How To Sew a Circle Skirt

The moment you’ve all been waiting for: a circle skirt tutorial that has the math already done for you! Download my FREE circle skirt template, and you’re ready to go!

For detailed instructions, watch my video tutorial here:

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I tried to address all the questions you guys have asked about circle skirts over the years: how to hem a circle skirt, how to avoid hemming (heh), how to determine how much fabric you need, what to do if your fabric isn’t wide enough to cut the skirt in one piece, and so on.

This particular tutorial (at least when it comes to the waistband style) is best suited for knit fabrics. If you want to make a circle skirt with a woven fabric, please see my pixie skirt tutorial for a waistband style better suited for non-stretch fabrics.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel!

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ARCHIVED TUTORIAL BELOW – The following is my original circle skirt tutorial, which includes the steps that show you how to do the math.

The awesome thing about circle skirts is that once you get the idea, you can use the same premise to make a variety of different styles all based on a simple circle skirt.

This tutorial is for a classic circle skirt (think 50’s style poodle skirt). The other variations of the circle skirt can be found here.

If your circle skirt turned out ginormous and you’re left scratching your head, check this out.

Difficulty:

Step 1

Cut a waistband out of stretchy fabric or stretch lace. It should be large enough to stretch over your hips, but small enough that it stays put on your waist. For shiggles, let’s say our example waistband is 40″ wide.

Step 1
Step 1

Step 2

I’m skipping ahead here for just a second to show what our end goal is.

What we want at the end of all of this is to wind up with a big donut shaped piece of fabric with the center hole’s circumference matching that of our waistband, so for our example, 40″.

Step 2
Step 2

Step 3

Thar be math ahead!! Don’t worry, it’s not hard, and I’ll walk you through it.

If you’re a little rusty on your geometry, let’s revisit. The circumference is the measurement aroouuuund the outside of a circle. The radius is the measurement from the center point of the circle to any point on the outside of the circle (the diameter goes all the way across the circle, and is two times the radius, but we don’t really need that here).

Step 3
Step 3

Step 4

MATH STUFF! HUZZAH! I’ll bet you love math as much as i do, so this part will be So Much Fun.

Before you try to skip the math and wing it, read this.

In order to cut an accurately sized hole (40″, remember?), we need the radius of the circle.

NOW…

let’s pause for a minute. I’m not going to go into great detail about this, but there’s something called ‘bias’ with fabric. It has to do with how the weave of the fabric effects the way the fabric drapes.

Cutting on the bias will make the fabric stretch. When you make a circle skirt, you’re going to wind up cutting part of it on the bias- no matter what you do, it can’t be avoided. Even with a non-stretch, woven fabric, it will stretch. Stretch fabrics will REALLY stretch when cut on the bias.

So if you’ve ever made a circle skirt, and you’ve done ALL the math right, and it still turned out a little too big, we shall blame bias.

To counteract bias, we need to make the hole smaller than we think we need it. So we will subtract 4 inches from the 40″ we are shooting for. That gives us 36″.

I know 4 inches sounds like a lot, but trust me here. You always want to shoot for smaller with a circle skirt (unlike most other things where larger is more easily fixed), because that can be fixed by cutting the hole bigger!

So even though we want a 40″ hole, we are going to do the math for a 36″ hole.

To get the radius, we use this equation:

radius = circumference divided by 2 times pi

and

2 times pi = 6.28

SO

radius = (36″) divided by (6.28)

radius = 5.7″

which is about 5 3/4″

Step 5

The next step is figuring out how much fabric we need. Circle skirts require a decent amount of fabric, so sometimes you’ll need to make your fabric donut out of 2 or even 4 different pieces of fabric.

Here’s how you figure it out:

Take your desired skirt length (minus the waistband), in our case it’s 16″, and add it to the radius measurement.

(Remember to account for hems and seam allowances!)

5.75 + 16 = 21.75″

Now multiply that times 2 and we have 43.5″.

