I took five large button down shirts and turned them into a strip-work circle skirt with an elasticized waist. Would you like one too?
I am, for reasons of needing sleep, going to divide this tutorial in two parts. This first part will be on the actual making of a circle skirt. Next part will get to the nitty gritty of chopping up and reassembling men’s shirts. Okay? Good.
A circle skirt, by the way, is just that - a perfect circle when laid down flat. To make yourself the generic circle skirt, measure your hips at their widest point and then add 2”. This is going to be the waist circumference of your skirt. The desired length is determined by measuring down from your natural waistline (though for this particular project, the length is going to be determined by the length of a man’s shirt).
A regular circle skirt is made by taking a sheet of fabric and cutting a donut out of it. The easiest way to do this is to fold the fabric in half and, if you have a large enough swath of fabric (like you would if you are using a bed sheet) or are little enough, folding it yet again.
For a children’s circle skirt I can fold a meter twice and cut out my doughnut.
Ta-da, no seam circle skirt.
For an adult size, or rather, an adult length, a couple of meters of fabric or so can be folded twice. If you do this twice, you will have two halves to join together for a circle skirt.
To figure out how big to cut out the middle of your donut, take your hip measurement plus 2” (to make sure it’ll go over the hips) and divide it by 3.14. Then divide that number by 2. (That would be radius equals the circumference divided by pi then divided by two, or r = [c/π]/2)
From the folded edge of the skirt, measure that number (the radius) out and make a chalk mark as many times as you need to start to see a semi circle. Draw in the semi circle. This is where you will attach a waistband. Repeat this process using your desired length measurement. This is your bottom hem.
Cut out your first semi circle and use it as a pattern to cut out a second. Sew the two semi-circles together to make the skirt.
Hemming a circle is a little annoying, but isn’t too terrible if you keep it narrow. I prefer to use double fold bias tape on my circle hems or a rolled hem on my serger. It is up to your preference and imagination.
For an elasticized waistband, determine what width of elastic makes you happy (I actually use an extra large maternity elastic because not having my body bifurbicated with a sticky out belly roll underneath makes me happy). Size your elastic by trying it on your waist and finding a place where it feels like it will hold the skirt but not pinch your waist. Or take your waist measurement and subtract a few inches.
Using some left over material or a different contrasting fabric, cut a strip that is the same length of your hip measurement plus 2” plus a seam allowance on either end. For a width, multiply the width of your elastic times 2 and add a seam allowance times two. (Could I make that sound any more complicated?)
Sew your waistband and elastic into loops.
If you now fold your waistband in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, press, and then unfold it again, you’ll have a handy guide to show you where to position your elastic. Position the elastic on the wrong side of the fabric so that one edge of the elastic just about meets the midpoint where the pressed fold is. Stitch your elastic in place while stretching elastic.Fold your waistband in half again to meet the raw edges. Let's call the backside side of the waistband the backside (so the stitching does not show). Align the raw edges of your waistband to the top of your skirt, right sides together, and stitch in place.
There be your circle skirt.
Up next post: pt 2, with instructions for the men's shirt stripwork skirt.
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