I designed this skirt in 1998, when I started a LARP, and needed quick “gypsy” style skirts on the cheap. At the time, I wasn’t very sewing-savvy, so I wanted something with minimal work, that could be done either on a machine or by hand. I quickly hit upon this “Half circle” Skirt. Since I was playing a gypsy, I usually didn’t hem them, I just let them naturally fray. A simple drawstring or elastic makes up the waist.
These instructions show how to hem with fusible bonding web. However, you can do a traditional hem, or you can leave it fray out. It’s up to you and your fabric.
Step 1: Materials
Acquire your materials. You will need:
At least 2 yards of fabric
Matching or contrasting thread (bobbin for machine, if necessary)
Elastic or ribbon long enough to go around your hips
Something to mark the fabric with (I use chalk)
A pair of comfortable pants the length you want your skirt (Shorts, Capri, full pants)
A sewing machine or needle (not pictured)
Cutting place or board (Grid in background!)
Fusible Bonding web (Optional)
Fray-prevention product (Optional, not shown)
Two yards will give you a basic, simple skirt without too much flare, but enough fluff to be nice. The more fabric you have, the fuller the skirt.
For this Instructable, I am using just under 4 yards. I tend to shop the remnants and sale bins for these skirts, so I’m used to dealing with off-amounts. As long as the fabric folds flat, you can use it!
To prepare for layout, you need to unfold your fabric until you have the wide end.
Refold the fabric in half, so that you have the long end doubled over. Make sure the fold is at the top.
Step 2: Layout
Once your fabric is folded properly and laid out on a flat surface - Image one - (The floor or a bed will work), you need to bring out your comfortable pants.
Lay the pants out diagonally on the fabric, moving them down enough that the flattened edges of your waistband touch both edges. - Image two -
Mark a curved line about an inch to two inches above your waistband. This is the fold over for the drawstring. - Image three -
At the bottom of your pants, make a line that curves from the fold down to the open side, about an inch to two away from the end of your pants, if you’re doing a hem. If you’re not hemming the skirt, line it up with your pant legs. - Image four -
Step 3: Cutting and Pinning
With your lines marked, move the pants out of the way, and carefully cut along your marked lines. Your fabric will resemble a large slice of pie with a bite taken out at this point. - Image one -
Start pinning along the straight seam on the side of the skirt. - Image two -
Once the seam is pinned, fold the drawstring channel over, and pin down. You will have to flip the skirt over, but if you’re careful, you’ll just reverse the fold with the seam, and will be able to go along the other side. You might have some problems around the fold based on how much you curved the cut, so I recommend doing that part first, and making the rest match up from there. You might get some gathering from this, but don't worry, the skirt gathers anyways. - Image three -
At this point, you can pin up the hem too, or leave it for when you’re wearing it. I would recommend doing it now while its flat, for accuracy.
Step 4: Sewing (main)
I use a sewing machine now, since I’m not trying to be “period” accurate with anything. If you want to be more “Medieval”, go ahead and sew things up by hand. Choose your stitch option based on your fabric. I tend to use the “zig-zag” option for strength.
With your sewing machine loaded with the necessary thread, start things off by sewing up the seam. This is the least troublesome part of the skirt, and should be done first. Make sure to reinforce the area by the drawstring with a few back-wards, forwards passes.
If you need to seal the ends of the drawstring opening, either by some sort of product, or by putting a ribbon over it, or by sewing it like a button-hole, I recommend doing that before you seal it down, so you can flip the edges up.
If you’re not securing the edges of the drawstring opening, or you’re planning on using elastic and will therefore be sewing the edges together later, you want to carefully sew the upper channel now. You can go over this area twice, if you wish, because it is usually the first portion to fail.
Once it’s been sewn, now is a good time to put the drawstring in. Make sure you cut the ribbon or string you’re using long enough to go around your hips! I use a large crochet hook to pull the ribbon through.
If you're doing an elastic waistband, you probably want to use a ribbon to gather the skirt opening enough to get the waistband correctly sized.
Step 5: Hemming - Optional
Now, you get to do the hem.
Depending on how you’re tackling this, your choices are to ignore it, sew it up as normal, or you follow the instructions for whatever product you’re using. A fray prevention product would eliminate the need to hem, but might be tiresome to apply to the widest part of the skirt.
For this fabric, I’m using Fusible Bonding Web. This usually makes the hem slightly stiff at first, so the skirt has a little more fluff.
Follow the instructions, and apply the product. (Test first on a scrap to make sure it works with your fabric!)
Step 6: Finished Product!
Ta-da, a quick and easy skirt that only has one seam!