I used to think that a gathered skirt was the easiest skirt to sew. But I may have changed my tune. A circle skirt is possibly even easier!….especially if you leave the elastic exposed.
If you’ve ever made a poodle skirt before, it’s the same concept. Your fabric is cut in a circle, like a donut. Then the elastic is sewn on top to create a waistband. The circle hangs right from your waist and allows the fabric to drape beautifully around you.
Once you’ve created your pattern, you can whip up 4 skirts in an hour! Make them for your kids! Make one for you! Make one for every birthday gift coming up. These are definitely my new go-to present.
Okay, let’s get started.
(NOTE: Additional tips for making an ADULT SIZE SKIRT are at the very end of this post)
If you’d like to watch the video version, hit the PLAY button below.
If you’d like step-by-step photos, scroll past the video below:
What you need (for a little girl’s skirt):
* about 1 yard of fabric
* appx 3/4 yard of 2-inch wide elastic
FABRICS to use:
* Polyester Charmuese
* Simple Cotton
* Thin Corduroy
* Lightweight Wool
Many fabrics will work for this project. Lightweight fabrics will be more bouncy, and synthetic rayons and polyester will slink and spin around beautifully. The gray fabric we’re using today is rayon with a subtle visible weave pattern.
FOR WOMEN: Avoid fabrics that are medium weight or thicker as they may add extra bulk around your hips. In the polka dot skirt above, I used a silky polyester charmeuse (feels like a silk scarf). It drapes beautifully and keeps the padding down.
Wide elastic from fabric stores typically comes 2 inches or 3 inches wide; white or black in color. I recommend 2-inch wide for a girl’s skirt , and 3-inch for an adult.
If you’d like to add a colorful twist to your skirt, check out our easy Tutorial for Dyeing Elastic HERE.
Measure around your girl’s waist. You don’t want it to be so tight that she can’t breathe. But if the elastic’s too loose on her waist, it will look funny. So measure as precisely as you can and add an extra 1 inch for your seam allowance. For Lucy’s skirt, she measures 19 inches around the waist, plus an extra inch = 20 inches of elastic.
This requires a bit of geometry but don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you. I’ve tried to keep it as simple as possible with a small diagram and a few definitions:
Circumference = the entire distance around a circle (in this case, your waist length, plus 2 inches)
Radius = the distance from the center of the circle to the outside of the circle
pi (that funny symbol below) = 3.14 (approximately)
You need to figure out the radius so you can easily draw a circle. If you remember from math class: Circumference = 2 x pi x r (radius). I’ve flipped the equation around a bit and came up with this diagram:
Let me break it down a little more:
* Measure your waist
* Add two inches to that number. You need these extra two inches so the fabric has “give” and will actually “stretch” when it’s sewn on to the elastic. It will create a very subtle gather to the skirt but will make it easier to get the skirt on and off. This will make more sense as you sew.
* Take your “waist + 2 inches” measurement and divide it by 6.28, and you have the radius!
* In Lucy’s case….
Her waist is 19 inches, plus 2 inches = 21 inches divided by 6.28 = 3.3 inch radius.
(NOTE: One method for drawing your circle is to tie string or yarn to a pencil, hold the string in the corner of your paper and draw, just like you did in grade school with a compass. For me it was easier to use a ruler, which I’ll show you below. So do what works best for you!)
* You only need to draw 1/4 of a donut circle for your pattern, so….
* Take a piece of paper (or many pieces of paper taped together).
*In the bottom left corner, at the right angle, place the end of a ruler and measure and mark the radius in various places. It might be hard to figure out on a ruler where 3.3 inches is, but do your best. Since the skirt has a small gather to it, you have room for error.
Then connect the dots to draw 1/4 of a circle! Just free hand it. With enough markings, you can draw it pretty well.
* Decide how long your want your skirt to be. Lucy’s gray skirt hits her about an inch or two above the knee, and her skirt length is about 9 1/2 inches. Add an extra inch for the hem and the top seam (near the elastic). It’s always best to make it slightly longer than you think, so you have room for error. You can always cut length off as you create the hem.
* With your ruler on the edge of the circle just drawn, measure and mark the skirt length in various spots on your pattern, and
Now you have a donut! (or at least 1/4 of it). Cut off the center circle and your pattern is ready.
Let’s cut the fabric….
* Fold your fabric in 4ths, so you have a right-angled corner to work with. Lay your 1/4 donut pattern on top, so that the edges hit the edges of your fabric. Mark it and cut!
When you’re done, it should look like this (the skirt is folded in half):
First, finish off the top of the skirt. Serge around the waist. If you don’t have a serger, you can zigzag the edge, leave it raw, or iron the waist down 1/4 of an inch and iron it down another 1/4 of an inch. It just depends on your preference. Personally I don’t like any raw edges in my garment since it starts to fray as you wash.
When you’re done it should look like this:
Let’s sew the elastic waistband.
With the elastic folded in half, sew it together, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance:
Next, if you prefer, serge each seam edge separately to seal off the raw edges. Do not serge the seam together since you’re going to be fanning it out.
Fan the seam out and sew down each side. This will help the waistband lay flatter on your skirt.
I use the inside of my presser foot to guide me down, so I’m sewing evenly on each side.
When you’re done, it should look like this on the right side:
Add a label if you’d like and you’re ready to attach the waistband to your skirt. It’s always best to try the elastic band on your child before sewing on the skirt. I made this mistake and when I tried the finished skirt on Lucy, the elastic ended up being one inch too big and I had to take the whole thing apart.
As you can see, the elastic is slightly smaller than the fabric waist. This is good! If they were exactly the same size and you sewed the fabric onto the elastic, you would never be able to stretch the elastic at all (unless you had used stretchy fabric). It would snap the thread as you tried to stretch the skirt on and off. Thus, the extra fabric length will give a slight gather to the skirt and create some “give”.
Start pinning the elastic band to the skirt. Find the middle of the back of the skirt and pin that first. Pin the elastic so that it hangs about 1/4 of an inch on top of the skirt.
Then flip the skirt over and pin it in the middle of the front of the skirt:
Then pin the elastic down on both sides of the skirt.
Then continue cutting the gaps in half by pinning the elastic down. You can pin as much or as little as you like.
I usually pin down about 8 spots:
Now let’s sew it on. The important part here is that you need to stretch the elastic as you go, so that it’s taut with the fabric. Use both hands as you go, pulling it straight in the front and the back and sew from pin to pin, stretching it bits at a time.
Here’s a side view. This is how it looks relaxed:
And here’s how it should look when pulled taut:
You’ll need your hand in the back to help guide everything through.
You can use a zigzag or a straight stitch. I’ve tried both and prefer a straight-stitch because it looks a bit cleaner. When you’re done it should look like this on the outside:
We’re almost done! We just need to hem the skirt. Trim any uneven spots around the bottom of the skirt or if you want it to be shorter, cut off the extra length.
Serge around the bottom of the skirt. If you don’t have a serger, iron the edge over 1/4 of an inch and continue to the next step.
Iron the edge of the skirt under. I prefer a very small hem on this skirt so that it bounces and twirls better.
Then sew the hem down, about 1/8 inch from the fabric edge.
And you’re done!
Try it on,
Give it a whirl!
And enjoy a little treat.
Tips for making an Adult version:
* I followed the same instructions outlined in this tutorial.
* I recommend sticking to very lightweight fabrics. This skirt was made with a slinky polyester charmeuse (feels similar to a silky scarf) and it drapes beautifully. I made another version, which I’ll share later, with a thicker wool tweed and it adds a bit more bulk to the hip area. With Lucy, that’s not a problem. With me, I’d like to minimize the padding.
* 60-inch wide fabric works best. Depending on your waist size and the length of your skirt you can cut an entire circle using 60-inch wide fabric. My circle pattern just barely made it and took about 1 1/2 yards of fabric (I purchased 2 yards just to be safe).
* If you have 45-inch wide fabric, or if your circle is bigger than the fabric, you can cut two semi-circles and have two seams down the sides. You’ll have to do a little math to figure how many yards of fabric you need. Make your pattern first and then work out the math. I would recommend using fabrics with a pattern to disguise the seams.
* The dimensions of my skirt are:
Elastic waistband – 29 inches
Radius – 4.75 inches (appx)
Length – 22 inches (long enough to hit my knees).
I typically wear a size 4 or 6 in skirts.
Does it matter how big a piece of paper you use for your pattern?
I just used notebook paper and taped the sheets together. Tracing paper large enough for 1/2 a skirt is very expensive. this worked well and was a way to recycle some old notepads
I used wrapping paper and it worked well!
I found a roll of brown craft paper at the dollar general for a little over a dollar. It’s a little heavier, but it’s worked for me!
yes, it has to be the size of a quarter of the skirt 😀
I used some paper from my daughter’s easel 🙂
Brown bags from the grocery store work well, too. Just cut them open and use the blank side to trace on.
Using old newspapers can work too!
If newspapers are still printed in your community, ask about end rolls. They usually come in two sizes–single page and double page–and for $5-$10 you can get enough blank paper to make a LOT of patterns.
Dana, Love that you give written instructions as I find them much easier than a video to follow. My daughter-in-law suggested wrapping paper and that worked well. Making skirts fo her and my granddaughter, the girls is almost y.our size! Have not done sewing from scratch for at least 10 years and have found the instructions very clear.
Thanks for posting such a great tutorial. The instructions were clear and easy to follow, and the poodle skirt I made for my 9 year old for the Father/Daughter Sock Hop turned out better than I could have hoped! I may have to invest in a serger now…
Hi and thank you fro the tutorial. This is such a cute skirt. I do have a questions, though. I am making 14 of these for costumes and need to know how to handle a bigger hip measurement than the give in the waist will allow. there seems to be about 4 inches of “give” in the wasit as written, but in some cases I need 5 or 6. Can you assist? thanks so much!
You’ll have to leave the waistband open. I cut a 4-5 inch slit in the centre back, turn the edges under a quarter of an inch, then use two skirt hook and eyes on the turned-under edges of the elastic waistband.
I had the same question. (For myself, that is… rather curvy.)
Use the hip measurement instead of the waist measurement to cut the inside of your circle. There will be more gathering, but using lightweight fabric that won’t be a problem.
Great tutorial. I never thought to use elastic for the waistband. Did you know that the hole in the end of your tape measure is perfect for marking out the circle for the pattern. Just pin the tape measure through the hole at the corner of your paper/fabric and work around with the tape measure.
holy cow, this is genius. I sat there for about thirty minutes trying to do my circles and eventually gave up. once I read this I ran to get my tape measure…and I cant believe I never thought of this before. Thank you for that great tip!
If you reverse the tape, pinning the tape at point and using pencil in hole to mark radius. I use push pin on cuttimg mat at point.
@Hattye, I remembered your comment and took it one further. I marked my pattern directly onto the folded fabric. That is the perfect way to get full use of your fabric since you can measure directly on the edge of the fabric and not have to try and get the pattern just right. I did have to have someone else hold the pin for me, but it was so quick and easy. Oh, and cutting it with scissors was so much easier than using my rotary cutter. I love my rotary cutter and rarely use my expensive scissors but the scissors make this much easier, especially on adult sizes.
Great idea! I Hought ib2ouod have to use a zipper!
Thanks for the tutorial. I just made one for my daughter’s school sock hop, and she LOVES it. Her sister’s is next. Question though…any advice on lining the skirt (technique/fabric)? I’d like to make one for myself with a light cotton I have.
for a lining…..make two skirts and then sew them together at the top when you sew the elastic on. I would leave the hems separate, so it’s like a slip. But if that bothers you just hem them together at the end.