Your piece of fabric must be at least 43.5″ in length and width in order to cut a circle skirt in 1 continuous piece.

Generally fabric comes in 45″ and 60″ widths, so as long as your piece of fabric is long enough, a skirt with these measurements is not a problem.

However, if you want a really long skirt, you will most likely have to piece together your giant donut in halves or quarters.

04
Step 5

NOTE!

This isn’t so much a step as a note, because the drawing illustrates a particular concern with circle skirts. Patterns. That top little skull guy is going to wind up being upside down on our skirt. Maybe you don’t care, that’s cool, but it’s something to keep in mind. One-way patterns will be upside down and sideways at various points on the skirt. If that bothers you, see the next step. If you cut your skirt in quarters with all of the pattern pieces oriented so the pattern stays right-side-up, you can avoid this issue.

You can avoid this by choosing patterns that aren’t one-way. Polka dots work fine. Or you can use one-way patterns to your advantage to get interesting designs. Stripes, for example, look pretty cool on a circle skirt because the stripes take on a curvy appearance. See an example here.

Looking for cute fabric? Try Fabric.com

Step 6

Okay, take a deep breath… we’re almost done.

If you have determined you can cut your skirt in 1 continuous donut, fold your fabric in half. And then in half again, so it’s folded in quarters. Make sure you get nice neat folds… you don’t want it to look sloppy like my drawing. And you don’t want wrinkles.

From the folded corner, measure 5 3/4″ out from that point in several places and then connect the dots with a curving line, so that you have a quarter circle.  Each point along the quarter circle should be 5 3/4″ away from the center point. (see the blue dots in the drawing.)

Now do the same thing for the length measurement.  You could measure 16″ from the 5 3/4″ line, but you’ll get more accurate results if you measure from the center point again. So just add those two together and measure 21 3/4″ from the center. (purple dots)

Cut where you’ve marked and…

Step 6
Step 6

Step 6 b.

If you’ve determined you won’t be able to cut your skirt in one continuous donut, you will wind up cutting your fabric something like the examples below.

The top illustration shows the circle skirt cut in 2 half circle pieces. You’ll need to add seam allowance to those straight edges so you don’t lose any circumference when you sew the pieces together. (If you don’t want to worry about seam allowances, you can piece your fabric together first, then fold and cut as shown in Step 6.)

The bottom illustration shows the circle skirt cut in 4 quarter pieces. Again, don’t forget the seam allowances.

In both illustrations, the fabric is in a single layer- no folds!

Step 6 b.
Step 6 b.

Step 7

Ta-da!

Look familiar?

Laying flat, the middle circle will be 36″, but when you open it up and let gravity have a tug at it, it’ll be much closer to 40″.

Measure it to make sure, and if you need to make it a little bigger, go ahead. Just take a sliver off that inner circle to make it a little bigger. Go slow, because like I said before, too big is harder to fix than too small.

Step 7
Step 7

Step 8

Attach the donut to your waistband, and you’re done!  If it turned out a little bigger than your waistband, just stretch the waistband a little as you sew them together.

You can use this same idea to add a flounce hem to a dress or skirt.

Done!
Done!

Okay, so now you’ve mastered the circle skirt. What else can you do with it? Check these ideas out!

Frequently Asked Circle Skirt Questions:

Why does the hem of my skirt wind up with longer bits after a few weeks?
Bias + Gravity =  Wonky Hems. Before hemming a circle skirt, let it hang on a hanger for a few days. After the fabric has stretched out, remeasure and trim the excess before hemming. I’ve read claims that even after this step, the fabric will continue to stretch, particularly if you’re using a heavier/stretchier fabric or you’re making a full length skirt. There really isn’t a way to keep it from stretching aside from relocating to a zero gravity environment. ? The best you can do is encourage the bias to stretch out before hemming and then even it up.

