband fabric on the wrong side. Alternatively, hand sew the inside of the waistband. Press.

Pinned and sewn waistband.
Seamstress Erin Currie
Step 12

Sew a trouser hook onto the waistband of the skirt. The hook goes on the inside of the front waistband and the bar goes on the outside of the back waistband. Alternatively, put a buttonhole in the front waistband and sew a button onto the back waistband.

Trouser hook on waistband.
Seamstress Erin Currie
Step 13

Hem the skirt. You’re done!

Circle skirt hem.
Seamstress Erin Currie

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