September 21, 2011

How to make a circle skirt: full, 3/4, 1/2, 1/4

I am excited to have finally finished my 'how to make a circle skirt' tutorial! YAY! Follow the link below to a downloadable PDF, otherwise just follow the instructions in the images below. Feedback or comments are always welcome, let us know if you try it out!

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  1. Great post!

  2. thank you so much for this tutorial, you helped me alot! THANKS!
    By the way, I've just found your blog and I have to say that I'm really happy that I did it :) your style is so chic! and your photos I just wonder..if we could follow each other.. But even if your answer is “no” I’ll be still your readerwith love,

  3. Rarely you can find something so useful like this on blogs... Well done and thanks for sharing!

  4. Thank you so much! I have never had the patience to sit down and figure all this out, so I appreciate this even more!!!

  5. I saw a skirt online that I wanted. It was too expensive so I searched "flippy skirt" which is what they are called sometimes. Then I realised... hey! This is just a circle skirt!! So I want to make one like the one I saw. Its made out of a wintery tartan material. Next challenge? I think so.

  6. I'm currently making my very first circle skirt with Casey of Elegant Musings and her Sew-Along, so I'm very grateful to see directions written up here as well. Thanks! I can't wait until I have my very first circle skirt to wear!

  7. Awesome tutorial! We love this post! We're very into skirts and we love that many people are learning to sew their own. You get your own creativity out and it's more fun when you make it by yourself.

    Much love from the SABO SKIRT girls!

  8. love your tables! WOW! such wonderful tutorial and such hard work! (says me in total admiration:) )

  9. Thank you for a great tutorial but I just wanted to check why you minus 1cm for seam allowance... Wouldn't you add it?

  10. hi Jo, thanks for your question. By subtracting the radius you are actually adding more fabric. I know it feels weird....I always have to think about it when I am making a skirt. If you draw a circle which symbolises your waist, then draw a smaller circle inside that, you will see that the smaller circle gives you more fabric to work with. I hope this makes sense and that it is helpful. thanks again for the question

  11. thanks for the tutorial, one thing i could not figure that is the n in the formula .for ex if the waist is 90 cm how to go about the calculation of r and what the value of n pl

  12. Hi Laitha! The symbol is actually a pi symbol. If your calculator doesn't have a pi button just use 3.14. So if you are making a full circle skirt the formula is:

    r = 90/(2 x 3.14) = 14.32cm

    Sorry if the symbol was confusing.
    Hope that helps:) let us know how you go.

  13. Grazie per il tutorial, Paola from Italy

  14. This is a great tutorial. I have a dress pattern which would really benefit from a full skirt rather than the one it's designed with so I'm going to use this.

    Can I just check does this method allow for any ease on the finished garment, or should I add that to the waist measurement?


    Ruthie x

  15. You should not need to add more for ease, I don't. But if you are unsure you can always leave a little extra seam allowance:) Thanks for your question, I hope that I answered it. Let us know how you go:)

  16. Thanks for posting this tutorial. This is going on my "To Sew" list.

  17. Hi there,
    I'm not sure i've missed something, but how much material should I buy for this? I can't find it anywhere..

    1. Hi, it depends on which skirt you are making. For the 1/4 skirt you might only need one metre. Where as if you are making the full circle, 3/4 circle skirt you would be safe with 2 metres. It also depends on the length that you want. Just also make sure you check the bolt length of the fabric (150 cm or 115 cm bolt length). Generally go with 2 metres:) I hope that my answer is not too complicated, let me know if you need further clarification. Good luck, let us know how you go!

  18. DO you have any other patterns available? I'm a first time sewer and this is the easiest instructions I've ever found!

    1. Hi, thanks for your kind comment. I am constantly getting tutorials ready to post... I just need more hours in the day:) Hopefully you will find one of our upcoming tutorials useful. Thanks again for your comment

  19. Hey!
    This is my first browse on your blog and I am already inspired to dust off the machine and get sewing!!
    Thanks for simplifying the circle skirt, it's a great tutorial !!

    1. Thanks heaps for your positive comment! We really appreciate it:)

    2. Hi! Even thouhg this is an old post, I am hoping for an answer. I am making the 1/4 skirt, but I am confused whit how many pattern pieces I will need? It says that it is not needed to fold the fabric, but I cant get it to make sense whit just the one piece for an intire skirt?

