How to sew a circle skirt – free pattern!

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Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

Welcome back to the Learn to Machine Sew series on Cucicucicoo! I promised a cool practical tutorial to go along with my last lesson on how to sew an exposed elastic waistband, and boy, is it cool! Too often people think that you need fancy patterns and techniques to sew your own beautiful clothing, but sometimes it’s nice to use a simple pattern to show off your favorite fabric, or to quickly sew up an outfit for a last minute party invitation!

Save this Cucicucicoo project on Pinterest

Sewing a circle skirt is an easy way to add fun me-made garments to your wardrobe, and the great thing is that it’s really easy to fit it perfectly to your body‘s shape!

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers. www.cucicucicoo.com

And to save you the trouble of making calculations, I’ve included a free downloadable pattern with 34 sizes, so you can create the perfect fit for your preemie newborn neice, your large-boned XXL-sized aunt, or anywhere in between! All you need to do is add the desired skirt length!

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

You can use all sorts of fabrics for this type of skirt (recognize the super-drapey fabric above from my lesson on why fabric drape is so important?), or even put two fabrics together for a two-layered skirt, like you can see below. I’ve even included instructions for making a cute little accessory from the strange triangle-shaped pieces of fabric left over!

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

Are you excited yet? You should be! Let’s get started!

Materials:

  • Light- to medium-weight fabric. Choose the drape according to how clingy or stiff you’d like the skirt.
  • Wide elastic matching the color of the fabric. The length will be roughly the same as your waist circumference.
  • Polyester thread. I prefer polyester to cotton thread in projects with elastic to avoid thread snapping.
  • Sewing needle appropriate to the type of fabric chosen.
  • Rolled hem foot (optional). I will give instructions on how to sew a very small curved hem with a regular foot, but using a rolled hem foot for very lightweight fabric is infinitely faster!

Circle skirts take a lot of fabric and, the bigger the size and longer the skirt, the more they take. I used just under one yard of 115 cm (45″) for my daughter’s skirt and for me entire pieces of wider cuts roughly 180 x 180 cm (if I remember correctly). If the fabric you want to use is not wide enough, you can simply cut out two semi-circles by folding the fabric once, instead of twice, and cutting the shape twice before joining them, but remember that that means you need twice as much length!

Measure yourself

First things first, take the measurements of the intended wearer. Measure the circumference of the widest part of the hips, the waist where the elastic waistband will sit (it’s up to you if it will be a high- or low-waisted skirt), and the length from where the top of the waistband will be to where the hem will fall. Write these numbers down somewhere.

You might want to take these measurements in centimeters because that’s the unit of measurement I’m using in this tutorial. Centimeters are much more precise and easier to calculate than inches, so that’s what I use!

Prepare the pattern

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

Download the free Circle Skirt pattern from my Free Downloads page, print it at actual size or 100%, and join the two pages so that the markings line up. (You can find more info on how to print and assemble PDF patterns here.)

Trim the left and top margins off of the pattern, then cut along the curve corresponding to the hip measurement. My daughter’s hips were 61 cm at the widest part, so I rounded up to 62 cm and cut along that line.

Cut the fabric

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

Iron the fabric, then fold it in half, and in half again so that you have four layers of fabric with the folds at the top and left sides. If the fabric is slightly longer, you can fold it so that the excess is all on one half of the fabric, as you can see above.

Pin the pattern to the top left corner of the fabric so that each trimmed side of the pattern matches up with a folded side.

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

Now we need to calculate the fabric length. Take your skirt length measurement, subtract the elastic width, and add 2 cm for seam allowance and 1 cm for the hem allowance. I imagined my daughter’s skirt to be 35 cm long and the elastic was 4 cm wide, so 35 – 4 + 2 + 1 = 34 cm.

Line up the zero on a ruler or tape measure with the cut curve and mark the fabric at the calculated fabric length with a fabric marking tool (I love these water soluble fabric markers*). Do this all around the skirt so that you trace out a second wider curve with a series of dots or dashes. I suggest starting along the two folds to make sure that you have enough fabric before continuing.

