Twirly, swirly circle skirts!

I was ten years old when I made my first #memade item of clothing: a circle skirt. My mum had always sewn throughout my childhood, and I was desperate to have a go, so mum spent a weekend teaching me and a friend how to make our very own circle skirts. I still remember the fabric I used: it was white with a bright floral pattern in pinks and greens. It had a waistband and a zip, and I was so proud of that skirt – plus it swirled and twirled like nothing else!

My girls haven’t yet caught the sewing bug, so I wanted to make something for them that might pique their interest. Given that both are wont to twirl from time to time, I figured a circle skirt might be the thing to do it.

I started with a skirt for my eldest and to involve her She chose a ditsy floral cotton online. I decided to take the easier option and make it with an elastic waistband, choosing some sparkly silver elastic. Fabric and elastic we’re both from Fabricland.

I started off by making my pattern pieces – though I wasn’t ready to make up the skirt for the youngest, I made the pattern piece for both. Both girls have the same waist measurement (24″ plus an extra 2″ as recommended by a tutorial I saw on YouTube) so the calculation to figure out the radius needed was the same for both skirts.

I took a square of pattern paper and marked the waist radius and skirt length measured out from the waist onto the edges of the paper around a corner. I then used a ruler to mark the same measurements in an arc around the right angle of the paper, then drew along the marks to mark out the pattern piece.

The two pattern pieces looked like this when on top of each other.

Now it was time to cut out the circle for the eldest’s skirt. I folded the fabric selvedge to selvedge, then again along the fold to make a square. I placed the pattern piece on top of the fabric with the centre folds under the waist of the pattern, ready to cut out the skirt but…


Somehow I messed up my measurements and the length of skirt I wanted for my eldest was not going to work on the fabric she chose.

Luckily she has the same waist measurement as my youngest so I used the pattern for that skirt, then added as much length as I could (turns out that was about the width of a Jenrates sewing ruler which I used as a guide) before cutting out the fabric to make… a circle!

To prep the waistband, I cut some sparkly silver 1″ elastic to the her waist measurement plus 1” seam allowance, then sewed the ends together with a 1/2″ seam in a straight stitch. I then opened up the seam and top stitched the ends down to flatten them and avoid a lumpy waistband.

After pinning the elastic to the waist of the skirt, I used a zigzag stitch to attach the elastic to the skirt, stretching out the elastic to fit the length of the skirt waist.

To hem the skirt I started off fell stitching by hand but then realised this was going to take an age given how the circumference of the skirt edge. So I pressed the hem carefully then whizzed it through the machine. As this was for a 10 year old this was fine… had it been for me, or been in a finer fabric, then I might have made the effort to hand stitch but I couldn’t be bothered!

I loved making this little skirt and really fancy one for myself. As I am wide of hip, I do wonder how it will sit on me though, and it would definitely have to have a proper waistband and not elastic.

But as far as this skirt is concerned, it is a hit and has passed the twirl test!

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