DIY Midi Circle Skirt With Pockets : No Pattern!




Introduction: DIY Midi Circle Skirt With Pockets : No Pattern!

About: Specializing in sewing, soldering and snacking. More stuff I do... I teach an interactive fashion and textile class called Wearable and Soft Interactions at California College of the Arts. www.wearablesoftin…

Fall is upon us.

All you need to get by is a good comfortable skirt with places to put your stuff (pockets!).

This skirt is made in midi-length, which is the length you will see down the runways and in the stores for Fall. Pantone's color of the season for Fall 2014 is Radiant Orchid. Pantone is alright in my book, so I decided to give the bright color a whirl. I headed straight to my local fabric store and got a medium-weight cotton at 60" width.

For this circle skirt I will go over how to calculate the inner circle for your waist and how to draw your pattern right on the fabric, pockets and all!

Step 1: Skirt Length and Waist Radius - Do the Maths!

Calculate Yardage Needed

Figure Out Your Length of Skirt

Midi length is between the bottom of the kneecap and ankle. Using a tape measure, start from your waist and let it hang. Eyeball where you want your skirt to end and write it down. I chose mine to be 26" long. I also started with 72" wide fabric.

Figure Out Your Waist Radius

- Take the measuring tape and ring it around your waist to find out what your waist circumference (C) is.

- Add .5" seam allowance (SA) multiplied by the number of raw edges. For this skirt, you will have 6 raw edges because we are adding a center back seam for the zipper. You are welcome to add your zipper to a side seam which will make it 4 raw edges. I prefer mine to be in the back, so let's go with that.

So far we have:

C + (SA x 6)

29" + (.5" x 6) = 32"

- Divide this total by π, which is 3.14159265359, contract it to 3.14. This will give you the diameter of your waist measurement.

32" / 3.14 = 10.19

- Divide this total by 2 and minus the waist seam allowance (.5") to get the radius.

(10.19 ÷ 2) - .5" = 4.59"

- Round down for your radius measurement, in this instance that would be 4.5". Once you cut your waist it will stretch out a bit because it is cut on the bias.

Total for a 29" waist = 4.5"

Final Total of Yardage to Buy

- Add length of skirt (26") + hem (1") to waist radius (4.5") = 31.5"

- The skirt is made up of two semi-circles, so multiply the total by 2.

31.5" x 2 = 63"

- I also added on an extra 9" (1/4 yard) for good measure and the waistband. Divide by 36" (1 yard) to get total yardage!

(63" + 9") ÷ 36" = 2 yards to buy

Step 2: Gather Materials


~2 yards of fabric 72" width (you can use 60", which is more common, just make your skirt shorter)

1 matching 7" zipper

1/4 yards of medium-weight fusible interfacing

fabric chalk


soft measuring tape

scissors or rotary blade

hard-edge ruler (if using rotary blade)

sewing machine

matching thread

trouser hook and bar

Step 3: Mark and Cut Pattern on Fabric

Prep Fabric

- Wash fabric to remove any sizing, dry and iron.

- Fold fabric in half and square off the two raw edges.

Mark Skirt Pattern

- Using chalk, mark the radius of your waist and length of skirt on the fabric like in the above illustration.

- Tie a piece of chalk to string, hold the string so the length matches your waist radius and draw the waistline in. Do the same for the hem line.

Mark Pocket Pattern

- Find a place on your fabric that has a blank spot that roughly measures 10" x 6". Lengthwise, mark 6" with chalk, this will be the opening of your inseam pockets. Make sure to leave enough room for your waist band!

- Flatten your hand down on the fabric with your wrist at the opening and trace around with about a 1" border creating a bean shape.

- Add .5" seam allowance with your graph ruler

Mark Waistband and Interfacing

- Take your full waist measurement and add an overlap (1") and SA (1")

For a waist of 29" this total would be 31"

- Draw the total length with a width of 4" to achieve a 1.5" finished waistband.

- To stabilize your waistband, you will want also want to mark a piece of fusible interfacing in the dimensions of:

1.5" x (waist measurement)


- Cut out the 2 semi-circles

- Cut out the pockets, you should get 2 at first, take one of the cut-outs, trace and cut two more to make a total of 4.

- Cut out 1 waistband and 1 interfacing.

To make the center back seam for the zipper, mark the center fold on one of the semi-circles at the waist and hem. Cut along crease dividing the semi-circle in half.

Step 4: Sew Invisible Zipper In

* Before anything, do a straight stitch around the waist of your skirt pieces, this will help the waist to not stretch too much over time while you are handling it.

Prep Waistband

- Take the fusible for the waistband, iron it on to one half of the waistband leaving the SA and 1" overlap at the ends.

Prep Edges

- To make sure your raw cut edges don't fray you can overlock them or use the zig-zag stitch on a home sewing machine. My studio overlock is being serviced, so I used a 1/4" zig-zag to go around all the raw edges on the skirt and pocket pieces.

Sew In Invisible Zipper

- Open the zipper up and press the teeth away from the zipper teeth. This opens up the fold that is there when you buy the zipper and will allow you to sew closer to the teeth while installing.

- Mark .5" down from waist on the center seam

- Place the zipper so the edge of the zipper tape is up against the center-back edge and the top stopper is at the .5" mark from your waist. Pin.

- Use your zipper foot to sew 1/8" from the zipper teeth down to the zipper pull.

- Repeat on the other side of the center back seam, pin it first to make sure the waist matches up at the top when the zipper is closed.