How do I make a circle skirt with an elastic waistband?
I have a tutorial for that here: https://whatthecraft.com/how-to-make-a-pixie-skirt-diy-fashion-tutorial/

Do I really need to subtract 2-4″ from my waist measurement to account for bias stretch? That seems like a lot.
First things first: If you’re making a skirt with an elastic waistband (see previous question), you don’t need to subtract from the waist measurement to account for bias. And by elastic, I mean ELASTIC. The stuff that comes in a width of 1″ or 2″ or 3″, etc. If you’re making a stretch waistband from fabric, I would suggest you account for bias stretch as suggested.

With most sewing, you’re better off making something too large than something too small, so I understand the worry. But when it comes to the waist of a circle skirt, it’s much easier to make the hole larger than to make it smaller. Yes, you could add a seam and take in the extra width. But then we did all that work to cut it in one piece for naught! (If you’re already cutting your skirt in more than one piece, you can ignore this.) Yes, you could gather the extra width into the waistband, but then we biffed it, right? It’s a salvageable biff, but a biff nonetheless.

So, what to do if you followed my advice to subtract all those inches from the waist, and now the waist is too small? Make the hole bigger! For every 1/4″ you take away from the waist, the circumference will get 1.5″ larger. Translation: a little trimming goes a LONG WAY.

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223 thoughts on “How To Sew a Circle Skirt

  1. I think this is an interesting tutorial, i love poodle skirts and i am looking forward to trying this. I am a beginner sewer so wish me luck.

  2. Thanks for the awesome tutorial! Would this need to be lined to wear as a normal skirt that will be made from a heavier fabric for Fall/Winter? What fabrics do you suggest?? Thanks!

    1. You’re welcome!
      In my opinion, linings are optional unless something is clingy and/or see-through. But maybe that’s my laziness talking. 😀
      Pretty much any fabric will work. Stiffer woven fabrics will stand up a little more, like a poodle skirt. Though true poofiness definitely requires a petticoat. Knits tend to drape more, so they look a bit more flowy.

  3. Thanks so much…. I will definitely try this.

    I would like to make the skirt for my ballroom dancing (waist 29, hip 37, length 30-32 inches). Would this work?

    Then for this skirt, or another style (perhaps 6 or 8 gores or a-line) I’d like to add the circular wired hem ruffles of pagaeant children’s skirts. The ruffle at the bottom of any existing or new sewing skirt would really be effective and beautiful on the dance floor.

    I’d love any information you could give me via a tutorial or directing me to a source to start working from.

    Thanks!
    Laura

  4. I am confused as to how your math works out. If you add your radius of 5.75 to itself you get 11.5″.(See step 5) How does that work out to a 36″ circle for your hips?

    1. The formula to figure out the circumference (which would be the 36″ hip measurement) is 2 x pi x radius. So 2 x 3.141 x 5.75 = 36.1215.

  5. yay! thanks for this very awesome tutorial. I was given a big felt poodle cut out today so of course I HAVE to make a poodle skirt now. Can’t wait to get started, and can’t wait to look around more at your blog!!

  6. Please help! So i have used your tutorial a few times now ALWAYS doing the math and my skirts are coming out short. I think it is the length of fabric that is doing it. However i am using pretty standard size fabric… so.. what the heck and i doing wrong????
    I am about average height 5’5. So far to make up for it i have been adding extra at the bottom or creating larger waist bands.
    Any thoughts?

    1. Hi Leah-
      I’m not sure I understand. Are you, for example, trying to make a 15″ long skirt and it always turns out shorter than that? If that’s the case, I’d suggest adding extra length to account for the seam allowances.

      Or are you making a (to use the same example) 15″ skirt and it’s just not long enough for you? In that case, I’d suggest just making longer skirts. 🙂

      If you’re trying to make a fairly long circle skirt, and the fabric isn’t wide enough, you’ll have to cut it in pieces (as opposed to one giant donut). Step 6b in the tutorial addresses how to do that.

