Thanks for enjoying last week’s What Type of Belly Dancer Are You? test!
It has quickly become the most shared post on Sparkly Belly 🙂
If your test result was a Classic Belly Dancer or Artist or even Sweet Charmer, today’s DIY is perfect addition to your dance wardrobe!
I love versatile costume pieces, and circle skirts are definitely a must-have costume piece for belly dancers.
This circle skirt is a bit different from the 2-panel circle skirt I did before.
This one is actually 3 panels, which give more volume and create 2 optional slits, and has 2 layers, creating a gorgeous & dramatic effect especially when you twirl! And it’s reversible, so you can have 2 different looks in one. Excited? Let’s get started! 😀
To make this reversible double-layer circle skirt, you need:
Lightweight fabric – I recommend chiffon or lightweight satin for this project. Since it’s reversible, you can pick 2 different colours or mix plain fabric and fabric with prints. If you use fabric with prints, make sure the prints show well on both sides, because both sides will be visible.
How much fabric you need depends on your size. You can download a chart with how much fabric you need and more for this project from here.
Elastic – I’m using 1in (2.5cm) wide elastic. About 1m (1yd) should be plenty.
Matching colour thread
Regular sewing tools – See Resources page for my recommendations!
Paper to make a pattern with – you can use any paper, but you’ll need a large piece about 1.2m x 1.2m. I simply taped 2 pieces of wrapping paper to make a pattern for this project.
DIY Circle Skirt for Dancers!
First we’ll take a couple of measurements. Measure the largest part of your hip and your desired skirt length. Take the skirt length measurement on the back of your body, so you’ll take the curves of your hip into account. If you take the measurement on the front of your body, the skirt can be at the right length in front but short at the back.
Then we’ll do a quick math.
(OR skip the math section by downloading the cheatsheet with the calculation done for you from here. 🙂 )
So each of the 3 panels of this skirt is going to be a half circle with a small half circle opening in the middle, so we need to determine the diameter of the 2 half circles.
First we’ll work on the small half circle. Take your hip measurement, divide it by 3. Now this calculation is much easier if you use cm. So convert your measurement in inches to cm if you use inches. In my case, my hip measurement was 90cm, so 90 divide by 3 is 30cm. Add 2cm to it, so 30cm + 2cm = 32cm. This is the circumference of the small half circle. Multiply it by 2 and divide it by 2pi. And you get the half the diameter of the small circle. So for me, 32cm x 2 / 2pi = 10.2cm. (I used 3.14 for pi.)
Now for the larger half circle, you simply add your skirt length and 2cm for seam allowance to the half diameter of the small circle. For me, the half diameter of the small half circle is 10.2cm, so add my skirt length which is 87cm and 2cm, and I get 99.2cm. This is the half diameter of the larger half circle.
So draw a half of this half circle, so a quarter circle based on these measurements on your paper, and cut it out. This will be your circle skirt pattern 🙂
Now take your fabric, fold it right sides together, and place the quarter circle pattern against the fold. Place weights and cut around the pattern. Trim off the selvage edges too. Open it up, you have 1 half circle panel.
You’ll need 3 panels for each layer of your skirt, so if you are using 2 types of fabric like I am, get 3 panels out of each type of fabric. In total, you’ll have 6 panels.
Then, out of leftover fabric, cut out 2 rectangle pieces for each fabric. They are all 2in (5cm) wide and the shorter one is ⅓ of your hip measurement plus 2cm, and the longer one is ⅔ of your hip measurement plus 2cm. These are for making the waistbands.
Take the half circle panels and finish the straight edges however you like. I used my rolled hem foot here, but you can do a simple zigzag or use a serger.
Also while you are at it, baste the small curved section with a 1/4in (5mm) seam allowance. Basting is simply doing a straight stitch with a long stitch length to hold layers temporarily together. In this case, this basting stitch prevents the curved parts from stretching out.
Do this for all 6 panels.
Then take 2 panels from 1 layer, place them right sides together, and sew along one of the straight edges with a 1/4in (5mm) seam allowance.
Do this for 2 panels from the other layer too.
Next, take corresponding layers. So in my case, place a pink panel and navy blue panel together with wrong sides facing each other. Line up the top, and if the layers don’t match up well, pull one of the basting threads of the longer layer a little. This shrinks the curve a little bit. Then distribute the fabric evenly.
Once the layers are matched up, do a basting stitch along the small curved edge to hold these 2 layers together. The seam allowance is 1/4in (5mm).
Repeat this for the other connected panels.
Now take the waistband pieces, and fold the short ends 1/2in (1cm) from the edge towards the wrong side, and do a simple straight stitch. Then match up the corresponding pieces, and do a straight stitch along one of the long edges with a 1/2in(1cm) seam allowance.
Use an iron to press open the seam, then fold the waistband and press again. Then take one of the long sides, here I’m taking the pink side, fold it at 1/2in (1cm) from the edge, and press.
Repeat this for the other waistband.
Next we’ll attach these waistbands to the skirt panels. First, take the side of the waistband with no fold. For mine, it’s the navy blue side. Place it on the top of the matching side of the skirt panel, right sides facing each other. Match up the edges, and do a straight stitch with a 1/2in (1cm) seam allowance.
Do the same for the other panel now, so you don’t have to switch up your threads.
Then on the other side of the skirt panel, bring the waistband over, and the folded edge should just cover the stitches from sewing the other side of the waistband. Do a top stitch to secure it in place, with a 1/8in (2mm) seam allowance. Here, match the threads with the colours of the fabric. So in my case, I used pink thread for the top thread, and navy blue for the bobbin thread. This way they match the colours of the skirt on both sides.
At this point, press all seams. It takes patience, but this makes the seams look 10x more beautiful 🙂
Now see how much elastic you need, and thread it through the waistbands with a safety pin. Now it looks more like 1 skirt. Sew the ends of the elastic together.
4. Stretch (for you and your skirt 🙂 )
It’s very exciting to see your skirt coming together, but now we have to be patient. Hang it somewhere dry and dark for about a week. This is because circle skirts tend to stretch out over time. So take a break, and we’ll let it stretch now before cleaning up the hem line.
5. Hem the Skirt
Your skirt will have stretched quite a bit especially where the panels are cut on the bias. Measure your skirt length plus 1/2in (1cm) seam allowance from the waistband, and trim the excess. If you have a dress form, I recommend you hang the skirt on the dress form, and measure from the floor to get a more accurate result.
Then finish the hem however you like – you can do rolled hem, a zigzag stitch or use a serger. If you need help with how to hem or how to handle this type of material, I explain it more in detail in my Belly Dance Costume Workshop.
Now you have a beautiful, professional-looking 3-panel circle skirt. Because you can shift and adjust your panels, you can adjust the width of the slits as you like depending on the occasion or choreography. And because it is reversible, you can enjoy 2 looks in 1 skirt.
Well, you get 2 looks MINIMUM because you can actually create many more looks out of this skirt. In my next video, I’ll show you how to create 16 different styles out of this reversible circle skirt! If you are curious, subscribe to my newsletter& stay tuned!
I hope you liked this tutorial, and if you did, let’s share love and inspiration and share this post with your dancer friends!
And if you want the measurement chart that saves you time for calculating measurements, click here to get it.
Thanks for reading, and keep sparkling! 😀
Like what you read? Want to make more costuming bits yourself?
P.S. Pin this image for future reference 😉