    3. You do just need to cut out one of your pattern pieces, not on a fold. You sew the two edges together and it creates a perfect ALine skirt.

  20. HI!
    I've started sewing a dress that I designed with a 3/4 fishtail circle skirt, but all the material keeps bunching in the back, do you have any suggestions on how to "even out" the bunching in the back?

    1. Hi, sorry for this delayed response. I only just read your message. I am not sure why the material is bunching at the back. Perhaps the measurement for the waist was a little too much. Is it bunching at the waist? or is it bunching somewhere else. What fabric have you used? I hope my answer is not too too late. If it is bunching at the waist you can just reduce the fullness of the skirt, by pulling it in a little.... let me know where it is bunching.
      Great that you have designed your own dress!

  21. Wow. Thank you so much for posting this. Great great help. Especially for those just beginning to sew.

  22. thank you for sharing this awesome tutorial. I am new at sewing and this looks like a project I would like to try.

    I have a question, sorry if it is silly, as I said I have no experience sewing:

    Would it be possible to use different fractions of the circle, such as 1/5, or 1/8? And if yes, how should the fabric be folded?

    Thank you!

    1. Not a silly question at all.
      If you want a 1/5 circle skirt the equation would be r=(5xc)/(2 pi). If you are making this skirt you do not need to fold the fabric at all. If you choose to make a skirt which usually requires folding and you can't get your head around how to fold it, just use your formula to cut out the waist circle. Look at the tutorial. On the 5th page of the tutorial, you will see that I have shown 3 ways to make the skirt from the formula. Use the third 'waist circumference'. You just lie your fabric out and place the circle in the middle and measure it out from there. .... I hope that makes sense. Let me know if you need further clarification. Thanks for your question:)
      I am not sure what a 1/8 would look like, it would be very tight... I think... worth trying I suppose.

    2. Thank you so much Mahaila!

  23. Thank you so much. This was my first ever thing to make. Made high waist half circle mini skirt, still need to put the zipper in :) Didn't think that I'm able to make my own pattern for the skirt but with your tutorial it was so easy. Thank you very very much for bringing many new skirts into my life :D
    This is an addiction now :)

    1. I am so glad that you found it useful, thanks for letting me know! I really appreciated the feedback:)

  24. Great post! this is very detailed notes. Thank you very much!

    1. Thanks, for the fantastic feedback. I hope all went well with your skirt:)

  25. Wow! Just what I was looking for. Thanks for all the detail and pictures!
    Hope I can be as successful with the skirts as you. :-))

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment. I hope you went well with the skirt! Thanks again for the feedback.

  26. What a great post, full of clear and detailed information. I never knew how to make a skirt until now just because I never found so good instructions. Great job.
    I will link you in my blog one of these days if you don't mind. I will let you know when. Thanks again.


    1. Thanks for this positive feedback. It is always great to hear:) Thanks for the link too!

  27. step 1 - I have cut 2 circles
    step 2 - tomorrow I am going to attach them both to a single waistband, add zip (unless I can think of something easier)and then hem with bias binding...
    step 3 - add poodle applique (yet to be sourced!)
    step 4 - watch daughter in starring role in primary school revue!

    thankyou for such a straightforward pattern and instructions

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment. I am glad that you found it easy to use. I love step 4! It must have been great seeing her up on stage:)

  28. Hi,
    Great tutorial. This is going to be first sewing project.
    I am just confused about the zip; if it's a circle skirt (i.e. no openings)then will I need to cut throught the fabric so that the zip can open?
    Thank you!

    1. Thanks for your question. You will see that the circle is not a continuous. You will have to sew the opening together and you can add the zipper there. Cut your pattern out and you will see the opening.
      I hope that this makes sense:)

  29. Amazing tutorial!..very well explained it and great technique!! thank you so much!...and never ever erase it, very please!!!

    1. Thanks for your feedback! I am glad that you like tutorial:)

  30. How do I know what the width and length of the waistband should be? I really am enjoying this pattern!

    1. I'm sorry, I did figure out that the length of the waistband is the waist measurement plus the seam allowance, but what is the width of the waistband?

    2. Hi, Thanks for your question. The width of the waistband depends on the look that you want. I usually make mine about 3 to 4 cm wide (or just over an inch wide). If you want the waistband to be 3 cm wide, the width of the fabric piece that you cut out will be 3cm plus 3cm (so that you can fold it) plus the seam allowance (another 2cm). So approx. 8cm wide.