Thanks so much, Dana! So nice of you to reply right now…you must be so busy with baby Clara! Congratulations!
What fun, I can’t wait to try this – quick question, do you think a 1.5 inch elastic will work out ok – I found some really cute colors/patterns, but only in 1.5 inch?
Thank you for you time and help!!
forgot to mention – it’s for my 7 year old daughter.
sure! You can use 1 inch or 1.5 inch or 2 inch. Whatever you have on-hand.
That’s good to know. I only have 1.5″ at home right now too.
You could always sew two strips of elastic together using a wide zig-zag stitch (to help with the stretch). You could use colored thread for decoration & contrast.
Thanks for the great tutorial. When you’re hemming the bottom of the skirt, how do you get the hem not to twist (as mine is doing) as you go along?
mine twists just a little bit but I don’t mind how it looks 🙂
The problem that comes up with hemming a circle skirt is r/t the fact(s) that it is largely cut on the bias and that as the fabric slants out it gets wider. In order to overcome some of the twisting you can try two things. One, if you are finishing the edges with a serger with differential feed, tighten your stitch so that it puckers just a tiny bit (only for the hem, not the top where you will attach elastic), this ease will pull the hem in just slightly and make the hem a bit easier. Two, if you don’t have a serger, you can use a seam along the bottom of the skirt with a slightly tighter tension which will do the same thing. When pressing the hem up use a LOT of steam to press the fabric into submission. If you are new to sewing and don’t know what bias means, it is the diagonal on woven (not knit) fabric and is much more stretchy than the straight or cross grain of the fabric.
I finished the hem with contrasting fabric bias tape. It was a navy skirt with white elastic and a white self made bias tape completely closing the hem.. Good contrast and held the drape of the skirt.
Oh my goodness you just blew my mind. Now I want to add bias tape to everything!
So the hem with the right side up – the feed dogs of your sewing machine help with the ease. If you sew with the right side up the feed dogs make it worse….(can’t remember how it works exactly just remember that’s the result!) 🙂
So the hem with the right side up – the feed dogs of your sewing machine help with the ease. If you sew with the right side down the feed dogs make it worse….(can’t remember how it works exactly just remember that’s the result!) 🙂
Does it matter how big a piece of paper you use for your pattern?
just needs to be big enough for the skirt size you want. You can tape together standard 8 1/2 x 11 pieces of paper to get a larger piece….or use cheap muslin to cut out a pattern.
I get a roll of freezer paper at the grocery store and use that. It’s big enough even for most plus-size pattern pieces and the wax coating on the back of the paper adds durability and helps prevent tearing. You can get a lot of patterns from a roll of freezer paper. It’s also relatively inexpensive – less than $6 for a 75 sq. ft. roll, even on Amazon.com.
You can usually get a roll of the pare doctors offices use on the exam tables for about $8. I’ve found it at 2 different medical supply stores. I’m not sure how many feet/yards are on a roll but I had a roll last about 6 years, including pattern design classes at WSU.
You can also go to your local newspaper and they usually give you the end rolls from printing for free…… they work great for packing paper and i’m thinking for this too…… there is usually a ton of paper left on these “end rolls” i even use them for crafts for my kids….
What a darling skirt. Going to try and make this for my daughter today. She saw a picture of this and wanted it above all the others I showed her. Thanks for a great tutorial. I looked at some other circle skirt tutorials and yours was the most clear. Thanks!
what a good tutorial. I breezed through this because your directions were wonderfully explained.
Love this skirt! Where did you find 60″ fabric?? I have looked and can’t find any (other than silk and flannel)!
the silk polka dot skirt fabric was 60 inch. But the cotton girl’s skirts were probably 45 inch.
Taffeta is usually 60 inches or there about as well. I have two made of taffeta. My first one has black flocked polka dots and has washed up fine, cold gentle, tumble dry delicate. It has really softened up. The flocking does start coming off a bit but it still looks good. The other I just made with zebra stripe flocking. It is still really stiff but I made a drop waist and it wore nicely. I hope that it holds up just as well as the other one. It has so much more flocking I worry that it may start looking bad with machine washes.
Marlene, hopefully you see this. What do you mean, a “drop waist”? That sounds intriguing.
If I’m not mistaken, a drop waist simply means the clothing sits lower than your natural waist (the smallest part below your ribs)–most likely a drop waist will rest on your hips, much like low-rise jeans or clothing like that.
Does it matter if the elastic is at the hips and not at the waist?
whatever is most comfortable for you!
thanks for the help! I am certainly going to try!
Made it! Looks lovely! thnx
I made one of these today and it went so well. Thanks so much for the pattern and tips. It made it so much easier than trying to eyeball it myself. I used an up-cycled elastic waistband from a pair of my daughter’s old shorts.
Is there another way you could do the waist instead of using elastic waistband? How would you go about doing a waist similar to you simple skirt tutorial?
I love your website, by the way. Spent hours last night and this morning just looking at your tutorials. And your pictures are fantastic too!
You could sew a separate waistband to the top of the skirt with the same fabric and then string elastic through the waistband casing. Look at the Market Skirt tutorial for details on that sort of waistband:
I was wondering the same thing! My daughter cannot stand the feeling of elastic on her skin. Thanks!
If it’s just the feeling of the elastic the bothers your daughter, have her tuck in a shirt under the elastic. Then the elastic won’t touch her skin and bother it.
I made two of these using a stretchy fabric. I used a slightly smaller radius than the actual waist measure/6.28 for the waist 1/4 circle. The actual waist circumference falls on the sewing line, so when the skirt is on, the fabric is neither stretched nor gathered at the waistband, but falls flat.
I made the waistband out of the same fabric (rectangle length = waist measure – 2 inches (instead of +2!) , width = 2 times the desired finished width of the waistband). I sewed the ends of the rectangle together first to make a circle, then folded the circle in half with the seam on the inside and sewed the edges together. Sewed the skirt part to the sewn double edge of the waistband. I subtracted instead of adding to the waist measure because the fabric was plenty stretchy to go over the hips, and I wanted it to be somewhat taut even when on the body to support the weight of the skirt.
Because of the fabric type, I left the bottom edge of the skirt unhemmed. It looks fine, and has been through many washings.
They turned out great! My teen girls wear them to school and church.
Thanks so much for this tutorial! I just posted a link to this from my blog. Your directions were very easy to follow and I LOVED the way it turned out! This is the first article of clothing that I have made for myself and I can’t wait to wear it in the Spring. Thanks again!
Thanks designed for sharing such a good idea, article is fastidious, thats
why i have read it completely
Awesome idea with the tape measure! 🙂
…and thanks to Dana for the skirt tutorial…LOvE IT!
Hi ! Having just lost 145 lbs., I was looking for an easy pattern for a dance skirt…EUREKA ! Did I say I just had my 58th birthday in February ?! Thanx and be blessed ! Like Ahhnold said, I willl be back !
That’s quite the birthday present you just gave yourself! Congrats for all your hard work!! Happy birthday Sunny Smith
Where do you get your clothing tags? I really want to order some for the clothing I make for my little girl but can only find Iron Ons, I would like the sew ons like you have.
Maybe she make the tags herself by getting a piece of scrap fabric and using iron on transfers to put the letters on. Don’t know if it’s what she actually does but it’s an idea
Thank you so much for this easy skirt Dana! My daughter is having a Little Einsteins birthday party and REALLY wanted to dress like June from the show. I was struggling with how to make the dress when one of my readers said I should check you site and man am I glad she did. This skirt with the wide waist band TOTALLY can mimic the June dress. It worked perfectly and my daughter LOVES the outfit. 🙂 You can see mine here: http://www.733blog.com/2012/03/handmade-twill-tape-labels.html
I even made some labels to add to the back like you do and love the look. 🙂
This is lovely! I made two of these, but I added pockets to one of them. I put a pocket into each side seam of the skirt so they are hidden. I have been getting so many compliments! I’ve been telling everyone about your wonderful tutorials, keep up the great work! 🙂
Love this and even more my daughter loves it more! She is dreaming up all sorts of fun color’s to make these in 😀 Thanks so much!
F.U.N. is what I will be having tomorrow afternoon! ( :
v v nice and simple instructions… I definitely try it.
Just learning how to sew (women’s clothes) and this is the best tutorial I’ve read on the internet yet. Thanks!!
Thank you for the step by step……math, geometry, and anything in that category was not my subject lol. I can not get onto my circle skirt. I have been dying to do this for my girls for a while now…again thanks!!!!
thank so much. made this last night and it tuned out awesome. thank you again.
Great tutorial! It worked wonderfully and my daughter hasn’t stopped twirling yet! 🙂
Thank you soooo much for this awesome easy tutorial! I made 2 of these for my 6 yr old daughter and she LOVES them!
Thanks to your tutorial I have sewn 2 skirts for me 🙂
Thank very much
Do you think the pre-smocked fabrc they have at Jo-Anns would work for the waist? My daughter is having spirit weel next week and one of the days is decade day. She wants to wear something 50s inspired.
I know that this is two years old and won’t help you anymore, but just in case anyone else sees it an elastic smocked waist (also called elastic shirring), would work fine just so the skirt is not too heavy for it. But I would encourage doing the elastic shirring yourself. It is really easy, even with a Brother machine. With the Brother machines you have to take the whole, opaque, grey plastic plate off when loading bobbin, not just the clear smoked plastic cover. Then make sure you pull the elastic thread through the little notch in the metal bobbin housing, this is the tension notch. Pull some of the elastic bobbin thread through and then manually turn the needle wheel and draw up the elastic thread through the throat plate (same as drawing up regular bobbin thread), and pull out a couple inches or sew. Then lengthen your stitch. Start with back stitching then do a straight stitch. Do as many rows as needed about 1/4 or so apart. Make sure you you stretch the elastic back out so you are sewing subsequent rows on flat fabric. When you are done back stitch, leave a little elastic at the end to sew down for extra security. Then blast it with some hot steam for it it shrink up even more.
This is brilliant, thank you so much for sharing!
that is amazing! first ever skirt I’ve made!! it look so good! thanks!
Thank you so much for this tutorial. So simple, straightforward and clearly explained. I made one of these skirts for myself about a week ago, and it is my new favourite skirt. The whole process took under an hour, including measuring and drafting the pattern ~ and I am NOT a very accomplished seamstress. Today, I helped my daughter make herself a skirt for Easter. She LOVES it. I posted pics on my FB page. Not sure if you’ll be able to view them, but here’s hoping.
(My apologies if the links don’t work. I am also not very technologically savvy.)
These links might work better:
Ohhhh its great…. pritty and practice…. thanks for sharing… Excuse my bad english… i’m know…. ;OD
Thanks for the tutorial – I’m a complete novice so I’m glad to have it all spelled out for me – but am I missing when the sides of the skirt get sewn together? Do I do it before sewing the skirt to the waistband??? perhaps I just have preggo brain and missed that step!
I’m no expert Kylie, but I’m pretty sure you do not sew any sides. It’s already a circle and together when you cut the pattern. Hope that helps! 🙂
I loved remixing your (AWESOME) tutorial for Project Run & Play! Thanks, ~Stephanie
Love it and I am NOT very good with a sewing machine. I had some trouble with the waistband, but that is just because I need more practice.
To simplify things, I made the skirt out of a t-shirt material, folded it in 4 and cut from the corner. Then I sewed on the waistband – no hemming, no serge. Perfect beginners’ project with instant gratification.
ps – hope the pic attaches.
so pretty! nothing better than a skirt with a massive twirl capability! I’ve linked to you here:
çok güzel açıklamışsınız çok faydalı oldu teşekkürler
Thank you so much for this tutorial. I just have a quick question that I am hoping you can answer. I want to add tulle under the circle skirt to make it more frilly. Its for my nieces birthday outfit. How would you suggest adding in tulle? Measure it out like the cirlce skirt and add it to the waist band and then add a lining so it doesnt make the legs itch? Thank you so much!
