Project Nine: Circle Skirt

Project Nine

A Circle Skirt

A circle skirt is probably one of the easiest skirts to make.  In the simplest terms you cut out two pieces, hem edges and attack a nice thick piece of elastic. First you’ll need to find some fabric. If you happen to have an old circular table cloth that you like the pattern of you’re in luck as it’ll reduce your sewing time. Now if you want to use something else that’s fine too.  For this one I used an oval table cloth a friend donated.

P1020889You’ll take the fabric and fold it into fours. In other words in half lengthwise then take that and fold it in half widthwise, as shown.

This project will require a tiny bit of math. I’ll go ahead and use the measurement for myself as an example. The formula is as follows.

Radius=circumference \ 2pi


The measurement of your waist divided by 2 times 3.14

For example in my case it was 35\6.28 making 5.57inches

P1020890After you have your measurement you’ll need your handy crayon and a tape measure. Place the tape measure at the corner of that’s completely enclosed; no open sides. Then measure out the final number and acting like a pendulum carefully mark that number as you work your way from one side to the next.

P10208Before you cut along this line you need to mark one more thing if your fabric isn’t a circular. Measure from your waist down to your knees and repeat the above step marking as you go.

Now if you’re like me and have a high waistline you might find you don’t have enough fabric to make a knee length skirt. The alternative is to take your tape measure and measure down to the end of your shortest side.  Then take this number say 24 and imitate a pendulum marking as you go. It may take a few tried to get the measurement how you want it and that’s okay.

Obviously the next step is to simply cut along the handy dotted lines.

Now on to your elastic, I recommend a piece of 3” or 4” elastic but you can go wider if you like. Part of a circle skirts design is marked by the thick band of elastic used as the waist. If you can only find white and black but are crafty consider buying elastic dye and dying to a color that suits your needs.

A lot of directions for circle skirts tell you to place the elastic around your waist and pin it loosely. I however have found this to make the elastic too loose on my waist causing to slide down. My method is simple; place the elastic around your waist tugging slightly till it fits comfortable and pit it with a safety pin. Don’t be afraid to take a moment to wiggle about to make sure it fits just right. Slide the elastic off, leaving the pin in and cut about a ½ inch past your comfort zone.

P1020897Next sew the elastic together close to the pin to close the loop. After that fold the ends down and sew them flat.

Pin the fabric to the elastic wrong side to right side. In other words you’ll be looking at the inside of the elastic and place the part of the skirt you’d see when worn inside the elastic loop; the ‘right side’ of the skirt touching the ‘wrong side’ of the elastic.

Pin it at least four times; back, front and both sides. Now you’ll get a work out! Pull the elastic as tight as you can while you feed it through your machine. The tighter the elastic the more fabric that will be sewn without leaving gaps in the stiches. Take your time while sewing it so that you make sure you get all the fabric sewn in nice and even.

When finished you won’t see the unfinished top hem since it’s inside the elastic waistband.

To finish the skirt simply hem the bottom and you’re done.

P1020898For a nice hem measure how much you want to use then half that. Fold and pin the first part as shown. Check your skirt to make sure your hem is nice and even all the way around. Make any corrections needed.

P1020899Fold the hem the remainder half and sew along it. This way you’ll catch the raw edges inside the hem and you won’t have any dangling strings floating about marring all your hard work.

And with that; you’re done! One circle skirt ready to be worn.


Now wear that out and be proud!

Ideas: Try adding the elastic to the waist like above but add a top too making a dress with a nice stretchy elastic waistline. Don’t limit yourself to white and black elastic. Try dying the elastic blue and use white fabric for the top and bottom of your dress.


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