Design Inspiration: Circle Skirts

I’m back!  I spent the past few days working working working on SO many goodies, I can’t wait to show y’all everything!  Check out my facebook page for a couple of quickie snaps of April’s Hack- 40’s Charm.

But first-  This week’s Sew Weekly Challenge is “Circle Skirts.”  I haven’t been religious about the challenges (last week’s completely bombed, I’ll have another crack at it soon) but I’m trying to be better.

The thing is, I was a little stumped about what to do for “Circle Skirts.”  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good circle skirt- and that’s part of the problem.  I don’t really need/want another regular circle skirt in my wardrobe.

This will definitely be a "statement skirt."

I want to use this melted-cotton-candy pink poplin I mistakenly bought for Megan’s Vendetta and this licorice red satin binding.  I’ve been attracted to pinks and reds, aquas and blues with flecks of white all summer, and that’s what I’ve sewn to the exclusion of almost any other color.  Why not keep going?

But how to combine them in a fun, “different” way?

I don’t know what’s come over me, but I’m really into short full skirts lately.  I don’t have one, that might be it.  This is a little shorter than I’d wear, and the terms of the challenge make it clear we don’t use gathers or pleats but I like it.

One of the best things about circle skirts is the relatively simple cut leaves the door open for some cute, or pretty, or deliciously kitschy embellishment.  I’ve long loved this design, but it’s not quite right for my candy colors.

My stars- speaking of embellishment, I really love this trailing botanical felt applique.  Maybe not for this project, but wow it’s pretty!

I saw this applique and stopped short.  I love it!  I might not use so many birds, or such a big cage, but I find I’m really attracted to this concept.

Click for tutorial on Coletterie

And if I’m careful, I can finally finally use this rouleau pocket tutorial I have had earmarked since Sarai published it!  A birdcage rouleau pocket!  Yes!

And a simple, modern bird silhouette?  Or is that going too far?

I haven’t completely decided what to make of this challenge, but I still have a few hours to let the fabric talk.  We’ll see what comes out!

Patty The Snugbug has a great circle skirt calculator.

Check out Casey’s Circle Skirt sewalong for some great circle skirt tips.

The Sisters of Edwardia blouse is very, very close to completion.  I’m planning to send out test versions of sizes 30, 45-55 later this evening.  Since the vast majority of the demand is for sizes 35-40 and I’m completely happy with those sizes, I will release them in the next day or so while the other sizes are in testing.  The blouse is simple enough, but definitely more involved than my other patterns, so it took a while to complete.  Thank you so much for keeping me motivated!  I’m pretty pleased with the work I’ve done so far.  If you’d like to receive a notification when the pattern is published, just let me know.


  1. Oh, I love that birdcage idea and don’t think the bird is too much at all – sweet.. And am really happy the edwardia blouse is coming up – I have some lovely silk earmarked for it – except I have no idea what to use for the cuffs and bottom… plus I just hopped over to FB and Steph! The latest hack is sooooo adorable:) This one I will have to make now even though it is still not short sleeve weather here – what fun… I liked your page on FB – does that mean I will get updates on you there?

    • Well- its a twitter bird… Since I’m a 21st century kind of sewist and all… I’m pleased you like the hack! I kept it pretty simple up to now, but this one is a little “tastier” than the other hacks. Not too hard, though. :)

      I have no idea how FB works. I just post things. Usually it’s where I post “SQUEEEE!” pictures when I’m working on something and want to click my heels together with glee, but don’t have the chance to actually post about it… If that makes sense.

  2. I’m looking forward to seeing what you create with yoru circle skirt challenge. I’m also just a little excited about the Sisters of Edwardia and your latest hack of the BCT. You really have been sewing and drafting up a storm!

      • Victorian bodices like weaves and not knits. I think I’d go for something cotton…more potential for use. Solid color so I don’t have to deal with matching patterns. Darker fall color as I’d likely make it with a longer sleeve (so I don’t have to hack them to much). I haven’t had a red dress in a long time. So some sort of solid red cotton. I would love it if the hem of the skirt skimmed or nearly skimmed the top of my granny boots. Hmmmm. I have my life planned up until September for projects but may be after that…..

      • OOoh sounds interesting! :) I think long long circle skirts are my favorite…

        I know what you mean about projects up to September being all lined up. :) But then, sometimes I get derailed and that’s ok too.

  3. I have skirts on the brain myself, although I haven’t considered a circle skirt. I’m curious what you’re going to do with that cagey pocket (??), and those bright colours!

      • I always want a pocket for my ipod when I’m walking or riding the bus. If the bars are close enough together, the cagey pocket could still be functional (ish)!

