Circle skirts are a staple of any woman’s wardrobe (or man’s, depending on what designer you’re speaking with). There are so many styles and silhouettes of circle skirts, it’s hard to choose which ones to have in your closet! I decided to make a couple circle skirts, in different silhouettes and sizes, to show off the versatility of the garment and to break in the new Mood Circle Skirt Calculator!
Hunter Stretch Velour (Molly’s full midi)
Black Stretch Crushed Velour (Alexa’s 3/4 mini)
Cognac Stretch Velour (Stephanie’s 1/2 midi)
Chocolate Stretch Crushed Velour (Brittany’s 1/4 maxi)
Chocolate Stretch Crushed VelourThe instructions for making a circle skirt are pretty simple. You’ll need your waist measurement, the length of the skirt, and the style that you want. I wanted a full midi skirt, which is just below the knee, so my length will be 25 inches. My waist is 44 inches, so that will be used to calculate the radius of the top circle. The calculator will ask for the silhouette you want (full) and your waist measurements (44) and length (midi). Then you’ll get your yardage and a number! What’s that number? You’ll find out in just a moment!
From there, you’ll fold the fabric. But, how and where you fold the fabric depends on the type of skirt fullness you want.
For a full circle skirt, fold the fabric twice: once along the width and again along the length. The corner where both folds meet, and there are no raw edges, is where you’re going to measure from.
For a 3/4 circle skirt, you’re going to do the same thing as the full circle skirt, and at the end you’ll cut a quarter of the skirt out.
For a 1/2 circle skirt, you’re going to fold the fabric in half perpendicular to the length.
For 1/4 skirt, you’re going to fold the fabric along the bias from one corner to the edge of fabric, so it makes a triangle.
So now, we’re going to deal with that radius number from above. You’re going to measure from the corner to that number, and make a curve on the fabric. You’ll want to mark it every inch or so. Then, you’ll measure the length of the skirt from the curve you’ve just created, marking every inch or so. Pin the fabric down, and then make your cuts along those curves. For the 3/4 skirt, 1/2 skirt, and 1/4 skirt, you’re going to need to sew a seem up the back. What I did was a French seam, so sew the wrong sides together, trim the excess, and then sew the right sides together and flip back out. All you have to do now is add a waistband and a(n optional) zipper, and hem the skirt!
WITH A ZIPPER: To add the waistband, you’ll sew the face of the skirt to the face of the waistband. Then, you’ll put in the zipper and finish the waistband after the zipper, if you want a zipper.
I like using invisible zippers, so that’s what we’ll be going over here. To add the zipper, sew the face of the zipper and the face of the fabric together, with the zipper ending about halfway up the waistband. Then, flip the skirt inside out, and sew the faces together again. Invisible zippers can be a little tricky, as the zipper sometimes gets in the way, so pin it down tight and about halfway through try and slide the zipper to the top to make sewing the bottom easier.
To finish the waistband, you’ll slip stitch the top of the waistband to the bottom of it, slipping the thread into the seam of the waistband and the skirt.
WITHOUT A ZIPPER: I basically French seamed the waist band in. I pinned the waistband, upside down, to the inside of the skirt, and sewed that. I trimmed the excess, and then flipped it back up and pinned it again. Then, I sewed the right sides together, simple!
Hemming the circle skirt is the trickiest part, since it’s a curved hem, but don’t be afraid! If I, the DIY dummy, can conquer the skirt, you can, too. It’s going to bunch, so be prepared and pin down that fabric like your life depends on it!
So the edge of the circle skirt is larger than what you’re trying to sew it up into. This is highly frustrating sometimes, since the fabric can bunch up and twist, and then the hem looks terrible. This frustrated me the first time I did it, but once I went back and redid the hem, it got so much easier. My advice? Make the hem tiny, go VERY slowly, and pin, pin, pin! Every inch, at least, there needs to be a pin. I made sure I could sew over my pins, as to make sure the hem didn’t unravel while I was sewing.
And there you have it! These rules apply for all the types of skirts, whether you want a full maxi skirt or a half mini, so experiment with different styles and show us what you’ve got with #MadeWithMood, or tell me what you think by commenting below!
I’ve been trying to find a pattern for a circle skirt for ages!! And all I could find were poodle skirts.. this one looks amazingly easy and simple. Also for thinner fabrics I have a rolled hem attachement for my sewing machine that makes it very easy.
This one is easy and simple! I made four skirts in three days, and it was really fun! Let me know how your skirt comes out, I’d love to see your work!
