Knit Half-Circle Skirt

knit half-circle skirt

I tend to gravitate toward prints. There’s something about sewing with a colorful floral, geometric print, or even an ugly-sweater knit that makes me feel happy. Plus, if I’m going to invest planning, labor, and money into an article of clothing, I want it to be more vibrant than something I can buy off the rack. The one-of-a-kind factor is part of what makes this hobby so gratifying.

Unfortunately, this obsession with bold prints means that I haven’t sewed many everyday wardrobe staples. I’m a creature of habit, and this summer the habit has been wearing the same store-bought chambray skirt roughly twice a week. It’s comfy, it goes with nearly everything in my wardrobe, and it’s weighty enough to stand up against the ridiculous Chicago wind.  But I’ve put the poor thing through the ringer, so I figured it was high time to add another versatile skirt to my wardrobe.

half-circle skirt

I’ve already gone the bold-print quarter-circle skirt route, so this time I went for a half-circle in a black ponte knit from JoAnn. I used the trusty By Hand London app again for the waist radius and length measurements, but since I was working with a knit I also heeded iCandy’s tips about subtracting 2″ from the waist measurement before plugging it into the app. Keep in mind that the app adds in 5/8″ seam allowances.

screen shot by hand london app
By Band London app screen shot

I used a homemade twine compass to trace the waist radius and length, although that part was tricky since my tracing pencil kept dragging the knit fabric along with it. I ended up marking a series of dashes that I followed with my rotary cutter. Note to self: buy marking chalk! That’d probably be more friendly on a knit, right?

For the waistband, I followed iCandy’s suggested dimensions:

Length: waist measurement minus 2″ plus 1.25″ for seam allowance

Height: double your desired waistband height plus 1.25″ for seam allowance

knit half-circle skirt sewing

The step-by-step construction of this skirt is amazingly easy. I don’t have a serger, so I attached my machine’s walking foot, inserted a ballpoint needle, and used a zigzag stitch for the seams. After stitching the back seam, I attached the waistband per the directions of the straightforward iCandy tutorial. After clipping the excess seam allowance and ironing the waistband, I hemmed the bottom of the skirt with a roughly 1″ hem. This isn’t technically required since it’s a knit and won’t fray, but I like a clean finish.

half circle skirt sewing

And that’s about it! It’s really a sewing 101 project, and an especially good one if you’re looking to break into the world of knits. I didn’t add a zipper since the material is stretchy enough to get on and off (gently) over my head, but I might try another version with a short zipper and see which is more comfortable. I’m a little afraid this material will stretch out over time, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world since that would just mean the skirt would sit a little lower.

It’s not an earth-shattering make, but it’s comfy, it fits great, and it cost under $7 total. Not too shabby for a new wardrobe staple. I’ve already paired it with my Colette Sorbetto crop top (pictured) and a tucked-in tee, and both are comfy.

What’s your most versatile piece of self-made clothing?

Springtime Quarter-Circle Skirt

Circle skirts are the epitome of Sewing 101. But since I seem to do everything backwards, I have nary a full- or even a half-circle skirt under my belt. Naturally I decided to remedy that on Easter morning, just hours before a family party. Ahem. I was mentally prepared for a disaster that might result in me wearing dirty jeans and a Mars Volta T-shirt on Easter afternoon, but miraculously my new skirt turned out pretty well.

spring quarter-circle skirt

I should start by mentioning that this isn’t a standard circle skirt. It’s a quarter-circle skirt, which I like to think of as the flirty, yet sophisticated cousin of the full circle. It falls like a classic A-line but with a bit more movement and flow. I initially wanted to make a half circle, but it turns out that the Amy Butler fabric I fell in love with at The Needle Shop comes in 44″ wide bolts, which just wouldn’t leave enough fabric for anything but a quarter. (Unless you have like a 20″ waist or something.)

Amy Butler Hapi fabric

To figure out how much fabric I needed and how to cut it, I used this fantastic Circle Skirt App from By Hand London. You simply choose your desired fullness and length, plug in your waist measurements, and click “Do the maths, please!” (Sidenote: Do British people say “maths”? Am I an anglophile for thinking this is kind of charming and not dumb?) Anywho, the app spits out your waist radius and the fabric length required—seam allowances included. It also tells you whether or not your skirt will fit onto 45″ or 60″ wide fabric.

circle skirt measuring

After marking my waist radius and fabric length, I drew the arcs using a janky handmade compass—also known as a piece of twine tied around my marking pencil. I then used a combination of this youtube tutorial and this By Hand London tutorial to sew up the skirt, insert the invisible zipper, and create and attach the waistband. I went for a lapped waistband with a hook-and-eye closure.

lapped waistband

To finish up, I sewed a narrow hem all the way around. If you’re not familiar with hemming round edges, check out this super helpful Coletterie tutorial.

As a whole, I really love this fabric and the fall of the quarter circle. Next time I make a circle skirt (and there will be a next time), I’m going to add another 1″ or so to my waist measurement. After a big family-style meal, I was mildly afraid that my hook-and-eye was going to burst off and get lost in the lemon meringue pie. Luckily that didn’t happen.

quarter circle skirt

Hope you had a relaxing holiday filled with many sweets and salty meats! Have you ever made a circle skirt? Any suggestions?