So I made this circle skirt for the very first local pride, and I had a few people ask about it. So I decided to make a little tutorial. All that is needed is some patience, maths and some sewing skills. This can also be used to make just a normal circle skirt with a petticoat; it would just mean a few steps less.

What mine is made of;

Cotton poplin in 6 colours (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) and a soft tulle, Waistband interfacing, one invisible zipper, two press studs and a hook and bar.

What you need apart from the material; 

Sewing machine, ruffle foot (nice to have), Overlocker (nice to have), Scissors, paper, sewing needles, chaulk,  pencil and eraser, measuring tape and rulers, calculator and Patience.

 The pattern making process;


First you will need two measurements, your waist and the length of the skirt. Now you will need to take the waist measurement and treat this as your circumference of your circle = C

We need to get the Diameter (D) and Radius ( R) of that circle.

Using this calculation D= C:3.14 you will have your Diameter, now divide that by two and that is your Radius.


Draw out your half circle on the edge of a paper using these measurements (Fig 1) making sure to add the length of your skirt before and after the half circle.



drawing the waist circle

Fig 1, Drawing the first part of the pattern

Drawing the skirt length

Fig 2, Drawing the Hemline

Then with a long ruler or measuring tape draw the hemline of your skirt from your half circle (fig 2) taking care not to flatten the curve. Try to draw as many lines as possible and join them or you can try and use a string and pencil like a protractor.


This is half your circle skirt, you can add seam allowance and miss the next steps if that is what you want.

If you want to make the Pride Skirt there is a little bit more maths and drawing to do. 

For the rainbow flag you need 6 colours meaning I had to divide my length by 6. My length was 60 cm, which meant 10 cm panels (not including Seam Allowance). Depending on which flag you are doing that will vary, but try and make them even.

Then we go to the half circle skirt pattern and draw in those panels, just like we did the length with a ruler or measuring tape. (fig 3)

Then cut those bands out without adding seam allowance, add that when you pin the pattern onto the fabric, that helps to make sure the curve you cut out on each panel stays the same.

Making the skirt panels

Fig 3, Drawing the Panels

Measuring the amount of fabric needed

Fig 4, Figuring out the Fabric amounts

Figuring out how much fabric you need;

Fabrics usually come in 150 cm widths or 110cm widths there can be other widths but these are the most common, so we want to see what we will be working with.


The easiest way to see what you need is to fold your panels in half and lay them onto a table, then use the edge of the table as your fold of the fabric. Allowing for a 1 cm Seam Allowance measure across for the width, the up and down, remembering you need two of the pattern pieces to make the circle skirt. This will give you a measurement that you need to double because the fabric is folded. (fig 4)

Do this with all the pieces and you will have the fabric amount, remember to add some for the waistband and Basque.

Talking of the Basque we need to make that pattern too. What is a Basque you might ask, or maybe you know what it is, either way here is a little explanation.


A Basque is a part of a Tutu usually, it’s the bit that holds all the layers of the romantic tutu and the bit that attaches the knicker of the Plate tutus to the waistband. (fig 5 &6) we are going to use it to attach our petticoat to.



basque on classical tutu

Fig 5 (from: How to Dress Dancers, by Mary Kent Harrison)

basque on romantic tutu

Fig 6 (from: How to Dress Dancers, by Mary Kent Harrison)

drawing the Basque Pattern

Fig 7, Drawing the basque pattern

Basque Pattern finished

Fig 8, Finished basque pattern

Now to the pattern of this Basque, you will need your waist measurement again and multiply it by 2.2. Using the Calculation D= C:3.14 draw another half circle again this time only adding 12 cm each side. (fig 7) measure along the circle and mark your waist measurement, it should be just a little shy of the half circle. Then measure out 12 cm and draw the outer circle. Here you can add seam Allowance, 1cm on top 5 cm each end and none at the bottom. (fig 8)

Check the basque pattern against your body just to see if everything went right with the calculations. 

The Petticoat is just a bunch of straight panels gathered together and sewn together to create volume, pretty simple but time consuming. Here is where the Ruffle foot comes in handy.


How many layers you do is up to you, but you want at least two. And more can be added at a later date if time is an issue. I had two at first and will add more when I have time.

Petti coat tiers explained

Fig 9, Showing what Tiers are

Example; my skirt was 60 cm long and the first tier starts 1 cm below my waist making it 59cm and I had 3 tiers. So we calculate 59cm : 3 = 19.6cm now that is the width of your first tiers. The scene is 2cm below meaning 58cm : 3 = 19.3cm for the second tiers and so on. Now just remember seam Allowances need to be added as well, I usually add 1cm top and bottom.


Now we need to figure out how many width we need for each tier; 

Say the waist is 80cm we need at least 1.3 times that for the first tier, because 1 cm below the waist is wider and we want flow in that skirt. So if you have 150 cm width you can start with one width on the top tier then 3 on the second and 9 on the third. The longer the top tier is, the more you will have at the bottom, because we want volume, it has to be at least 2 or 3 times more each step down.

and a To Figure out how much you can make a little chart like this;


Layer 1 – 21.6cm x Tier 1- 1

Tier 2- 3

Tier 3- 9

= 280.8cm

Layer 2 – 21.3cm x Tier 1- 1

Tier 2- 3

Tier 3- 9

= 276.9cm

Makes 557.7cm I would go for 560 cm incase they cut a little bit wonky. Always check if fabric places have sales they sometimes want to get rid of tulle or organza and will give you a roll for not much.


This is the first part of making this skirt, now it’s all about getting the materials and notions. I will add a little reminder of what you need below and you can add the colours and amounts in yourself. Have fun and give yourself time to make this.

Second Part coming next week.