I think I remember my mom way-back-when using stretch lace hem tape to hem full skirts – would that work? Basically sew one edge of the tape to the right side of the hem while slightly stretching it, then press your hem up and whip-stitch the other edge of the tape to the wrong side.
Yes, that should work. I’ve never used that technique, so just be wary of over stretching the fabric while sewing.
“TO MOLLY, WHEN I WAS A LITTLE GIRL, IN THE 1950’S, AND LEARNING TO SEW BY MAKING CLOTHES FOR MY DOLLS, MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME A WONDERFUL TiP ABOUT HEMMING CIRCLE SKIRTS. WHEN YOUR HEM IS LEVEL AND CUT TO THE CORRECT LINK ALL AROUND (BIAS HAS A WAY OF TRIPPING YOU UP) ,SET YOUR MACHINE TO A LONG BASTING STITCH..
SEW 1/4 INCH IN FROM THE EDGE ALL THE WAY AROUND THE SKIRT. NOW TAKE A STRAIGHT PIN AND GO AROUND THE EDGE SLIGHTLY PULLING ON THE INSIDE THREAD ABOUT EVERY 2-3 STITCHES. THIS TAKES CARE, PATIENCE AND A BIT OF TIME BUT IS SO WORTH IT. THESE TINY GATHERS WILL MAKE THE HEM NATURALLY ROLE TO THE INSIDE AND YOU CAN THEN SIT DOWN AND JUST ROLL IT IN WITH YOUR FINGERS AS YOU GO AND HAND SEW A BEAUTIFUL INVISIBLE HEM. I HOPE YOU FIND THIS HELPFUL.
Great tip! I’ll have to try that out next time, thanks Paulette!
Hey Molly! Did you make the top also ? Is the fabric also mood and what pattern or is that something you drafted your self ?? I’m been looking for something like that what needs no bust adjustment
I didn’t make this top, but it is very similar to Butterick pattern B6285, which comes in straight and plus sizes. And the cognac fabric I used for Stephanie’s midi skirt is almost identical, so I would suggest using those to create something similar. I hope that helped, good luck, and let me know how it goes!
I would like to share my version of Paulette’s method for hemming a circle skirt. I will make the skirt and hang it by the waistband before I hem it. After 48 hrs it will have relaxed and will need to be trimmed to make it even at the bottom. You will need a friend to help or use a dressform. I find the desired length and using a yard stick standing on the floor, Mark the desired length plus 1 inch with dressmakers chalk. Trim the extra away. Now here is the trick. Sew 1/4″from the edge with the longest stitch ON THE WRONG SIDE. Now flip it over and turn under your hem as normal. It isn’t until you come to the bias sections that you will want to stop, pull on what was the bobbin thread from before and just give it a little pull. It will fold over beautifully. Carry on stitching. I only wear circle skirts and dresses and have perfected my hems. Try this method. The extra step sewing that 1st row ON THE WRONG SIDE will save you scads of time and turn out a perfect hem. .
Beautiful skirts! How did you do the waistbands without a zipper – are they elastic? Thanks!
Thank you! It’s a stretchy fabric in and of itself, so it doesn’t need elastic.
Here I go! I’m making a circle skirt out of used teabags, so I’ll need elastic at the waist.
That sounds really interesting, good luck! For elastic, you’ll want to make sure the waistband can fit over your hips.
love love love! this is a lifesaver. I’m definitely bookmarking this for later because I’ll need at least 100 circle skirts for my wardrobe, especially in velvet for the Fall. thanks for sharing!!
Glad you find it helpful! I’m in the same boat, I need a circle skirt of every length and silhouette in every fabric I can imagine! Let me know how your circle skirts go!
I love this pattern for the full circular skirt and would love to do one in velvet however for a waist of 44 don’t understand how to get the fabric width needed
Most fabrics are around 55-58 inches, so if you have a 58 inch fabric, the longest you would be able to make the skirt is 20-22 inches. I simply made my skirt a little shorter than a midi skirt. If you want a longer skirt, you would need to use two times the fabric length from the circle skirt calculator, and then create the skirt with side seams, which makes it easier to insert pockets.
Hi Molly! I must need more coffee this morning because I have my fabric laid out here but I’m confused by the fabric width…. This must be different from the standard 45″ or 56-60″. Help me understand what that is referring to. My fabric is 60″ wide. What am I misunderstanding?