  7. oh sorry. Yes I am trying to make a skirt that will reach my knees. So far all the ones i have done have come out short- as in longer than a mini but short enough that i wont be doing any bending over. I think step 6b would totally work for me, thanks for pointing that out. I would like to try it, but i guess i dont totally get how it works as far as measuring etc goes?
    thank you so much for posting the tutorial and answering all my questions!!

    1. I would start by finding a skirt with a length you like and measuring that. Or you can use a tape measure- hold it up to your waist and decide where you want the skirt hem to fall. If you wear your skirt at your low waist, 20″ should be about knee length.

      If you take a look at Step 5, it shows you how to calculate the amount of fabric you need to cut a skirt in one continuous piece. Using the measurements in the tutorial, a skirt that’s 20″ long would require the fabric to be at least 52″ (I’m rounding up from 51.5″).

      If you’re using quilting cotton or calico fabrics, they’re generally 43-44″ wide. You’d need to make the skirt in 2 pieces in that case. When I have to do that, I like to make the pattern on a piece of paper first. Then all you have to do is fold it in half and cut 2.

      Knit fabrics are usually 54-60″ and Home Dec fabrics are usually 54″, so there are fabrics out there that could be used to make a longer circle skirt in one piece.

  8. What would I have to do if I wanted the waistband on a circular skirt to be not made with a stretchy material but have a zip to do up instead?

    1. Hi Gini! You could trim the edge with bias tape. Or you could make a faced waistband. I’ll have to work on some new tutorials for these as I don’t think I’d do a very good job of explaining them only in text!

  9. Getting back to the non-stretch waistband–could you use a regular, straight waistband (cutting notches within the seam allowance of the donut hole to attach) with a zipper? I guess I’m thinking that if you are going to use a stretch waist and pull it on, the donut hole needs to be big enough to go around your hips (rather than your waist).

  10. Love your page. Alot of very good material, will help me make most of my stuff easier. thanks and keep up the good work.

  11. i love that you explain this so well i have never made a skirt before but i do have skills in making other things i plan to try this out :). thank you for explaining it so well.

  12. So, what happens if I want the skirt to be ( a lot) longer for a 7 yr. girl, yet I do not have enough fabric for the length? Do I sew more fabric onto the initial fabric and then fold the great big piece?

    I want the length to be about (ugh… haven’t measured her since she was 5)..25 inches long. The longer the skirt, the more years she can wear it!

    thanks!

  13. This is FANTASTIC!
    Also, do what she says and subtract 4” due to bias. I thought that was crazy and went only 2”. My fabric has no stretch to it. But as gravity came down on my skirt, it started to slip off of my waist. Should’ve went the full 4”.

    1. One thing to remember also is that if you’re trying to cut your circle skirt in one piece, it’s going to be much easier to make the hole a bit bigger than to try to make it smaller. Obviously you could add a seam, but that kind of defeats the purpose of cutting in one piece in the first place. 😀

      So yes, err on the side of a smaller waistline, and make it bigger if you need to.

  14. Thanks again for all your tutorials! This worked great for me, I adapted by doing some of that math stuff and making panels that when stitched together, make a nifty circle skirt in different fabrics. I’ll send a picture when it’s all done if you like 🙂

  15. Miranda wrote: could you use a regular, straight waistband (cutting notches within the seam allowance of the donut hole to attach) with a zipper? I guess I’m thinking that if you are going to use a stretch waist and pull it on, the donut hole needs to be big enough to go around your hips (rather than your waist).

    No, no! You cannot cut notches within the seam allowance of the hole. Not even for dolls clothes or for Halloween costumes. Where the notches are it will fray, or have holes, or whatever. Yikkes!You have to cut a separate long piece of material and make a separate waistband (with or without fusible interfacing), which you will then attach. If the hole is like your waist, you need a zipper. If the hole is like your hips, then you need an elastic inside the waistband. You don’t need to make the hole like your hips, you can pull it down from your arms, then it only needs to be as your bustline (if this is smaller than your hips) Smaller hole is better for fat ladies because there is less bulk where you don’t need bulk. If you’re thin and you’re trying to add to your hips, definitely make the hole bigger and put an elastic inside the waistband.

