The Square Circle Skirt (20-ish minutes to make)

 

Sometimes I buy too much fabric.  I admit it.  Just don’t you dare email my husband and tell him that I’ve admitted it. ;)  If he ever notices that I have purchased new fabric and he happens to ask what it’s for……..I just mumble and laugh myself through some crazy explanation like, “oh, it’s for this one thing that I’m going to make next week to try out a new technique and I really needed this particular fabric to test it out, and, yeah……..isn’t it great?!?!“  Then he laughs.  And tells me that he knows I bought it simply because I liked it.  Okay, fine, you’re right. 

 

So, lately, I have really been trying to just use what I have.  And a while ago, when I saw someone walking around the store (or maybe it was at the park?? or a restaurant??) with an uneven skirt hem-line, I realized it was a square piece of fabric.  But it was cut like a “circle skirt”, which makes it twirly and full-ish.  But the square cut made it fall uneven at the ends.  So I wanted to test it out, you know, just for fun.  (Because we all know Elli has enough skirts so I didn’t really need to make her one.)  This little project was more for me to experiment a little bit.

 

 

 

And experiment I did.  Plus, I’m pretty sure I’ve never made a faster skirt in my whole life.  Do I say that a lot?  Well, this time I mean it.  This one is speedy fast!  And don’t be shy, this skirt would be just as cute in your own size!!

 

 

But half the trick of making it quickly, is that I used knit.  And yep, I snatched it from my fabric shelf.  (I found this knit at Wal-mart, oh, maybe a year ago.  I bought some in green and blue and pink.  Because I love having knit fabric on hand.  And Wal-Mart’s knit prices [if they carry it] is cheapy-cheap.)

 

 

 

To me, it kinda looks like a ballet dancing skirt.  One that you’d slip on over a leotard.  Anyone agree?

 

 

And because of the “circle-cut” method, it’s the twirliest type of skirt you can make.  But the square corners give it some pointy ends……making it look kind of drapey.  (But keep in mind, you can ditch the pointy edges and just made a regular ol’ circle skirt.  You would just cut out a circle rather than a square.  More on that below.)

 

 

 

 

Okay, experiment over.  I’ve got it all figured out. ;) 

But remember, if you don’t care for the uneven edge, ditch it.  And keep it circular.  It’ll still be one simple row of stitches to make this skirt, if you use knit fabric.

**Since I used knit fabric, the only sewing I had to do was to attach the skirt to the waistband.  That’s it!!  And even if you’re not super comfortable with knit, this is a forgivable project.  However, you can make this skirt with regular woven cotton but then you will have to hem the edges.  And it won’t hang as nicely.  But it’s up to you. :)

 

 

Wanna give this skirt a try?

 

First of all, making a circle skirt is how they used to make poodle skirts.  The idea is that you cut out a huge circle and then cut out a hole for the middle where your waist will go.  Then, you add a waistband of some kind.  The idea is, that when you put it on and let the skirt hang at your waist from that center waist circle, it ripples and drapes really nicely, creating a fuller skirt, without having to ever gather any fabric.  (However, if you want to add even more fullness and give it more gathers, you can make the center circle bigger [and make the outer circle bigger too] and then gather it in to the correct waist size.)

 

So that’s what we’re going to do……except instead of a big circle, we’re going to make one out of an even square.  And in order to get a nice circle in the center, you can either cut out a paper circle and trace around that, or find a bowl that is the perfect size for you.  And instead of finding a circle that was exactly the size of my little Elli’s waist, I decided to go bigger and add in a little more ruffle to the skirt.  Not a ton, just a bit.  So I found a bowl that was about 1.5 times the size of Elli’s waist.  Her waist measures about 21 inches……and I found a bowl that was 30 inches around (circumference).  So just about 1.5 times as big.

 

 

Then, I had to decide how short I wanted the shortest parts of the uneven skirt.  I chose 10 inches.  And then the corners would hang down even longer.  So, I placed the bowl face down on my knit fabric.  And measured out 10 inches up/down and left/right from the bowl.  And then cut a perfect square.  (You could also measure out 10 inches from the right and left and then add in the measurement of the bowl and then remove your bowl and cut a square that size.)

 

 

Next, with your bowl exactly in the center of your square, trace around your bowl…

 

 

And then cut out that circle.

 

 

Now, you need some elastic.  Remember how I bought a ton of from Ruffle Fabric?  And I used it to make some other Elastic Band Skirts, that turned out really fun too.

