Making a cicle skirt

25.11.07 - 14:12
This skirt has a lot of flare. As its name suggests it can be spread out to form a full circle.
This can sometimes be too much flare for the lolita 'shape'. Some people think that it's not really suitable for lolita at all, so maybe try the rectangle skirt if you want less flare or if you are looking for a more traditional lolita style.

First things first, you will need:
Fabric - best to start with something light and inexpensive like a polycotton.
A zip - probably around 6 or 7 inches long.
A tape measure.
A compass - you might want to make one with ribbon or string.

You need a couple of measurements -
1. around your waist - comfortably.
2. the length of your skirt - from your waist to just above the knee.

Then a little maths - Add about 1 inch (3cm) to your waist measurement then divide by 3.14 (thats pi if you are interested), then divide by 2. Write down this number.

for example: say your waist was 100cm
100+3=103 103/3.14=32.8 32.8/2= 16.4

Take your fabric fold it in half width ways then length ways. From the corner that is all folded use your compass (or a piece of string with a pin in one end and your chalk at the other) to mark out a quarter of a circle - the radius of which is the number you got from your waist measurement.

It won't work if you just divide your waist measurement by four!

Then add your magic number to the length you want your skirt to be. For example: 16.4+50=66.4.

Starting in the top corner again, mark another quarter circle - this is the bottom of your skirt.
Carefully cut long these lines - through all the layers of fabric. You will also need to cut along the width ways fold line creating two semi-circular pieces.

If you don't create these seams - you won't be able to get into your skirt!

Next you need to sew these pieces back together including a zip on one side and hem all around the bottom to finish off the raw edges. The skirt will also need a waistband - you can make this by sewing a wide piece of ribbon over the top edge or cutting a straight piece of fabric and folding it over.

When you try on your skirt you may find that the hem is a little uneven. This can be for several reasons -
1. some parts of us stick out more than others - meaning the more fabric is used.
2. fabric can stretch when its grain is diagonal (on the bias).
You might need someone else to mark the hem line for you whilst you model the skirt.
3. circle skirts are a bit funny like that and you really need to have a tiny hem to go round the curves.


  1. This is great, thanks for this! I've been buying Loli clothes for a while, and want to sew, and just from looking through all of this blog, you've inspired me - this is a really good site!

    Thanks soooo much!

  2. Thanks, I hope you find some of it helpful when you get going.
    Happy sewing!

  3. How do you work out how much fabric you need? I know the measurments and therefore amount of fabric depends on personal size but how do you work out how much you need?

  4. Hi, you can work out how much fabric you need from the the radius of the biggest circle.

    In my example the radius was 66.4cm, if you double that you get 133cm so 133cm x 133cm is the minimum size piece of fabric you would need to make a skirt with those measurements with this method.

    If you find your fabric is not wide enough you could also make the skirt in two semi-circle pieces along the length of the fabric.

    I hope that makes sense!

  5. wow, quick reply ^_^ thank you so much. I understand now. this site is awesome by the way and your collection of fabric shops is brilliant. Best lolita website ever!

  6. another quick Q - sorry im new at this - If I wanted to add box pleats along the bottom would I have to increase the fabric length?

  7. Thanks! I'm glad you're finding it useful.

    Do you mean something like this?

    I've not really done a lot of box pleats before; on a rectangular skirt I'd sew the pleats into the waistband so I'd make the top edge longer. Like in this tutorial: http://www.postkaye.com/sckaye/Costume/pleats.html

    I suppose that could work on a circle skirt too, if you pretened your waist was three times as big when you worked it out.
    It might cause some trouble at the hem though because of the curve?

    Good luck with your project! Let me know how it turns out.

  8. Im sorry I think my terminology is wrong. I meant something like this - kinda ruffles at the bottom of the skirt http://www.angelicpretty.com/shopping/sk/82s-1241/82s-1241.html (not the net part)

    I guess you would double the length for something liek that. maybe two seperate pieces of fabric. One for the ruffles then attach that to the main skirt would be my guess but I dont really know.

  9. Oh I see! To do the top bit I'd make my skirt a bit shorter then make the ruffle seperately out of a long straight piece of fabric.
    Like on this dress:

  10. ok cool. Thank you for all your help, im sorry for bombarding you with endless questions ^_^

  11. OMG, ur blog has all the things im looking for! Thankyou soo much!

  12. Glad you like it!
    Happy sewing!

  13. Eek, thank you so much for having such well-written, well-drawn tutorials! I'm a very visual person, so every time I'd find a sewing tutorial that's all numbers or has unclear pictures I just want to pull my hair out. ;__;

    This is totes awesome. Bravo.

  14. I just started working on your tutorial and i wondered how
    16.4 + 60 = 66.4 can be right o_O shouldn't it be 76.4? I'll try sewing nonetheless ^^

  15. Ha ha. I hadn't noticed that! Oh dear. I think it should be '+50' I'll change it now. Thanks for the heads up! u

  16. hmmm.. I will try this one.
    This is more convenient cause I don't have that much floor space at home. The other tutorials I came across requires me to lay the whole fabric flat and draw two big circles.. lol.

    Thank you for posting this! :*

  17. I adapted this a little for a pinstripe fabric but I'm being cautious. It was expensive fabric and I don't want to muck it up. Wish me luck.