  16. Hi 🙂 So saw a tutorial on youtube just like this one, but I went searching for more tutorials simply because of the problem I saw with the way the skirt drapes when finished.
    I’m afraid of making this skirt and having the sides lay higher than the front and back as I saw in some pictures.

    What’s the best way to avoid this?

    I want to make a circle skirt with lots of ruffles that lays evenly at the bottom like this: http://www.buzzreactor.com/sites/default/files/Ariana-Grande-17(1).jpg

    1. Hi Genna-
      First, the dress in the photo looks to me like it has a gathered skirt versus a circle skirt.
      But to answer your original question: the length issue with a finished circle skirt is the result of bias. Gravity makes the parts of the skirt cut on the bias stretch out a little over time. Luckily, there’s a very easy fix. Before you hem the skirt, put it on a hanger and let it hang for a few days, which will allow the bias to stretch. So let it stretch, and then even it out before hemming. Problem solved!

  17. Thank you 🙂 My mother kept trying to explain to me that it needed to be cut specially and different patterns were showing it cut in a more square shape than circular.

    As for the photo, she said in an interview that it was just a circle skirt someone made for her, so i’m not sure.

    Also, I was wondering if the amount of times you fold the fabric before cutting affects anything. I saw a tutorial where the fabric was folded into 1/8 instead of 1/4.

    And if I wanted more ruffles could I just make the radius measurement longer and sew it to the original waist band?

    Sorry for all the questions, I just want to have my pattern down before ruining a great piece of fabric 😛

    1. I have seen some “cheater” circle skirts that are cut with a slit instead of a circle and that would definitely result in hem length differences.

      As long as your measurements stay the same, it wouldn’t matter if you folded it in 1/8 instead of 1/4. Just less cutting. 😀

      You can absolutely make the radius longer, and then you’ll wind up gathering the extra length into the waistband, so you’ll have a gathered circle skirt, which is probably what hers is.

  18. So if i’m going to use a non-stretch waist band with a zipper would i cut the waist piece the same length as the adjusted waist measurement? I.E. if my waist is 25 inches, i cut 21 inches due to bias stretch and the waist band i measure out is 21 inches, also? I’m confused since the skirt itself is cut on the bias allowing for stretching but the waist band piece is not cut on the bias so it may not stretch to match the diameter of the inner circle. any advice is appreciated, i don’t want to have that moment where the skirt only fits my cat or something, thanks!

    1. A waistband should be made to fit your waist measurement. So the waistband would be 25″, and you’d cut the circle at 21″, which will then stretch to fit the 25″ waistband.

  19. I have a pretty round table cloth that I am going to try to make into a skirt using your waistband finding measurements. I’ll let you know how it turns out!! Oh, wish me luck because I’ve never made clothing items before unless they were crocheted!!

  20. I’m using a loverly light weight jersey knit and will be doing the top waist band with a doubled over heavier jersey knit, using my waist measurement.

    I’m wondering… if I use my waist measurement for the actual skirt portion and my hips / thighs are wider than my waist (as with most women;)) will the skirt be tight on my thighs / hips? Or should I use my hip measurement for the waist and use as mentioned above my actual waist measurement for the top band section to pull it all together?

    Thanks so much for sharing a great tutorial and taking the time to respond to questions and comments! 🙂

    1. It’s not tightness over the hips and thighs that would be a concern with a circle skirt. Here’s why:

      – Let’s say our circle skirt has a waist circumference of 30″
      – I wear the skirt at my low waist. My hips are 5″ below my low waist.
      – The circumference of the skirt at hip level is 60″. Yes, SIXTY!

