Tutorial: Reversible Circle Skirt

Since I’m busy with a bunch of different projects this week, I thought I’d repost a tutorial I did for Amy‘s Spring Fling series last month.  Most of you have probably seen this, in case you haven’t, it’s a super easy and versatile skirt that I’m sure you and your little one will love!  Hope you are all having a good start to your week!

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Spring is something that I am very excited about.  I live in San Francisco, so I’m pretty spoiled by mild weather, but the gray and the rain get me down just as much as anyone else.  I’m ready for some warm sunny days spent playing outside and going on picnics!  So that is what has inspired the project I’m sharing with you today.

I call this The April Showers Skirt (because, you know, April showers bring May flowers!) and it is a reversible circle skirt.  Of course, you can use whatever material you want for yours, but I chose to make one side gray and cloudy and used a bright floral print for the other to represent the changing of the seasons and the sometimes erratic weather patterns of spring.  The best thing about this project is, not only is it SUPER simple but, you get 2 skirts in one!

So let’s begin!  Here’s what you’ll need:
About 3/4-1 yard of lightweight cotton fabric in 2 coordinating fabrics
Elastic
Bias tape
Safety pin
Sewing essentials

For optional applique:
Scrap(s) of fabric
Fusible web

A couple of notes about choosing fabric:
1. Since you are layering two pieces of fabric and adding bias tape for the hem, you want to keep the fabrics lightweight so you don’t weigh it down and it’ll still have that bouncy, twirly effect that circle skirts are famous for.

2. Also, you’ll want a print that looks good from all angles since that’s how the fabric is going to lay.  If you pick something that has a clear up and down, your print will appear upside down on one side of the skirt (and sideways in other parts of the skirt).

3. Lastly, when choosing fabrics, hold them up against each other to see if one will show through.  Since I picked a light gray and a bold print, you can see a little bit of the print from the gray side, but I was ok with it.

To begin, you’re going to need to know how to make a circle skirt.  I used this awesome circle skirt tutorial from made to help me figure out how to make my circle skirt pattern.  You’re going to need the waist measurement and the desired length of skirt and a little bit of math to make this pattern, but Dana did a fabulous job of breaking it down, so go over there and make your pattern and then come back here!

(Note: In Dana’s tutorial she attaches the elastic to the outside of the fabric and leaves extra fabric in the length for hemming.  Here, we’re not going to hem the bottom, but we’re going to make an elastic casing from the material, so I figured it kind of balances out.  I cut my fabric exactly the way Dana described, and it worked fine.  If you plan on using a wide elastic or just want to be cautious, add an extra inch to the skirt length and you can always trim it at the end.)

Ok, so now that you have your custom circle skirt pattern, fold both of your fabrics into fourths and cut out your circle.

This is what it should look like when they are still folded.  If you unfold them, they should look like donuts.

If you’re going to add applique, which is optional, now is the time to do it.  Cut your scrap of fabric to the approximate size you’ll need and then cut your fusible web slightly smaller than that.  Follow the directions that are specific to the fusible web you have.

The one I use most often is Pellon Wonder Under and I love it.  It has a rough side and a paper backed side.  Place the rough side down on the wrong side of the fabric and iron it on.

Now draw your design on the paper side and remember to flip your image since you are drawing on the wrong side of your fabric.

Cut it out, place it on the skirt where you want it to go (at this point, there is no front or back to the circle skirt, so you can put it wherever you want).  Cover it with a damp cloth and iron it on.

It should be nice and adhered, but I always zig zag stitch around my entire applique to make sure it stays put!

Repeat with any other appliques you want to add to either side of the skirt (I decided to add the second cloud later, but I should have done it all at once).

Now to sew the two sides together, place them on top of each other right sides together.  Pin the inner circle together and sew all the way around.

Take one layer of the skirt and push it through the center of the circle turning it right side out.  Press.

Now we’re going to make the elastic casing by top stitching another circle around the waist leaving an opening to insert the elastic through.  Make sure your casing is slightly larger than the width of the elastic you’ll be using.

