Even with all the excitement and bustle of everyone preparing for Market, I was able to take a little side trip away from thinking about quilts and making them, just for fun (and just for a bit. There’s a lot of quilting that needs to be done!). I recently found this great piece of fabric at the thrift store, a big panel printed with a circular motif.
It might be fun to turn it into something I could wear. And what is more perfect for a big circular print than a circle skirt? I decided to make it using techniques that most quilters could do, even if they’ve never made a garment before. Using just a few simple supplies, like a decorative zipper, 3/8″ black twill tape and bias binding. Here’s what I did.
First, I figured out what size the waist should be. I measured myself, which gives me the circumference of the circle. (A note about measuring: measuring right around the natural waist will give the circle skirt a more formal 1950s look with an hourglass shape. If you measure a bit lower on the hips, your skirt will wear with a more hippie, bohemian look. I chose the latter, mostly because of the print of the fabric.) I need to find the diameter, which is the measurement across the width of the circle. To calculate the diameter, divide the circumference by pi(3.14). Then, using the center of the print as a guide I determined the placement for the waistline is right around the elephant’s ankles on my print. That sentence only makes sense with a picture.
I was very wary to cut out the circle for the waist because all that bias can stretch out of shape really easily. So I did everything I could before I did any cutting, like putting on the zipper and stabilizing the waist. That worked well, because of the nice decorative zipper that I used. Since the zipper tape is meant to be seen, you can just stitch it right on top of your fabric with less hassle than a standard zipper. Kind of like appliqueing a zipper.
So I stitched the zipper on top, a single row of stitches at the very edge of the zipper tape. Even if you’ve never used it, your machine most likely came with a zipper foot and they’re simple to use, especially on these decorative zippers.
Then I appliqued a circle of black twill tape all around the elephant’s ankles, to stabilize and keep it from stretching out when I cut. After that I had no choice but to cut into the fabric.
I also cut the fabric right between the zipper teeth. To keep everything nice and neat, I folded the raw edge under the zipper tape on the inside and stitched that down.
For a final finishing touch on the waist, I added bias binding all the way around the waist, right on top of the twill tape. You can see a little bit of the twill tape peeking out from under the bias binding and it’s a nice, strong finish that looks pretty good. I will need to add a hook and eye closure by hand.
And there you have it! You’ll have to wait for a shot of me wearing it, because I have to finish the hem first. The weight of the fabric and the corners that will be cut off makes the skirt really, really heavy at the moment, and it’s far too long.
I don’t want to cut the hem until I’m ready to finish it, because of the bias thing I mentioned earlier. I don’t have a rolled-hem foot but I was thinking I might run the twill tape all around the hem instead.
While quilting and garment making are two very different animals, there are instances when ideas of one can be adapted to the other and vice versa. This technique is something I made up and it does break a few official garment-making rules, but I think that makes it a bit more accessible to quilters who may want to dip a toe or two into the ocean of making clothes. Plus, circle skirt are flattering on just about everyone, I think so anyway, besides it being a good style for a beginner.
So, this may go into a UFO pile since I kind of have to get back to working on quilts, but it’s a fun little detour. Do you ever take a break from quilting? If so, what does your break consist of? Sometimes, I take a break from quilting to check out Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, YouTube and our website. Enjoy your weekend!