Reversible Circle Skirt Tutorial

My Handmade Wardrobe, Sewing, Style, Tutorial

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Valentine’s Day is almost here!!  It’s one of my favorite holidays because PINK!  And RED!  And CHOCOLATE!  Plus an excuse to dress up for a fancy date with your man??  It doesn’t really get better than that.

This reversible circle skirt is perfect for a nice night out.  It’s glittery and twirly and girly!  And today I’m sharing the tutorial so you can make one too…

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I was drawn to this pretty fabric when I saw the abstract floral side, but then when I flipped it over, I couldn’t believe the “wrong” side was so amazing too!

I really tried to make a dress out of this stuff but it just pained me to hide one of these prints (and I couldn’t decide which!) so I made it reversible instead.  This tutorial has a lot of words but don’t be afraid…it’s a lot simpler than it seems.

Ready?!

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Supplies:

2 yards special occasion reversible fabric  (I found mine at JoAnn Fabrics but it’s not online, unfortunately)
4 yards coordinating bias tape
matching thread
4 matching buttons (I used 1/2″ but you could also get away with using just 2 bigger buttons)
metal exposed zipper with two-way pull (I used a very long zipper and shortened it to 12″ by removing the extra teeth at the top with needle nosed pliers)

  1.  Begin by creating a circle skirt pattern for yourself.  I like this video for a super simple tutorial and I love this calculator that does all the math for you!  You’ll do just a couple things differently than Dana does in her video:

    *Don’t add any ease at the waist because you’ll be using a zipper instead of elastic.  That means you’ll use your exact waist measurement without adding any extra inches.

    *Make two separate pattern pieces for your skirt: one for the front and one for the back.  My front piece measured 24″ long, the back piece is 31″.
    *The video has you cut your skirt by folding your fabric twice and cutting through 4 layers of fabric.  Since you’re cutting two skirt pieces, you’ll simply fold your fabric once and cut through 2 layers of fabric (for both front and back pieces)

    *Lastly, take your back piece (the longer one) and lay your front piece on top of it.  Taper the back piece hem up by cutting it in a curve until it meets the front piece at the sides.  See diagram below:
    reversible-circle-skirt-diagram
  1. Sew your skirt pieces together at the side seams using a 3/8″  seam allowance (leave a 10″ opening at the top on one of your sides for a zipper); trim allowance down to 1/8″.  Press seam allowances together to one side.  Create french seams by turning your skirt right side out (according to the seam – you won’t really have a right side since your fabric is reversible!).  Fold the fabric along the seamline, encasing your raw seam allowance within the fabric; press this fold well. Using the fold as if it were a raw edge, stitch again, this time using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  (See this tutorial for detailed, step-by-step pictures of making a french seam)

    Once your french seams are created, press the seam allowance to one side again and topstitch along the loose fold of the seam.  This will create the look of a flat-felled seam like the kind you see on jeans.  (I decided to not do an actual flat-felled seam here because my special occasion fabric did not press too well.  This wannabe solution worked great!)

    skirt-hem-side-seam

  2. To attach your zipper: begin by folding the raw edges (of the opening you left in the side seam) under 1/8″.  It doesn’t matter what side you fold under.  Then pin one side of zipper tape along this fold, keeping the zipper teeth about 1/8″ away from the folded edge. Zipper teeth should end 3/8″ below the raw edge of the skirt top.Topstitch the zipper to the skirt very close to the fold, then again close to the edge of the zipper tape.  Repeat with the other side of skirt opening and zipper tape.This step makes it so you are enclosing the raw edge of your skirt opening within the two lines of stitching, hidden by the zipper tape!  See pictures for more detail (but please ignore my topstitching screw ups.  I ended up removing some stitching at the top because after a fit test, I had to take the skirt out a bit!)

    You can see that I didn’t have a zipper with a two-way pull on hand when inspiration struck for this skirt at midnight.  When I wear the monochrome side out, I just pull the zip up from the inside.  It works!

     

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One side of your skirt, the zipper tape will be exposed (see colorful side of my skirt) and the other side you will see a folded edge and two lines of topstitching along the side of the zipper teeth.  This is much easier to do than explain!

4.  For your waistband, you will need two strips of fabric with the following measurements: (your waist measurement) + 3.5″ x 3″
For example, if your waist is 30″, your waistband strips will both measure 33.5″ long x 3″ wide.

5.  Take your waistband pieces and sandwich the top of the skirt between them, right sides together, raw edges even, and pin along the entire waist of skirt, beginning and ending with the 10″ opening you left in your side seam.  Ensure that the waistband extends past the opening evenly on both sides (1 3/4″ on each side).  Stitch in place with a 3/8″ seam allowance; press waistband pieces and seam allowance UP.  (Be sure you’re stitching your zipper in place right next to the top teeth!)

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6.  Fold the top long raw edges of waistband, as well as short raw edges, to the inside so that raw edges are hidden.  I folded them in about 1/4″ but this is up to you.  Press well and pin in place.  Topstitch along the entire waistband: begin by topstitching the bottom waistband/top skirt seam, along one short edge, across the top of waistband and then around the other short end (essentially a very long rectangle!).  Go slowly around your corners so that you get a nice crisp edge.

7.  Add buttons and buttonholes where desired.  There are a few ways to do this so that they look nice from both sides.  I chose to attach 4 buttons on one flap of the waistband (2 buttons on each side, right above the zipper tape) and two buttonholes on the other flap (right at the edge).  Then I always button it so that the buttonholes are on top of the buttons, regardless of what side of the skirt faces out.

skirt-hem-close-up

8.  Lastly, add bias tape to your hem by pinning the tape so that it sandwiches the raw edge.  Topstitch along folded edge of tape (since one side of bias tape is always longer than the other, make sure you’re stitching with the shorter side facing you in order to catch the longer side underneath). Before you reach the end of the tape, fold the short raw edge of bias tape under and use it to overlap the beginning of the tape where you started.

That’s IT!  Whew -I know it seems like a lot of steps but it really was easy.  And now you get double the wear out of a single skirt!  Yippee!

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5 Comments

  • Reply
    Miranda
    February 6, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    This skirt is fabulous! Great tutorial!!

    • Reply
      Bonnie
      February 6, 2016 at 5:06 pm

      Oh, thanks so much Miranda!
      XOXO

  • Reply
    LYNETTE
    May 19, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    Thank you very much! I’d love to sew this one day!

  • Reply
    Cathy
    August 20, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    I don’t usually comment, but I found this on Pinterest when I looked up hi low circle skirt… I have the exact fabric! I just finished making a pleated midi skirt with the colorful side out and had the other half of the fabric left over. I also love the other side of the fabric and figured I’d make a easy elastic waisted circle skirt, possibly reversible…. and here you had the same idea AND a great tutorial!! What a lovely coincidence! I think I will try the elastic version of this skirt…. are pockets a possibility? What are your thoughts? Thank you!
    PS. such fun photos!!

    • Reply
      Bonnie
      August 22, 2016 at 2:55 pm

      Yay! So happy you found it and are using the same stuff! It really is gorgeous fabric. I think pockets would be a great idea…although I might consider using a lighter weight fabric for them (like a lining polyester or similar) just so it doesn’t weigh down the skirt. Good luck!

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