To insert the elastic, separate the two layers and find the opening that you left.  Attach a safety pin to one end of your elastic, and push it all the way around the circle back to the opening.  Sorry, I didn’t photograph this part, but take both ends of the elastic and sew them together, trim the extra off and sew the opening shut.  We’re almost done!

(At this point, you can measure the length and trim off extra fabric if necessary).  Pin your bias tape around the outside of the circle.

Leave a few inches of bias tape at the beginning unsewn, then top stitch all the way around.  When you get back to the beginning, you should be able to measure out where the bias tape needs to be sewn together.  Sew the two ends of the bias tape with the right sides together.  Press open and then finish top stitching the bias tape on.

And you’re done!!

Now your little one has two skirts to skip around in during the upcoming spring months!

I love both sides, but I think it’s extra fun to catch a peek of the colorful flowers on the underside of the gray.  So fun!

I feel like the possibilities are endless with this reversible skirt.  I might just have to make one for every season! 🙂

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Oh and don’t forget, if you make a skirt using this tutorial (or any tutorial or project on this site), I’d love to see it!  Just add it to the you & mie flickr pool!!

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Tutorial: Asymmetrical Circle Top

It’s here!  My first top tutorial!  I’m so glad that I asked if anyone was interested in this tutorial because so many times I fully intend on doing a tutorial, but I get caught up in other things and let it pass.  You motivated me to follow through on this, so thank you guys!

I’m sure this is a bit premature, but since I’m working on adding more tutorials to my lil library (and I’m hoping people actually use them), I thought I’d create a you & mie flickr group so you can share your creations if you use a tutorial or are inspired by a project you see here.  I really would love to see your projects and I know I’d be inspired by you guys too!  I added some icons on the right and the flickr button will to take you over to the group (it’s the middle icon with the two little circles).

Oh, you like my new buttons??  I downloaded them for free HERE.

Ok ok, on with the tutorial!

So this, like most of my projects sort of evolved as I was creating it.  It wasn’t originally going to be asymmetrical and I intended it to be a shorter top, which is why I keep calling it a top, even though it’s more like a dress or a tunic.  The idea is pretty simple, so I hope I can explain it clearly.  If not, please feel free to ask me for help!!

Here’s what you’ll need:
Fabric (about 1-1.5 yards)
Buttons (I used 5 total , one large and four small – but you can use whatever you’d like)
Sewing essentials (thread, ruler, pins, scissors, etc.)

I used Dana’s Circle Skirt Tutorial to make the body of the top, but before you head over there, we’ll need to make a few adjustments.  Instead of using your kid’s waist measurement, you’ll need to use their chest measurement.  In Dana’s formula, she takes the waist measurement and adds 2 inches before dividing it by 6.28.  I suggest taking the chest measurement and adding 3 inches to give you a little extra fabric.  As for the length, you can make it as long or short as you want.  Just remember that you’ll need an extra inch for hemming and it’s always safer to cut it longer than you think you’ll need and trim it before hemming if it’s too long.  If you’ve never made a circle skirt, all these numbers may be a little confusing, but head on over to Dana’s tutorial because she explains it all quite nicely!

So now you should have your fabric cut and it should look like this when it’s still folded in fourths.

Go ahead and open it up and cut a straight line from the outside to the inside of the circle.

Besides the circle, you’ll need to cut 2 rectangles for straps and one for the bodice.  I cut my straps 12 x 2.5 inches in order to make 1 inch straps.  12 inches was plenty long enough for my 19 month old, but if you’re making your top for a older/larger kid, you’ll probably want to add a couple of inches.

For the bodice, take the chest measurement and add 3 inches for the length.  The width of this strip should be about 5 inches.

(ooh, try to ignore how wrinkled my fabric is!!)

Let’s start with the circle.  On one side of the straight edge you cut open, fold and press your fabric about a 1/4 inch.  If your fabric has a right and wrong side, you’ll want to fold it in towards the wrong side.  My fabric didn’t, so I actually folded my button placket towards the right side of the fabric.

Fold it in another inch, press and pin.

Top stitch as close to the pinned edge as possible and as an optional step, top stitch on the outside edge as well for symmetry.