      Thanks again for your question:) and good luck!

  31. Thank you for your 'table of circle skirt dimensions.' I've referred to it when making skirts for my daughter and myself several times.

    1. Thanks so much for your feedback. I am glad that you found the table useful!

  32. This was really easy! Thanks for the tutorial. Plus I'm a math teacher and I can show the kids how people use pi in real life!

    1. Your feedback is much appreciated! I am glad that both you and the kids found it useful:)

  33. I was hoping to whip one together with some fabric I have for church today...but found that I only ended up with 1 1/3yd of 54" fabric. (I thought I get my fabric in 2 - 3 yd increments so someone is on my unhappy list-maybe me) So I am assuming if I do the equation for 1/8 circle skirt and cut out 8 sections it would come together to make the skirt. The fabric is a weave, fairly heavy..not dense and thick just slightly heavy and unpatterned (solid color) would it mess with the nap at all?

    1. oh, and the skirt needs to be 34 inches there in lays my problem. If it were to be short skirt there would be no issue.

    2. Nope this won't work. Hmm. I'm stumped.

  34. I've just cut out a full circle skirt using this tutorial, and it did indeed come out as one continuous circle, so I will now need to cut it open to put the zip in. Have I done something wrong? I placed the fabric on the folds as shown :S

    1. Hi, thanks for your question, if your fabric is big enough you can cut it out without having an opening. Though you will have to cut an opening in it... just so that you can put the zip in. Good Luck!

  35. I'm not sure if this question has been asked: In the US, fabric width is either 45-inches or 60-inches. This would obviously make a large difference in the size of the skirt -- and throw off the math. What were the dimensions of your *starting* fabric, before you folded and started marking/cutting?? Ex: 2 yards of 45" or 1 yard of 60"?

    1. Looking at my conversion chart - US 2 yards and 45 inches = 1.8 metres at 114.3 cm
      US 1 yard - 0.91 = 152.4 cm. These measurements are pretty close to metric. We use 114 or 150 at 1 or 2 metre. So really it depends on how long you want your skirt and how much volume you want. e.g. if I want a long, full circle skirt, I need to measure from my waist to the desired length. This should encompass the bolt length. If I want full circle skirt I need to get 2 yards or more. If I want a short 1/4 skirt, perhaps I only need 1 yard at 0.91. I hope this makes sense.

  36. Hi! This looks wonderful-- I have some fabric I've been meaning to make into a skirt forever, and I just never had the pattern for it. One question, though: if I were going to do an elastic waistband rather than a hook and eye, would I need to change the dimensions of the skirt at all? Thank you!

    1. It depends on how you are using the elastic. I assume you would use the elastic instead of the non elastic waist band. You would need to make the skirt with a stretch fabric as well, otherwise you won't be able to get the skirt on or off. You would need to add more volume to the waist measurement. How much depends on the desired result

  37. This tutorial is helping me a lot. Thanks! Plus, I hate maths, so I was thrilled when your example waist size (to find the radius) was my waist size - the whole formula was written out for me! Thanks again.

  38. hello.... i realy like your tutorial and can't wait to try it out. ,but my question is, how about if i like to have the waistband on the hip area (so when i wear the skirt, the waistband will be on my hip). should i use my hip measurement for the circumference instead of the waist measurement.? thank you very much,,,, ^^

    1. Yes, my 1/4 skirt (the green and navy blue one above) is on the hip. You just need to use your hip measurement as opposed to the waist measurement

  39. I LOVE your tutorial. Especially the hidden zipper trick! I'm wearing the cutest sage green linen circle skirt right now thanks to you! I'm going to paint some gears on the corner (where the poodle would go) for a steampunk look. I cannot wait to make more and give them out and presents for my friends and their little girls!
    Thank you thank you THANK YOU!

    1. Sounds like you are being really creative with it! GREAT! So happy to have helped:) The feedback is very much appreciated!

  40. I have a question... What is your seam allowance when sewing up the sides? And how did you factor it into the pattern?

    I'm so confused because if you make the pattern based off of a 26inch waist, wouldn't the seam allowance come out of that 26inches? Shouldn't you add the seam allowance to the waist circumference and then find the radius based off of that?

    Please tell me what I'm doing wrong!