 

Anyway, sew a wide piece of elastic (mine is 1.5 inches wide) together into a circle.  (I cut my piece the same length as Elli’s waist measurement and then overlapped the ends by one inch and then zig-zagged the ends to each other.  Then it’s about 1 inch smaller then her waist, allowing the elastic to stretch to stay on her.)

 

 

Then, place pins on the bottom of your elastic band at the sides and the exact middle in the front and back.  Then do the same for the top edge of the skirt.  (I think it’s easier if it’s folded in half.)  Now the elastic and skirt are divided into quarters.

 

 

If it’s easier for you (and it is for me too!), divide up the elastic and the skirt into eighths.  It will help while sewing.

 

 

See?  All nicely divided and pins in place.

 

 

Next, match up the pins of the elastic and the skirt, overlapping the fabric by about a half inch to the underside of the elastic.

 

 

Then, sew all the way around the elastic, attaching the skirt right to it.  Use a zig-zag stitch so that the elastic will still be free to stretch.  And just be sure that you are actually catching the curve of the circle waist opening.  (If you made your skirt opening wider than your elastic like I did, you will have to pull the elastic while sewing the fabric to it.  Use the elastic band skirt tutorial as a reference if needed.)

 

 

And that’s it.

 

 

 

Now go on, give it a try. 

 

It’s such a quick little piece of sewing goodness!

-Ashley

 

 

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Comments

89 Responses to “The Square Circle Skirt (20-ish minutes to make)”
  1. 1
    AubreyB says:

    I was so wanting to make one of these because I inherited all these vintage handkerchiefs, but I didn’t want to try to make up a pattern – so glad you did! :)

  2. 2
    KatelynD says:

    How did you know that I have been wanting to make a handkerchief hem skirt? :) Finally I have a tutorial/pattern! Thank you soooo much Ashley! :)

  3. 3
    Lynette says:

    I love this. It’s very cute! I love the uneven edges, even though normally it’s something completely different to what I go for. Very cute, and LOVE that elastic too

  4. 4
    Christine says:

    Two things…
    1. I think it looks like a cute Tinkerbell type of skirt (could be used for a costume!)
    2. When you say cut the elastic the waist length and overlap by an inch, does that mean one inch from each end or 1/2 inch from each end to equal one inch? I see this direction a lot and always wonder. Thanks!

    • 4.1
      Ashley says:

      Ha……he green made me think Tinkerbell too. I even asked my husband if it looked too Tinkerbell-ish last night. Too funny! But yes, it would be really perfect for a Tinkerbell costume!!!

      Also, overlapping by an inch means one inch from each end. If you have a strip of elastic that is 21 inches and then you overlap by one full inch and then sew, you circle is now 20 inches. If you only overlapped each end a 1/2 inch onto each other, that would make the circle 20.5 inches. It will make more sense if you grab a piece of elastic in your hands and try it and then measure. Then it will suddenly click. And don’t worry, I have to think that through sometimes when I’m writing directions.

      Hope that helps!
      Ashley

  5. 5
    Amanda says:

    Love it! With a kindergartner who adores skirts and a ton of knit hanging out in my fabric stash, I definitely need to whip her up a couple of these!

    Thanks for the great tutorial!

  6. 6
    JourneyBeyondSurvival says:

    WHERE did you get that ELASTIC!?!?!

    I love it!

    And the corners too.

  7. 7
    Anonymous says:

    my first thought as soon as I saw it was, “Tinkerbell?” Looks super duper easy! and I love your elastic!

  8. 8
    Kimberly curtis says:

    My daughter and I adore these type of skirts!! They are my favorite!!!

  9. 9
    Taysha Riggs says:

    talk about easy peasy!!! This would be great in black or white for a nice weekend casual outfit.

  10. 10
    Amy B says:

    I was thinking that you could use two layers of fabric and place them on top of each other turning one 1/8 of a turn. That way you would have 8 points and it would lengthen the area when there is no point. {Does that make sense} Also using a lettuce edge might look cute too, It would add just a little more swing! Love the skirt!

    • 10.1
      Ellie says:

      I had the same idea to use 2 layers and offset them. For someone shy about short skirts it would lengthen it without making the points have to come down to your ankles. Super cute idea!

  11. 11
    Hunter says:

    I actually made one for myself. I found this crazy multi colored Knit fabric at JoAnne’s from one direction it looked like a Native American design and from another it looked African. I knew my husband would love it, meaning… he loves my long flowy bohemian skirts I wear and is super encouraging when I attempt to make anything on my own… so I decided to make this type of skirt in this fabric since I couldn’t decide which “vibe” to go with NA or A. And it’s a fun skirt! Mine is full length with a yoga band at the top (made from an old T-shirt). Some people look at the hemline and I can see they are trying to figure out if I have no clue on how to sew straight… others nearly geek out at how different it is and ask where I got it. I love it though because it has great twirly capabilities = super fun! I like it short too… fun!

