What Is A Circle Skirt And What Are Its Variations?

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There are many types of circle skirts depending on the fracture of a circle the skirt is made of. If you wish to sew a skirt that will have a light flounce, pick a quarter circle skirt. If you wish to make a skirt, that will spin in the air charmingly, go for a circle skirt. As you can see there are multiple skirt types to choose from.

In this blog post, I’ll show you how to prepare corresponding patterns of the following skirts:

If you wish to skip all the math and pattern construction details, you can go to my online circle skirt calculator.

Circle skirt calculator button.

What is a circle skirt?

A circle skirt is, as its name suggests, such a skirt that is cut from a circle, a fraction of a circle or several circles. Both hem and the waist of the cut out pattern are curved. As you can see in the image below, the smaller the circle fraction, the bigger the circle radius at the waist and at the hem of the skirt.

The image below depicts four different types of the circle skirts with the same waist circumference and skirt length.

Overview of different circle skirt patterns.

Although it is possible to sew some types of a circle skirts from one piece of fabric (as you can see in the image above), I recommend sewing them from two identical pieces (FRONT and BACK pieces with side seams). The reason for this is that the drafted pattern is easier to store and the arrangement of pattern pieces on the fabric is easier too.

How to draft corresponding patterns

To draft a circle skirt of any type, always start with a point that will become the center of two concentric circles. 

The radius of the inner (smaller) circle will be based on your waist circumference and  it is referred to as radius for waist in this tutorial.

The radius of the outer (larger) circle will be based on your waist circumference plus the length of the skirt. In this tutorial, it is referred to as radius for hem.

Depending on the type of skirt you have chosen, calculate the radiuses both for the waist and hem, then cut out the corresponding fraction of a circle (see the calculations and schemes below).

How to draft a quarter (1/4) circle skirt

radius for waist = (2 * (waist circumference + ease) ) / π
radius for hem = radius for waist + skirt length
π = 3.14
Divide the quarter circle into two pieces – one eighth of a circle for the FRONT and one eighth for the BACK. It is possible to divide these eighths to half by ‘folding’ them in the middle and placing the final pattern on fold of a fabric (see the scheme below).
Step by step instruction how to make a quarter circle skirt pattern.
White quarter circle skirt.
Pattern example.

How to draft a half circle (1/2) circle skirt

radius for waist = (waist circumference + ease) / π
radius for hem = radius for waist + skirt length
π = 3.14
Divide the half circle into two pieces – one quarter of a circle for the FRONT and one quarter for the BACK piece. It is possible to divide these quarters to half by ‘folding’ them in the middle and placing the final pattern on fold of a fabric (see the scheme below).
Step by step instructions how to make a half circle skirt pattern.
White half circle skirt.
Pattern example.

How to draft a three quarter (3/4) circle skirt pattern

radius for waist = ((4/3) * (waist circumference + ease)) / (2*π)
radius for hem = radius for waist + skirt length
π = 3.14
Divide the three quarter circle into two pieces – one for the FRONT and for the BACK. It is possible to divide these to half by ‘folding’ them in the middle and placing the final pattern on fold of a fabric (see the scheme below).
Step by step instructions how to make a three quarter circle skirt pattern.

White three quarter circle skirt.
Pattern example.

How to draft a full circle (1) skirt pattern

radius for waist = (waist circumference + ease) / (2*π)
radius for hem = radius at waist + skirt length
π = 3.14
Divide the full circle into two pieces – one half of a circle for the FRONT and one half for the BACK. It is possible to divide these halves to half by ‘folding’ them in the middle and placing the final pattern on fold of a fabric (see the scheme below).
Step by step instructions how to make a full circle skirt pattern.
Pattern example.

How to draft a one and a half circle skirt pattern

I would recommend sewing this one from two 3/4 circles ( 3/4 + 3/4 = 1.5 circle). Adding the necessary seam allowances to connect the two pieces is easier than with one whole circle and an additional half circle (see the formula and scheme below).

radius for waist = (waist circumference + ease) / (3*π)
radius for hem = radius at waist + skirt length
π = 3.14
Circle skirt calculator button.
Step by step instructions how to make a one and a half circle skirt pattern.
One and a half circle skirt.
Pattern.

How to draft a double circle skirt pattern

This one is a little tricky, because you have to draw a two whole circles, that will become one skirt. Apart from ease, you have to add seam allowances into the equation.

radius for waist = ((waist circumference + ease) / 2 + 2*seam allowance) / (2*π)
radius for hem = radius at waist + skirt length
π = 3.14
Step by step instructions how to make a one and a half circle skirt pattern.
White double circle skirt.
Pattern.

If you wish to hem these skirts, you can try applying a bias binding tape.

Online circle skirt calculator.
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