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

Connect the dots to make a line. Cut off the corner of the pattern if it gets in the way. As you can see above, I make a little mark on either side of the tape measure so as to make twice as many marks each time I move it.

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

Cut along both curves, unpin the pattern, and you’ll have a quarter-circle of fabric.

If you want to sew a two-layer skirt, repeat these steps with the fabric that will go on top, but condering a length about 6 cm shorter than the bottom layer.

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

Take advantage of the fabric being folded in fourths and mark the quarters of the smaller top curve with pins. You can see in the picture above how I put a pin in each of the four folds.

Add the elastic waistband

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

I will go through the next steps quickly, as I’ve already gone into detail about how to sew an exposed elastic waistband in the previous sewing lesson.

Cut a length of elastic 2 cm less than your waist measurement. Sew the two ends together, right sides facing, with a 1 cm seam allowance. Then open the two seam allowances to the sides and sew them down.

Next, mark the elastic band into fourths, starting from the back seam. (I don’t bother putting a pin there because it’s easy to see the seam.)

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

It can be tricky to line up the curved fabric with the straight waistband, especially with larger sizes, so I suggest in this case to mark the fabric and elastic into eighths, not just fourths. Once you have them marked into fourths, just fold the fabric/elastic so that two adjacent pins are meeting and place another pin on the fold, as shown by the arrow in the picture above.

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

Match up the pins marking the eights on both the fabric and elastic, and pin them together, right sides facing. Match the front and back points of the elastic with the grain of the fabric, NOT on the diagonal bias. I haven’t talked about bias yet, but you can get the idea from how the squares on the fabric above are arranged compared to the position of the back elastic seam.

If you are sewing a two-layer skirt, match up the pins on the two fabrics and sew the top edge together with a 1/2 cm seam allowance. If they are first joined, it will be much easier to sew them to the elastic band.

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

Remember that the elastic will be less wide than the fabric, so the fabric will scrunch up.

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

Sew the elastic to the fabric with a 1 cm seam allowance, stretching it as you sew from pin to pin, and making sure that the curved fabric edge is lined up with the elastic edge. Again, refer to this lesson on sewing an exposed elastic waistband if you’ve never done this before.

Try on the skirt and make sure it fits well. If it does, sew a wide zig zag stitch (I used 5 mm wide, 1.5 mm long) all around the edge of the elastic, making sure to catch the raw fabric edge. This keeps the fabric from fraying and adds strength to the waistband.

Hem the skirt

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

This is by far the most annoying and time-consuming part of sewing a circle skirt. While it’s easy to hem a straight edge (see my lesson on the perfect hem if you need more practice with it), doing so on a curved edge is MUCH more finicky.

**UPDATE** If you want to save time, you can hem a circle skirt with bias tape. It’s so much easier, takes only about 15 minutes and requires NO measuring! Find out how here.

I usually like 1 cm hems on most garments, but that is too much for a circle skirt. If you look at the picture above, you can see the difference between a small rolled hem (sewn with a rolled hem foot) and a regular 1 cm hem. The fabric was much harder to fold and sew regularly for the 1 cm hem, and created a more rigid and bulky hem, which didn’t look nice at all on a light and airy circle skirt. I ended up cutting off that hem and sewing it again with a rolled hem foot.

If your fabric is very light, I highly suggest you use this foot, which will save you a LOT of time. But if you don’t know how or your fabric isn’t extremely lightweight, no fears! I will now show you how to manually sew a 1/2 cm hem, and give some other time-saving ideas for hemming the skirt!