I wish I’d known this technique when I was making skirts for square dancing! But I’m happy to have it now for my twirly grandkids. Thanks so much for your clear and easy directions..
Question: I would like to use one piece of fabric that has a directional design. If I just cut a circle, half of the cute little dogs are going to be standing on their heads. Should I just cut two halves and add side seams? Or should I do something a little trickier?
My daughter needed a costume for school tomorrow… Nothing like getting news the night before. Anyway, I have not sewn anything in over 15 years. I used a cotton sheet and elastic I cut out of old yoga pants. I followed the directions except, instead of making a pattern on paper, I drew on the wrong side of the fabric with washable marker. The skirt turned out simply amazing. I will be making more of these for everyday use.
I made my 2 year old the circle skirt. I love it! So easy and cute! But, question. I want to make myself one, but I want it around 27 in. long, so I need to do the 2 semi circles. How exactly do you do the 2 semi circles? Maybe I’m dumb, but I can’t figure it out. Thanks!
yes, you can do it in 2 semi-circles and sew them together with 2 seams.
Just make a semi circle using the same math in the tutorial. Maybe the baby circle skirt will help it make more sense?
The baby circle skirt doesn’t include two pieces. It’s still the one-piece tutorial, but much smaller. Help?
Maybe using a half circle skirt pattern might work, just twice
hi Dana, really thankful for this tutorial! I made one for my friend,but it was a dress actually,all those super duper math really worked! Thank you! But now i need a lil help here,im planning to make circle skirt using chiffon,and ofcourse the lining,what do you think should i use,invisble zipper or elastic?thank you Dana
hi Dana, really thankful for this tutorial! I made one for my friend,but it was a dress actually,all those super duper math really worked! Thank you! But now i need a lil help here,im planning to make circle skirt using chiffon,and ofcourse the lining,what do you think should i use,invisble zipper or elastic or button?thank you Dana
dana,really thankful for this tutorial! I made a polkadot dress with circle skirt for my friend,and she loves it! Now i need a lil help,im planning to make circle skirt using chiffon and lining ofcourse,what should i use best,zipper or elastic or button? Thank you Dana!
This is so cute! I have some 1 inch ruffle elastic that I want to use…do you think it would work this??
This was such a fun and easy project! It gave me a reason to dig out the old serger that I am terrified of! http://whatdoesshedoallday.com/2012/04/26/nap-time-craft-time-circle-skirt/
Hi There! Just finished making my 17 yr old daughter a skirt for DECADE Day at school. (She originally wanted a Poodle Skirt, but saw Polka Dot material like your yellow/black skirt so decided to that instead, plus she wanted it with a little tulle under it.) Me being a perfectionist, it turned out okay. My daughter however loved it! My tulle didn’t turn out as I quite expected. How WOULD you add tulle to it to make it a little ‘fluffy’?
I would add a another layer under the skirt (sew the two layers together at the waist) and make the bottom layer similar to the layered skirt Tutorial (http://www.madeeveryday.com/2012/03/tutorial-the-layered-skirt.html), with the top section being cotton, and then tulle layers to it. Of course you probably need something under that too so it’s not too scratchy. But that’s where I’d start. Maybe that’s what you did…..
thank you, it’s beautiful and i want that you give us the explecation i n french
Dana, I am hoping you can help with a question I have. I have been making skirts using that adorable pre-ruffled fabric like the yellow you used on the cute swimsuit, and attaching an exposed elastic waistband. My problem is that I gather the ruffled fabric before attaching it to the elastic with a twin needle and because of the bulk of all the fabric, my stitches keep skipping and it looks horrible! I know I could stretch the elastic as I go and attach to the fabric that way instead of gathering it, but then I can’t get the fulness I desire. Any tips?!? (Sorry if this is confusing.) I’ve looked everywhere for help!!
my sewing machine was given to me and it is a singer merritt 2404 and in order to have different sewing patterns you need these discs…and i dont have them. so my machine only does a straight pattern. will that be a problem?
I’m not really sure what you mean.
You just need a standard stitch to do 95% of the sewing projects you’ll probably want to do. That’s pretty much all I use! Hope that helps 🙂
Thanks so much for this great tutorial!!!
I made the cutest (and quickest) skirt for my daughter.
Now that I see how great it looks I’m going to try one for myself!
Hello. I’m making one of these for my little one as part of my ‘stash busting’ sewing weekend. My fabric has finally reached critical mass and needs reduced! Anyhow, just wanted to share another idea for your readers…instead of wide elastic at the waist you could use rib knit. Depending on the rib count you want it to be about 4 inches less than your actual waist size as it stretches a lot! To use rib knit – cut a piece of rib knit double your waist band width, your desired length (the easiest way to do this is actually to make the waist band and try it on the child), sew the rib together to make a continuous loop and then fold it in half with the wrong sides together. Mark the 1/4 round marks on the skirt and the rib knit. Align the rib knit raw edges to the skirt raw edges right sides together matching those 1/4 marks. Serge the rib to the skirt – this is easiest done with the rib on top, you will stretch the rib between those quarter marks. Fold up the waistband and press the seam toward the skirt, iron carefully and try not to touch the rib, the top stitch around the top of the skirt through the waistband seam. If you look around you can find rib in all sorts of bright colors (but buy it when you find it colored as sometimes I can only find white). Viola!
Hi! I made your market skirt for my 7 months baby and it came out great!
Now I want to make this one but I have a little problem with my daughter’s measurement. She is a kind of chunky girl so her waist is 17 3/4 inchs but her thighs is 23 1/2 inchs. So if i make the waistband wth her actual waist size, the skirt won’t be able to go up any higher than her knees. Can you give me any advice?
I would really appreciate if you could give me any advice:) Thank you!
Treat her skirt like the skirt for a curvy adult, but in miniature scale- make the smaller circle for her hip measurement and the elastic for her waist measurement. That way, it should go over her hips just fine but still be cinched in.
I have searched everywhere to figure out my dilemma with not wanting to add a zipper, but using a non stretching fabric. This was the advice I needed. Thank you!
Thanks so much for a great tutorial! I used it to make a bedroom adult version for a friend and linked back to your easy to follow instructions!
Thank you for this pattern! Love it! I made it for my daughters graduation! SOOOO Cute and easy! The best twirler we have!
Thank you for this pattern. I sewed two skirts for my nieces and they love it.
have been searching all over for a circle skirt but have not found one that fit what i was looking for, but then i found your tut and was able to make the skirt of my dreams for a fun pool party im hosting this weekend!!! cant wait to debut it!!
the elastic dyeing was nooooo joke, but will post feedback on that post…
I love this skirt! Now that I have the pattern drafted on my freezer paper it is even quicker to pop one out! I just finished up a fun owl skirt for my daughter.
Thanks so much Dana!!
Loved this tutorial! I cheated and picked up a circle tablecloth at the thrift store (half off!). Boy, was it quick to sew up! My skirt turned out great and was already “pre-hemmed”! It limits the length, but my 68″ round tablecloth with a 6.05 radius waist cut-out (ha, do the math backwards if you really need to know my waist size!) hits a few inches above the ankle– of course I’m only 5 foot!
I’ll be linking up to your tutorial when I post this on my blog! Thanks!
Thanks for the tutorial! I made one of these for me, and I have the fabric for 2 more! I have found that a twin bed sheet gives me enough fabric for the length that I want. (I’m 5’5″) It hits right below the knee. I would also recommend using a non-directional print. My first one is a striped fabric, and since it is all on the bias the stripes hang straight up and down on the sides and sideways on the front and back. It doesn’t bother me enough to not wear it, but enough that I wouldn’t do it again!
I’ve been drooling over this pattern/tutorial for quite awhile, and am finally giving it a go today!
i made the pattern but for the life of me i don’t know what i’m doing wrong when i cut the fabric… i lay it in 1/4ths (i think?!?!) but when i cut it it comes out in two pieces instead of the one big circle. i’m just going to sew the two side seams, but jeepers, i feel so stupid that i can’t figure this out! maybe more coffee will help…..
can anyone help?
Bummer! Sorry 🙁
Okay, don’t cut on the folds (or the straight part of the pattern. Place the 1/4 circle pattern ON the folds and then just cut the circular parts.
Good luck! 🙂
I love this pattern, but I keep having trouble with the elastic waistband. I stretch it as I go, but the stitches aren’t straight, they end up rising up and down in spots and it looks messy. Any tips?
that happens to me sometimes but it isn’t always obvious when I use a similar thread color.
This happened to me too. I just flipped it over and sewed on the finished side so I could keep it straight. Just make sure you have enough fabric on the otherside since you can’t really see it while you’re sewing.
I had the fabric and knew I wanted to make it a circle skirt, but waited to cut it out for a few months because I had convinced myself the math part would be too complicated. A few weeks ago I just sat down and did it and it was so much easier than I thought it would be! Thanks for an easy-to-follow tutorial!
I love this! I have been looking for an easy 50’s style skirt pattern. I didn’t want to make one that I had to wear a petty coat under. This will be perfect! And I bet I could easily turn it into a dress pattern if I wanted! Man the wheels are turning now! Thanks so much!
where did you find that yellow elastic?
I dyed it. check out the tutorial here:
I purchased rot dye but they only had it in liquid . Does rot liquid dye work the same as the liquid dye in your elastic dye tutorial
If someone could tell me how much fabric I need that would be helpful because I’ve been using1 1/3 yards and that hasn’t made the length I want.
Thanks for the tutorial! I made it in a few hours & it was pretty easy! I ended up buying 2 & 1/2 yards of 58″ red & white polka dot fabric & had just enough for the skirt & then some. I would have liked it to be a tad bit longer but I couldn’t find any good 60″ fabric at Joann’s (& the one I got was one sale for only $3 a yard)…
Dana, I’m not a beginning sewer, but I can not figure out how to get my stitches to look nice when I stitch on the elastic while it’s stretched. Once the elastic is relaxed, the stitches pucker and look like the tension is way too loose. I’ve tried making the tension tighter (or even using a stretch stitch) but then the thread does not stretch and have any give with the elastic. What am I doing wrong? Thanks.
I’m having the same issue! Did you ever figure it out? Tension, needle type, stitch length, what?
Any advice for how to cut a layered circle skirt? I want to layer some tulle over a satin circle skirt, but cannot figure out how much fabric I need or how to cut it. 🙁
1) I wanted to add some bloomers underneath? Would I sew them in right under the elastic?
2) I make the skirt and then my hubby tells me to not buy anything else that week?
Got any elastic substitutes? Would a waistband made from stretch knit out of my stash work?
This is the CUTEST skirt! I would like to make this myself, but waist bands usually need to go higher on me. I’m going to try it and see what happens!
By the way, I saw that purl soho now carries a line of colored elastic. thanks for the less expensive alternative! you’re ahead of the trends!
I found a nice (yet expensive) circle skirt in denim with no waistband showing.
I know it is more of a thicker fabric. Would I be able to remake it? Do you have any tips with using denim or hiding the waistband?
Ok, so I’m new to sewing. I tried this tutorial and my daughters skirt is really cute!!!! It did not come out quite like yours though… I had to add a layer because I cut it too short…but I was able to recover.
When I pull skirts on according to measurements, as it may fit my waist, it will not pass my hips. Any tips?
Thank you so much for this! This is one of the best tutorials I have seen so far. I could follow all the instructions very easily and had not a single question in mind because all the information was just there. Thank you! I love my skirt and I linked back to your tutorial….