Sew Center-Back Seam

- Once your zipper is sewn in, zip it up and you will notice that the tail of the zipper is detached at the bottom, pull it out of the way and pin up your center-back seam.

- Sew up the seam from the bottom, going up towards the zipper using your zipper foot. Sew past the zipper stitch line 1/8" - 1/4".

- Open up seam and press with iron. Pin and tack down the zipper tape at the bottom to keep the tail secure at the bottom.

Step 5: Sew Inseam Pockets

- Pin one pocket to the front of the skirt and one to the back, lining up the opening edge with the skirt side seams and the top of the pocket with the waist line.

- Sew .5" from waist to bottom of pocket where marked in the photo.

- Press open the pocket piece and topstitch 1/8" in from the seam towards the pocket, this will create the pocket to lay flat towards the inside of the skirt.

- Once you have done this to both the front and the back, pin the front to the back, right sides together and sew down .5" down from waist, around pocket and down the side seam.

- Repeat on other side.

- Open up side seam and press pocket towards front. You are done!

Step 6: Add Waistband

Sew Waistband

- Mark .5" and 1.5" from either end of waistband for your SA and overlap.

- Pin back zipper seam allowance and pin one side of the waistband around the circumference of the waist, matching up the markings to the zipper's edge.

- Sew .5" around waist, making sure to catch the top of the pockets

- Press up the sewn SA and fold the waistband in half, right side to ride side. Start with the side that does not have the 1" overlap, sew .5" in line with center-back seam.

- Go to the side with the overlap and sew your seam allowance, clip the corners and turn both ends inside out.

- On the side with the overlap, clip .5" up from raw edge and 1.5" in. Fold up fabric and pin.

- Pin all along waist seam, catching the .5" allowance on the inside.

- Sew together the open 1" bottom of overlap and stitch-in-the-ditch along waist seam, making sure to catch SA on inside.

Finish with Closure

- Finish off with a large hook and eye above the zipper closure.

Step 7: Hem Skirt

- Fold over raw edge of skirt .5" then another .5" to produce a rolled hem and edge stitch down.

- Press hem and you are done!

Step 8:

Step 9: Cut Out Pattern

1 Person Made This Project!


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1 year ago

Thank you so much for this tutorial, it was a great help!
(still can hardy believe I made an actual funcional piece of clothing! with pockets!!!)


Question 2 years ago on Step 5

How do you know/trace the shape of the pockets?


3 years ago

I understand some of the confusion with the fabric size.

In the required materials the fabric width is said to be 60" but within the first few steps you mention that the width is 70".

Any way you could edit that?


6 years ago

This is so clearly detailed. Wonderful job?. Am so gonna make this soon. ???????????


7 years ago

thanks ;)


Reply 7 years ago

That looks great! :D!!!
Awesome pose too :) Thanks for sharing!

Yes, that was the confusing part, but now that I read it again I see that I read it wrong.

Yesterday I made a test skirt from a €1,00 piece of cloth. Tomorrow I will try to make the official one I hope to wear to my brother's wedding. This is a fabulous tutorial! This black and white skirt was my first skirt ever. I hardly had any trouble making it thanks to your clear instructions. Just one thing: when talking about fixing the waistband to the skirt, you say it needs to be the right way out, but immediately after that you need to have the inside out to double it up.

15 00:33.jpg

Reply 7 years ago

Beautiful skirt!! Love the black and white stripes. :D

Is this the confusing part? "Press up the sewn SA and fold the waistband in half, right side to ride side. " Then in the next step it says "...clip the corners and turn both ends inside out."

I will make the instructions clearer based on your feedback. Many thanks!


this is an awesome tutorial! i already had the pieces cut out (for my own circle skirt) and this shows me a clearer way to add pockets, and i'll be sure to looked at this again for reference! Very nice job on the tutorial :D


Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

Rad! Pockets are essential. Glad it helps!


Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

mhmm, i'm almost done stitching my skirt together, and then i'll attach the waistband, and i'll be good to go! this is the best tutorial i've seen so far.


8 years ago on Introduction

THIS BRINGS BACK A LOT OF MEMORIES! Everything old is new again! When I was 13-16 years old, circular skirts were 'in' - in a big way - in the mid-50's. BUT - they were made of FELT. No hemming, easy sewing, and fun to decorate. We also wore them with a LOT of petticoats, so they stood out quite a bit - about half as much as a ballerina's tutu. (At bed time, we stepped out of all the petticoats and left them standing in the corner - ready to step back in the next day!) The felt made applique and decorating easy - and I made many of these skirts in 'Home Ec' - they were almost a one-day (1 hour) project. My 'most talked about' skirt had a treasure chest applique on it - with lots of coins (the fake sew-on kind) spilling out of the chest all the way down to the hemline. I was wondering just the other day about how I used to figure the waist size...and I'm so glad you posted this! I'll tuck it away for great-grandgirls if the style comes back for them! Thanks!


Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

Yes! Thank you so much for sharing this awesome trip down memory lane. Felt is such a great material, love the structure of it. The chest applique is so creative! I love the DIY nature and creativity behind the circle skirts from the 50s.


Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

Thanks! Glad to hear it. Writing clearly and concisely is always a great challenge. I am constantly taking suggestions and making small edits based on feedback. It's also good to hear that it comes across well too. :)

So... if the circle diameter is 63" (radius 31.5") and the fabric is 60" wide, how do you get two half circles out of it? Or am I not understanding the math?