      Now managing to get the waistband of the skirt OVER the hips and thighs in the first place IS something to be concerned about.

      However, since you’re using knit fabrics for both portions of the skirt, in most cases you should be fine using your waist measurement. Both the natural stretch and the additional bias stretch from the circle skirt should allow you to slide it on and off fairly easily.

      If you were instead using a non-stretch fabric for the skirt portion, I would go with the hip measurement. Stretch the waistband to fit the skirt portion as you sew, which would ever-so-slightly gather the skirt.

  21. Thank you so much for this! I was looking everywhere for something like this!

    Now, a question because I would like to see if I can use this to help me make my halloween costume….. Would this work for making the skirt of a gown? Also, could you make a tutorial for a gown?(like, a princess gown….the poofy kind that they have in Disney)

    1. Hi Lenalee-
      It would depend on the type of gown, but a circle skirt is definitely commonly found on gowns. Looking at this image, I would say that several look like circle skirts (some with some modification, obviously).
      Cinderella – looks like a circle skirt with gathering in the front (and probably back and sides) with a bustle on top.
      Snow White – circle skirt with a small amount of gathering
      Sleeping Beauty – circle skirt, maybe with some gathering
      Ariel – circle skirt with an overskirt

      To really achieve the poof, you’ll need a hoop skirt or a very poofy petticoat.

  22. Hi, I love this pattern and the math was fine, but the problem is I am making a very large skirt, so will need more fabric. I have two pieces of fabric 45″ wide and 72″ long. Should I sew these 2 pcs together and then fold and cut? I don’t understand step 6b at all. I have to cut a 9 1/2″ radius for waist and 31″ for length. I can’t see it in my head as to how 2 separate pieces are going to go together! Please help!!

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Sandy-
      Yes, you can sew 2 pieces of fabric together, then fold and cut.
      You can also cut each half separately and sew them together, straight edge to straight edge, which is how I illustrated it in the tutorial, but the nice thing about the first way is that you don’t need to add seam allowances to the straight edge.

  23. Hi. These helpful articles on circular skirts and ruffles are great!
    I would like to attach a 4 inch gentle circular flounce to an A line skirt. I presume a half circle would be best? And using the bottom edge of the skirt for the circumference, would you still take off 4 inches in the calculation, even though it isn’t at the waist?

    Many thanks

  24. Very nice tutorial!
    Would you mind sharing your method for hemming the skirt and getting the length even all around, after the skirt has hung and the bias has done its stretching?

  25. If I am making this skirt on a smaller scale for a small child (she’s 4), say a 20″ circumference for the waist would I still take off 4 inches?

    1. You would probably be safe reducing the circumference by 2″ instead. I would maybe take off 3″, and that way you can make adjustments if you need to. You can always make the circle larger, but you can’t make it smaller without adding a seam!

  26. Wowww!! This has been really really really helpful! 🙂 ive been searching for a circle skirt tutorial for quite some time. And i must say u gave d best tutorial with ur illistrations.
    Thx! And keep it up yah! 🙂

  27. Hey I’ve been looking for something like this for ages! I love skirts but of course can’t afford to go buy ten at a department store and they won’t have my exact size and preffered style and anyway I’m gonna use this a lot! I just have one question; does it need to be hemmed? and if so how does one do that??? :S

  28. Hello! Lex I’m having trouble trying to figure out how much fabric I would need to buy. Would it be 40″ of fabric or… I’m at a loss of thoughts here. If you could respond I’d appreciate it 😀

    1. A lot will depend on the size of the skirt and how long you want it.
      Add together the radius, the length, and about 1/2″ for the hem, and then double that number.
      In the example (step 5), we came up with 43.5″. In order to cut the skirt in 1 piece, the fabric needs to be 43.5″ in LENGTH and WIDTH.
      Most fabrics are about 44″ wide or wider, so we could cut the example skirt in 1 piece. We’d need about 43.5″ which is 1.25 yards.