Did you dye that dark elastic for the yellow skirt? If so, how? I tried to dye some elastic brown, but it turned out a kind of purple color, and I let it soak overnight…
How much fabric do you need for a women’s skirt?
Depends on how wide your fabric is. If it’s 45 inches (that’s pretty much the standard), you’ll need anywhere from three to four yards — and you’ll have to cut semi-circles or quarter panels/gores, depending on the fabric’s pattern. If your fabric is 60 inches, you’re looking at two to three yards to be able to cut the circle.
Your best bet is to find an old queen or king size top sheet — buy one at a thrift store if necessary — and use it as a trial run. Follow all the directions above and you should end up with a circle like Dana described. Once you have this, you can use it as your pattern piece. That way you can open it up to cut semi-circles or fold it over to cut quarter panels/gores (or use as Dana describes if your fabric is wide enough).
This DOES work. I spent this past weekend doing just that. Due to differing yardage and a doh!moment when I bought stripes, I ended up cutting quarter panels out of three pieces of fabric and semi-circles out of the other four. Just be sure to smooth the fabric pattern piece very carefully so you don’t have too many wrinkles.
Also, you may need to add a couple of inches to your waist length to allow for seam allowances and still have extra give for the elastic. I’m adding zippers to most of mine so it’s not a big issue, but if you’re using elastic it’s definitely something to keep in mind.
I love your explanation. Very clear. However, i couldn’t view the pictures. Will really love to see. Thank you.
Thank you. I later saw the pictures as i was about signing out. Thanks
Love this! I’ve been Pin’ing you for a little while now. Thank you!
Your tutorials are great! And I love this skirt. I’m following you from Norway. I have a question about your elastic. Is it knitted, woven or braided? I’m looking to buy elastic I can stitch on to fabric like your circle skirt. I believe there are some elastic you can’t stitch through? I’ve tried google’ing, but I’m confused. Your elastic looks very nice in the close up picture where you fan out the elastic and stitch it down. What kind of elastic is it?
There are many different colors and patterns of elastic banding available at ruffle fabric.com
This was the best tutorial ever! This is the very first article of clothing I have ever sewn and it looks awesome! Thanks:)
Okay, so I want to make this really bad, but I’m afraid that I’ll make it then it won’t fit over my hips. My waist is 30, then my hips are 36. If I do it according to those instructions (add 2 inches), will they fit over my hips?
did you ever try? I was thinking the same thing…hips > waist, bust > waist, how to get it on?
Try cutting out the waist part of your fabric to your hip measurements. Keep the elastic to your waist measurements. It will gather a bit more so try a lighter fabric.
This is THE BEST skirt tutorial I’ve read…and I’ve read many before! Thank you for the clear step-by-step instructions. I look forward to making this skirt.
Loved this! It worked perfectly without any trouble, thanks for the tutorial 🙂 It’s so much fun to twirl!
Loved your tutorial. I want to try adding a waistband as you suggest in your market skirt tutorial. My granddaughter has the same waist measurement as the circle skirt example above – 19″. How long should my waistband casing piece need to be? Thanks so much
Nice and simple step by step tutorial.Thanks for sharing.
Thank you so much for the clear and detailed directions! I can’t wait to try this for my grandaughter!!
I would like to put a label on them if they turn out. Could you please share how to make a label?
I found your link for the labels! I was so excited about the skirt, I overlooked it! I am going to Hobby Lobby tomorrow and can’t wait to pick some fun fabrics to start on some skirts! Love your site!
hiiiiii … i love this tutorial! i’ve had it saved for over a month to try it since I had classes going on. now that i finally got the materials and I made the pattern, it doesn’t seem as though I have enough to make it the way you said it and instead I have to make two semi-circles as you said. only thing is, I did the math for the pattern the way you said it but the radius seems too small for a semi circle? What do I do now? I’m really bad at math so I have no idea as to how to change it 🙁
I finally found the perfect material and a lace one to go on top and it’s so beautiful but I’m sitting here staring at it with no idea of what to do :((
pleaseeeeee reply soon!!! I would be indebted to you!!!
thank you!! 🙂
Thank you for this tutorial!! Is 3 am, and I just finished making my circle skirt. If wasn’t for the tutorial I’ll probably be lost and made a mess. I’M so happy i didi it, Some times you under estimate you abilities. I never knew I could do this all by myself, Now I feel like keep exploring and keep finding out things I thought I couldn’t do but I certainly CAN!! Thanks Again XOXO Fe
Thanks for the tutorial, hoping this pattern is as easy as you make it look. I am on the bigger side so I am going to use it and cut it in gores as you suggested previously. Here’s to alot more nicer clothing than just sweats! 🙂 Thanks!
Dana would this work with 2 halves of a. Donut piece if you only had a very wide half yard and sewed the two half circles together to form the same shape?
Wondering if you have ever tried this?
Hi, sorry I’m not Dana but in answer to your question, yes that does work because I used two different colours of material for a fun twist and it still looks great xxx
I am quite addicted to these skirts!! I have made them for all of my nieces birthdays and have made several for my daughter. One of my favorites was one for my niece… I didn’t quite make it long enough, so I made an under skirt of a corresponding color to add some extra length. It turned out so cute!! But my very favorite was my most recent one, made of a lightweight corduroy since I wanted something for the fall. It turned out so cute, that I went out and stocked up on corduroy to make a bunch for my daughter.
Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial!! I have gotten so much use out of it and a lot of compliments on the skirts I have made from it!! 🙂
this tutorial is awesome!! I just made this skirt for my little one and I normally get frustrated with patters and them not working for me. But not this one! I think I have found a new gift to give and make!! thank you thank you!
Fantastic. Made one for my daughter. I see many more coming down the line. Thanks so much.
Thanks for a wonderful and simple upload. I have gone through a couple of sites and have found yours the easiest to follow. Probably you would have guessed it by now I’m a beginner in sewing and have only fixed a couple of buttons or stitched a lose thread.
So my question is I was wondering the measurement for the elastic waist that you have taken for Lucy’s skirt? I think you have not mentioned it as I have not come across the same.
I would appreciate your reply as soon as possible.
Thanks in advance.
Thank you so much for such a great tutorial! I just made one for my daughter (well, okay, it’s not quite finished, because I need more bias tape trim since 1 pack was not enough). But it is so, so cute and super simple! I have fabric to make matching skirts for her and I and I can’t wait! Thanks again!
Thank you so much for your amazing tutorial.
This week is homecoming week for my daughters high school and at the last minute (day before) she decided she wanted to do the theme for tomorrow which is Disney Day! I used your easy tutorial to kick out a “Minnie Mouse” skirt from your site to go with the rest of her outfit. It turned out so cute!!
Thank you again!!!
Thanks for this. I have read through it and made notes. I need to make some circular wrap around skirts for a dance class that we have at our church for 5-10 yr olds.
This is sure going to make it easeier for me
Thanks for the pictures! I followed your instruction and complete my skirt today. I have little experience in sewing. But this was simple enough to follow. It looks great!
I found your tutorial on pinterest. Today is a Sadie Hawkins Hoedown that I am chaperoning for a bunch of high school students from my school. I wanted a new outfit, but needed something quick. Last night I sewed up a circle skirt to go with a peasant blouse. I started with the blouse (which took 2 hours) and finished with the skirt (which took 1 hour!) I am very impressed with the result!
Here is the finished skirt and blouse I made
I am 17 and have very little experience sewing and I made my first one today and it turned out perfectly! I will definitely be making another one tonight! I will be the envy of all my friends at school on Tuesday! I am going to make these for my sisters and all my neices for Christmas this year! They are adorable! Thank you so much for the fantastic tutorial!
I just attempted this and made mine to big I have no idea how I messed this up I was doing the elastic one is can I fix it?
I am studying fashion design at university and this tutorial was a great help! Thank you.
this is an amazing tutorial, even for a novice like me! Thank you for sharing.
Just made one – thank you – easier than I thought! Great instructions.
What kind of stitch do you recommend for sewing the elastic. I am a new with sewing and I used a wide zig zag. But I’m nervous that it will not be strong enough to hold up to all the stretching elastic goes through…
Oh shoot! I’ve been so excited about trying this pattern and love the ease with which you present the steps…. BUT…. I overlooked one detail. The lovely wild horses on the material we chose will be galloping sideways and upside down 🙂 Ok, off to find a pattern for a gathered skirt with an elastic waistband (since we’ve already bought, measured and cut the wide elastic). Me and my brain cells….
Thanks so much for this tutorial! Thought you may want to see my take on it: http://twoohtwoseven.blogspot.com/2012/10/31-days-of-shut-up-and-sew-circle-skirt.html
(Spoiler alert: dying white elastic chocolate brown is not the best idea!)
I was thinking of making a circle skirt for a school project but I’m using pleated material and when I fold it the pleats end up horizontal. Some one told me that a half circle skirt would be better, do you have that on this website???
Thank you for the tutorial! I refer to it in my blog, as the inspiration for a circle skirt made for my daughter:
I am still pretty new to sewing, but your tutorial looked doable for me. I broke two needles just trying to sew the elastic together. The thread kept looping like crazy underneath as well. What might I have been doing wrong?
I’m making a skirt with 8 alternating colored panels. Would cutting each panel on the grain and sewing them together change the way the skirt hangs as opposed to cutting the panels in a circle. I still want it to flow the same way it would if I cut a full circle.
Thanks for this tutorial. Made this for my daughter and very pleased with the results- would love to make one for myself too.
People like you make sewing accessible and achievable for so many women. Keep up the great work!
I made three of these skirts yesterday after reading this tutorial! Two Christmas skirts for my daughters and even one for myself!!! Love, love, love this tutorial! Thanks for breaking it down and explaining as well as you did! I am pretty sure my little girls need about a dozen more in different prints 😉
Thank you so much for the simplified version of the circular skirt.
Thanks & happy holidays 🙂
Do u think this can be made into a long skirt? Like a maxi skirt
Love your tutorial, I made one for my daughter but would also like to make some for gifts, Do you have a reference on sizes for length and elastic for different sizes?
Nice weblog right here! Additionally your website so much up
fast! What host are you the usage of? Can I am getting your associate hyperlink in your host?
I want my site loaded up as quickly as yours
Just wanted to say thanks for the tutorial & I made my own and linked back to your blog. Here’s the link.
I just made one of these for my four year old niece… exactly the same measurements as your Lucy.
I added some pretty lace to the bottom and it is too cute!
I accidently cut my skirt out in the middle of the fabric instead of having the edges of the pattern on the fold, so will have to have 4 seams down the sides. I’m wondering if I should go buy more fabric and start over (I used a pink felt), or if the skirt will still turn out? I don’t know if it will look weird having 4 seams down the sides.
The flannel is kind of see thru too, so I’m wondering if I should make a slip for under it?
I meant to say the felt, not the flannel is kind of see thru on the above message.
It depends on the cost of the fabric. You could also try putting the seams offset. You still end up with 4 – but the are to the right and left instead of front and center.
Any suggestions as to how to gradually ad 2-3 inches in length to the back of the circle skirt.. this is for ballet dress that drapes in the back
Are you limited to skirt length by how wide your fabric is off-the-bolt? For example, my fabric is 60″ wide. Folding it in fourths, one side is 30″. Taking 5.5 inches off for the radius leaves my skirt length 24.5 inches max. Right? Is there a way to make it longer?
I plan on making this skirt tomorrow, and I was wondering, how would I make the top go out more, or like the bottom has more fabric? I love this skirt: http://www.etsy.com/listing/115864804/star-wars-battle-skirt-custom-size
Am I being blind and both the skirts are the same (besides fabric) or how could I make them more visually similar?