Alright, now that you have one side of your top finished, we’ll do the other side and this is where the asymmetricality or asymmetricalness comes in. 🙂

Like I mentioned at the beginning, I never intended for this top to be asymmetrical.  It was just going to have the buttons go straight down the front.  But when I looked at the top, it had a bit too much fabric for a top (in my opinion).  I wanted to cut some of the fabric out, but not lose any fabric at the inner circle because then it wouldn’t fit around my daughter’s chest.

I held the fabric together where the fabric met on the top and then pulled the bottom of the fabric over until the plaid lines matched up.  Of course, if you’re not using plaid (or even if you are), you can decide how much of an angle you want the front opening to be.  Just remember not to overlap any of the fabric at the top, just the bottom (oh man, I hope this is making sense).

Once you’ve decided on the angle, mark it by adding pins along the finished placket.  Measure about 1 and 1/4 from your pins and cut from the bottom to the center.  Be sure not to cut the other side of the circle, just the one on top!

Finish this edge the same way you did the first one.  These two one inch hems will overlap and are the button plackets for the front of the shirt.

Now we’re going to prepare the straps.  Take the two rectangles for your straps, fold them in half lengthwise right sides together and press.

Sew down the side with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Turn the straps right side out and move the seam to the center.  Press and top stitch down each side.  Top stitching is optional, but trust me, it’ll look much better.  Set the straps aside.

Take your bodice piece and fold it in half lengthwise wrong sides together.  Along each long side of the rectangle, fold and press it in about a 1/4 inch.

On one end, fold the fabric about a 1/2 inch and press.

Alright, so now we’re going to put it all together!  Measure the width of your top with the button plackets overlapping and it should be slightly larger than your final chest measurement.  Gather the top until it measures the same as the final chest measurement.  To gather, set your machine to the longest stitch possible (usually a 5) and sew a basting line along the edge.  Do not backstitch at the beginning of the end.  Gently pull on one of the threads to gather fabric.  Mine was oh so barely gathered.

With your body piece opened up, lay it in front of you right side up.  The top of the fabric (slightly gathered) will lay straight, but the finished edge will lay diagonal.  Unfold your bodice piece and place it on top (right side down) lining up the edge with the top of the skirt piece. The corner that you created when folding should be lined up with the edge of your skirt piece.  Sew along that fold all the way around to the other edge.

Flip the bodice piece up and iron the seam open.  It should look like this.

With wrong side facing up, your top should look like this.  Fold the ends in half an inch (trim if necessary).

Fold the bodice piece in half.  The folded edge should just cover the seam.  Pin in place.  Keep in mind that while the body piece edges are angled, your bodice piece edges should be vertical.

Top stitch on the right side just slightly above the seam.  Go slow and make sure to catch the fabric on the wrong side.  Since you’re sewing above the seam, it should be fine.

Now it’s time to add the straps.  Measure out your placement by trying it on your kid, if possible.

You can attach your straps however you like, but this is how I do it.  The straps should be long enough to hang past the bottom edge of your bodice piece.  I trim them so they hang past the bottom of the bodice by about a 1/4 inch then zig zag stitch along the edge.

Fold the end under a 1/4 inch and sew right along the top stitching you did earlier.  This will secure the end of the strap nicely and the stitching will blend in and be barely noticeable.  Repeat with the other 3 ends of the straps.

With your straps still pinned in place, top stitch around the rest of your bodice piece.  I like to do extra stitching over the straps to make sure they are very securely attached.

Almost done!  Hem up the bottom by folding it in a 1/4 inch and then another 1/4 and sewing all the way around.

Then make button holes on one button placket and attach buttons to the other.

All done!!  Step back and admire your handy work!

I really hope that this process made sense, but if you need me to clarify any part, don’t hesitate to ask!  It really was supposed to be a simple tutorial, but sometimes I tend to over explain things and make them seem more complicated.

