If you've found this article, then hopefully you've already drafted your custom-fit wrap skirt pattern. If not, don't worry, you aren't far behind. You can go back to the pattern drafting post here or simply download these instructions which include the drafting and sewing all in one document for you to keep.
Here's the wrap skirt pattern we are going to sew. It has a front and back and a third panel which wraps over the front. Fitting is easy because it ties at the waist so even if you add or loose a few pounds, this skirt will still fit just fine. You might just want to move the button.
- Custom fit wrap skirt pattern
- Can be made in any size and length
- Nice and soft and flouncy
- Quick to sew
How to cut out your fabric.
Pattern pieces usually come with a grain line, but a circle skirt, or any part of a circle is different because one edge might be on grain but every other part of the skirt is then off grain – because it's a circle. So in theory, it doesn't really matter where or how on the fabric you place your pattern piece. But let's keep it simple and put one side of the piece along the grain, or parallel to the fabric selvage. Because the piece is a quarter of a circle, the other straight edge will then go directly across the fabric, perpendicular to the grain, and the rest of the skirt will be off grain, along varying degrees of bias.
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Give a little thought to fabric design when you consider buying fabric for this skirt.
If your fabric has a one-way-up design then it's only going to be correct at one point and at other points it will be off, eventually 90 degrees off. So designs with small prints that can do in any direction look best, or solids of course, or swirly patterns. However, you can try stripes. Stripes take on a strange curve when used on a circle skirt panel and it can look very groovy.
How much fabric do I need?
Circle skirts, whether half, 3/4 or full circles all take up quite a bit of fabric because of the size of the piece and the way they have to be laid out. Best to make up your pattern piece and measure it, then draw yourself a quick sketch of how it would be placed and work out how much fabric you'll need. Assuming a fabric might be 54 inches wide, any skirt much longer than 16 inches probably won't fit two full pieces across the fabric.
You'll probably need a fabric layout similar to this one, so you'll probably need about 2.5 times the larger number from your custom-fit pattern. As a rough guide. If you use a rolled hem instead of facings, you'll probably have enough left over to use in another small project.
Let's sew the wrap skirt pattern
1 – cut out your main fabric pieces – a front and back and the 3/4 width wrap section. (Remember that when you made your pattern, you marked off a quarter of your piece, Fold this in to cut the wrap section.) Be careful in handling all these pieces because we don't want to stretch out the bias angles too much and get things distorted.
2 – time to think about the bottom hemline. It's really hard to turn up a hemline on a circular skirt the ‘regular way' because the outer edge is longer than the inner edge you are turning into so the fabric won't lie flat. So there are typically two ways.
- sew with a teeny tiny rolled hem using a special rolled hem foot plus lots of tiny pressing and burned fingers. See a rolled hem tutorial here if that appeals to you!
- use a hem facing and enjoy a very neat wide hem. It's still quite a bit of work, but less fiddly. I'm using this method on my skirt because I like to see a wide hem on non-stretch skirts and I think it will hold those lovely curves better.
If you want to make the wide hem, follow this tutorial on adding a wide hem to a circle skirt using a hem facing, and cut your 3 facing pieces from your fabric.
3 – with right sides together, sew the two full pieces along the side seam using the seam allowance you set when you calculated your pattern. Then decide which way you want your skirt to wrap and sew on the 3/4 piece along the side seam.
4 – press and neaten your seams as you go. I'm using an overcasting stitch on mine, you use whatever is your favorite seam finish.
5 – if sewing a rolled hem, stitch this now. If using a hem facing for a wider hemline finish, stitch your facing pieces together, add them to the skirt and follow the instructions on how to create a wide hem on a circle skirt.
6 – on each of the vertical seams, turn in 1/4 inch and press. Turn in another 1/4 inch and press again to hide the raw edge. Stitch to hold the seam in place matching the bottom corner carefully at the hem.
7 – time for the waistband. Cut yourself a piece of fabric 3 inches wide by three times (or more) the length of your waist measurement. So if your waist is 30 inches, cut a piece 3 by 90 inches. You may need to sew two pieces of fabric together to get the length you need. Always better to be too long and able to shorten it later, but not so easy to add more if its too short.
8 – wrap the long length around your waist, cross it over and tie it on the side. This is how the waist band will sit once finished so now we need to match up the skirt to it correctly. Get your skirt and wrap it around as if you were wearing it, and pin the skirt to the tie at each of the loose ends. Untie and remove the skirt.
9 – straighten everything out and with the right side of the tie facing the WRONG side or inside of the skirt, pin the tie to the waist of the skirt all the way between the two pins. You may need to just adjust your original pins a little to get the skirt and the tie fabric to both lie flat – that's OK. Pop on your skirt and tie it, just to check you've got it about right.
10 – with a 1/2 inch seam, stitch the tie to the waist of the skirt all the way from one edge to the next. Press the seam allowances up towards the top of the skirt. Then press in 1/2 an inch along both of the long edges of the tie.
11 – turn the waist ties towards the right side of the skirt, turning under the raw edge, and pin so that the edge just covers the line of stitching from earlier. From the front, stitch close to the edge all across the front of the skirt.
12 – pin the tie in half from one end to the other, folding in 1/2 inch at each of the short ends. Top stitch across the short end and then along the double edge to close it until you meet the skirt panel. Repeat from the other end.
13 – try on your skirt and check the fit. If you like, you can just wear it like this, but it's usual to add a button on the inside just in case of tie failure! See where the side seam of the skirt meets the wrap front. Sew a buttonhole on the end of the inner piece. (See here for how to sew a buttonhole with your machine.)
14 – sew a button facing IN at the right place to get a comfy fit at your waist. (See here for how to sew a button on with your machine.)
Give your skirt a final press, wrap and wear. The half-circle shape gives it a nice light and flouncy style, but there's still enough wrap that you can feel comfortable you won't be giving anyone any unintentional flashes. Unless you want to of course 🙂