Foofy Skirt Project
Posted on Thursday the 16th June 2016 by Tea and a Sewing Machine
Circle skirts are easy to make and lovely to wear. No gathers mean no extra bulk where you don’t want it, and they’re so easy you don’t need a pattern!
This foofy skirt is made up of layers of lining fabric, net and chiffon, making it a lovely, floaty thing to wear for a summer wedding or party, or for the school run if you’re feeling fancy! Each layer is a circle and each circle is constructed in the same way.
The Chiffon Fabric was much easier to work with than I was expecting. It’s a little unstable, but with plenty of pins it was fine. I chose purple and green for the net underskirts, but there are lots of colours to choose from!
The first thing to do is to calculate the measurements for the skirt. It might seem daunting if maths is not your thing, but bear with it! If you visit my blog, Tea and a Sewing Machine, I have a printable for you that you can use to record your calculations. Once you have worked it all out, you’ll be able to whip up a circle skirt in next to no time!
Calculating Measurements for the Circle Skirt
1. Measure your waist, then add 10 cm. When measuring, don’t pull the tape measure too tight! If your skirt is too tight it will be uncomfortable and being able to breathe is always a good thing.
2. Measure from your waist to just below your knee. The easiest way to do this is to dangle the tape measure upside down, so your measurement is at your waist where you can read it easily.
3. This is where the maths comes in. A circle skirt is the same shape as a doughnut. The information you have is the distance round the hole in the middle (your waist) and the width of the ring of the doughnut (length from waist to knee). The information you need is the distance from the centre of the hole to the start of the ring.
To work this out, take your waist measurement plus 10 cm and divide by pi. Pi is 3.142, but calculators often have a button for it. If you don’t have a calculator, there’s probably one on your phone.
4. Dividing the distance round a circle by pi gives the diameter (distance from one side of the circle to the other, passing through the centre). The number you need is the radius (distance from centre to the edge), so divide your answer by 2.
This is the number you will need when measuring down the fabric to where you need to start cutting the waist.
This number added to the length tells you how big a square you will need for each quarter circle. This number multiplied by 4 tells you how much fabric you need in total for 1 circle skirt.
Phew, that’s the maths done! Don’t forget, you can download a printable to record all this here.
You will need to cut 4 quarter circles from the chiffon and from the lining fabric.
From the net, you will need to cut 8 quarter circles from each colour.
I was able to cut the 8 pieces from 3 m of net but folding it onto 4, cutting 4 from one corner, then the other 4 from the opposite corner. If you are more than a UK size 16, you might need a bit more fabric.
1. Take your chiffon and your total length measurement (outside edge of the doughnut to the centre). Cut 4 squares with each side the same length as your total length measurement.
2. Decide where the top corner is on each piece of fabric and check that the direction of the print is going the same way. If you are using a rotary cutter, you’ll be able to cut all 4 pieces out at the same time!
3. Measure from the top corner to where your waist starts. This is the number that you used pi to work out earlier.
4. Take your tape measure and carefully measure from the top corner all the way across. Mark with pins.
5. From the top corner, measure down 1 side and mark of your total length (length of skirt plus distance from the centre of the hole to the inside edge of the doughnut). Repeat for the other side.
6. Now measure across the fabric from the top corner like you did with the waist. Mark off the hemline with pins as you go.
7. Cut where you have pinned. You should now have 4 quarter circles with a quarter circle cut out of the top.
Repeat for the other fabric. You will need 4 quarter circles from the lining and 8 from each of the nets. To get 8 pieces out of the net, fold it in 4, then cut 4 pieces from 1 corner. Then cut 4 more pieces from the corner diagonally opposite.
The skirt has 6 layers and each layer is constructed in the same way
1. Take 2 of the quarter circles and sew them together along one of the long edges.
2. Do the same with the other 2 quarter circles.
3. Pin both halves of the skirt at one side, then put t on. Pin the other side. Adjust the pins so that the sides are even.
4. Take the skirt off and repin the sides. Measure the seam allowance of the side seams and remember it or jot it down if you don’t trust yourself to remember!
5. Place the zip next to one of the side seams so that the top of the zip is aligned with the top of the skirt. Use a pin to mark where the bottom of the zip is. Measure the distance from the top of the skirt to where you marked with the pin.
6. Sew the side seams. On the zip side, sew from the pin to the bottom edge.
7. Trim the seams. When you get to the zip section, leave it as it is.
Repeat steps 1 and 2 with the other layers. When sewing the 2 halves together, use the measurements from the first layer, including the section for the zip.
When sewing the net, use a wide zigzag.
Chiffon is the kind of fabric my sewing machine likes to eat. If yours likes to do this too, start sewing about 1 cm down from the top.
You may need to adjust the tension. I turned my tension dial down to 2. If you are still having issues, try changing the needle.
Use a cool iron, otherwise there is a good chance you’ll melt a hole in the fabric (I’ve done this more times than I care to remember!).
Adding the Zip
1. Line up the open part of the side seam, 1 layer at a time. When all the layers are lined up, put a pin at the bottom of the opening to hold them in place.
2. Unfold the layers so they are all flat with the right sides together. Pin.
3. Sew the seam and press it open. Pin the zip over the seam, checking that the teeth of the zip are aligned with the seam. Tack the zip in place and remove the pins
4. Using a zip foot if you have one, sew in the zip. You might find it easiest to sew each side of the zip from the top. You can find a detailed tutorial for doing this here.
Sewing on the Waistband
1. Cut a strip of fabric long enough to go round your waist plus a bit extra, and 7 cm wide.
2. Check that the waistline of each layer is lined up with the others. Use some pins to hold them together.
3. Pin the edge of the waistband to the edge of the waist.
Sew all the way round, leaving about a cm either side of the zip.
4. Fold the waistband over the raw edge of the skirt and fold the edge inwards. Pin.
Trim the ends of the waistband so that you have enough to tuck underneath. Try to match the seam at the zip so that it looks tidy.
5. Sew all the way round. Sew a few stitches where the waistband meets the zip.
Finishing the Skirt
Sew bias binding to the hem of the chiffon layer and the hem of the lining. To do this, open out the bias binding. Fold the end over, then sew one edge to the wrong side of the hem. Fold the tape over, then top stitch all the way round.
You can find a more detailed tutorial showing how do this here.
Trim off any threads and it’s ready to wear!