Thanks in advance, and I wanted to say thanks for creating such a thorough tutorial. 🙂
Okay. Maybe I’m just dumb, but every time I make this in a (rather rotund) grown-up size, it comes out…wonky. My last one was two inches shorter on one side… Any ideas on what I’m doing wrong?
What a fantastic tutorial, great images, thank you
Thank you so much!!! I just made first circle skirt, just in time for swing class tonight! I picked a jersey in old mauve with little white polka dots.
I made one small change – I used a smaller width for the waistband: 1″ elastic and I created a cover for it out of leftover fabric so that the waistband and skirt are all one seamless style.
Where did you find those fun labels?
This is lovely and you have broken down the instruction brilliantly. Thanks
I just found this web site on how to make this skirt. Thank you so much for the step by step instructions. I read many websites and did not understand the radius and then how to get the circle. Your instructions were so easy to follow and now my daughter has a “50 style poodle skirt” for her back to the fifties dance next week. Thank you.
A good tutorial and a new ideal to work on. It is good to always develop and share new idea. Thanks
Your blog was my first skirt ever…the simple straight skirt. I had just bought a refurb sewing machine and started attempting to sew. I was so thrilled with making a skirt for the girls. This circle skirt will now be my favorite!! Just made one in multicolor chevron that is sooo fun and cute. I used a one inch waistband, b/c the store already had the exact teal elastic that matched the teal stripe in the chevron material. I loved the measurements and tutorial…all were easy and perfect. The only thing I would ask, is there any other pointers on sewing to elastic? I pinned and pulled… and then ripped and pinned and pulled tight again :-)…messiest stitch I have ever done! I finally ended up basting it in place as best I could AND then sewing a top stitch that was neater and ripping out the basting stitch. Would a certain needle help better or just more practice? Thanks again!! Love everything on here…and you are helping a girl conquer her fear of sewing! Tiffany
I want to do a circle skirt on a dress for my 3 year old. To do that, would I leave out the elastic waist and the addition inch, then just sew it directly to the bodice?
Can I use seersucker fabric for this skirt?
yes! I used it here:
thank u in millions for your best tutorial I’ve ever seen, Well done,,,
My daughter wanted a circle skirt for Christmas. I cut two skirts, one of Christmas fabric and one of a solid blue that matched the colors in the Christmas fabric from some light cotton fabric. I sewed them right sides together at the hem, turned them right sides out and then attached a waistband casing at the top with elastic in it. I love the extra weight the two layers give! The skirt is still light and fun, but the weight helps keep it modest whether she’s twirling, sitting, or playing around. Now she has a reversible circle skirt (with no edges that can fray!) and that can be worn not only for the Christmas season, but all year round. It’s like having two skirts in one! We love it.
So, so, so helpful. Thank you for posting!
Dana. I couldn’t believe it when a website for a no sew poodle skirt listed your website for a cute sewn version! So famous, you are! Anyway. We have a sock hop that I am in charge of for our school and I don’t sew well, but now I wish I did because your skirts are adorable!
Thank you so much for sharing your circular skirt making instructions. I had to make a long circular skirt for my daughther’s dance show and I didn’t know where to start. You have helped me gain some mummy points!
Amazing tutorial! Thanks so much
I know this post is an old one, but I just encountered it today. I work at a fabric store and I often joke with customers about how easy a circle skirt is. Mine are just three seems and a hem! (I make mine down to the floor though, usually takes about five yards of fabric, so the circle is actually two pieces of fabric) It pleases me to see someone else using the math rather than a bought pattern (I thought I was the only one who did that!) I have a measuring tape marked with my waist and hem lines, and just rotate that on my material, marking it with chalk. I always get complimented for my skirts.
Thanks for the tutorial Dana 🙂 I made one for a birthday present with 4 different colors (I sew 4 rectangles and then cut the skirt) and it was a great hit. The birthday girl loved that depending on how she wore it, she had 4 “different” skirts.
Thank you so much for taking the time to figure out the math and take all the photos for this awesome tutorial! I am so excited to make this skirt (one for me and one for my daughter!). You made it so simple for us and I can’t wait to see how it turns out!
This was a very helpful tutorial. I used this for my Pi day project. Thankyou
I just used this tutorial for the 3rd time just this month. I probably have used it at least 6 times. Thank you for such a clear and versitile tutorial.
Dana, this skirt is fantastic. I made one last night for my 1 year old and made it reversible with an applique monogram on each side. This is only the second thing I’ve ever sewn in my life and it turned out great! – goes to show you how wonderful your tutorial is for helping newbies! Question – where did you get that fabulous polka dot fabric? I glanced through the comments to see if you have already answered that but didn’t see it…. thanks! Carol
Have you thought about using a “rolled hem” stitch on your serger when you hem the skirt? That would eliminate the need to turn up the serger edge on your skirt? I am using this to make 12 costume skirts for a program at a school. Looking for short cuts!
My daughter has a 27″ waist but her hips are 37″. I am thinking that with the two inches we add to her waist size to allow the fabric to give when figuring out our radius will not be enough for her to actually pull this skirt up (or down) over her hips. (Not so much a problem when you are creating this pattern for a little girl who has yet to develop that womanly hour glass figure. Smile.)
So in my head, I thought how would I address this issue without losing the wonderful elastic band and not having to go to a zipper or any type of slit in the back of skirt? I am thinking that you would take the actual hip size, then minus the 2 inches for extra give that we initally added to the waist measurement and then divide that number by 6.28. So my radius math looks like this: 37″(hip size) -2″ = 35 divided by 6.28 = 5.57. This should give you ample room to pull this skirt up. Do you think I am headed in the right direction? I am going to tackle making this dress this weekend and am not much of a sewer.
Thank you for your tutorial. Your website is FANTASTIC!!! I will visit often.
I want to make the skirt for babies but don’t have a baby to measure. Can you give me some basic measurements dor a onsie skirt. I would appreciate it.
As an adult, I prefer doing the two half-circles and sewing them together, because then I can add POCKETS. No skirt should be without pockets. I sewed a dress about 30 years ago that had nice pockets, and I’ve used that pattern piece (many times copied as the originals wore out) since then.
I am making 12 of these for costumes for a Christian School here in MI. I plan to use the “rolled hem” setting on my serger to hem the skirts since it leaves a very fine hem and since I am using all pastel fabric, I am leaving my white thread in my serger. That way you do not have that nasty hemming to do. What do you think?
I’m planning on sewing my gown for my son’s wedding coming up in October. While looking online for some pattern ideas, I noticed almost all chiffon dresses having only one seam in the back, no side seams, yet draping very nicely on the body. The thought of circluar cutting did cross my mind, but I rejected it thinking the dress will be puffy at the waist. Then someone online wanted to know how to sew her wedding dress without side seams, to be like a circular skirt. I looked up circular skirt and found your tutorial. I screamed out loud, YES!, that’s it!
Haven’t started making the dress yet. Still deciding on what type/color fabric to use.
When it’s done, I’ll definitely come back and let you know how I made out.
Hi Dana and everyone else! I am quite new to sewing but I love the idea of a circle skirt. I have just bought an Ikea machine and have been trying little projects. I have followed your instructions for this skirt as they seemed quite straightforward but I think maybe because my elastic band was half the width of yours, the skirt wouldn’t go up my legs! Maybe I went wrong in the calculations. I also used a zigzag stitch. Why do you think this happened?
how long is your elastic waist band?
I just wanted to write and say thanks for your tutorial on the circle skirt. I looked at a lot of others on internet and none of them compared. You made the directions for getting the right measurement really easy to follow. I credited you on a blog post I did about the little Pinkalicious circle skirt I made for my grand-daughter. (www.theredfeedsack.blogspot.com). I’m really enjoying your blog and subscribed to get updates. Thanks again! ~ Dori ~
thanks for a great tutorial – I just finished my skirt and it is gorgeous!
Hey, thanks for such an easy to follow pattern with lovely, clear pictures. I just made my first circle skirt and it looks awesome! I bought 25m of 2″ elastic, so I guess I should get off the computer and start making more circle skirts!
this is sooo helpful!!! thank you sooo much for putting this online! I’m using this for a project in my sewing class and I cannot wait to see how it turns out! I am making a few alterations (I’m using navy colored chiffon and putting an underskirt and using a zipper instead of the elastic.) if you have any tips please let me know! I start on it tomorrow! wish me luck!
I just worked out a quick formula to calculate how many yards of 45″ wide fabric I need to make this: 4(R+L) + 4″
In my case, 4(4.5″ + 21.5″) + 4″ = 108″
To convert this length to yards, divide by 36 ( 12″ in a foot, 3 ft in a yard)
108″ /36 = 3yards.
The +4″ is just to give a little space between the raw cut edges.
Hope this helps others.
I had trouble with “bubbles” forming in the elastic as I sewed it on — like the needle was catching on the rubber inside and pulling up a loop. Switching to a ball point needle solved the problem though. Hope that helps someone else! Thanks for creating such a great tutorial! I made two of for my 5 year-old, they’re adorable and she loves wearing them!
thank you SO much for such a wonderful tutorial. this’ll be my first project and I can’t wait to get started. your instructions are great and I’m so thankful I don’t have to worry about a zipper or sewing the elastic into the fabric!!!
Tried this but when I sewed the Skirt to the waistband it went all uneven and looks awful and I no it’s on the inside but i still wanted it to be perfect 🙁 have u got any tips on how I can make it better so it’s looks and feels nicer? And thankyou for all your great tutorials xxxxx
In the midst of making the circle skirt. Looks so cute so far! I am using the overcasting foot on my sewing machine to serge the raw edge (I’m assuming this is the same thing based on my manual; I’m totally new to sewing). It doesn’t look exactly like your picture and I’m thinking I probably don’t have the stitch length-width and/or thread tension correct; can you tell me what you set yours at?
Awesome tutorial! Thank you for sharing!
Thank you so much for posting this:) it’s so simple once it’s explained well! I used this for a bohemian infinity dress and it worked beautifully.
Great Tutorial! I’m going to make a tiny one for my sister’s newborn and use soft 1″ elastic. 🙂
Oh, and these would be great in fleece for the winter time. 🙂
Thank you sooo much for this tutorial!! I have hadit booked marked for some time and finally used it tonight! 🙂 Hope you get a chance to see my pic! 🙂
this is a great tutorial I now know where I was going wrong thanks so much I love your site xxx
I can’t get the material I want wide enough (it is only 1m wide) but I can get it long enough, I can get 4m by 1m so is it all right if i join two pieces of fabric together to make it?
Do you know where I can find enough fabric to make a skirt till my ankles? 31 inches down to my ankle
I’ve researched many circle skirt tutorials and this one works best for me. Thanks for taking the time to post this tutorial. It’s very detailed and the photos aid a whole lot.
I can’t stop making these for my girls. I do them with different fabrics and each one has a chic twist to it. Thanks again.
Would cotton work for these skirts?
If I do two semi circles can I use the same pattern and just fold my fabric in half once and do that twice, and then attach them together? Would that work? Thanks!
yep! you can do 2 semicircles or even 4, quarter circles….you’ll just have more seams
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
You saved my life this week when I was asked to make FIVE poodle/circle skirts for teenage girls at a summer musical production of A Midsummer Nights Dream.
I winged my first attempt and failed miserably.
Your tutorial NAILED IT !!!!
All my very best to you!
Your tutorial was fantastic! My five year old daughter is twirling around in her first skirt and there are two others in the works! Thank you!
