Half circle skirt with flounce

Hello everybody! As promised, here is the first tutorial on my blog! This skirt is the first part of my costume for Ylva, the new character I wrote about last week. She wears it as an underskirt, so only the lower part will be visible. On top of it there will be a shorter skirt made of linen scraps, more about that one later! 

This half circle shirt is easy to make, flows out beautiful and is a good basic piece for every (female) costume. It closes in the back with a slit and a tie closure (is it called like that?) The flounce I added is optional, I liked it because of the peasant-y look it gives. Not adding it looks also very good and certainly saves you a lot of time, because gathering the fabric is quite time-consuming. For making this skirt I recommend using non-stretch fabric. Any kind of light-weight, supple fabric will do, as long as it’s not too stiff. Now, on to the tutorial!

For making this skirt you will need:

  • 2.5-3m of fabric, no stretch
  • thread in matching color
  • standard sewing gear like a sewing machine, scissors, pins…


First measure your waist and add 3cm allowance. Divide this number by 3.14, this measurement is your waist radius. After that, measure the length you want your skirt to be, from your waist down. That is, the straight part of your skirt, flounce not included (for my skirt that would mean: total skirt length is 100 cm, flounce is 15 cm, so my skirt length is 85 cm). Add 3 cm allowance to this length and then add it to your waist radius; this is your hem radius. Then multiply your hem radius by 3.14, this is the hem length. Finally, determine the flounce width, the remaining length of your skirt plus 3 cm (for me, that was 15 cm plus 3 cm, so 18 cm). Still follow me so far? Write all those radiusses and lengths down, because we need them in the next step!


Most fabrics you buy are folded in half, self-edges on top of each other (self-edges are the sides of the fabric that do not fray, hence the name). Fold your fabric open, iron it if the fold is very prominent, and fold it in half again, but now the other way around (fraying edges on top of each other). You now should have a roughly square piece of fabric with a fold on one side. Now, draw a quarter of a circle in one of the corners with a fold, using your waist radius. This is most easily done by attaching a pencil to a piece of string with the right length, as shown in the photograph. From the same corner, draw another circle, but now use your hem radius. Cut along the lines and you should end up with a piece of fabric as shown in the picture to the right (still folded in half). The straight open edges should be self-edges! From the remaining piece of fabric, cut the waist band and flouce. The waist band should be (waist measurement +100 cm) long and 4 cm wide. The flounce should be twice the hem length long and the flounce width wide. Most probably you won’t be able to cut this in one piece, so cut multiple pieces until the right length is reached.









Now grab your half-circular piece of fabric and put the right side of the fabric and the straight edges together. Stitch about 1.5 cm from the edge, but stop about 20 cm under the waist. This is the back slit of the skirt, which is necessary if you still want to be able to put it on. Press the seam open. Then, fold the edges of the slit in 1.5 cm to the inside of the skirt and stitch. The top back part of your skirt should now look as shown in the picture.


Next, fold your waistband lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press (so now it is a 2 cm wide double band). Then, fold in the longest edges of the fabric in such manner that the edges touch the fold allready there and press (again: right sides together). You should now have a band that is 1 cm wide, open on one side and the raw egdes of the fabric folded inside.  Fold your waistband open again, and pin the right side of the waistband to the wrong side of the skirt. Make sure you center them well, so you end up with ties of equal length! Stitch in the first fold, so 1 cm from the edge.. It should now look like the left picture.Fold in the short edges of the waistband about 1 cm and stitch. Now, fold the waistband along the folds you pressed in before, around the top part of the skirt and along the ribbon ties. Stitch a few mm from the side to close the waist band and finish the top edge of the skirt. Starts looking nice eh! Mine now looks like the picture to the right:









If you don’t want to add a flounce, you just have to finish the lower edge of your skirt (as explained below for the flounce) and you are done. Really nice and easy right!

If you do want to add a flounce, sew all the pieces together at the short edges to make a long strip of fabric. Close this strip into a loop, but make sure you do it right so you don’t end up with weird twists. Finish one edge of the flounce by folding in the edge 1 cm twice to the wrong side, so no raw edges are showing and stitch. Now, mark the bottom edge of the skirt every 20 cm and the upper edge of your flounce every 40 cm. This makes dividing the pleats later on a lot easier! Next, stitch all around the ruffle with the longest stitch available on your sewing machine about 1 cm from the top edge. If it frills allready a bit under the sewing machine it’s okay, because that is what we want it to do! This tread is only there for making pleats 🙂 Don’t forget to set your stitch length back to normal after doing so!


Next, pin your flounce to your skirt wrong sides together, matching the marks. This looks all ugly with long loops (left picture), but that’s okay. To make the two pieces match, take a pin and carefully pull the sewing thread along the edge in a few different places between two markings. This should cause your flounce to wrinkle! It takes some practice, but make sure to evenly divide the pleats. Pull just enough to make the two lengths fit to each other and pin in place (middle picture). Make sure you don’t stab yourself when grabbing the skirt in a random place, it happens to me all the time and it’s painful. When you pinned everything in place, stitch about 1.5 cm from the edge, cut the seam to 1 cm and finish it with a zigzag stitch.








And that’s it! You are finished! If you used this tutorial to make a skirt, pleae fill out the poll, I would like to have some feedback on it. And off course, if you have a request for a piece of clothing, mail me at janneke.theimaginaryworlds@gmail.com I really would like your input and ideas!

Categories: Costumes, LARP, Tutorials | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Half circle skirt with flounce

  1. Anne

    I’ve just used this pattern for a skirt a week and a half ago, because I decided the week before the LRP event I needed a costume update. It worked out really well!


  2. Love the skirt. There’s a safer and simpler way of doing gathering without so many pins. Set the sewing machine stitch length to 4 and sew a stitch line at the top of the fabric panel just inside the seam allowance. Because your panel is so long, I recommend breaking this seam into several 4-6 inch long sections. Backstitch only at the beginning of each section. To make the gathers, pull on the loose bobbin thread (the bottom thread of the stitch). Voila! Your gather is complete. Then sew on the gathered layer.

    You could replace the gathering seam with a zigzag stitch over a spare piece of yarn. Pull the yarn to gather. (This is harder because you have to be careful not to zigzag onto the yarn as you sew over it. But it prevents thread breakage during the gathering step.)

    Happy sewing!


    • Hello Laura,

      that is exactly what I did! The stitching in step 5, the pulling in 6. It is indeed a very nice way to make a fine gather. I used so many pins to keep everything in place while I was stitching, sometimes the athers tend to sag a bit when you maneuver the whole project around over the table and under the machine. Thanks for your nice comment, maybe I have to rewrite it a bit 🙂 happy sewing to you too!


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