Thursday, September 3, 2009

Technique -- Draping Circle Skirt Fullness

Who isn't familiar with the dramatic effect of a full circle skirt? This is the skirt shape with the least amount of fabric at the waist and the most at the hem. Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, so feminine. I made each of my daughters a dress with a circle skirt when they were young, but after one trip to the bathroom, the youngest declared, never again, would she wear a circle skirt. :)

Years ago, I wore to death a modified circle skirt (though I didn't realize it for a long time), that was very unusual in the way it was cut. I felt like a genius when I figured out how it was made and why it hung the way it did. I wasn't, of course, but I still want to pass on what I learned. :)

For a traditional circle skirt, a waist hole is cut out of the fabric, like so:

On the body (or, in the case of this demo, on the toilet paper tube) the resulting fullness is evenly distributed around the tube.

However, in this skirt I owned so long ago, the waist hole was cut differently. Instead of being cut as a round, or oval, shape, it was cut as a slit, like so (square on the left):

Now, this has a very different effect when worn on the body (or tube).

The front and back of the skirt fall straight, like a pencil skirt. The fullness falls to the sides of the skirt. This is a very flattering line for those who don't want fullness over the belly but don't mind it over the hips. Of course my TP tube demo uses a stiff fabric which is not very flattering, so I cut another in a knit fabric to show the drape better:

I made myself a skirt using this design to replace that one I had (and misplaced) so many years ago. I will post it when I can get some photos of it.

Oh, I should add, I was recently studying out of print (OOP) patterns, seeing what I have missed all these non-sewing years. I was surprised to find a Donna Karan pattern that uses this very design - Vogue 2540. Interestingly enough, according to the pattern reviews (I haven't seen it first hand), Donna's pattern just sews the waist elastic directly to the skirt opening). I put a waistband on my skirt which isn't that hard to do and results in a nicer finish.


  1. Very interesting post and new info for me.

  2. Thanks for the interesting post!

  3. very interesting.i love skirts and i will so try to see how this works.i'll be sure to let you know when i have..thankyou for the time took to give this demo!