Perfect! My 2 year old picked out some Dora fabric today and wanted a skirt. This was easy and quick. I’m thinking of using this easy pattern for her princess dress up skirts that she has asked for. I found this linked on Pinterest.
I love this pattern! I think it is my favorite one I have ever done. The only thing I did was add lace trim around the edge and it looks fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing.
This was the first wearable skirt I made for my daughter and it looks FABULOUS! Thank you so much for the step by step. I LOVED it and it was so easy to follow for a novice like me.
so my waist is 24 including adding 2 inches what is the radiuse
It is so funny. I was reading you blog on dyeing elastic and clicked on your circle skirt. What do ya know. I had been here for tips on the construction of a circle skirt just days before. Now my black poodle skirt can have the pink elastic waist band I was dreaming of. 🙂
Another great tutorial… I hope you’ll see this comment. I am making school girl costumes for a ballet (the girls are 12 – 14 years, but on the small side), and the director wants circle skirts, but he would like pleats in them. Is that possible? Also, if I am attaching this to a shirt to make a dress, how would I do that? Is that too complicated for a comment?? lol. I would like to have a removable waistband that will cinch the skirt so that we can use them in later years and just adjust waistbands and not take out seams….. I hope you can help! I’ve never made costumes before, and this is making me nervous!!!
Thank u very much for this tutorial. I have tried and came out beautifully. You can view it here:
I love how they came out!!! I wish I could send you a pic! I dyed the elastic and followed both tutorials and they are just adorable! Thanks so much!!!
I didn’t use to want to sew until I started following a sewing blog that I picked up on pinterest. She referred to you as her inspiration, and I started following you too. This was all 2 months ago. I just got a sewing machine and this skirt was my first sewing project ever! It turned out ok, although I found it was hard for me to do the elastic sewing. It looks so cute on my 4 year old daughter, and she loved the twirls she can get out of the skirt!! Thank you for posting pictures and step by step instructions! I can wait to try my next project!! I’m obsessed with your blog!! I wish you’d post the instructions for the first day dress too! That looks so adorable!
What do you mean “semi circles” with 45″ fabric for women’s skirts? I accidentally didn’t buy enough fabric and I’m trying to find a way to make this work.
When you serge the inside of the skirt, do you have to fold the edge down? I do not sew very much, and can not find a serging or zigzag attatchment for my Kenmore model 54 sewing machine, so I was wondering if it matters what kind of sewing design I use.
Thank you so much for this tutorial! It the best one on circle skirts that I have found; you make everything very clear.
After doing all the pattern/planning, I found that the length was too long to keep on one, complete donut; hence, I have to do a two-paneled skirt. Since there would already be seams down the side, do you think I could add pockets, or do you think that would add funny bulk to the side?
Also, I was at Jo-Ann’s today, and they have colored elastic! They had olive, blue, green, pink, grey, and khaki. I think they only had it in 1-2 inch varieties.
Thank you for saving the day! My daughter’s class is doing a 50s party for the 50th day of school on 10/30. And I thought I was done sewing once the Halloween costumes were complete, nah! Anyway this worked up very quickly. now praying it fits my daughter since she is sleeping
Thank you for this tutorial!! I found it on Pinterest by searching “little girls skirt”. I’ve been frustrated that I can’t find a long enough skirt for my almost 5 year old daughter. I can sew basic things, but have never made clothing… but the skirt turned out great! I love the size & shape of it, and my daughter love how well it twirls! 🙂
Here’s a picture of the one I made! Now that I’ve made one, I’m sure future skirts will go even better & faster! http://images2.snapfish.com/232323232%7Ffp83232%3Euqcshlukaxroqdfv%3A%3B33%3Dot%3E2475%3D876%3D%3C%3A9%3DXROQDF%3E25%3B%3B68%3B786255ot1lsi
Thanks for this tutorial! I used it for when I had to make a skirt for a cosplay. I used a bottomweight because it was the only fabric in the store that was the exact color i needed, but it still maintains a very nice fluffiness to it and twirls perfectly. I don’t own a serger so hemming it was really hard. It was also harder than I thought when it came to sewing the skirt to the waistband. But when hemming it, I had to fight to iron out all the wrinkles and twists. There are a few there but they’re not noticeable. Thanks so much for this tutorial. I wish other tutorials online were as easy to comprehend as yours.
Love this do you have this same style but a high low skirt? Tutorial?
Thank you so much ! My daughter needed an urgent skirt for her tap exam. For a mom that has only ever made a dog bed cover (straight lines), I followed your tutorial and made the most gorgeous purple polka dot skirt. Thank you for the step-by-step instructions, they were really easy to follow.
How old is Lucy here? I’m trying to sew for a friend’s child who wears a 5T. Thanks!
Seriously? So nobody except for me is completely stumped with the math? The skirt is adorable but there has to be an easier way. Nice tutorial (but for the math)
Nena, I am terrible at math, but this was pretty easy. Measure around your waist (I measured right above my hips and got 36″), then add two inches to that measurement (36+2=38). Now divide that by 6.28. So it should look like 38/6.28=5.58. Since you are making a circle out of a rectangle, you use the 5.28 number to measure from one corner of the pattern paper and draw a semicircle. That will be the part that you cut out for the waist of the skirt. From that semicircle you will measure how long you want the skirt to hang from your waist. I wanted mine to end just below my knees so I measured from my waist to just below my knee and got 22″. Now you have to translate that to your pattern by drawing a larger semicircle 22 inches from your smaller semicircle that started in the corner. Does that help?
I feel like a big dummy, especially since no one else asked, but how do you fold the fabric?? That’s the only part I’m having trouble visualizing!! Thanks for a terrific tutorial!
Hi, thank you so much for this tutorial, I have just made my first circle skirt for my daughter and she is thrilled with it, very twirly. Love your blog, the tutorials are great.
I LOVE this tutorial…I’m going to make my daughter’s costume (Anna from Frozen) and I just can’t wait to use your tutorial…hope I won’t do a mess 😀
I just made this for myself and it took a total of 3 hours from start to finish. It was super easy and this tutorial explained every step perfectly. I’m an intermediate sewer so I really appreciated how easy this was. Thanks!
Hi this can be turned into a strapless dress!
Thank you for the great instructions! I just finished a pink skirt with white dots and pink elastic :))) for my 4 year old daughter. Thank you for the inspiration!
You are my heroin 🙂
I followed the tutorial and was amazed by how quick and easy it was … really enjoyed making the skirt … thanks for such an informative tutorial… would definitely use it again
I’ve made several of these skirts for my 3 yr old daughter. I just love them, they are perfect for a nice spring/summer day…oh and she lives to twirl like a ballerina lol
I’ve made several of these skirts for my 3 yr old daughter. I just love them, they are perfect for a nice spring/summer day…oh and she loves to twirl like a ballerina lol
I just finished a circle skirt for my 2 year old.. It looks great.
here is the link
If you just want to attach this skirt to a tshirt do you use the same measurements?
Do you use elastic thread or regular on the waistband
just standard thread, but sew on a zigzag stitch, so it will stretch with the elastic.
I have almost finished mine! I am super excited because it is beautiful! Thanks for the awesome, easy to follow tutorial! Now if only I could sew a semi-straight line… 🙂
I wanted to let you know I linked to your site for this tutorial. I bet it’s pretty surprising to see that 6YEARS later folks are still viewing and using your tutorial! Congratulations!
First skirt done! I see many more in the future. My 5 yr old grand-daughter loved it. She had been wanting a twirly skirt for a while. Any suggestions on how to add shorts to it? I can’t believe how easy it was. Thanks for the great tutorial.
I was wondering if someone could explain a little more in depth about keeping the elastic “tout” while sewing it to the skirt fabric. If the elastic is smaller than the skirt fabric, shouldn’t the fabric be gathered?
Pull the elastic “taut”…or “tight” as you’re sewing. Meaning, stretch the elastic so that it’s the same length as the fabric while you sew. This will cause the fabric to gather up on the elastic and stretch a bit when you wear the skirt.
Thank you for providing the best tutorial EVER! This made the project very easy and super quick to do! Thanks again!
I am NOT a seamstress, but I followed this tutorial completely, and I MADE THE most adorable fancy circle skirt for my granddaughter for a school dance….I actually made it very long (ankle length) and put a golden lining underneath a shimmering glittery overskirt….IT COULDN’T have been easier!!!! Thank you SOOOOOOOOOOO much for this perfectly put-together instructional guide!!! She will be the Belle of the Ball!!! We will definitely be doing this OVER AND OVER again!!!
Dana, just wanted to say thanks for the detailed photos and step by step explanation of how to attach an elastic loop to a skirt. I created an Elastic Waist Tank Dress earlier this week and was SO grateful to have discovered this tutorial to help me with that tricky step. And now, it’ll hopefully help my readers because I linked to it several times in my tute today. You rock! So glad to have discovered you through Ashley at Lil Blue Boo. http://www.thinkingcloset.com/2014/05/05/rustic-vintage-spring-mantel-balsam-hill-giveaway/
Drats! Wrong link: http://www.thinkingcloset.com/2014/05/14/elastic-waist-tank-dress-tutorial/
If I wanted to add a zipper using 1/2″ seam allowances, would I just add an inch to the waist measurement? I’m still new and trying to figure this out. I’ve used the pattern but never with a waistband.
I need a pin button for this!!!!!
For the adult skirt, did you still fold the fabrics in 4’s or did you actually trace out the full circle on the fabric ?
I’ve just made this in a lightweight viscose jersey print for my daughter. It looks really good, and I know the waist band is the right fit because I trie dit round her whilst she was asleep! Lovely easy to follow instructions. Thanks so much. I’m going to have a try at and oval shape to see if I can get a dipped hemline effect next.
I made this for my friends little girl, but because I used Satin, I used a ruffle for the hem and then top stitched the skirt hem with the ruffle seam facing the skirt . It turned out darling and soooooo simple.
Love it!! I just finish one skirt for my daughter!!
Do you think I could use chambray?
It will just be a light weight skirt, which is totally fine
I tried scanning through the other comments to see if you already answered this, but I don’t see it — where do you get your elastic?
Just at Joann Fabrics.
You can also look online at joann or on ebay or other sites.
Hi Dana, thank you for all your tutorials! On the circle skirt, how do you recommend ironing down and sewing the outer edge of the circle skirt nicely? (I don’t have a Serger.) Yesterday I was working on your baby circle skirt and it took me FOREVER to double-fold the outer edge and sew over it, simply because curves are not easy to manage. Would you recommend clipping extra fabric every few inches? Thanks!
Yea, ironing a circle skirt just takes a while….no fancy tips to share there.
You could try clipping, but I don’t think it’s going to take any less time to go around with your iron. I just press little sections at a time and keep moving down. Listen to some good music while you do it 🙂
Thank you so much for this tutorial! I just made 5 of these for myself, but I’m having a little issue due to the difference between my hips and waist. When I pull on my skirt, I can hear thread popping/ breaking when going over my hips. Any advice on what I can do to fix this? If I make the elastic bigger, it won’t fit my waist nicely, but I concerned about all the snapping threads each time I pull on my skirt. Any advice would be super helpful 🙂
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Hi I tried this skirt yesterday, but found the hole for the waist was huge, I used the correct maths formula given, I managed to cut some of the material off then found it wouldn’t go over my chubby thighs! Then when I managed to get it on it was too big on the waist ! Just seems a disaster, what did I do wrong please,help as,I really like,these,skirts!
Hi I know this might be a silly question but if ur hips are more than ur waist plus two inches, how will the skirt fit ova them? Im new to this and have some beautiful fabric but im not sure about this one part. Thank you xx
Used this pattern to make by daughter a character skirt for her dance class. It was so easy and turned out absolutely perfect. Thank you so much!
