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Sisterhood Circle Skirt

Art Gallery have the most incredible range of beautiful printed Fabrics. Sisterhood from the flower girl collection is no different. In 100% cotton the quality of this Fabric is beautiful and useable for so many projects. It took me a little while to decide what I wanted to turn the fabric into, but eventually it came to me… and it’s one of my favourite things to make.

In my opinion, circular skirts are one of the simplest projects to do, mostly because you don’t need to buy a pattern to make one. The starting point of a circular skirt is pi (and not the tasty fruit filled kind). Cast your mind back to those maths lessons at school and the calculation you need to do is to find the radius of your circle, which is r = c / 2pi. Now if maths isn’t your thing, you can always type this into google and it will give you an online calculator that will do the math for you… “circle calc: find r, C=n/a”

For a full circle skirt (imagine the iconic 50s style) then the circumference is your whole waist measurement. I decided to make a half circle skirt (it’s the same lovely drape with half the amount of fullness). In order to do this the circumference of my circle becomes twice my waist measurement (as I’ll only be using half the circle for my pattern).

You can see from the image above how the pattern now comes together using your radius and circumference. You only need to draw out a quarter of the circle as you can then cut 2 for a half circular skirt (cut 2 on the fold for a full circle) The length of the skirt I used is 60cm, it sits just below the knee, but hold a tape-measure against yourself to decide how long you want it (if you’re using a directional print you will be limited on length by the width of your fabric but if needed you can always cut the pattern shorter if when you lay it on it doesn’t fit).

In order to draw the 2 quarter circles, I draw a right angle and then placing my ruler in the corner I make lots of marks at the required measurement working around the curve and then I join the dots. Then add your chosen skirt length to the radius and then use the exact same method as before to create the second circle which will be your hem edge.

A circle skirt can be put together as simply as the skirt with a waistband and a zip in the side to enable you to get in and out but it adds such a lovely detail if you put a button stand at the front.

In order to do this first, you need to add ½ the width of the finished button stand to the front edge. I used a 3cm button stand so added 1.5cm to the front edge all the way down. You will then need to add the width of the button stand again to create the button stand facing, so add another 3cm to the front edge.

I then created a waistband pattern that was the length of my waist measurement plus 3cm (the button stand width) and 10cm deep (twice the width I wanted my waistband to be)

That gave me all my pattern pieces, that then just needed seam allowance adding to them.

It’s not very often that I feel the need to pattern match. I rarely sew with stripes or patterns that are large enough that they need it… but I knew as soon as I saw this fabric I was going to have to pattern match it. It meant that when I was ready to cut my pieces out of the fabric I took the time to chalk around each piece before cutting any out to make sure that they would all line up before I committed. It took me 2 attempts to line everything up right. I would measure up from the hem to the bottom lip of the ladies (a memorable point) and check this measurement against the matching front/back piece. The way a circular skirt is cut it wouldn’t be possible to pattern match the sides but getting the centre front and back right was important. When pattern matching always line up your pattern where you’ll be sewing, doing it at the edge of your seam allowance won’t work. When pattern matching the front where the button stand is, line up your pattern at the centre front line.

The only negative I would give on this fabric is due to the very light coloured background it is quite see-through (you can see this on the photo above). It’s something that is very common for light fabrics and is in no way unique to art gallery, it’s just one of those things and means that a lining will be needed. For this skirt the lining is really simple as you just cut out the back skirt pieces 4 times (as you don’t need the button stand for the lining) from a plain white cotton and made the skirt approximately 3cm shorter than the outer fabric.

Once the back pieces were sewn together, I attached the two front pieces to the back at the side seams and repeated this on the lining pieces. The lining then needs to be hemmed before pinning in place along the top and front edges. The button stand then needs to be folded back along the 2 edges of the button stand, covering the edge of the lining fabric. It is then just topstitched in place along both edges.

The skirt section is now done, so all it needs is the waistband. I just interfaced the waistband and folded it in half lengthways so the two long edges were on top of each other (right sides together) and sew’d the 2 short edges. Mitred the corners and then turned right sides out. Give it a firm press and then with right sides together pin the outside edge of the waistband to the top of the skirt. I like to pin the centre backs and the fronts together first to make it simpler to ease the rest into place. Stitch and then either hand stitch the inside edge of the waistband in place or topstitch if you’re feeling confident. This inside edge should conceal all the raw-edges of the waistband and the skirt.

All that’s left is a hem, button holes and buttons.

It is such a fun skirt, and really easy to wear. The real joy in it for me is how amazing the pattern matching has worked, it is one of those tasks that is really worth taking your time over and getting right.  

Thanks for reading,

Clare @sewmamabear

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