Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Skirt day: the 10 minute no-sew circle skirt

In the Netherlands -not really internationally known for its beautiful weather- we have a phenomenon called "rokjesdag".- Skirt day. The first day of beautiful weather where women en masse shave the hairy caterpillars that have been their legs during wintertime, and emerge as beautiful, bare-legged butterflies wearing their newest skirts. The mystery of skirt day is the fact that all those women simultaneously know when skirt day appears.

As an author on urban dictionary writes:
"I woke up this morning, strode outside, saw dozens of beautiful girls in skirts on the way to class, said a brief thank-you to God for their smooth and fit legs, and promptly declared to my friends, "Today ... is Skirt Day."

Obviously, men love skirt day. And truth be told; so do I. Isn't there a sense of happiness in walking bare-legged, sun shining on your skin, feeling the wind breeze through the remnants of your leg hair? (haha, sorry!)

Skirt day is probably still weeks from here, but with the beautiful weather of last week, I began to look forward to my summer closet. Thus I decided to make a skirt.

Not just any skirt: the easiest, breeziest skirt in the whole wide world.  

I thought of making a circle skirt after I kept stumbling upon a big piece of tricot-fabric that has been living in my fabric stash for ages, but I never got the courage to do something with it. I'm not sure what it is, but while I never hesitate to set my scissors into a piece of thrifted clothing, I'm always a bit afraid to do the same thing with fabric. Even though this piece had only cost me 2 euros at the thrift shop, I still felt guilty experimenting with it, because I might just screw up a really big piece of fabric. 
That's why I choose to make a circle skirt: if I didn't like the skirt after all, the fabric would still be big enough to use as something else ( but luckily, I like the result, yay!!)

you'll need: 
  • strong, non fraying, stretch fabric. I used a tricot fabric. The size depends on the desired length of your skirt, but I would recommend at least 1,20x 1,20 m. If you can't find anything or don't want to waste expensive fabric, you could try this project with a double sized fitted sheet ( thrift shops often even have new ones)Although those might require some hemming in order to survive your washing machine.
  • some string and chalk to draw a neat circle
  • scissors
  • measuring tape
I started with laying out the fabric in the ground of my living room. It was big. really big.
folding it over once...

and twice!
The process from here is really easy: you simply cut a hole for your waist, and cut a hem on the bottom. 

For the cutting part, there are numerous options. It's a bit like cutting those paper snowflakes at school: cutting different lines at the hem will give you different skirts once you unfold it. I illustrated three basic patterns. But you can create them as you like, just pay a little attention to the length of the skirt, otherwise you'll end up with a really cute fabric diaper.

A. a normal circle skirt
B. lengthening it on one side creates a longer front and back, with short sides.
C. cutting a straight line instead of a round one creates a handkerchief-hem.
I choose option B. In order to create a neat, even hem, I used some chalk and string. By tying the chalk to the string and holding the end of the string in the corner, I could simply swoop around and create a (quarter of a) circle that was even in all places. 

For the waist band, I started by measuring the waist band of one of my skirts.

But please learn from my mistakes! If you're not planning on hemming the waist band with some elastic or anything, take at least 15 cm off! The fabric will otherwise stretch and leave you with a way too big skirt. plus: making the waist a bit bigger is really easy, but making it smaller isn't. So, just cut it as if you were making it for a much thinner version of yourself, m'kay?

I then calculated the required length of the string by using the formula: [desired length waistband] / 2 / 3,14.   for example: 70 cm / 2 / 3,14= 11,14 cm. In the picture below, you can see how I made a quarter of a circle with that.

If you're not really up to this kind of math,  just use a rope that is 1/4th of your desired waistband-length, and lay in the right shape on the fabric :)

the circle ( in light pink) is juuuust about visible.
Then, I did the same the the big circle (but I didn't really use the math on deciding the size of the circle there, I just estimated what would be an appropriate length)

When I had the two basis circles drawn on the skirt, I decided to lengthen the hem a bit on one side, as was shown in illustration B. 

and started cutting it.

unfolded! You can see how the middle is a bit longer. 

And you're finished! If you did after all accidentally cut the waist too big, I suggest hemming the waist with some elastic ( using a sash or belt will of course also work as a temporary solution) 

Wanna see what it looks like? 

not too bad for a no-sew skirt, isn't it?
twirl girl!



  1. Now I want to do one that's actually like a paper snowflake... Think it would survive the wash?

    1. would indeed be cool!
      hmmmm... I think the first challenge is making sure the "flake" parts don't curl up when you wear it. So perhaps try it with a heavier fabric, or iron it really well? Hand washing also helps;)

      if your into a bit more work, there are options that probably will help in making the skirt a succes:
      Applying non-fray (or liquid hem) to the edges will probably strengthen the fabric to stay in shape. you could of course also decide to use a non-elastic cotton, which keeps its shape much better and is stronger. you'll then have to make a zipper or something alike at the waist.

      I'd say; just give it a try! I'm looking forward to hear if you've tried it!