    • 11.1
      Susan says:

      Hunter, how did you make it long enough for you? Fabric is only 45″ wide, right? So were your squares 45 x 45?

      • 11.1.1
        Janet says:

        fabric is also 60″ sometimes, right?

        If I do this I am definitely sewing patches together to make it ankle length at the longest point…maybe a smalish square and then add layers of a different fabric on each side to add length?

  12. 12
    kate says:

    I’m making a Tinkerbell costume and couldn’t decide how I wanted to do the skirt… I think this would be perfect!

  13. 13
    KaMarlowete says:

    I cannot figure out the trick to sewing with knit. I’m a beginning sewer, my Mister got me a sewing machine this summer (great surprise) because I’d been sewing by hand. Knit is my nemesis right now. I began and Nearly finished a dress for my daughter, btu I still have the (long) sleeves to do, and I’m intimidated. Any suggestions?

  14. 14
    Amber says:

    sooooooooooooooo to cute!!!!

  15. 15
    Sara says:

    I agree with the Tinkerbell comments! You could make it for any kind of fairy costume, or just for dress up! Super cute!!

  16. 16

    That skirt looks like a lot of fun and the colours are great! Thank you for the pic where you show us how to align the elastic with the skirt. I’ve always tried to figure out how to align everything!

  17. 17
    Tammy says:

    This is great! How would it look with ruffle fabric? I just finished 2 skirts with ruffle fabric, and I’m hooked! Thanks for introducing me to such fun material!

  18. 18
    Kirsten says:

    I love it! I went right away and made myself one, but I did it with two layers, so that the shorter parts would be “longer” and then I added a long yoga type of band around the top so that I could lengthen it a bit more. I needed it longer because I work in a school and can’t have skirts too short! Well, I wore it today, and I received SOOOOOO many positive comments about how much they love my skirt, and then were shocked when I said I made it! It made me feel so awesome all day! Thanks for the idea, and I love how quickly I could put it together:)
    (Oh, and did I mention that I’d REALLY needed to use up this fabric, because I’d been holding on to it for far too long without actually making it into something already?! What a fantastic outcome! I’m so happy I had it on hand to make!).

  19. 19
    nelda says:

    So cute and looks easy to make. I am going to try this for my daughters. Thank you very much for sharing

  20. 20
    Shayla says:

    I saw a girl wearing a dress with a hem like this the other day, but it had 3 layers, a different color sandwiched between 2 matching layers. The squares were all facing the same way, not turned 45 degrees like some others have mentioned. It was SO cute. Now I know how to make one!

    • 20.1
      Lauren says:

      You jsut gave me the best idea for my baby’s blessing dress! Attach a few layers to a white embellished onesie and pow, instant dress.

  21. 21
    Rebekah says:

    I love this!! I have to make one for my daughter! What is the dimensions of your square? Trying to figure out how much fabric to buy.

  22. 22
    Patti says:

    I found your site a few weeks ago and have thoroughly enjoyed looking at all your things (as well as trying out several!!). As a mom/grandma and long time sewer I’m always looking for new ideas and shortcuts. Love this little skirt…I already had a design in my head for one with camo and tulle (you’d just have to know my 3 yr. old granddaughter!! ha!), but will definitely be on the lookout now for some t-shirt knit.

  23. 23
    deana says:

    Please, please tell where you can purchase that elastic!!!!!

  24. 24
    Michal says:

    I definitely think it can be improved with 2 layers also. It makes the short parts “longer” (as mentioned above) and if using different colors it can add a “pop”. Love it!

  25. 25
    Sara says:

    Question: I used the elastic method you’ve shown here, but used a decorative stitch and now the elastic won’t stretch… how does your stretch with the stitching on it? (I’m semi new to sewing, so I didn’t think a decorative stitch would prevent it from stretching)

  26. 26
    Heather T. says:

    Ok, Question – about what ‘size’ would you call the one you made? I have a little girl in a 6/6x and I’m wondering if I’d be able to make a couple of these out of tshirts…just thought I’d ask before I go cutting up my hubby’s tshirt drawer ;)

    Super cute!!

