Wednesday, 14 May 2014

DIY // Half-Circle Skirt

Circle skirts are wonderful for pear shapes (like me) who want to minimise their lower half - this skirt will flare out from your waist and hide those chunky thighs until you get around to exercising them away. 

But sometimes they can get rather bulky with all that extra fabric - that's where a half-circle skirt comes in! Now you can get all that twirl without the weight.

What you'll need:

  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
  • A fabric that's not too stiff (about 1.5 m by 1.5 m, or 5 ft by 5 ft)
  • Chalk
  • Needle and matching thread or sewing machine
  • Zipper
Before we start, just a word of warning - make sure your fabric is not too stiff or it will end up looking like an open umbrella. While this can be fixed, it's best to start off with a softer fabric so you can avoid this problem altogether.

Okay, now we can begin!

1. Using the tape measure, measure the circumference of your waist (or where you want the top of your skirt to lie) and write it down. Then measure the distance from your waist to where you want your skirt to be. This will be the length of your skirt. 

Take the length and add an extra 3 cm (1 in) for hemming. Now it's time to do the fun part - a bit of simple maths! I'm kidding - I'll do the calculations for you ;)

Your waist measurement minus 2 cm will be the circumference of the top bit that you'll cut off. Make sure you did not suck in your stomach when you measured yourself - this has to fit correctly! Now I'll take you through the math, so feel free to skip to the end if it bores you:

              Inner Circumference    =    2  x  (Waist measurement - 2 cm)
              Waist measurement - 2 cm   =   pi  x   radius

The radius is the part we'll need:
              Inside Radius    =    (Waist measurement - 2 cm)  /  3.14 

Now we'll need to calculate the outside radius so you can cut off the excess:
              Outside Radius    =    Inside Radius  +  length of skirt + 3 cm hem

In the end, what you should have is the Inside Radius and the Outside Radius.

2. Fold your fabric in half lengthwise, secure and lay it on a flat surface. 

3. Tie the end of the thread around the chalk and cut off the length of the inside radius.

4. Hold the end of the string under your finger and carefully draw a curve by pulling the string taut.

5. Replace the string with a longer one for your outer radius.

6. Cut out your pieces. You can see in the picture I cut a little away from the lines -  this was a safety measure. Try on the piece and adjust if needed. If you find you've cut off too much, don't worry! You can adjust your by overlapping the edge when you sew it up.

7. Cut off any excess from the bottom if you find it is too long. It's best to outline the edge in chalk before you start cutting. I ended up removing another 4 cm to find the best length for me.

8. Now you can start the hem! You can take out your sewing machine at this stage, if you have one. I usually hand-hem the edge by using a running stitch to fold back the frays by about 1 cm. Then I fold it back again and use a very small and precise back-stitch to neaten it up.

9. Line up the edges of the fabric. If the ends of your skirt don't match up (like mine - oops!), keep the bottom corners together and let the longer layer peek out at the top, just like the picture: 

10. Place your zipper where you want it to be and make a mark where the little metal bit is (yeah, I know I marked the wrong spot).

11. Now you can sew up your skirt! Check the edges are lined up, and sew a straight line about 1 cm from the edge.  If your skirt is too big, you can place the stitch a little further in and sew straight down from the imaginary centre of the circle (but don't follow the edge!). 

And there you have it: your completed skirt! If you find that it is still too umbrella-ish, you can sew some folds into the skirt by pinching in the sides and sewing down in a straight line from the imaginary centre of the circle. Now iron your skirt, put it on and give a twirl in front of the mirror - you've just completed your half-circle skirt! 

How did your skirt turn out? Let me know in the comments! 



  1. Love the shape! Made some similar skirts this spring...from old scarves ;)

    1. What a clever idea! Repurposing is so fun, is it not?