That’s really awesome. I was just asked to make one for a girl that does Ballet Folklorico. Was it troublesome to add length to it?
I use a roll of brown postal wrapping paper to make patterns. You can buy in a roll at Dollar Tree for $1. Also, check with local moving company. Sometimes they have used packing paper that is slightly used and clean for free.
I am making a white cancan petticoat with matching overlapping ruffles. Question, What type of material to use ? For I want it flouncy and not to heavy.
I’ve seen other cancan girls wear something like polyester but it seems to shiny.
One suggestion, I am 76 & have sewed for the public (up until about 15 years ago) since I was 16. In making a circular skirt, if you want it to truly hang properly, you could attach your waist band but let it hang for about 24 hours for all of the bias in the skirt to relax, have the child put it on & mark an even distance from the floor all the way around. This is so cute, I can see I’ll be sewing for the great granddaughters. Have a blessed day!
I recently bought the First Day Dress Pattern (which I LOVE) and am wondering if I can use the skirt part of the Swing Dress for the Circle Skirt? If so, would any adjustments need to be made?
Yes, you could try that, however, the skirt will not be as full or twirl quite the same way as a FULL circle skirt….since the First Day Dress pattern is just a portion of a circle (for the skirt)
I referenced this tutorial in my latest blog post. Thanks for doing such a great job!! I love this!
I tried to do the skirt and when I was finished cutting it, it was about twice as big as my waist. Help?
Oh and how do you “serge” a skirt if you do not have a serger? I love how yours turned out!
Hi I will be making a circle skirt for a lady in a wheelchair but she wants a waist band that stretches because she had to put it over her head. Can I sew the elastic to top of the skirt and then fold it over to cover up the elastic and stitch it. It seems if I do it this away I would have to cut the waist of skirt larger is this so. Please let me know thanks
I just made this tonight! I’m a brand-new sewist and your tutorial was so clear and easy to follow. Thanks for the shot of confidence! 🙂
If you need to make a pattern – any pattern – you can use old dry cleaner bags like glue between pieces of paper to join them together. Lay a strip of plastic between the two papers and iron them to melt the plastic.
Hi Dana,Was wondering if you have any suggestions about attaching the skirt onto a onesie to prevent the skirt from “riding up”? I am making this for my 13 month old granddaughter. Thanks.
that is a cute and easy way of making one.
I love this tutorial. This is not the first time I have gone back to it for reference. I’m doing something different this time though, adding it to the bodice of another pattern. Should I still add the extra 2 inches for give or leave it at just the waist measurement? I am okay with gathering slightly to fit the bodice. Just thought before I proceeded I would ask, just in case. Measure twice, cut once — ask first, cut later kind of thing!
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Hi. I need to buy all my supplies at once. My radius is 6.05 and I’d like a 16-17″ skirt. It’s for a halloween skirt and I’ll use a polyester satin. Can’t quite figure out how much 60″ fabric to buy. Can you assist me?
I love this site, and all of your tutorials! This halloween, I made a poodle skirt for my 11 year old daughter. I have sewn some, but by no means am an expert. I used your tutorial above and modified the waist band a little, since I didn’t have the wide elastic. I serged the top seam just to finish the edge, then took the elastic and zig zag stiched it to the outside of the elastic, just to the top edge. I then folded the elastic under, so the fabric encased the elastic, and sewed the bottom part of the casing so the elastic was not showing. This was the very first time sewing with elastic, and while my attempt wasn’t perfect, I know that I’ll be using this technique in the future for other skirts. My younger daughter asked me to make her a twirly skirt like her sister’s so she could twirl as well. Guess I need to buy more elastic. 🙂
Hi I would love to make a Christmas skirt for myself. Could I use taffeta fabric? also how would I figure out how much fabric? Thanks so much
thank you soooooo much for posting these tutorials on sewing.
your website really helps me get a big jump start on sewing. thank you!!!
My daughter would like to make a 3/4 circle tank dress, with 4 panels in the skirt, for 4H this year. We’re doing our research, planning, and making a practice dress now. I can’t find a tutorial to help me draft a 3/4 and calculate yardage. I obviously can’t create a circle and take 3/4 of it. That leaves the waist 1/4 too small. Can you help with circle challenged mom?
not sure you still monitor this as it is several years old….. but if anyone has the answer, I would be greatly appreciative……. do you think using bias tape for the hem would allow the skirt to hang properly? I am not concerned with “twirl” factor, as I am making this for a 0-3 month old….. thanks in advance for any help given
If you use cotton fabric with no stretch, do you have to make the center hole the size of the hip measurement to get it over your hips?
Thanks again for this tutorial. My daughters and I have now used it to make a number of skirts. I am going to post a tutorial for a dress I made recently to my family’s blog, and I wondered if you would mind if I include a link to this tutorial for instructions on how to create a pattern for the skirt. I would like to be able to provide readers with detailed instructions and pictures of that process, and I found your instructions here to be very easy to follow.
Thanks for this! I wonder if you can help me with something – I am using this pattern to make a tutu-like skirt for my daughter. I thought I had enough tulle for 4 layers, but after cutting I see that I only have enough for three. If I sew it together with three layers, and then it doesn’t look like enough, will I have to take it all apart to add the last layer, or can I add it separately? (I should add that it’s for a costume more than real clothing, though she’s insisting that she loves it enough to wear for real clothing afterwards…)
I’ve made seven of these (really!) and it gets easier every time! I did a variation where I laid a square of sheer blue fabric over the skirt and stitched it as an overlay for a fairy feel. I’ve used light cotton, flannel and even fleece! Thank you!
Today I made my first circle skirt ever and I’m really happy with the result! Since I’m pregnant I used the bottom part of a extra long top folded instead of elastic band and it worked out great! Can’t wait to wear it! Thanks for the great tutorial!
Hey, I find it a bit difficult to tell from the pictures but this skirt seems to fall a bit too high for me, what would happen if I made the circle larger? Would it still sit well?
Also I’m looking at sewing a large cute out shape (of an octopus) on mine, any tips? Or do you think maybe fabric paint/pens would work better?
ignore first question I believe I misread instructions
Thanks for posting this! you made my life so much easier than i thought it was going to be. Had to sew 10 little girls skirts for a school play and this was a life saver!. Thanks – MD
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I made the circle skirt for a 5 yr old which turned out great; but, my 30 yr old niece wants one and neither my husband or I (and he is highly mechanical) can get it to work out on 45 inch fabric. I need a waist of 31 inches (total with the 2″ addition); a radius of 4.9 or 5…..There just doesn’t seem to be enough width for it. Can anyone be more explicit? I saw where one lady asked the same thing and was directed to the circle skirt for a baby…not sure how that showed how to use same pattern for an adult.
Fantastic tutorial. So easy to follow and adorable skirt. Mine turned out great! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
This is so simple! Do you think it would work making the waist a drawstring instead of elastic? I really dislike the feeling of elastic for some reason. Or hemming the top, adding belt loops, and making a matching fabric belt?
Thank you so much for easy to follow instructions!!! I just made one tonight and it turned out great! My daughter loves it. 🙂
Loved your tutorial, it was very simple and easy to follow. Do you know if it would be possible to make a skirt out of newspapers?
I’m wondering whether this will suit me (age 60+) as I know ther suited me at 20!
And also wondering what fabric would be suitable for a Autumn/Winter skirt? I want to alter the pattern so it’s a Wrap-around me with ties and waistband in one.
Hi, thanks for this tutorial. I am just wondering why you sewed the elastic waistband on this way, rather than sewing it on the right side of the fabric and then flipping it up, so that the seam is on the inside and no stitching is visible on the outside? That was my first instinct but I’m wondering if you tried it and it didn’t look right? Thanks!
Quick question, I’m working on this with my baby cousin and we didn’t get enough fabric (1 yard of 45″ fabric) so I made 2 quarter circles (or would it be considered semi-circles?). Either way it looks like the waist might be too small. Should I sew up the side seams and attach it to the elastic (which we have enough of) or cut some extra pieces out of the fabric and have 4 seams?
Thanks so much!
Yes, you need this to be a full circle….so you need to have 4 quarter circles (with 4 seams)….or 2 half circles (with two seams)
Thanks for the great tutorial Dana. I have a question about stitching the elastic to the skirt. I was thinking of using a twin needle to attach the elastic waistband so it had more ‘give’ while looking neater on the outside with the two lines of straight stitches. I know the twin needle is great for jersey knit fabric, but do you think it would work well on the elastic?
Should the measurements be the same if I’m working with a knit fabric?
What presser foot did you use for the 1/8″ hem?
I just pressed the edge under two times with an iron and sewed it in place with my standard foot. But you could experiment with other feet that can do a rolled hem or other options.
If you have a serger, it’s nice to serge the edge and then press it under once and sew it in place.
It can take a long time to go around the edge of that big circle 🙂
I did a rolled hem for the first time and it worked out pretty well. It did take a long time to go around that large circle but at least I didn’t need to iron it down first.
Love yours tutorials, thank you!!
can I take the circle skirt and add it on a top to make a dress?
making a snow princeses dress for Halloween
How long do you cut the elastic for the waist? 1″ smaller than waist size? I’m making this for my granddaughter who has a 21″ waist.
I love this tutorial. I plan to make one of these to put over a tulle skirt as part of a Halloween costume!
I’m new to sewing clothing, I’ve only sewn children’s clothes and only used cotton. I’m making matching mother/daughter skirts using a silky fabric that is polyester. I do not own a serger but of course will use a zig zag stitch. My question is; How do I give a nice hem without using heat?
You can use an iron on polyester. Just keep it on a low setting so you don’t melt the fabric. Do a test first on a piece of scrap fabric. I’ve ironed that same kind of fabric many times and you’ll be fine!
This is a fantastic tutorial.Thank you very much, I have made my hand daughter’s gorgeous skirts. They turned out beautifully and I am sure to have requests for more of these.
Just wanted to say thank you for the tutorial. I wanted to use this info paired with the double sided circle skirt tutorial from you and mie. So, I did your idea with the elastic waistband but put 2 pieces together so it would still be double sided. It turned out great. Also, I am sure you are aware but JoAnn’s sells colored elastic now. I also used double wide fold over elastic for the bottom and it came out super cute. I wanted to attach a pic but can’t 😉 Anyway, thanks so much for this tutorial. Now I am working on making one for my 14 year old! She was inspired by your polka dot fabric 😉
Can I use 1 in elastic or does it have to be 2 inch?
You can use any width you want!….even small elastic, like 1/2 inch wide. It just depends on the look you’re going for–chunky waistband, or small waistband.
If you go down to your local newspaper, they either give away or sell end rolls for a minimal price. ($1/ea.) Ask at the front desk. They have no newsprint on them. They work great for making patterns and there is a ton of paper left on the roll, so it will last a long time.
HI Dana, I’ve made a couple of different skirts from this pattern — LOVE THEM ALL!! However, any thoughts on adding this skirt to the bottom of a t-shirt for a t-shirt dress? My daughter has a great shirt with…. issues. I’m thinking to make the skirt, add the elastic, then add to end of the shirt??? Maybe another way??? If you’ve done this and have a link, please let me know. Thanks so much!! AMW
I just made tshirt dress and found this tutorial very helpful. http://craftycupboard.net/2012/05/twirly-t-shirt-dress-tutorial/
I love making these skirts!
Question: I would like to make one of these for my niece and she has a bit of a bubble butt. I’m afraid the skirt will be raised in the back and longer in the front. Any advice?
where is the baby circle skirt outline located?
you can find it here:
AWESOME tutorial! I watched it on your youtube channel also. Very simple and easy to follow. A wonderful alternative for the pattern for people who don’t have access to a printer to download/print it.