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

1. Sew all around the edge of the skirt bottom, on the wrong side of the fabric, with a 1/2 cm seam allowance.

2. Iron the fabric edge up just beyond the thread from step 1 so that it is visible on the back side.

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

3. Sew the folded fabric down with a 1/2 cm seam allowance to keep it in place for the next step.

4. Fold and iron the fabric edge up again along the raw fabric edge that you just sewed down in step 3. Then sew the fold down again with a 1/2 cm seam allowance. The fabric might gather up a bit, but that’s fine as long as it’s flat on the right side.

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

Iron the hem one more time, and you’re done!

Here are some other hemming options if you want to save time:

  • Use a rolled hem foot on lightweight fabric.
  • Sew a wide zig zag or overlock/serge the raw skirt edges, fold them up once along the edge of the stitches and stitch in place.
  • Overlock/serge the fabric edges with a matching or contrasting thread color and leave them visible.
  • Use a non-fray fabric and leave the edges raw.
  • Hem with bias tape.

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

Looks amazing, right? I know, it takes a long time to keeps sewing and ironing around that never-ending circular edge, but it’s totally worth it in the end… especially when you look at the whole finished skirt!

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

So now, put that skirt on and do your thing! Circle skirts are great over leggings for little ones who love being girly without having to give up on the fun of being a kid!

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

To be quite honest, it’s hard to stop twirling around in a circle skirt, even for an adult!

Sew the scraps into a matching accessory

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

Circle skirts use up a lot of fabric and leave funny-shaped triangular pieces behind. But those scraps are perfect for bandana-style accessories! Here’s how:

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

Put two triangular corner scraps right sides facing, matching up the edges as best as possible.

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

Fold the triangles in half from the bottom point and trim the edges so that all four layers are the same size.

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

Unfold the triangles, pin the edges together and sew all around, leaving a space to turn it right side out. Clip the corners and curves and turn it right side out.

If you prefer a flat accessory, iron it and topstitch all around the edges, like I did for the top one. If you prefer a fuller, puffier accessory, just close up the opening with the ladder stitch, like I did for the bottom one.

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

You can wear it around your neck or in your hair…

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

…or heck, why not both?! (Ok, perhaps that’s a bit of overkill….)

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

I had an extra strip of the mustard and black flowered fabric, so I turned that into a little infinity scarf with this tutorial!

Incidentally, I want to thank Martina from Ladulsatina for this lovely fabric, which I’d kept for almost a year, waiting for the right way to use it! And I kind of love how it looks with the plum color of my tights and Tepore wristwarmers!

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

A circle skirt is actually a really easy garment to sew, but is super cool looking and so much fun to wear! Depending on the type of hem you choose, you can sew a few skirts in one day, each one looking totally different from the other! You can jazz things up with different fabrics, or even two fabrics together, and the fabric scraps left over can be made into cute matching accessories. What’s not to love?!

So grab your favorite fabric and some elastic and sew yourself an adorable circle skirt with my free pattern— I guarantee that you won’t be able to stop boogying and twirling!

Save this Cucicucicoo project on Pinterest

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers, plus a fun accessory with the scraps! www.cucicucicoo.com

This pattern and tutorial on how to sew a circle skirt is part of the syllabus of Cucicucicoo’s beginner’s sewing course! Learn to Machine Sew with Cucicucicoo: a free sewing course for beginners

*This post contains an affiliate link.

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38 COMMENTS

  1. Grazie Lisa! Il tutorial è dettagliatissimo… mi fai venire tanta voglia di prendere una macchina da cucire (che nella casa nuova non c’è, ancora!). Quella a doppio strato è la mia preferita, ma la più bella in assoluto è Sofia che io ricordavo almeno 20 centimetri più bassa!
    Un abbraccio

  2. Grazie mille, questo tutorial è bellissimo! E le spiegazioni sono molto facili da capire. Mi permetto di farti alcune domande: questo tutorial può essere seguito anche per realizzare una gonna lunga fino alle caviglie? E anche per creare una gonna multistrato in tulle? Perché queste due gonne sono tra i miei prossimi progetti! Grazie mille, buona serata
    Francesca

