A full circle skirt block is a big circle with a small circle cut off from the inside. And what a flare this shape gives to the skirt! If you want a flared skirt, no one thinks beyond a circle skirt.
A circle skirt is your best way of making a very full skirt, without adding any bulk at the waist. So in my mind, the best way of making a full skirt.
There sure are many other ways to make skirts -check out the skirt making tutorials here.
Check out this post for some beautiful patterns (16) to make a circular skirt from bloggers all around the world
In a circle skirt, your waist is taken as the circumference of the inner circle.
You can cut out this circumference from a suitably long and wide fabric piece to fit snugly about your waist by finding the center of the fabric and marking the radius of this circle inside. To find the radius when the circumference is given you can use a simple formula.
The radius of a circle = Circumference of the circle (your waist round) divided by 6.28
Full Circle skirt calculator
You can make a circle skirt very easily with the following dimensions, on the above principle
Measure the area where you will tie your skirt, using a tape around your torso. Take this as A
Divide A/6.28. Take the result as B
Add 1/2 inch to B ( for seam allowance at waist); Take this as C; C is your radius
Take a fabric measuring twice the length of the skirt you want plus C. Ie if you want a skirt of length 20 inches and you got C as 6 , then 2 * ( 20+6) = 52 inches + hem allowance of 1/2 inch is the width as well as length of the fabric you need to cut your skirt from
To construct a full circle skirt, Fold the fabric once by the middle, then again vertically resulting in the fabric having 4 layers
Keep the tape along the tip of the corner and mark C ( you will get a curve); this is the marking for your waist.
Now from the waistline, mark the length of the skirt+ hem allowance all along the fabric ( again in a curve)
Cut it out. You will get this doughnut shape which is your full circle skirt
Cut out on side seam to attach a zip opening
Full circle skirt from less wide fabric
Most of the time, as an adult, you will need a skirt of at least some 25 inches length and that means you will need a fabric with a width of at least 60 inches to construct a full circle skirt. So what do you do if you do not have this wide fabric? And you do not want the not-so-attractive-seam along the face of the skirt (when you join extra fabric it shows)
You can get the same flare with the skirt by using the same formula but cutting 2 skirt pieces and then joining. Yes, there will be two seams to this full circle skirt instead of one but you will get the same flare that you wanted from full circle skirts
To make this skirt Fold the fabric by half ( do not fold again as you do with wider fabric) and then measure from the tip and cut out as usual.
This will give you two fabric pieces which will look like this.
Join one seam fully and the next seam partially to attach a zipper.
Another method, When fabric is not wide enough
The disadvantage of a full circle skirt is that you never get a long enough skirt when sewing with fabric having normal widths like 36 inch or 44 inch. If you want to sew circle skirts from your normal width fabrics (44″ or 36″) you will have to add extra fabric along the selvages to increase the width ( and thus increase the length of the skirt).
You can find instructions on how to go about this in this tutorial to make a full length skirt.
Half circle skirt
If you do not have much fabric and you are ok with a less flared skirt you can make the half circle skirt. Simply change the formula a little bit and cut out your radius the same way as earlier.
The formula is as follows
Radius of the circle “C” = waist circumference divided by 3.14
Just mark this from the tip of the corner as you did earlier and you will get your half circle skirt.
Quarter circle skirt
To draw a pattern for a quarter circle skirt you have to take a fabric piece and mark the following dimensions. You have to cut out the waist portion x-y equaling 2 times the waist circumference divided by 3.14.
A flounce is a circle shape fabric piece added as trim to fabric edges. Check out the post on flounce for more detail.
Related post: Sew a reversible full skirt.