Hi! What fullness and length are you making and what’s your waist measurement?
hi, could you please explain how i can adjust the pattern to make a full circle skirt, ankle length. As i need to cut it with side seams as my waist is 57″ but i am needing the skirt full length. (if you get what i mean), so the radius according to your calculator is 8.75″ I am actually really confused as to how to cut this out. I was thinking maybe do the quarter circle and cut 4 of them but this will make the waist far too big. I have never had a circle skirt and have always wanted one, but i have never been able to figure out how to make it work!
Hi! If you can’t find a fabric in that width, you’ll need double the fabric length than what the calculator says. To do it in two pieces, lay the selvages together so you have two layers, and fold those in half once so the fold is perpendicular to the selvage. You’ll have four layers of fabric. Measure your radius from the corner with the fold and one of the selvages and then cut from the radius. Sorry about the confusion, we’re in the process of putting up a blog post for this.
I would love to know how you made Stephanie’s skirt in one piece. According to any calculator I have tried, it is not possible. Your diagram shows that there is extended width at the bottom of the fabric. Could you please explain this?
Different fabrics have different widths, so if you’re not using the same fabric that might be it. If you have a different waist size than her, that will also effect how much fabric you need. I believe I made her skirt just a hair shorter than a midi so it could fit in one piece, so you’ll have to make your own adjustments for your skirt.
Is there a waistband tutorial? I’m trying to find the best technique for fit/measurement. I couldn’t find it in the tutorial
What kind of waist band were you looking to create? One with stretch, or one without?
Hi Molly, I tried to use the calculator. I must be doing it wrong. I put in a 30 inch circumference for the full skirt. The calculator gave me a radius of 4.46. To make sure I was cutting correctly, I calculated the radius to be 4.46 x pi x 2. The answer was 28. does that mean my waist radius will be 2 inches small?
Hey Joy! When cutting your circle skirt you want the waist to be slightly smaller than it needs to be to account for some inevitable stretch along the bias as well as the inch or so you’ll lose for seam allowance.
Dziękuję Ci Molly! Szukałam tego w całej sieci.
LOVE your site!!!!! Seriously, where has this been all my life?! Thank you for the wonderful free DIY & Patterns! Your models are beautiful!
I’m glad you’ve finally found us! I think they’re beautiful, too, thank you!
I am going to do a slight twist on this and make it into an equestrian winter riding skirt and put a 2-way seperating zipper in the front.
Another way to hem a circle skirt (and have a hidden surprise when you twirl!) is to use single fold, narrow bias binding to hem it. Open the binding and, right sides together – raw edge of the binding even with the raw edge of the skirt – sew in the fold. Fold, pin, & press the binding to the inside so that all the raw edges are covered by the binding and sew it down by machine or by hand. My grandma used to do that with all my circle skirts. It was always a nice pop of contrast color or surprising print.
Does the fabric amount allow for the waistband or should I purchase extra fabric to make the waistband?
It really depends on the waist measurement, style, and length of skirt you’re using. I would recommend purchasing an extra half yard just in case.
I made a circle skirt for my daughter and it is adorable. I haven’t yet finished it because I have concerns about the waistband not being interfaced. I am afraid it will roll while wearing. I am also concerned because it stretches. What are your thoughts?
Hi, Sharon! If you’d like to add some stability to the waistband, you should definitely interface it. If you’d like to keep the stretch in the waistband, you can use knit interfacing. If you’d prefer to stop it from stretching, you should use woven interfacing. Let me know how it comes out!
I will! Thank you!
I haven’t taken the time to make my full maxi skirt YET, but I love the skirts, they are beautiful… The maxi is my favorite, I’m going shopping this weekend for the fabric… I can visualize myself wearing my new maxi mood skirt…THANK VERY VERY MUCH…
I wish there was a video on how to make this full skirt with and without a zipper.
I absolutely love this site! Thank you for sharing these amazingly easy techniques!
Hi ! I was wondering if the pile of the velvet will go in the right direction on the circle skirt ? Or do we need to do someting special with the pattern so that it’s in the same direction in the front and in the back of the skirt ?
Hi Camille! If you’d like the nap to be in the same direction for the front and back on a full circle skirt, your best bet would be to do 2 half circle skirts with half your waist measurement and attach them at the side seams. The plus with that is you could also add in-seam pockets! 🙂
I am so pleased to find the circle skirt pattern! I have been looking and looking for just this particular pattern. I remember long ago when I was a school-girl looking for patterns and fabric and ever girl had a skirt (it was almost a school uniform.) I am new here and I absolutely love this site and am surprised at the variety I am finding. Thanks for your good luck and talent.