Flared Skirt Tutorial - The Pattern

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this, but I love maxi skirts. They're incredibly easy to style, comfortable and they look amazing on. I'm going to show you guys how I made my favourite black maxi skirt that I posted about on my Back to 7AM post.


It is essentially a circle skirt, but it only has the area of half a circle in the entire skirt. Therefore the silhouette is not as flouncy and full, but more flared and A-line. I find this is a more suitable style for day to day wear. Plus, it is easier to fit this smaller pattern piece on the fabric without trying to disguise seam lines.

First we start with a bit of high school mathematics. The circumference of a circle is equal to π multiplied by the diameter. The circumference is the measurement of your waist (or where ever you would like your skirt to sit) and lets just shorten π to 3.14. So take your waist measurement and divide it by 3.14 and then you have your diameter.

Now the next part is a little bit hard to wrap your mind around, but you don't need to understand it to follow the instructions. So we know that to draw a circle you need to use the radius (diameter ÷ 2). If we were to divide our diameter by 2 and draw half a circle we would be losing half of our waist measurement. Therefore, we need to use the diameter as the radius when we are drawing the half circle... Makes sense? Maybe not, but I promise it works!

So next, you will use these measurements to make your own paper compass! Firstly, add together the radius (remember we are using  the diameter as the radius), 1.5cm seam allowance and your total skirt length. My skirt does not need a hem allowance as I overlock the edges, but you may add on a hem allowance if you need it. Cut out a strip of paper about 3cm wide and just a little bit longer than your total measurement.

Draw a very straight line through the middle of the paper and make a mark about 2cm from the left edge. This is your axis. From there, mark your waistline by using the radius measurement and then mark the seam allowance 1.5cm to the left. From the waistline, mark the skirt length then mark the lining length 15cm to the left. If you wish to add hem allowances, mark them to the right. Wrap some clear tape around the markings to keep them strong and then pierce a small hole where the markings meet the horizontal line.


Find (or tape together) a large piece of paper, just bigger than the length of your compass on all sides. Rule a straight line across the bottom leaving about 2cm from the edge. Also rule a straight line at 90 degrees to the bottom line, also leaving 2cm from the edge. It doesn't matter which side you choose to draw the vertical line, but it is very important it is at a 90 degree angle. Someone will need to help you with the next part. Using a sharp pen hold down the axis to the point where the lines meet on the large paper. Ask your helper use a pen and draw out the arcs at each marking, making sure they cross the 90 degree lines. Hold the paper compass firmly to ensure you draw a perfect smooth arc. When finished, add on a 1.5cm seam allowance to the straight lines.

Your paper should look pretty close to this.


Now you can cut the pattern piece out. Depending on the length of your zipper, mark the length on one side seam measured down from the waistline. Your pattern should look like this...


The waistband is pretty simple. On a long piece of paper, draw a rectangle that is 4cm wide and the length is equal to your waist measurement. Draw 1.5cm seam alowances all the way around. Cut the pattern out and fold it in half. On the crease, mark your side seam.


Now your pattern is made! You are ready to cut out your fabric. I recommend using something very light and floaty like a chiffon and a polyester blend lining. Measure the length of your compass from the axis to the hem. When you buy your fabric, make sure the width of the roll isn't shorter than this measurement or you'll be kicking yourself when the pattern doesn't fit. To cut out the lining, just cut at the lining hem mark on the pattern piece. Also, make sure to iron on some interfacing on the waistband to give it some stiffness. Stay tuned for the next chapter - how to sew it all together.




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