    1. You need to minus 1 cm or 5/8 inches when calculating the radius. For a full circle skirt, this is the equation. c/2x3.14. for a 26 inch waist the equation is. 26/ (2x 3.14)= 4.14 inch (4 1/8 inch) minus (-) 5/8 /seam allowance = 3 1/2 inch radius. This is your radius. I hope this helps:)

  41. I've just made two circle skirts based on your calculations, and though they've come out nicely both of them have come out consistently larger at the waist and therefore sit lower than I'd wanted. I've double checked my calculations to make sure that what I'm doing matches your instructions, but can't see whats gone wrong. All I can guess is that the waist shape being an oval rather than circle has meant that in the maths some extra fabric has been added in. Is this a problem you've encountered before? Can you shed any light on what I'm doing wrong?

    1. The calculations should always make some sort of circle. Not oval. Whole circle, 3/4 circle, 1/2 circle, 1/4 circle. What type of fabric are you using? Sometimes the grainline can effect the end result. Have you made it with a muslim fabric to check the fit? Perhaps make a muslim, and check the fit, then substract or add to your radius measurement. This is about all I can suggest so far. Let me know how you go:) Thanks for the question

  42. The informations are so lovely and so usefull so thank you very much. Be sure i will use all of them keeping in my mind.Have a goog luck.

  43. Hi Fickle Sense! I'm so glad I found this through a Pinterest pin by the Aussie Curves blog! I was trying to download your PDF with the link, but it took me to the Adobe website although my Adobe is all up to date. Is the PDF still available? I would love a copy... if you're willing to email it to me, please send it to Thank you so much!

  44. Oh my I must be stupid, I do not understand what's going on on step 3!

    1. In step 3, You cut a strip of tape or use a tape measure with the radius measurement. Pin the end of the tape to the corner of your paper and mark the paper with the radius measurement. Slowly move the tape measure around until you have your entire radius marked out. The last picture shows what it should look like by the end. I hope this helps:)

    2. I have the circumference of 34 inch. now how much fabric is needed for me

  45. Hello I use a 2cm seam allowance in all my sewing... Should I minus 2 cm instead of 1 ?

  46. Hi! Even thouhg this is an old post, I am hoping for an answer. I am making the 1/4 skirt, but I am confused whit how many pattern pieces I will need? It says that it is not needed to fold the fabric, but I cant get it to make sense whit just the one piece for an intire skirt?

    1. You just need one piece. It does work, I have made the 1/4 skirt many times. Just give it a go on a scrap piece if you feel hesitant
      Thanks for your question

    2. hi,
      i love it that you added the tutorial for 3/4 and 1/2. I want to make a dress with a circle skirt bottom but one that is not so full. i'm thinking of using the 1/2 circle pattern. please help me understand how it will fit at the waist if i am using only half of circumference.

    3. Hi, it is still the same circumference for all skirts. The different equations give the dimensions for each type of skirt. Just use the equation for the particular skirt you want to make.
      Give it a go and experiment if you are not sure.

  47. Aw shoot, the download link goes straight to the "adobe document solutions" subscription page :( Did I miss a great download?

  48. This comment has been removed by the author.

  49. Fickle Sense,
    What a wonderful posting!! However, how do you figure out how much fabric to cover those any kind of circle pattern? How do you calculate that? That is where I am wondering about. It would be great to hear from you soon!

  50. whta i can say about this post really amazing and also the skirts looked lovely

  51. This has been the best circle skirt tutorial that I have found. I have been looking for hours! Thank again

  52. thanks a bunch, best explanation on the web!!!

    1. just to add a tip, I wanted my quarter circle skirt to be a full length and my waist is wide. So I drew the radius small part on a paper and put it on the middle of the fabric and continued the bottom part on the fabric directly. Thanks again

    2. just to add a tip, I wanted my quarter circle skirt to be a full length and my waist is wide. So I drew the radius small part on a paper and put it on the middle of the fabric and continued the bottom part on the fabric directly. Thanks again

  53. Hi. Thank you for the info. I want to make a skirt and attach it to a t-shirt for my granddaughter. I find that the waist is to small to go around the middle of the t-shirt and wonder how i resolve this as i am not sure that it will fit over her shoulders. Do i simply increase the waist area.

  54. Very helpful information. It will really help people to make creative skirts. keep up the good work.

    Wrap around Skirt

  55. This comment has been removed by the author.

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