Make a Circle Skirt // Cut Your Fabric and Sew Your Side Seams

Have you got your fabric? Good, It's time to make it into a skirt! So I hope you wrote down your waist radius from the Circle Skirt App and the length of your skirt? Well in case you didn't I have added the link again, it can be handy to have this open too while you cut so you can see what cutting layout they recommend. If you are making a half circle skirt or a quarter circle skirt you will only need to draw your circles once, but if you are making a full circle you will need to do it twice. Either way the idea is exactly the same.

So fold your fabric according to the apps instructions. To help you understand how to cut your fabric my waist radius is 12cm.

In the correct corner of your fabric (mine is folded at this corner but yours won't be if you're doing a quarter circle). Then take your tape measure and your dressmaking pen (or chalk if thats your thing) and measure your radius from the corner. You can see I have made a mark at the point that is 12cm away. I have then made other marks that also measure 12cm away in different directions. Do this to yours too.

When you have enough marks, join them up to make a curve:

Then repeat this step for the bottom of the skirt. This time the measurement will be your waist radius (i.e 12cm) PLUS the length you want your finished skirt to be (61cm) PLUS seam allowances (1.5cm) to give a total radius (64.5cm).

Use this measurement to draw the curve for the bottom of the skirt. Now cutting stretchy fabric is a little tricker than cutting wovens because it stretches as you cut. So if you have a rotary cutter then you can use that to avoid this problem. For those of you that don't have a rotary cutter (probably most of you) you can just use your normal dressmaking scissors. Since you have drawn the cut line on the fabric you don't need to worry too much about stretching it because you can just cut along the line. Just try to keep your scissors as close to the cutting surface as possible rather than lifting it up as your cut.

Now is a good time to remind yourself of what to do when sewing with stretchy fabrics.

If you're making a full circle skirt sew up one side seam, if you are making a quarter or half circle skirt you can skip this step because there is only one side seam. Once you only have one side seam left to sew, hold the skirt up around your waist. You'll find it stretches quite a bit and overlaps some. You will need to trim down one of the edges to allow for this overlap, other wise your skirt will fall down when you wear it! (Sadly photographing this step proved too tricky so I can't show you :( ) Make sure you account for your seam allowance to leave about 3cm of overlap.

Finally sew up the other side seam. And…. um….. wow! It's starting to look like an actual piece of clothing! I love that step, every clothing project has one, the moment that it changes from some random pieces of fabric to something that actually resembles an item you might wear.

All there is left to do is to sew a waistband and hem your skirt (come back next week for this). No need to finished your edges because they won't fray on stretchy fabrics! Winner. See you soon. Zoe xx

Full Midi Circle Skirt Love Affair

I am in love. When thinking up a project that would be easy for beginners to make but also really wearable I settled on a circle skirt (you can now see the instructions here). I love my half circle skirt and wanted to make myself another one but also they are SO FLIPPING EASY to make I couldn't think of anything easier. The tricky part of course for a skirt is the fastening, both zips and buttons tend to freak beginners out, so to make it the easiest project ever it doesn't even have a zip or buttons. That's right you heard me correctly, it's a stretchy skirt with no zip or buttons. This, I think, is why I am so madly in love. It is so comfortable and I love how it looks so I can't lose.

Also it's crazy fun to twirl in, I could do this all day when I wear it:

Well truthfully I tried spinning in it to make a gif of a spinning circle skirt for you guys but got so dizzy it left me unable to do anything for the rest of the evening. So when you have made one try to limit the spinning a little.

I have a few others things to share with you before I go through how to make one of these beauties so you'll have to sit tight for now. If you fancy making one though and haven't already, get to know your sewing machine a little by going through the first few session in Sewing School and then you will be all set to make one too.

Ciao for now, Zoe xx

Make A Circle Skirt // Buy Your Fabric

It's time to start the second of my 'step-by-step' beginner sewing projects. The first were these cushions but I know many would-be sewists would really prefer to make their own clothes than their own decor. This project is great for beginners because

1. It doesn't have a Zip or Buttons
2. It's very easy to wear
3. There are different options for what shape and length so you can adapt it to your own style
4. There is a handy 'circle skirt app' to work out how much fabric you need and how to cut it up

PLUS there are loads of stretchy fabrics out there that would work well for this skirt. This first step is instructions for which sort of fabrics will work well, and which will be easier to work with for beginners. Working with stretchy fabrics can be very easy but only if you buy the right kind of fabric. So without further ado let's see what you need to look for.

As I mentioned before when I wrote about fabrics there are two ways that a fabric can be stretchy. The first option is 'knitted' fabrics. These fabrics are formed with non-stretch threads that are then combined together in a way that makes the finished fabrics stretchy. This can be an excellent option for beginners because they tend not to be too stretchy. Look out for terms like 'double knit' if you want something thick and heavier or 'single knit' for something on the lighter side. They should be made from 100% cotton (or other non stretchy material). My skirt is made from a double knit. I have been able to wear it through the summer but it's warm enough for autumn and winter too when I wear it with tights.

The other kind of stretch fabric is made from stretchy materials. They are usually made up from a combination of cotton and lycra (the brand name we commonly use for elastine or spandex). When starting out you will need to find something with a small percentage of lycra, 3-5%. This will give you enough stretch to pull the skirt up over your waist but small enough that it won't fall down again. Plus small stretch means its easier to sew with. Be careful though that you don't confuse the percentage of lycra with the 'stretch percentage'. The stretch percentage of a fabric is how much bigger it can be stretched to and then go back to its original size. Also try not to get something too thin as this also makes the sewing more difficult, not to mention you'd be able to see your knickers through your skirt, oo-la-la!

How Much
The only question left remaining is how much fabric to buy? You will need to decide on what kind of skirt you want to make, 1/4, half or full circle (my red one is a full circle) and what length you want it to be. Then when you have decided head over to the By Hand London Circle Skirt App and pop in your details. All you need to know is you waist measurement and then pick your options. They will tell you the radius of your waist (write this down for later) and the length of your skirt (write this down too). Then buy your fabric and when you have it home WASH IT!

I know there is no need to shout, but seriously wash it as soon as you get it. Stretch fabric is particularly prone to shrinking so you really must prewash it and the sooner you do it the sooner you'll be ready to start cutting and sewing.

Exciting stuff. Come back next week and we can sew it together (It's so quick you'll be done before yo know it). This is what you can expect:

1. Cut Your Fabric and Sew The Side Seams
2. Sew on a waistband and hem your skirt

Thats all there is too it. See you then. Zoe x

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