Sunday, August 19, 2012

Half-Circle Skirt Tutorial

I made up this skirt the other day, a Circle Skirt with an elastic waist band.

I ended up being really happy with how it came out, but I had originally planned to make it a 1/2 circle skirt. Then I went on auto-pilot and cut it out for a full circle. You might think you can just chop it in half and call it good, but it doesn't work like that. A friend asked how to make a 1/2 circle skirt and I tried explaining, but I decided it'd be easier with pictures, so here is how to make a 1/2 circle skirt!

Your measurements will determine how much fabric you need.  For a 40 inch waist I needed a little bit more than 1.5 yards.

The first step is to measure around where you want the skirt to lay.  Mine ended up being 41 inches, we'll call it W.  Take that measurement and divide it by 3.14.  41/3.14=13.05, I just round to 13. This is the measurement you will need for the inner arc, we'll call it X. Then determine the length you want your skirt to be.  I wanted my to hit right above the knee, which ended up being 17 inches.  We'll call it L.  Now add X to L, and this is the measurement you want for the outer arc.  13+17=30.  Double this to determine how much fabric you'll need, plus a little bit more just to be safe, so I needed a little bit more than 60 inches of fabric .

So to recap.....

X= inner arc radius
X+L= outer arc radius.
Outer arc radius x2 (plus a little bit)= total amount of fabric to buy.

Now lets get started with putting it together.

Lay out your fabric and unfold it so it is only one layer thick.  Make a compass with your measuring tape, a pin, and a marker.  Place a pin at your outer arc radius, mine was 30, and pin it at the bottom edge of the fabric.  Then use a marker to draw a big half circle.

^Fabric laid out, measuring tape pinned at the bottom edge.

Now making sure to place your pin in the same place, do the same thing with your inner arc measurement, X.

Take a break to pet the kitty that comes and lays down right in the middle of where you're working.

Now you should have two arcs, one inside the other.  Cut along the lines you drew.

I forgot to take pictures of these parts, but to simplify things later on, finish the edge of the inner arc, either by hemming, pinking shears, or a zig zag stitch. Then line the flat edges up, wrong sides together, and sew along the flat edge only.

Now it is time to get started on the waist band.  I have found that subtracting 3 inches from my waist measurement gives me a pretty perfect fit, so I cut my elastic 38 inches long.  I am using the widest elastic that was available at my local Joann's, I believe it is 3 inches.  Finish the raw edges.

Then line them up, and sew them together along the short sides, forming a tube of elastic.

Now sew the loose flaps down.

 You should end up with something like this.

 Now place pins at equal intervals on the inner circle (not arc, because we sewed it together into a circle) and the waist band.  I usually pin at the 0, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 points.

Now line up the pins, and pin the the waist band on top of the skirt, overlapping a little bit.

What it should look like when you have it pinned together at all four points...

Now sew along the bottom edge of the waist band, making sure to catch the top edge of the skirt in your stitching.  Stretch the waistband gently as you go.  I found this part incredibly frustrating the first couple times I did it.  But it gets easier, it just takes a little practice.

Go all the way around, this is what you should end up with.

 Now all that is left is to finish the bottom hem.  I prefer a rolled hem.

The finished product!  This skirt is seriously so quick and easy to sew.  It took me an hour to sew, and that is including stopping to do the dinner dishes! 

Thanks for reading, let me know if there are any questions!


I broke two needles trying to sew the elastic together. What could be causing this?
I'm not sure, I haven't encountered that problem when sewing elastic. The only times I've broken a needle is if I'm trying to sew something that is too thick, or if I'm using a ruffler foot and forget to center my needle position.
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Fab tutorial, just made myself a skirt :) Only trouble was the fabric didn't stretch with the waistband & I wasn't sure it would go over my hips :s Did you have any problems like that?
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