  27. 27
    Michelle says:

    Love this!! This is a perfect doll and me idea, my 5 year old is getting her first American Girl doll for Christmas, and instead of buying all those expensive outfits I am trying to make some, and this skirt would be a perfect, easy thing to make so she can match her doll!

  28. 28
    Christina says:

    Hi! I LOVE your blog and have been so helped and inspired! My niece literally sleeps in the dress-up dress I made her using your Cinderalla tutorial (from a truly hideous Goodwill bridesmaid’s dress $1 find), and my nephew adores his shirt-and-tie-tote that I made him for his church things (I altered your tutorial so the tie is actually a closure strap, with two snaps under it). I’ve made a few of these circle-skirts– I had the idea to do a double layered one BEFORE you posted your tutorial for it– great minds, I guess!– but I am having SO MUCH TROUBLE with the elastic! My zig-zags are terribly uneven, I keep missing the skirt material… do you know how tricky it is to rip zig-zag out of elastic? Anyway, am I doing something wrong? It may be my machine– it’s over 50 years old and skips sometimes. But I’ve had to rip the elastic out four times now, vastly adding time to this super-simple design… or maybe I just need more practice.
    –Christina

    • 28.1
      Chel says:

      Have you tried sewing it with the jersey fabric on top so you can see exactly where the edge is? You should be able to feel how much pull you need to keep the elastic stretched right. I too have had trouble catching my edges. Sometimes the extra step of basting is the only way out.

      On cutting the pattern: it’s a challenge to measure a stretchy fabric to find the middle and then cut a circle. Could it be simplified by adding 2x the short length, plus seams, plus half the diameter of the bowl to find width of square needed. Then fold the material into quarters, mark off the half diameter of the bowl on two edges near the middle to find the right placement for marking the edge of the bowl. Then cut. Using pins to hold the fabric still would help.

  29. 29
    Amy L. says:

    I think you read a lot of Junie B. Jones. Love the skirt! Going to make a sparklish one for my daughter’s Christmas dance.

  30. 30

    I am new to all of this and i love your page! Thanks for all the detailed tips and tricks and cute ideas! I appreciate all of the help. :)

  31. 31

    Thanks for posting this amazing tutorial. The pics and explanations are great! My daughter wanted to make a skirt, and needed something “beginner-friendly” and fast. She was thinking circle, but debating about square. So, we went with square, then decided to trim it to circle, and it was perfect! Thanks for giving us permission to /not/ hem the knit fabric. That made it fast and easy, and my daughter did all the sewing herself.

  32. 32
    Anna says:

    I love this, love it, love it, love it, I’m just starting to like knit fabric, and did I mention I love this skirt?

  33. 33
    wela-joey says:

    Ashley,you mentioned wanting a “grown-up” version. I just saw on another Pin-site some made out of vintage,round tablecloths..they were awesome!

  34. 34
    carol ann says:

    Absolutely adorable!!! I want to make one right now!! Thanks for such great easy to follow instructions. I have so many fabric pieces I have collected and not used now I just need some of that adorable elastic and I will be ready!!!

  35. 35
    Melissa says:

    Just made one in bright green for my daughter. I think turned out cut for this novice sewer? My only problem was the stitching is kinda wobbly all around the waste and. My band is black and so is my fabric.luckily, its not too noticeable! I shouldn’t have tried too many techniques at once, the stretching of the fabric and elastic is what three me off I think.
    Thanks for the tutorial!

  36. 36
    Natasha Malonson says:

    I am a beginner at sewing, so using the machine and sewing in a circle is intimidating ha ha any tips?

    • 36.1
      Ashley says:

      Sew slowly and use lots of pins. Also, re-adjust your fabric often. But biggest advice of all??? Don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t turn out perfectly your first time. Or even your 5th or 100th time. Sewing takes practice……but it’s okay to pat yourself on the back for small victories. Have fun with it, got it?!! :)

      Ashley

  37. 37
    angelaheersink says:

    I am new to sewing on knits and i am trying to make this skirt. i purchased two ballpoint needles yesterday. it took me about five minutes to bend the first one, then the second one broke. what am i doing wrong?!

    • 37.1
      Ashley says:

      Try using a regular needle. I rarely use a ballpoint needle……but this is probably causing your problems. Since you’re trying to sew through elastic and knit, a ballpoint isn’t sharp enough to cut through it…..especially at faster speeds. Anyway, you should have better luck with a regular one.

      Ashley

  38. 38
    Julie says:

    Could you give me an idea of how much fabric to buy to make the skirt for a size 6. About how to determine the top square and the bottom square?

