-half circle skirts

to make a skirt from a half circle.

A most effective and elegant skirt can be made from a small amount of fabric if one is careful with cutting. To begin you will need to know but two measurements, the waist and the length the skirt needs to be.

  • L= length from waist to hem
  • W/3= Waist divided by 3 (fabric has some flex and so we can ignore the rest of pi!)
  • Notes in red are simply indicators of fabric selvages

Here one quarter of the pattern is prepared from which all methods of cutting layout can be decided. The first thing to do is to make a line that will always be cut along the length of the fabric, this is seen at the top of the diagram.

To make the curves even use your measuring stick or tape and hold it firmly at the apex.

Start with the stick/tape lying along the top seam line and then swing it in an arc and mark W/3 and L at even distances until your stick is lying over the angles seam line. Then you connect the marks in a smooth curve by hand or other device.

If you wish you can continue the curves further and create half the pattern which is a quarter circle. You will also note lines indicating fabric widths (red lines —), x is the width of 115cm wide fabric folded in half along its length, y is 150cm fabric folded along its length. As you can see the quarter circle is wider even that two half widths of 115cm which is important to know for later.To determine how much fabric you will need you may wish to follow one of the following diagrams according to tastes and amount of cloth you can buy. The wider fabric is always on the left, the narrower on the right. These are the two most common widths so I have created cutting diagrams for both.

I have used a cursive f to indicate where the fold of the fabric would most commonly go, you may wish to have it on the other side for a back opening skirt. I have thus used a small s to indicate where the selvages are. All other small letters (a, b, c, d) indicate where pieces join together.

Cutting the skirt in gores


Here the fabric is folded in half to match end to end (across the fabric) and the gores cut using the whole width of fabric. The cabbage could be used for parts of the bodice or other small item.


Here the fabric is folded along the selvages which necessitates the cutting of smaller pieces. You will need to account for seam allowance for these as well.

Cutting the skirt with one vertical seam

150cm/60cm wide folded across the grain
115cm/45″ folded across the grain

Here the fabric is folded in half from selvage to selvage using the whole width of the fabric. The cabbage is larger than in any other cutting method so can be used to cut the bodice or other smaller pieces. The wider fabric can allow the entire skirt to be cut with only one seam while the narrower fabric will need an additional piece cut near the hem. Seam allowances will need to be accounted for in this case.

150cm/60″ wide folded in half
115cm/45″ folded in half

Here the fabric is folded selvage to selvage, mimicking many historic fabric widths which necessitates the cutting of smaller pieces near the hem. On the narrower fabric I have indicated cutting the extra piece in two to save fabric as that eminent Tailor Juan de Alcega shows. If however you are cutting a dress from the fabric is may be possibly to cut that piece in one and use the cabbage to cut some of the body from.