      What if you’re making a larger/longer skirt? Let’s say you come up with a total of 60″. Lots of knit fabrics and home dec fabrics (some of which would make a fine circle skirt) come in 60″ widths, and would be wide enough to cut in 1 piece. You’d need 60″ which is 1.667 yards.
      However, if you are using a fabric that is only 44″ wide, you’ll need to cut the skirt in 2 pieces. (See Step 6b)
      By cutting the skirt in half, we only need the fabric to be 30″ wide. But we need twice the length. So you’ll need 120″ or 3.333 yards.

  29. Hi,
    I’ve looked at several of these made with 5 pieces of coordinating fabric using 10 panels. I am hopeless at figuring out how to cut 10 pieces. Do I need to make a paper pattern and then go from there? Also, can I turn the waistband to make an elastic one instead of a knit one? This would be for a child. I’ll be making a thin one (sort of like a slip) with a ruffle that coordinates with the other fabrics to go underneath (and hang down just a bit) and am so excited. Thanks for your help.
    Renee’

    1. Renee-
      I think that’s the best way to go about it. Make the paper pattern first, and then you can figure out how to divide it into however many sections you’d like.

      Turning the waistband on a circle skirt would difficult because of the curve, it would work better to make a separate casing for the elastic and then sew that to the top edge of the skirt.

  30. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I am helpless without pictures so this helped A LOT! I was able to make a simple circle skirt in about 3 hours.

  31. I skipped a lot of fun skirt tutorials because I did not know the basics and then I stumbled upon this page 🙂 I love your explanation . It helped a lot. Thanks and good day 🙂

  32. Fab tutorial. How would you go about making a lining for a skirt like this? I need a very full petticoat with gathered layers at the bottom. Thanks.

  33. This tutorial is wrong. Folding the fabric in quarters does not produce a continuous full circle! It produces two half circles open on both edges so you have to sew two seams. I messed up fabric reading this wrong info!

    1. I’m not sure how that happened, but I can assure you that if you fold the fabric in half twice, it will indeed yield a seamless circle skirt. I do it all the time. I’m working on a photo/video version of this tutorial, so eventually I can show more clearly how it’s done, but for now you’ll just have to take my word for it, I guess.

      1. I figured out what you did wrong- when you fold the fabric in quarters, you’ve now got a rectangle/square of fabric. Two sides have raw edges and two sides have folded edges.

        You should be cutting the circle at the corner where the two folded sides meet.

        If you cut at the corner where a folded side meets a raw edges side, you will get 2 halves instead of a continue circle. If you cut where both raw edged sides meet, you’ll wind up with 4 quarters.

  34. This is a great tutorial but my circle hole came out too big! LOL I think my fabric was too stretchy or something because I used the radius formula and measured exact.

  35. I’m trying to make a quick circular skirt to wear for a Rock n Roll half marathon and I’m having trouble deciding on the size of the whole. I’m rather pear shaped and my waist is about 8″ smaller than my hips. The fabric for the skirt isn’t stretchy (it’s just cheap poly cotton) and I’m worried it will either end up huge on the waist, or too small to pull on over my fat backside! I was going to look at getting some wide elastic to use as the waistband. Any further guidance on how I work out the hole size would be very welcome. Many thanks, this is the best circular skirt tutorial I found!

    1. If you don’t want to fuss with zippers or some sort of closure, an elastic waistband is definitely the way to go. Cut the skirt to your hip size, and cut the elastic 2″ smaller than your waist, then stretch the elastic to fit the skirt hole when you’re sewing. It will be very slightly gathered, but not noticeably so. If you want less gathering, you could cut the skirt to your bust size and put the skirt on over your head (assuming your bust is smaller than your hips).