  39. 39
    Chels says:

    Do you have a system to figure out the measurements of the fabric? I’m going to make one for each of my girls (9ms, 2 and 6). I’d love some idea before I just experiment and waste fabric!

  40. 40
    Alicia says:

    Instead of elastic for the upper half, maybe try adding the top of an old pair of jeans to add length and/or a different style. I had a skirt like that that I loved. I gave it away with the intentions of making a new one like it out of some square scarves I bought at a thrift store–I just need to figure out how to cut the hole so that it will attach to the jeans. :P

  41. 41
    Angie says:

    Do u have to hem bottoms

  42. 42
    Alicia says:

    Hey, I had a skirt like this, but it was a bit different. It looked like someone modified an old pair of jeans or used a denim mini skirt and added a nice square scarf with a bordered hem for the square circle skirt part (which made the uneven hem look really neat). It added length, for adult-wear, looked really cute, and compensated for one of main downfalls of skirts–it had pockets! Haha. It was an awesome skirt, but I ended up giving it away to someone it fit better, and have been meaning to make one like it for a few years now. I’m gonna’ use this tutorial to do it–thanks for sharing!

  43. 43
    Dotty says:

    What about the edge of the fabric? Knit or not, I think it should have been finished off.

  44. 44
    Anonymous says:

    Could you make this with layers?!

  45. 45
    Anonymous says:

    Could you make this with length layers?!

  46. 46
    Roxane says:

    how would I make this for adult size?i am a 34 waist and cant figure it out..

  47. 47
    Sha says:

    I just made this skirt! It took me 2 hours, probably because it was my first ever sewing project on my first ever sewing machine, but the skirt turned out awesome!! I think my 2-year-old niece will actually wear it (she’s very particular about fashion already!). Thanks for a great easy-to-follow tutorial! Next time I’ll give the double-layer square circle skirt a go.. maybe for myself! :-)

  48. 48
    MR. Moo says:

    This is soooooooooo cool!
    I’m going to make a cute black skirt with this pattern!

  49. 49
    Nimas says:

    Dear Ashley, my name is Nimas. I’m from Indonesia. I really loved your tutorials. Its easy and so cool :D
    But i’ve got a little trouble to found your funky and funny elastic waist band in my country.
    Please help me to find those kind of elastic waist band like yours.
    Thank you and for your kindness and sorry if my English so mass :D

  50. 50
    Katie says:

    I’m relatively new to sewing and would be making it for my toddler. Would this concept work with cottons as well?

  51. 51
    Gale says:

    I just started to sew again and I love it

  52. 52
    DEB says:

    hEY, THANKS. i WAS LOOKING FOR A QUICK CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR GRANDBABIES. THIS WILL DO IT. i MAY SEW BUTTONS ON THE ELASTIC FOR DECOR.

  53. 53
    Denny says:

    I love it!

  54. 54
    Heather says:

    Where can I please get your pretty elastic
    Heather

  55. 55
    vanessa says:

    made it, and my daughter loves it!!!!!! next up, one for my baby, and a friends daughter in purple, 1 for each little girl in neon yellow. and a grey pintstripe for both me and a girl friend :)

  56. 56
    Leonora says:

    OMG I LOVE THIS AND I CANT WAIT TO TRY.! I’ve been having the urge to design clothes (I never have before in. My life) n this design is what I’m most interested in thank-you thank you thank you

  57. 57
    Liz says:

    What size squares and circle would you recommend for an adult size 2. I love this and with the right fabric it could make a really awesome boho/hippie skirt and I’m a complete newbie to clothes making so it would be helpful to have a size idea. Also would probably be making more of a mini to midi skirt.

  58. 58
    lmmd2010 says:

    I love this. Been looking for this! My daughter loves twirly type skirts….can’t wait to try it out. Thanks for the info!!!

  59. 59
    Ember says:

    Making this now out of an old double duvet cover. One side is dark pink the other is light pink, and I’m making it double layered, but my sewing machine plug just blew a fuse :(

  60. 60

    This skirt is so adorable for a little girl! I love how you used a bowl to make a symmetrical waist hole! I made a square skirt a couple months ago with reference to this tutorial that had to be sewn to the waistline of a top to make a dress, so I had to make sure the waist hole was the perfect size, which involved a lot of geometry. I decided to make a computer program to calculate the right center-circle radius and square size to fit a specified waist measurement and skirt length. Check out the program here! http://anelisemadeit.blogspot.com/2014/08/skirts-in-seconds-square-skirt-pattern.html

Notes and Comments