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS TUTORIAL! IT IS NOW MY GO TO SKIRT FOR MY LITTLE GIRLS. MY FIRST I MAD REVERSIBLE WITH AN ENCASED WAISTBAND. I CUT TWO SKIRTS TOGETHER, SEWED TOGETHER AT HEM (BOY WAS THAT A LABOR OF LOVE), AND THEN ADDED A SEPARATE ENCASED WAISTBAND. I HAVE MADE IT WITH ENCASED WAIST BAND SEVERAL OTHER TIMES FOR SIZES 2T-6. I HAVE HEMMED IT, REVERSED IT, ADDED BIAS OR JUST LET IT HANG FOR THE HEM. OUR PERSONAL FAVORITE METHOD AND BEING MADE LATER TODAY, IS TO ADD TO BASE OF A TEE SHIRT.
MY GIRLS LIKE SPECIAL BIRTHDAY DRESSES, BUT I WANT THEM TO BE FUN – NOT SO FANCY THEY NEVER WEAR THEM. SO WE ADD AN APPLIQUÉ OF THEIR CHOICE TO A TEE SHIRT AND THEN ADD A CIRCLE SKIRT! PERSONALIZED TO THEIR TASTE, BUT WITH THE FUN TWIRL FACTOR! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS TUTORIAL AND MANY OTHERS WE USE. DEFINITELY KEEPS ME COMING BACK HERE!
My friend and I made your circle skirt yesterday for her Grand Daughter. We changed it slightly by making it 23″ long and cutting the waist at 5″. We wanted the full circle plus gathers because the material was very very sheer and thin. The material was lavender tulle with little sequins all over it. It is a long ballerina skirt to be worn over a leotard. Instead of attaching to elastic, we cut a facing that matched the circle on the top and encased the elastic to accommodate the gathers. It came out so cute.
Thanks very much for this. I just had to sew 15 circle skirts in 2 days for a school production and this tutorial was a great help. Happy sewing!
love this tutorial – just made myself a skirt for a fancy dress outfit and it came out looking great! i’m so pleased. so simple and the pictures really help. i’m a novice when it comes to sewing and i’m learning all the time. how good this came out really gave me a boost!
The easiest costume:
I made one out of satin for my teenage daughter. I actually made 2 circles so one could act as a slip and then I sewed tulle between the layers to make a non-itchy crinoline. On the ham, I don’t have a serger so I actually used a double-fold bias tape in a contrasting color. Black elastic, red skirt and crinoline, black bias tape. Then I cut out white 1″ circles with a larger hole punch on full sheet sticker paper to make large white polka dots. My daughter wore the skirt with a long sleeve black shirt, her Minnie Mouse ears, black tights, and some Keds we had painted yellow (replacing the laces with red ribbon with white polka dots).
Thanks for this great tutorial. I’ve made the skirt for my 4 year old and she just loves it. I have to fight to get it to be washed 🙂 !!
Hi in the notes on the adult version you mention cutting two circles and seaming them. How do you cut the pattern and fold and cut the fabric to do that?
Draw your pattern the same way—1/4 of a circle
And then fold your fabric in half so you can cut a 1/2 circle. Then fold another section of your pattern in half and cut another 1/2 circle. Then sew them together so you make 1 big circle. You’ll need to purchase twice as much fabric this way….but that’s the only way to do it if you want a skirt that’s longer.
Thank you for this great tutorial!! I’m wanting to enclose approx 1″ wide elastic at the top, instead of using the wide elastic like you used here.. I need advice on adjusting the pattern.
Thank you sew much! :)????
Hi have you ever made one out of crushed velvet? My daughter (17) wants me to make her one.
Thank you so much for your instructions! I’m in love with the pattern . I made six tiny skirts in an afternoon. Thank you????
There is knitted, braided, and woven elastic. Which type did you use? I can’t wait to make these for my girls!!
Hi Dana, greetings from Indonesia. I came to this tutorial because I’m going to make a maxi skirt for myself. I had a circle skirt before, and it was so wide, I had trouble riding my motorbike (some parts of the skirt went inside the back wheel gear), and almost got me into accident. If I want to make like a half circle skirt with this tutorial, how should I lay the pattern on the fabric, and how many folds of fabric? Please advise
Great photo tutorial! I just made your circle skirt for my Halloween costume that I’m wearing to a swing dance. I used quilt-weight cotton, because I needed a certain print, and that’s the only way it came. Mine is 18 inches long, because any longer than that gets in the way of your dance partner. I have a serger, and it took me only 45 minutes from start to finish! It swings, it swishes, it twirls!
This is hands down my favorite tutorial! I use it and recommend it all the time. I have 4 little girls who love a good twirling skirt 😀 I have made a reversible circle skirt, wide baseband, encased base band, and I use this skirt attatch to a tee to make special birthday (or other event/play dresses), sometimes with a band around the middle. I have hemmed the skirt and used binding for the hem, and of course the reversible-which took a while on that hem, but was one of the best skirts ever. Still a favorite! For their birthday they pick a plain tee, the fabric of skirt and I hand appliqué whatever theme/shape they want on the tee. We’ve had rhinos, pigs, butterflies, elephants, Peppa, Minnie, and more! Just wanted to say thank you for this timeless, amazing tutorial!
Your tutorial sounds great however I have a question. My hips are quite a bit bigger than my waist – yes why am I asking – but I feel that if just cut out my waist measurements I am not going to be able to put it on or off. Thinak waist 28 inches hips 40 inches. Will it still work?
Yes, great question. I would use your hip measurement in this instance.
Hello, Just made this and the elastic looks puckered / lumpy on the outside 🙁 what happened?
Sorry about that. You may have stretched the elastic too much?
Or your fabric underneath stretched too much.
I’m wondering gown much fabric I would need for a girl my size. I typically wear a 16/18 size skirt/dress. Wouldn’t I have to cuz too it’s two circles, split them in half and attach them together with a 60in long fabric?
Yes. This is discussed a bit in the video when talking about an adult size skirt. You will need to cut two half circles, and sew them together with two side seams to create one full circle.
A silly question (from someone not too up on sewing)- I don’t have a serger, but I do have a sewing machine that does like 40 stitches- including a couple of ones like a blanket edge stitch etc. will that work instead of a serger? or should I just skip the serge step and do the iron part? Thanks!
Thank you for this great tutorial! I used it for making the skirt of a Cinderella costume for a high school production (when the everyday dress magically came off, the cinderella skirt that had been folded under it twirled down so beautifully!!) And, it was perfect with a crinoline underneath for the ball scene. Now I am helping with costumes for a 1940s era play. I am using clearance priced full sheets for the circle skirt fabric (cheaper than fabric by the yard and wide enough to do the whole circle in one piece). To the thrift shop for 1940s style blouses and we are all set!
I love this pattern! Thank you so much for sharing! I was wondering if I could get your permission to use your pattern to sew skirts and sell them. Let me know. Thank you!
Yes.That would be fine!
Have fun sewing!
When sewing the waistband on the skirt, would it work well to ease-stitch around the top of the skirt? I am worried it might gather unevenly, but I thought it might be safer to put in a temporary ease-stitch so I don’t have to worry about stretching the elastic. I’m a beginner with not much experience. Am I just overthinking it or is this a good idea?
If you’re worried about the fabric being evenly gathered around the elastic, I would just pin in many places, and just stretch the elastic from small section to section. Pin in one spot first, then cut that distance in half across the circle and pin that spot, then cut that spot in half, etc.
Hope that makes sense!
If my measurements for the waist are 22+2
And the length is 20+2 for a full circle skirt to the knee
What would be the length of fabric needed if I add a few layers of tulle with a hoop size of 44″ please!!
Kind regards tarnie
I think this tutorial is about a decade old, but just wanted to let you know I just found it last night and made my first two tiered circle skirt today and it came out awesome! I am a beginner but this was still easy to follow, and the video super helpful. Thank you in 2018! ????
Aaaawesome! I love it when patterns and tutorials never grow old 🙂
Thanks for sharing!
My grandaughter loves these skirts! I would love to use left over fabric I have, basically make 6 or 8 panesls. Do you have instructions for making a circle skirt out of panels? thank you!
Hmm. I would draw a circle pattern like I do in the video….which is really 1/4 of a circle. But instead you could just draw 1/2 of that….so it’s 1/8 of a circle. Then add a 1/2 inch seam allowance on each side, and cut out 8 panels and sew them together! And then you’ll have a circle!
Sounds like a fun idea 🙂
great video, i cant find free pattern for kids
Instead of elastic for the waist, I purchased *headbands* to make this for my 6 month old granddaughter. Worked beautifully!!!
Thanks for the great tutorial! I just used it to make my daughter a silver lamé circle skirt. It turned out perfectly. I used poster board to create the pattern. Due to the size of my fabric I had to end up cutting three pieces of fabric. One for the front of the skirt and then two 1/4 pieces for the back . Unfortunately I could not cut two pieces on the fold to sew together. But it still looks super cute and the elastic tutorial worked perfectly. Next time I’m going to try to do a half circle skirt that’s a little less full. From what I understand instead of dividing your waist measurement by two times pi you just divide by pi.
If sewing a multi-layered polka dot tulle skirt, would you make all the layers of tulle our of the polka dot tulle- or just the top layer?
Hmmm. I guess you could do it either way! Just depends how it looks. If it’s too messy with many layers of polka dots (because you can see the dots through the various layers), then maybe just use the polka dot on the top layer?
Hope that helps!
I want to make a winter skirt for a toddler. Any recommendations on a heavier winter fabric? I have made several skirts for my toddler, niece and a friend’s newborn, thank you!
Thanks for the great pattern! Worked great to make myself a poodle skirt, it fits perfectly. I bought 72″ wide felt and was able to cut it out in one piece (I bought 2 yards, as I’m 5’8″ and it was . Things that helped me, for future readers of the comments:
-Since I’m hourglass/curvy, I cut the “waist” measurement of the fabric somewhere between waist and hips (I used that exact measurement, did not add the 2″ extra as listed here), and then measured the elastic to sit snugly where I’d want my skirt waistband to be, plus 1″ for the seam allowance.
-I measured up 1/2″ (not 1/4″ as listed here in the pattern) from the bottom of the elastic waistband, and marked it all along the inside so I’d have a line to match to the top of the fabric when pinning. (I was using felt, so I figured I’d need more than just 1/4″ of elastic holding it up!)
-I also marked with chalk the elastic in 1/4s (front-center, back-center, left side, right side) and also the skirt, so I could just match up those points and easily pin. And then I had someone hold the elastic taut while I pinned the between-pins.
Wow! Eleven years after your writing this, I found it and think it’s the perfect solution to my daughter’s wish for a retro ball gown for the prom. I can’t wait to search your blog for a bodice that could make this into a dress!
I made this for myself out of a bedsheet and it came out very nice.
What is the best fabric for this?For an misses size circle skirt?
Hi there , I would love to try and make this skirt . I measured my biggest area at 40 inches . I can’t figure out how much fabric to get . Would you please help ?
Used this tutorial to sew a skirt for my boyfriend! It came out a bit big at first (I’m still not the best at measuring, evidently), but I folded a bit of the back elastic together and sewed a button there and now it fits perfectly! Might’ve also gotten a bit jealous of his, so I’m in the process of making one for myself so we can match.
The fabric he picked for me to use had some pretty holographic stars and moons on it, so I’m very happy that I managed to find some sparkly silver elastic to match.
Hi! I loved your tutorial. Do you upload patterns for circle skirts? If so, where can I find them? Thank you so much and keep up the great work 🙂