  36. Thanks Lex, that’s a huge help. I’m only trying to put something together very quickly to wear over my joggers for the 2 Rock n Roll Half Marathons I’m doing (the fabric is pink with big music notes on it) so I really didn’t want to mess around with zips. Ideally I’d have something underneath to make it stick out but I don’t have the time or inclination to mess around with a petticoat and don’t want to buy one as this is just something for a bit of fun. I’d better get going on it today.

  37. Hi! I need to make costumes for my 8yr old daughter’s play (ladies-in-waiting) and I thought this would be perfect. I just had a question about the waistband (I haven’t sewn for a while, so I’m a bit rusty) I understand the width calculation, but how high/tall should you make the waistband, and is it folded over double when you attach it to the donut hole, or hemmed on top? Thanks so much!

    1. Personally, I prefer a 2″ waistband from a cotton/spandex rib knit- so I cut a 4″ piece of fabric and fold it over. You could also sew the circle directly to a piece of elastic in the width of your choosing.

  38. I just made a circle skirt for my 3 year old dater and she loves it! Thank you for this so cool idea and the pattern. I think I will make more of them fo all the girls I know 🙂

  39. Hello,

    I’ve been making these, and I keep having the same problem with both the hemline and the waistband.

    Firstly, when I try to hem, no matter what I do, the hem comes out wonky –not smooth at all, but with little wrinkles, as if I have extra fabric. How do I fix this?

    Also, the waistband…do you gather or pleat the waist of the skirt when fitting it to the stretchy band? Because again, it’s a circle, and so is difficult to make smooth.

    I have been sewing for many years, and make clothing that one would think is much more complicated than a ‘simple’ circle skirt, but apparently not, in my case. I just can’t seem to wrap my brain around it. Additionally, no matter where I look I cannot find any information on this. It’s as if I’m the only one who doesn’t get it 🙂

    Thanks for your time!

    1. I will be addressing both issues in a more thorough tutorial soon, and believe me, you are NOT the first person to ask these questions!

    2. P.S. Try stretching the waistband to fit the waist of the skirt instead of gathering the skirt itself. The hemming is something I can’t really describe in text, other than that you can’t do a double-folded hem, and you have to keep it fairly narrow, i.e. 1/2″ or less, otherwise you’ll have major wrinkles/wonkies.

    1. You could skip the step where you subtract 4″ since you’re using an elastic waistband. You’ll just have a bit of extra fabric that will get gathered when you stretch the waistband to fit the waist edge of the skirt.

  40. LOVE this tutorial! Thank you so much for posting it. I cut a few out for my daughter today and so far, everyone has turned out great.

  41. Thank you so much! I’ve been trying to find a skirt pattern like this all day! I’m thinking I might adjust it to that it have a lighter fabric but with a under skirt! Do you think that will be possible? 🙂

  42. First, let me say, I LOVE this tutorial!!! I’m having a mommy/daughter day tomorrow and we are going to make a skirt!!! Thanks for the tutorial on the waist and how to measure/cut!!!!!

    My alterations lady “gave me her secret” on hemming tiny hems on circle skirts. Hold onto your hat…. you sew FIRST before you cut. I had about 4″ that I wanted to cut off and then hem. “Oh no. That is horrible to try,” she said. You lay the fabric out and pin the hem about 1/4″ of an inch longer than your finished measurement. Press it. Then go back and make that tiny 1/4″ hem roll under and repin to the correct finished measurement (already marked/chalked on the fabric). Press again. Sew the hem down and THEN very very carefully cut away the excess fabric. SOO difficult to describe but holy cow… SO EASY!!!

  43. Thanks for this very helpful tutorial – but what do I need to do to work out how much fabric I need to buy? I want the finished skirt to be about 21.5 inches long; my waist is 28 inches and the fabric I’m looking at is going to be 42 inches wide after washing. It’s a one-way pattern … and I apologise foolishly if it’s perfectly obvious how much I need and I just don’t see it! Thanks and thanks and thanks for any available rules of thumb for calculating this.

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