A Wooly Wintery Circle Skirt

Last winter I dressed like a slob. Jeans, t-shirts, baggy baggy sweaters. It wasn't pretty people.

Not wanting to repeat the boring horror of fashion victims past I decided to make some winter skirts. This was the first one I completed & I have one more awaiting finishing touches.

Ah circle skirts! I remember why I stopped making you for so long. All that hemming! I used to belly dance (I really miss it) & would make my own costumes. Circle skirts are practically required if you're going to belly dance, so I've made my fair share. Long ago I learned that the easiest & fastest way for me to do this (I'd love to hear if you use a different method) is to stitch along the folding line- what will be the bottom of the hem- then to iron the hem in, sew, iron again. Or, if you're super lazy like I often am, skip the first round of ironing- results may vary. For whatever magical reason this bit of stitching allows the fabric to fold up on that large curve with minimal puckering & buckling. But again, I didn't iron before sewing the hem into place so I still got a fair amount of buckling. Hemming a circle skirt no matter what method you use is going to be a slow process, which is why I like to speed it up as much as possible. Pinning your circle skirt hem is Three Toed Sloth speed (.003 mph). Sewing a fold line & ironing your hem sans pins is Greenland Shark speed (1 mph). Big difference.

The fabric is a lovely wool from Fabric Mart, the softness of which reminds me of flannel, but without the cheap, synthetic feel. I decided to cut the skirt as one big circle so I wouldn't have to bother with matching up the pattern. However, for a waist high skirt this meant I had to cut into the body of the skirt just a little so I could actually fit the thing over my hips. My ridiculously late night zipper sewing job meant things didn't line up perfectly. Ah well, you readers will be the only ones to know. And I'll just have to learn to not grimace every time I see the slightly mismatched plaid.

After cutting the waistband I realized I wanted it to match up with the plaid. This is as close as I was able to get it.

Circle skirts, especially in the length & fabric I chose, are rather retro. In my mind I imagined having the skirt meet my waist with the waistband being above my waist. Then I remembered I'm short waisted. I figured it was better to have the top of the waistband meet my waist than to look more authentically vintage, but have a laughably short torso.

Detail of gray gingham skirt.
I got a new camera! So you'll start to see more lovely close ups like this.

The only problem (aside from that mismatching zipper seam) I had with this skirt was the waistband. I stabilized it with a light, fusible interfacing which made the fabric bubble. Sad face. It seems to have gotten a little less bubbly with successive wearings though.

Finally, the lining. Ever since I was a little girl & watched Gone With The Wind I've wanted a red, silk, taffeta petticoat like Mammy. It was nicely scandalous for a respectable woman & she carried it well. I, on the other hand, may not be as demure. And this lining may not be silk, but it makes me happy. How can I not be when it makes the loveliest rustling sound as I walk?



34 thoughts on “A Wooly Wintery Circle Skirt

  1. This is great, I love how it looks on you with that yellow cap as well! I’m yet to come up with a great method for hemming bias-cut skirts; sometimes sewing a line of stitching with a long length in the seam allowance just under the fold, then pulling it to gather it in, then pressing the seam allowance down with steam can help.

  2. Gorgeous skirt! That plaid is lovely. And the pop of colour for the lining – love it! Nothing like a fun lining to make you smile when you put a garment on, kind of like a happy little colour secret. 🙂

  3. Great skirt. The addition of the red lining is a nice little surprise. I like to say that it shows that there is a bit of a bad girl hiding inside 😉 Enjoy your new skirt!

  4. Such a perfect winter skirt! I’ve been meaning to make one of these so as to be less frumpy in the cold months, too…and I love that you used the red petticoat reference!

  5. Love your posts. We are doing similar things at the same time! Knitting? Check! Weaving? Check! Glass blowing? Check! Belly dance? Check! Steampunk? Check! Historic sewing? Check! Short-waisted? Check! Oh, wait, I dress like a slob. And I don’t make my everyday clothes. But science FTW.

    • The wool gaberdine was $13.13 for 1.75 yards at 62″ wide. I used up as much of the fabric as I could, so I think the unhemmed length of the skirt was 31″ minus whatever I took out for the waist. The red taffeta was bought awhile ago & was 60″ wide- the narrower fabric worked out since I made the lining shorter than the skirt. And the taffeta actually had some spandex in it. Hope this helps!

        • While I didn’t use this tutorial, it looks like it might help you. Basically, I figured out the radius for how much to cut out for my waist, marked that off on the fabric & held it up to my body to see if I liked how long it was. Then I folded the fabric into quarters & marked cutting lines for the waist & hem. I sewed on the waistband & lining & let it all hang overnight since circle skirts tend to elongate unevenly once they’ve been cut out. The next day I hemmed the skirt & lining.

  6. Rayon hem tape works great for easing the fullness in as you sew and makes a nice edge finish inside, you could even use a contrasting color. I buy mine from http://www.wawak.com. Love you wild lining!!! Keep twirling!

  7. First, I really like the blog makeover.
    Your wool skirt looks lovely! Love the fun it looks like you’ve been having in these last few posts.
    PS. Red is my favorite! Great addition to your skirt..

  8. I love your wool circle skirt..and I LOVE the red lining! As you saw in my cape post, I like little surprises. I hear ya on the circle skirt hemming. One of these days, I’d love to see you wearing the super high waist and join my short torso club.

      • A Q: how do you deal with the wind? I wore one of my circle skirts in the city and man did I wish I had been wearing less revealing underwear.

        • In the summer, I just don’t care as long as I have on underwear that’s big enough. I have very little modesty. In the winter, I wear layers of tights. There’s only one thing I remember from high school physics & that’s that heat gets trapped in holes. So I layer on a pair or two of fishnets, opaque tights over that & then big socks.

        • To further explain, I see underwear like bathing suits. If I’m wearing boyshorts then that’s more covered up than a lot of people on the beach. It seems silly to me that just because it’s in another context the same exact amount or more of coverage is all of a sudden scandalous. And I suppose once you’ve been riding the CTA long enough it just seems like well, it happens. It looses its shock value.

What's on your mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s