Dreaming of…twirling in circle skirts (TUTORIAL)

Don’t you just think that circle skirts are super flattering? And they win bonus points as they are super easy to make too! This tutorial will guide you through making a pattern for your own measurements – which you can then make in as many versions you can think of…
with side pockets
with patch pockets
maxi (LOTS of fabric)
attached to a dress
with suspenders / long straps
contrasting waistband
etc etc etc

So let’s have a go and I’d love to see any versions you make!

We’ll start with the waistband:
1. For this skirt I cut a one piece waistband.
2. Measure waist and add 3cm (1.2ins) for seam allowance
(e.g. my waist = 28ins + 1.2ins = 29.2ins).
3. Decide on depth of waistband. If you are cutting a wide waistband, then cut on the bias as this curves around the body better. If it is a narrow waistband it can be cut on the straight grain to stop it stretching out. You can still interface the waistband to help keep it’s shape.
4. Add SA to top and lower edge of waistband: 1.5cm to top and bottom = 3cm (1.2ins) in total. (e.g. 2 inch deep waistband + 1.2ins = 3.2ins).
5. Cut 2 waistband pieces to fit your measurements above (e.g. 29.2ins x 3.2ins). Cut 1 of the same in interfacing.
6. Interface one waistband piece.


7. Sew together at top edge matching raw seams and with right sides together.

top edge
8. Press open.
10. Press under 1cm on uninterfaced side.

edge fold
11. Fold waistband with wrong sides together and press. press

6. ALTERNATIVELY – If you want side seams, cut
3 pieces for each waistband – including SA at CB seams and side seams (see picture). The only difference here is that you will need to sew the side seams together first before moving on to step 6 above.

3 piece
Now for the skirt:
1. Measure your waist subtract 4 cm (1.5ins). Divide that by 6 = radius of skirt. (i.e. my waist measurement is 28ins, minus 1.5ins = 26.5ins, divide that by 6 = 4.5ins. This will be my waistband radius.)
2. The next steps of making your pattern can be done on paper or straight on to your fabric. I chose to make a paper pattern so that I could reuse it and didn’t have to do the maths all again! So the next steps are written for paper, but can easily be applied for fabric.
3. Make sure your paper is big enough to fit your pattern on. If not, you can sellotape 2 pieces together (or on fabric, sew 2 pieces together). Fold this in half so that you aren’t working with too much paper and you can easily identify your centre point.
4. Mark the waistline radius on the paper – you could use a compass for this, but I just pivoted a ruler.
5. Add seam allowance around waist – I just added 5mm as I don’t want to add too much bulk or have to trim seams down if I can avoid it. Cut waist out.
6. Decide on skirt length and mark this length at equidistance from the waistline all around – allow for small 6mm – 1cm hem.
7. Draw hem circumference.
8. I tend not to include SA at the side seams as the waistband ends up being partially on the bias an so stretches out, however, if your fabric is particularly sturdy you may want to add 1cm to the side seams – you can always chop off excess fabric!

paper pattern

9. Place pattern on fabric and cut out. (I used pattern weights rather than pins to secure pattern down – I find it quicker and it doesn’t distort the pattern as much).
10. If you can, place the pattern on the fold, if not, cut 2 in fabric.
11. On a 1 piece skirt, cut down one side so that you can put in a centre back (CB) zip.
12. On a 2 piece skirt, cut one of the pieces down the CB- again for a CB zip (alternatively, if you want a side zip, just stick to a side zip).
13. On a 2 piece skirt sew together the side seams. – you could add side pockets here if you wanted.

zip placement and cutting

14. Attach waistband to skirt at bottom raw edge and waist.
waist to skirt

15. Press seam up into waistband.

18. Mark where zip will end – leave space at the top to add hook and eye or button and loop.
19. Pin seam closed under where zip will end and sew together, press seam open.

cb zip

20. Sew in zip using your preferred method. Either to CB seam or open side seam. (I used my no visible seam method).
21. Pin waistband down, checking that you have caught the inside raw edge.
22. I decided to stitch in the ditch and then top stitch waist down all around, but you could slip stitch or just top stitch if you wanted to.

23. Add hook and eye or button and loop.

24. Leave to hang over night as some of the fabric will be on the bias and will fall differently.
25. Trim to an even length around hem – don’t do what I did and ‘wing it’ as I now have a wonky hem!! (I’m pretending not to care).


26. Choose preferred method of hemming. I attached bias binding and folded it to the inside of the hem. You will need a lot of bias binding for this and I didn’t have enough, so I split my binding in half lengthways to give 2 long strips, stitched them together and then re-ironed to give the new folded edges.

bias hem
27. You could add patch pockets if you want. I did and here’s how…
1. decide on shape and size of pocket.
2. cut out 2 of that shape.
3. fold over top edge by 5mm.
4. place right sides together and sew together all sides apart from top edge.
5. clip corners and trim seam allowances.
6. turn right side out.
7. press.
8. choose a trim to go along the top edge (I used bias binding to match my hem, you could leave this out if you want) and fold under edges so that it will fit in open top of pocket.
9. slot binding / trim into open top, sandwiching between the layers.
10. pin in place.
11. top stitch along top edge of pocket, catching the binding in your stitching.
12. decide on pocket placement and pin down.
13. top stitch around remaining edges, sewing pocket to skirt, remembering NOT to sew the top edge down. 14. Done!
patch pocket

28. Then twirl!

The instructions for other circle skirt variations would be the same although the initial waist calculations would be:
½ circle: waist – 4cm (1.5ins) / 3
¾ circle: waist – 4cm (1.5ins) / 4.5

Stay tuned to see this skirt in action!

9 thoughts on “Dreaming of…twirling in circle skirts (TUTORIAL)

  1. Pingback: Mini Circle Skirt Refashion – Emma and her Machine

  2. Pingback: Two Thirds Circle Skirt – Emma and her Machine

  3. Pingback: Dreaming of … strawberries and sunshine | dreaming of avonlea

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