If you use this tutorial to make a top, please load it into the you & mie flickr group so I can see your awesome work!  It’d mean so much to me!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

PR&P Goals and the Spring Circle Top

*EDIT: The tutorial for this top is now available HERE!*

Project Run & Play Season 4 officially begins today!  I’m pretty excited because participating in the sew along last season was SO MUCH FUN.  I didn’t really know what to expect last time or what I was getting myself into, but now that I know just how involved I let myself get, I decided to set some goals for myself.  I’m just posting them here so I can keep myself accountable and reflect on these each week or at the end.

1. Keep it simple and wearable.  As much fun as it is to go all out and do something crazy and fabulous, I can’t invest the time it takes to make 5 pieces of clothing in 5 days.  And as much as I loved Yuki’s Blossom by Blossom dress, it really bums me out that she will probably never wear it again.  I want to make clothes that Yuki can wear over and over again and not drive myself crazy trying to do over the top or extremely time consuming ensembles.  I have to remember that I’m not an actual contestant, just sewing along for fun.

2. Use as much from my current fabric and notions stash as possible.  My sewing supply is growing rapidly, much faster than I am sewing, so I’d like to try and use what I have first before buying more stuff.  Looking at the challenges for this season, it looks like this goal is right in line with the Earth Day Challenge, but some of the other weeks will be harder (like Sportswear).

3. Work on things other than PR&P and don’t lose track of my priorities.  Last season the only projects I worked on each week was my outfits for PR&P.  I’ve got tons of other projects that I want to work on, so I’m going to have to find time for a little of both.  I also have to be careful not to forfeit time with my family or let my work, house work or sleep schedule suffer.  At least not too much 😛  Keeping it simple (goal #1) will help with this.

4. Let myself skip a week if I need to.  It probably seems weird that skipping a week is part of a goal when usually your goal should be to participate as much as possible.  But for me, I get SUPER involved, so it’s waaay harder to skip a week.  I don’t know if I’ll need to, but I want to be able to let it go, if one or two weeks end up being way busier than I expected.

I think that’s it!  I know it’s pretty nerdy of me to get so obsessed and write out goals, but what can I say?  I’m a nerd.

So with that all said, I’m super excited to be done with my first entry!!  This week’s challenge is to remix Dana’s Circle Skirt Tutorial.  I recently used this tutorial for the first time to make my Reversible Circle Skirt.  It’s a very classic style and can be used for lots of variations on skirts and dresses.  But I decided to use the circle skirt idea to make an asymmetrical flowy spring top.

I had a vision and then it kind of morphed as I started sewing (as most of my ideas do).  I like the way it came out though and can imagine Yuki wearing this quite a bit this spring and summer.

I whipped up some super simple jeggings to go with the top.  I know, jeggings!?  I hate them and love them, but in the end, I couldn’t resist.

She had a blast on our private little Easter egg hunt.

We put a strawberry in one of her eggs!  Haha!

So looking back at my goals, I kept it very simple and wearable.  CHECK!  I only used materials I had on hand.  CHECK!  Since I was able to start this early, I didn’t feel pressured to cram in any late night sewing sessions or sacrifice anything else.  CHECK!

It really helps if I can stay ahead of the weekly challenges which is something I didn’t do at all last time.  I’m not sure if I can keep it up though.  Next week’s challenge is sportswear, and while I have something in mind already, I think it might break the “keep it simple” goal.

I’m going to drop some of these photos into the flickr pool now, so head over there and see the other fun circle skirt remixes!

Oh, and I might try to do a tutorial for this top later this week!  Let me know if you’re interested (otherwise I’ll probably just forget about it :))!

Spring Fling on this heArt of mine

Today I’m over at this heArt of mine for Amy’s Spring Fling series!  Yesterday was officially the first day of spring and it could not come soon enough!  I’m ready for sunshine and picnics and flowers!  Amy has lined up some great spring projects of all sorts, so hop on over and check it out!

I’m sharing a sewing project that I’m REALLY EXCITED about.  It’s a simple, reversible circle skirt – easy, fun, and TWO skirts in one!  I call it the April Showers Skirt – one side is gray and cloudy and the other is bright and floral.  April showers bring May flowers!

My favorite part is how the bright print peeks out under the cloudy gray side!  So please pop on over to this heArt of mine for Spring Fling to see how to make your own April Showers Skirt!