    • Assolutamente sì, Francesca, ad entrambe le tue domande! Si può fare la gonna lunga quanto ti pare, ma preparati per la quantità pazzesca di tessuto che ci vorrà, e anche la quantità di tempo pazzesco che ci vorrà per fare l’orlo!! Ma io trovo la gonna a ruota lunga davvero deliziosa! Probabilmentre dovrai fare come ho spiegato, e unire due semi-cerchi perché non troverai tessuto così alta da poter fare in un solo pezzo. Quindi piega il tessuto solo una volta, taglia dal cartamodello. Poi con un altro pezzo di tessuto, piega una sola volta, posaci sopra l’altro pezzo già tagliato, e tagliane un altro. Volevo mettere le foto di questa tecnica, ma il tutorial era già lunghissima.

      E mi hai letto nel pensiero per la tulle! Volevo farne un’altra così, tipo tutu, per mia figlia, ma ripeto, il post era già molto lungo, quindi non l’ho fatto più. Chissà, forse farò un altro post per far vedere queste due cose! 🙂

    • Yes, Linda, it was a lot of fun taking the pictures and twirling around! There were so many more that I wanted to share, but I figured that there were already enough pictures in this post as it was!

  3. grazie e…salvato, nn è tanto che ne ho confezionato una per mia figlia…ma sono arrugginita e ho impiegato un pò andando a memoria….mi verrà utile per la prossima…

    • Mi fa piacere, Gloria! Succede a tutti di non ricordare precisamente come fare tutte le cose con il cucito. Anch’io a volte devo riguardare i miei vecchi tutorial per ricordarmi di qualche dettaglio! 🙂

  4. Ciao,domanda di curiosità,sto provando a fare questa gonna,avendo poco tessuto la sto provando a fare per una bambina di 5 mesi,ora recupero l’elastico e poi procedo al l’assemblaggio,ma se la volessi fare per me,come calcolo quanto tessuto procurarmi? Avendo la lunghezza della gonna calcolo l’area del cerchio e così so quanto tessuto comprare? Oppure c’è un altro calcolo da fare? O semplicemente vado là col cartamodello a piego direttamente in 4 la stoffa? 😀

    • Ciao Nicoletta, no, per il calcolo bisogna anche tenere conto del cerchio centrale da togliere. Diciamo che occorre un pezzo quadrato di tessuto con ogni lato di circa la circonferenza delle anche diviso per 3, + due volte la lunghezza, più o meno. Se vuoi essere sicura, piega la stoffa in quattro, come hai detto tu, mettici sopra il modello e poi misura la lunghezza dal cerchio interno. Così faccio io! 🙂

    • Your circle skirt pattern does not print off. In fact I can’t seem to get to the actual place where the pattern is to print. I have tried several times with no success. How disappointing.

    • Grazie mille, Martina! Pensavo di fare un altro tipo di gonna con quel tessuto, ma poi ho pensato che sarebbe perfetto così. E mi piace talmente tanto che domani la indosso per l’inaugurazione di una mostra d’arte di mio marito! 🙂

  5. Grazie infinite del tuo progetto, non so se lo utilizzerò in quanto sono grassa e preferisco le gonne diritte , magari se dimagrisco proverò a farne una nera per l’estate !

    • Figurati, Maria Giovanna! Anch’io di solito predileggo altre forme di gonna, ma è divertente portare la gonna a ruota ogni tanto! Se la fai, mi raccommando, voglio vedere qualche foto! 🙂

    • Ciao Mara, no, dovrebbe essere un cerchio. I tagli in corrispondenza del tessuto piegato devono essere perpendicolari alle pieghe. Se i tagli sono anche solo un po’ incurvate verso l’interno (un errore molto facile da fare) risulterà con la forma che dici tu.

  6. Hello !
    Thank you so much for your good understanding pattern & tutorial !
    It’s amazing !
    I’ve been searching for so long to find a REALLY GOOD sewing help like your is !
    Grazie 🙂
    Your Catharina

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