DIY: How To Draw A Circle Skirt Pattern?

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If you have tried my online circle skirt calculator or used the formulas for different types of circle skirts, you ended up with three numbers: angle under which the circle skirt pattern is drawn, circle radius for the waist and circle radius for the hem of the skirt. In this tutorial, I will show you how to draw the actual circle skirt pattern based on the results from the calculator or formulas.

In this tutorial you will learn:

What tools do you need to draw a circle skirt pattern?

  • Large paper (either pattern paper or hard paper in a roll)
  • Pencil (I prefer a mechanical pencil)
  • Protractor or printable angle template (download here)
  • Long ruler
  • Long string or strong thread that DO NOT stretch (at least twice as long as the hem radius)
  • Pin
Tools for drawing and drafting DIY  circle skirt patterns.

How to draw a circle skirt pattern step by step?

In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to draw a quarter circle skirt pattern on a piece of paper so that it can be kept for future use. As you might have noticed, the circular shapes will be drawn without a compass.

1. Draw the centre front (and back) and side seam

1. Make sure your paper is large enough to accommodate the pattern in the first place. It must also be smooth and straight as creased or bent paper will result in an inaccurate pattern.

2. If you do not have a protractor, please download, print and cut out the angle for the quarter (or other type) circle skirt (see the images below).

3. Take your ruler and draw a long line near the edge of the paper This will be the centre of you pattern (both front and back).

Drawing a straight long line that will become the center front of a circle skirt pattern.
Drawing a straight long line that will become the center front of a circle skirt pattern.

4. Draw a marking at the beginning of the line, which will become the centre for the circle radiuses. Both at the waist and at the hem (see the image below). Label it so that you know that this point will be the centre of the circular sector for the waist and hem. I labelled mine “C” (see the images below).

Drawing a marking at the center front/back long line.
Drawing a marking at the center front/back long line.

5. From this point measure the circle radius for the waist and hem. Mark the circle radius for the hem and circle radius for the waist (see the images below).

Drawn markings for the skirt waist and hem.

6. In between the waist and hem, mark the line as CENTRE FRONT and CENTRE BACK (see the images below).

Labeled center front and center back of quarter circle skirt.
Labeled center front and center back of quarter circle skirt.

7. Take your protractor or cut out template (I prefer using a template) and place it at the very first marking. Now mark the 22,5° (or other selected) angle on the paper.

Drawing a marking at the correct angle for the selected circle skirt type.
Drawing a marking at the correct angle for the selected circle skirt type.

8. Draw a long line passing through this marking (see the image below). This long line will be the side seam. You can label this line as “side seam”.

Drawing the side seam of a circle skirt with a long ruler.
Drawing the side seam of a circle skirt with a long ruler.

Now, we will draw the actual waist and hem of the skirt.

2. Prepare the string and draw the hem of the skirt

1. First, prepare your string and draw a marking near one of its ends (see the image below).

Marking the beginning of a string with a marker.
Marking the beginning of a string with a marker.

2. From this marking, measure a distance that is: 2 x radius at hem and draw another marking.

Measuring the length of string for skirt hem.
Measuring the length of string for skirt hem.

3. Cut off the excess string leaving about 10 cm (4 inch) after the marking.

Cutting away excess string with scissors.
Cutting away excess string with scissors.

4. Tie a knot connecting the two ends of the string exactly at the markings you have made in the previous steps (see the image below). Add some extra knots (about two or three) at the same spot to ensure the string will not untie.

Tied knot on a string that will set the radius at hem for the circle skirt pattern.
Tied knot on a string that will set the radius at hem for the circle skirt pattern.

5. Punch a hole with a pin at the C point, you have marked at the beginning.

Punching a hole into the paper that will become the pivot point for drawing waist and hem of the circle skirt.
Punching a hole into the paper that will become the pivot point for drawing waist and hem of the circle skirt.

6. Stick the pin from the bottom of the small hole you have just made (ie, from the other side of the paper). Its hidden head is now fixing it in a firm position.

Sticking a pin through a paper to draw circular waist and hem of circle skirt pattern.
Sticking a pin through a paper to draw circular waist and hem of circle skirt pattern.

7. Take your tied string and pull it through the standing pin (see the image below). The pin will be the pivot point for drawing the hem.

The prepared string is pulled through the pivot pin.
The prepared string is pulled through the pivot pin.

8. Stick the pencil through the other end of the tied string. With one hand hold the protruding pin while with the other one stretch the string with the pencil. The pencil point should be exactly at the marking for the hem. Get the pencil pin through the string cautiously so that it doesn’t break.

Drawing the hem of circle skirt pattern with a string and pencil.
Drawing the hem of a circle skirt with a looped string and pencil.

9. Hold the pin with one hand to make sure the string is fixed. With the pencil in the other hand, draw a curve from one line to the other – from CENTER FRONT/BACK to SIDE SEAM (see the image below). You have just created your own pair of compasses in which the pin and pencil tip are the ends of its arms. Bear in mind that you have to keep the string stretched.

Drawing the hem of circle skirt pattern with a string and pencil.
Drawing the hem of a circle skirt with a looped string and pencil.

10. The hem of the skirt is ready. You can label it “HEM”.

The hem o a circle skirt is ready.
The hem o a circle skirt is ready.

3. Prepare the string and draw the curved waist of the skirt

To draw the waist of the circle skirt, you will repeat the very same steps as for drawing the hem. Just the string length will be different. Follow the steps below:

1. Prepare your string and draw a marking near one of the ends (see the image below).

Marking the beginning of a string with a marker.
Marking the beginning of a string with a marker.

2. From this marking, measure a distance that is: 2 x radius at the waist and make another marking. Cut off the excess string leaving about 10 cm (4 inch) after the marking.

Measuring a string length.
Measuring the length of string for skirt hem.

3. Tie a knot connecting the string exactly at the markings (see the image below). Tie several extra knots (about two or three) at the same spot to ensure the string cannot untie.

Tied knot on a string.
Tied knot on a string.

4. Get the looped string through the pin. This time the pin will be the pivot point for drawing the waist of the skirt.

A looped string is pull through a pivot pin.
A looped string is pull through a pivot pin.

5. Stick the pencil through the other end of the loop.

Drawing a circle skirt waist with a string and pencil.
Drawing a circle skirt waist with a string and pencil.

6. Hold the pin with the one hand to make sure the string does not get loose. With the pencil in the other hand, draw a curve from one line to the other (see the image below). Bear in mind that you have to keep the string stretched.

Drawing the waist of a circle skirt with a looped string and pencil.
Drawing the waist of a circle skirt with a looped string and pencil.

7. The waist of the skirt is ready. You can label it “WAIST”.

Circle skirt pattern is complete.
Circle skirt pattern is complete.

The quarter circle skirt pattern is ready

Your (quarter) circle skirt pattern is ready now. Keep in mind that it is one half of the front and one half of the back. Therefore, remember: As you transfer the pattern, do not cut through the centre line! Also make sure to add seam and hem allowances to the actual pattern as you transfer it to the fabric. This is it as for the fabric.

I am sure you will not forget to sew a waistband and a suitable zipper. As the skirt matches your waist, you would’t be able to put it on without a zipper..

If you wish to learn more about circle skirts construction, please read my previous blog post.

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