      • If I mount it on a rectangle of fabric and then treat the whole thing as a simple patch pocket, it should be 100% “mommy-strength” useable. ;)

  4. I’ve just realised I don’t actually own a single circle skirt. Not a full circle, anyway. Its so windy here, it could be rather dangerous. They sure are pretty though.

    On a different note, when I saw the fairy-floss in your header yesterday, I couldn’t figure out how it related to sewing, and wondered if you’d taken a trip to a fair you were going to tell us about. Even last night, after reading your post, I still couldn’t figure it out.Then, this morning when I woke up, I suddenly thought “fairy-floss, cotton candy, DUH SARAH.” And my husband and I were just arguing about the correct term a couple of days ago so I feel doubly ridiculous for not registering. I love the fact that we speak ever-so-slightly different languages, but it certainly makes me feel like a goose sometimes.

    • Well… My experience with wind and circle skirts is middy to maxi length.. And I’ve never so much as shown a knee in a gale… In fact, I love wearing my Hemp Hurricane skirt to the beach because it whips and swirls around me in the funnest (cromulent!) way possible.

      OH dear! English is a funny language, isn’t it? I’m terrified to go to the Post Office and Electronics stores here because every time I do, I walk out feeling like some kind of defeated moron. Because that’s how they treat me. It’s the language thing but it’s so “GRRRRRRR GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!!” sometimes. I totally get that.

      I flat refuse to change the way I speak my native language though… To the point that it has greatly affected my husband’s language… He says all kinds of things the way I do, but I do tend to pick up colorful turns of phrase. Funny, funny language..

      • I love swirly skirts, I’m just petrified that it’ll turn from swirly to Marilyn while I’m halfway across the road with a toddler in one hand and a bag of groceries in the other. Though, the fact that I wear an unblow-up-able slip most of the time should make things a little safer, I guess.

        My husband has picked up a few Australianisms in the past almost-8 years, but we still argue about things like fairyfloss vs. cotton candy, or slippery dip vs. slide, or the correct pronunciation of words like Sega, Mazda, or Celica. I, unfortunately, am an accent chameleon, so when I was living in california I had to work really really hard to either speak with an aussie accent, or use american words, cause otherwise I got the wierdest looks…

        What sort of problems would you encounter in an electronics store with the language difference??

      • We call in candy floss in Malta – I should think it’s the Brit way as our English is British english – love fairyfloss, never heard it before – and know cotton candy from American films… We say slide too:).

  5. I love, love, love circle skirts! My mother made me a cute 50’s inspired one when I was a kid. It had a big pink and white striped heart appliqued on one side. I’ve shied away from them in recent years becaus I was worried they made me look hippier than I want to be, but maybe I should get over that and revisit them. I love to wear them nipped in with a wide belt. I love the 50’s look when they’re worn with a button front blouse with the collar turned up.

    • Awww- sounds adorable.

      I like that look, too. Especially when paired with a minxy raised eyebrow as is so often the case on 50’s pattern envelopes… ;)

  6. I love circle skirts as much as you but I can definitely see how they can get boring. I made a wonderful circle skirt fours years ago that you might find as inspiration. Yes, it’s a simple circle skirt, but it has pleated ruffles peaking out of the bottom. It’s super cute and to this day, I still wear it and it never gets old. It’s my cover photo on my Facebook page – check it out if you would like

    • Cool! I love bias-y looking ruffles, and I’m pretty fond of blue and white together like that.

      I just cut the thing and I’m going all cray-cray with the circles.. Oh this is fun! It’s still technically circular though… Might leave off the appliques after all, it’s kind of distinctive enough on it’s own… Hmm! If I hurry up and get it done, I should be able to get photos with a flock of waterfowl…

    • I know… The more I think about it and work on it, the less I like it. The imagery alone would make the skirt too heavy to wear! Might have to go with something sweeter and lighter…

  7. nice plan! that birdy is cute!
    i´m calculate circle-skirts with this: for full – waist:6=centerpoint to waistline; for half – waist:3=centerpoint to waistline…
    hope its logical in my bad englisch without a drawing :-/
    in the moment i have a half circle in pipeline, purple grossgrain and a gathered section at the lower half……..

  8. The only thing I remember from a costume class about circle skirts is how to calculate the waist opening — Divide your waist measurement by 6 (circumference of a circle = 2 pi r, or roughly 6 times the radius). Can’t remember what I did with the measurement next, but you have a young brain and can still do maths. If you want a really, really full skirt bottom, cut two circles, slit them to the center, and seam them together (or 3, or 4 …). That’s how the Ginger Rogers dance skirts were so very twirly.

  9. I felt the same way about this weeks challenge. I adore circle skirts but I don’t really need another one. So far I’ve been pondering making a nice winter one since I have some lovely winter weight houndstooth in my stash but I don’t know if I’ll have time this week. I certainly don’t have time for anything super exciting.

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