Hello and thanks for visiting my blog. I have been knitting on and off for 50 years and I recently learned to crochet. I love looking for wool bargains and making them into something useful. I mainly knit for charity. I occasionally knit for myself and family members if I find a really good pattern or if they ask nicely!!

Wednesday 28 May 2014

A little sew and sew.....

My daughter has just started a weekend job in a fifties themed teashop.  The staff are encouraged to dress in fifties style clothing.  The other staff wear circle skirts and Daughter tried to buy one but was put off by the price.  So last Wednesday she asked me to make her one and added "Oh, and I need it by Friday".  To give her due credit, this was her plan B.  Plan A was to borrow my sewing machine and attempt to make one herself (while destroying my sewing machine, sewing scissors etc in the process).  Naturally, I preferred plan B.

Two days sounds like plenty of time.  But I also need to sleep and have other things to do.  That left me a few precious hours that I was prepared to devote to making a circle skirt.  As my daughter is quite careless with her possessions, making anything for her is a triumph of hope over experience.  But I like to reward her strong work ethic and still love to make things for her.

I went out with Daughter to buy the material and it was lucky that I did because she liked bold checks which I didn't think would work well for this project.  The material I liked, she hated.  Eventually, we found something we both liked.  We queued for AGES and then discovered there was much less material left than we thought.  It was lovely though, so we bought it anyway and have already set it aside for some shorts.  

We still needed some skirt material but I couldn't face looking for more in that shop as the queue was too long.  There comes a point when economising on staff wages actually loses money for a business!

Outside the shop was a market stall where I have bought material before.  We decided to take a look and found the perfect material for the skirt.  It had small dog tooth checks which met Daughter's approval and looked easy to cut and sew....which met mine!  This market stall specialises in selling good quality samples and end of roll remnants.  We bagged this bargain for only £3, didn't have to queue and both came home happy.

There are myriads of tutorials about making circle skirts.  My main requirement was "NO ZIPS" and I managed to find a very helpful tutorial here.  I used it mainly for inspiration and for the maths calculations.  You don't need a pattern to make a circle skirt.  But you do need to measure and cut very carefully.

Our material was just the right size to cut out the circle in one piece without much wastage.  This meant there were no side seams to sew.  All I had to do was to make a waistband casing with bias tape, insert some elastic and sew the hem.  Easy peasy.  

The instructions I followed for making the waistband came from here.
Sewing the hem of a circle skirt is a little tricky.  I followed the instructions here.

Though I didn't allow Daughter to use my sewing machine, she learned a lot about material and how a skirt is made.  My initial misgivings about her making it herself were confirmed when I had to explain more than once why the waist has to be big enough to pull up over her hips!

The proof of the pudding is in the eating and Daughter has just gone off to work wearing the skirt.  The only photo I managed to take is pretty poor as she was in a rush.  Asking her to take off the jacket for the photo was nearly enough to send her into a meltdown!  She will take off the jacket at work though and the skirt will look much better than it does here.  She has already asked me to make more skirts and we are planning another material hunting expedition soon.

Note to self:
Finished length = 24".
Radius of centre circle = 5" which makes a waist big enough to pull up over 36" hips.
Fold material in half to cut.  10" diameter + 24" + 24" + 2" small hem allowance means that material measuring 60" x 60" is just enough for one skirt.


  1. Hi Una,
    You go to such a lot of trouble writing your Blog up. It's always interesting to see what's new. I know how much time Blog writing takes!
    You really enjoy your Crafting Una well done!

    Una thanks for your comment. I was slightly annoyed with John Lewis. The chap came out and measured up and said he would email me with the price. I never heard anything so decided to do them myself so I went to pick the material up. I asked on the desk if they had got my price and there it was on the computer. She said they always write and let you know. Did I hear anything no! Really bad service and the price was well over the top!
    I'm pleased with what we've done, well it will do for us!
    Thanks a lot and have a good day
    Love Suex

  2. Hi Una, that's a beautiful skirt. I'm glad you managed to capture a picture of it.

  3. Watch out, you may start to get requests from your daughter’s co-workers. You might even find yourself at the start of a new enterprise.
    Cool skirt!

  4. That's some serious measuring and sewing! Looks great.

  5. Nicely done! I laughed about your having to explain to your daughter why the skirt waist needed to be loose enough to pull over her hips.

  6. Mom to the rescue. You did a wonderful job. She must really like it if she asked you for another one. The place where she works sounds like a fun place.

  7. What fun Una! it's lovely to have a mother daughter project especially when you both end up satisfied with the result. The material was very well chosen, I love markets for material there's usually so much choice. The skirt has turned out beautifully, now you are the expert I can see quite a few more being made, I remember trying to take up a circular skirt once and it wasn't easy so well done for getting it so perfect. :)

  8. I love your "notes to self." :) I do that too sometimes, knowing that there are details I will NOT remember accurately! Glad it turned out so well, and pleasing to both of you! I don't let my children touch my sewing machine, nor my sewing scissors, nor my laptop, nor my crochet hooks. Sigh. That's how it is! And we were just talking today about a shop that is trying to economize by being short-staffed. It's awful! What they save in $$ they LOSE in customer service.


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