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Just to prove I don’t always use utterly ridiculous fabrics in my sewing projects, I decided to share my newest skirt.

It all started when I found this fabric on sale at my local shop:

Girly Skull and Crossbones

It’s piratey goodness – for girls!

Time to get my punk pirate princess on.

I nabbed two yards, planning on a skirt. No real thoughts past that, just

This would make an AWESOME skirt!

This led to far too much debating in my brain. A-line? Pleated? Circle? So many options, so little fabric.

For a while I debated going all Pirate School-Girl and pleating it. Pleating math is like rocket science. Truly, a girl could cure cancer or something just using pleat math. Pleat math ended up with – you don’t have enough fabric.

Ok, so maybe I would, if I fudged the math a little. Pleats are cute, but they are also a chore. They are a little harder to sew, but it goes beyond that. Lady Ozma + Irons = No. Try that math.

I found the cutest circle skirt picture on the net in a fabric that made me think a circle skirt would actually work. (It was my original idea, anyway.) I did a test drape, and the fabric worked beautifully. This stuff is cute, but it’s a bit heavier than your average cotton leading me to want visual proof of work-i-ness.

A little simple geometry and poof – I had myself one handy-dandy cute skirt pattern.

Of course, that was when I got distracted for about an hour playing with the math equation to see how truly scary I could make it. I happen to like math and this brought some great procrastinatey pleasure to me. Go math!

I nabbed some tissue paper and tape and pulled out ye olde yardstick. Argh!

First thing I did, I didn’t want a plain circle skirt. Good thing and you’ll see why. So I started with a test measurement for a waist:

Six inches for a waist panel

Six inches looks like it falls right around my hips!

I wanted this wide waist panel, and six inches looked just about perfect. From there I would make the circle portion of this project.

Tissue Paper Pattern

Always check your tissue paper pattern on your person!

Why do I use tissue paper and check it on my person? Tissue paper is what store patterns consist of, it is very easy to work with. Yes, even with its fragile nature. You can also see through it enough in event of needing to trace pattern instructions or fabric grain. The added benefit is white tissue paper is available at the dollar store. I’m cheap. (And yet I still sew. Don’t ask. Talk about NOT cost-effective anymore.)

I stress a lot about hem length. Modest is hottest, baby. This looks like it might be a tough longer than I wanted, but still within the knee range. Great!

Snafu time (and apologize for the terrible blurry picture that I didn’t realize was blurry until I uploaded it):

Pattern on fabric

I have enough for the circle portion, but no waist! ACK!

I could make the circle, but not have that desired waistband. Which would tragically alter my hem line to non-modest levels. No thank you.

No worries, I could just shave a skootch off the fullness. You won’t miss it with that large a circle:

Shaving time!

Thanks to the handy-dandy yardstick… voila!

Due to my fabric size, my pattern was for a quarter of the skirt. After cutting, things moved along quickly.

First, I sewed the four pieces together, leaving one side completely open. I then attached my large six-inch wide waist piece to the top. Sorry, no pictures.

From there, I stitched up the open seam, leaving room for the zipper. I always forget how to put them in, but I managed to get the zipper in easy enough. I added a nice bias tape waist band to the top for a nice finished edge and support.

And quicker than you can swab the decks, I had myself a brand new skirt!

Argh matey, I'm a pirate princess!

Pretty happening pirate princess, right? Needs corset!

I need to hem it still, but I’m trying to decide if I want a layer of netting underneath or not. I picked some up, but I’m kind of thinking this skirt is great without the netting! After I decide that, I’ll hem it. Though now I think I might add a bias tape hem because I love how it looks at the waist, which is pretty hidden under a blouse.

Argh! Betty is a pirate princess!

Argh! Betty the Dressform digs her new pirate look!

Two yards of fabric plus one rainy afternoon and you get this lovely skirt! Awesome right? I’m wearing it Saturday!

**Math minutia for those who want to recreate this cute skirt**

Circle skirt math is easy geometry. You are looking at:


To make your pattern, circumference equals the top circle (IE: your waist. In my case, my hips.)  For example, if your hip circumference is 35 inches (HA! I wish!) then you divide that by 2pi. (Note, 2 times pi is 6.28.)  Radius is the distance from the center of your circle to the outside.

Just remember you also need to add in seam allowance. I went scant of the typical 5/8ths of an inch because I planned to use an overlocking stitch. (IE: A serger, though some machines offer this as a stitch option.)

For my pattern, I needed a quarter of my skirt, so I started at the corner of my tissue paper. I simply drew dots at the proper radius at several points and made my arc. This gave me the waist (or in my case, the hips).

From there I just added the desired length to my radius measurement to get the hem line. (I added 19 inches, 18 plus seam and hem.) I started at the same corner of my tissue paper and formed my arc.

If you just know that lovely R=C/2pi then you can do amazing stuff. Too bad they don’t tell you that when you’re learning geometry!

–Lady O