Do you love the look of those twirly full circle skirts? Here’s how to make a circle skirt for yourself or your little girl, without having to insert a zipper. You’ll learn how to make a circle skirt pattern and how to make a circle skirt with elastic waist, so this is perfect for beginners!
Circle skirt tutorial
I absolutely love circle skirts! They don’t only look super cute but they’re also very comfy to wear too! I think a circle skirt makes any girl look simply stunning! And if you are a beginner, this circle skirt pattern is an excellent project to practice your skills on.
This particular circle skirt with elastic waist is made for a little girl but the exact same instructions apply to a miss or lady skirt too, in any size and length you need it. I actually wanted to make a circle skirt for myself too but as always I didn’t buy enough fabric for both of us so of course my little angel has to be the winner on this one!
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This circle skirt pattern is a great project if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands and just need to whip up a skirt in a hurry. I made this full circle skirt pattern from a single piece of fabric, a continuous circle so there aren’t many seams to sew up in this project.
This circle skirt pattern can be made in a mini or midi length version. I personally prefer the midi version for ladies and mini for little girls, I’m just old fashion like that! You’ll learn how to make a circle skirt without a pattern but a little math will be involved in this circle skirt tutorial but don’t worry, it’s really no rocket science, anyone can do it.
Depending on your fabric choice when making a circle skirt, your skirt can be more twirly or more stiff, it can look casual or formal and it can have more volume or lay flatter. No matter your choice, this circle skirt pattern is sure to make you or your little one feel girly and simply stunning!
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How much fabric do I need for a full circle skirt?
Depending on the size of your skirt, you need between 1 and 2 yards. For a child skirt you most likely need 1 yard while adults would probably be fine with 1 1/2 yards. Purchase a little more to be on the safe side.
What is the best fabric for a circle skirt?
Cottons are great for a lot of projects and the circle skirt is one of them. You could also use fabrics with more drape like silk or satin or fabrics with more body like tulle (check out this great tulle skirt tutorial!); but all these are hard to work with so you need to have a little more experience in sewing garments. You could do a great job at making a circle skirt from knit fabric or jersey too but cotton is by far the easiest and foolproof fabric to work with on this kind of garment.
What do you wear with a full circle skirt?
This skirt is such a versatile item and can be worn with a large variety of tops, coats and shoes. But because it has so much body, you need to keep everything else low key. Wear this skirt with a fitted turtle neck blouse (long, short or no sleeve all work great!), a simple t-shirt, tank top, a silky blouse with small sweet details. If you add a cardigan or a jacket, choose a snug one instead of a slouchy item. This kind of skirt looks best when worn with high heels but shorter circle skirts work great with flats too or even sneakers.
How do I calculate fabric for a circle skirt?
I’ve made a circle skirt calculator spreadsheet to help you find the final measurements for your circle skirt a lot easier. This calculator applies great to a regular circle skirt with zipper in the back but for this particular tutorial you’ll need to make a slight adjustment. Instead of using the waist measurements, you’ll use hip measurements. I’ll get into more details below, in the step by step tutorial.
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Circle skirt pattern
- 1 yard of fabric of choice (I used cotton with a roses print because I really, really love the flower print on this one!) – for adult size you may need about 2 yards.
- wide elastic
- measuring tape
- pressing iron
- sewing machine
- matching thread (or contrast if you’re feeling adventurous)
Making the pattern
- You can use the calculator above to find the final measurements but don’t forget to use hip measurements instead of waist measurements. The reason is, this tutorial is for a skirt with elastic waist instead of a zipper and needs a lot of room in the waist area so the wider areas such as the hips would have room to fit in the skirt when you pull it up.
- Take your waist measurement (this is used for the construction of the waistband).
- To make your circle skirt pattern, take your hips measurement, around the widest area, add 1″-2″ for allowance and divide the amount by 6.28 to calculate your circle’s radius (inner circle).
- Measure the length of the skirt (from waist down to where you want the skirt to fall) and add 2″ seam allowance.
- Grab a big piece of paper (I used wrapping paper), and draw your inner circle as a quarter circle, away from the corner of your paper.
- Now do the same for the length. This will be your outer circle. Measure your desired length from the inner circle, not from the corner. Don’t forget to add seam allowance all around your inner circle.
- Cut your pattern around the inner circle than around the outer circle. This will be 1/4 of a pattern.
Preparing the fabric
- Fold your fabric in half, right sides together, then fold again in half so the fabric is in quarters now.
- Place the inner circle of your pattern to match up the folder corner of the fabric (the one with no raw edges) – Very Important!
- Pin your pattern in place, through all the layers and cut around the inner and outer circle, again through all the layers. You will get a continuous circle.
Making the waistband
- Make your waistband. Cut a strip of fabric with the length of your hips measurement plus 2″ for seam allowance and with the desired width. I cut mine to be 6″ wide. Fold the fabric in half, lengthwise, iron then open the strip and fold each half again and iron.
- Fold on the initial fold again and iron. Open the whole strip wrong side out, pin the ends together and sew up with 1/4″ allowance.
- Open the seam and iron press. Turn the waistband right side out and iron.
- Grab the elastic, cut it to match your waist measurement and join at the ends with a zig-zag stitch. Pin to one side of the strip, on the inside, close the strip and run a slight zig-zag stitch through the middle of the strip to sew the elastic in place. Slightly pull the elastic and the fabric in front and the back of the needle. The waistband will look gathered once you finish sewing.
Attaching the waistband to the skirt
- Sandwich the top of the skirt in between the 2 halves of the waistband, pin in place and sew with a zig-zag stitch, 1/2″ from the bottom of the waistband.
Making the hem
- Time to make the hem. To get a nice hem on a circle skirt you need to follow these steps: stitch 1/4″ from the edge, all around the hem.
- Fold using this stitch as a guide and stitch 1/8″ around the hem (ignore my pins, they’re pinned the wrong way)
- Measure 1″ away from the hem on the interior of the skirt and mark. That is your guide for the double hem.
- Fold the edge up so it touches the line you just created.
- Place pins a few inches apart and add a couple more in between those.
- Sew as close to the edge as you can. Some puckering might occur but that’s ok. Guide the fabric under the needle using a pin, so sew down the hem as slow as you can.
- Press the hem and it should look free of puckering even with those tiny ones hidden in the back of your hem. If you use fine fabric you won’t notice the puckering at all.
Making the waist tie
- You’re done with the skirt at this point, the tie is an optional detail. I chose the tie as I made the skirt while my daughter wasn’t around to try it on and I wasn’t sure it will fit well at the waist. So I wanted to make sure that if it’s a bit large, the tie will keep it in place. And I took the right choice as the waistband was a bit too large. Plus the bow adds a dose of cuteness.
- I made my tie 20″ long each and as wide as the finished waistband which was 1 1/2″. The fabric for my tie was 21″ x 4″, seam allowance included.
- Fold in half, wrong side out, and place a round object on one end. Cut the fabric around that object.
- Sew around the side. Turn the fabric right side out and use a skewer or a pencil to push the pointy corner out. Press and fold the raw edges in; press again and sew down as close to the edge as possible.
- Place the tie on the waistband, pointy end toward the back of the skirt and sew with 1/4″ allowance. Flip the tie towards the front of the skirt and sew again.
- Tie the ties and make a nice bow and you’re done!
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