These dresses have been around for a while now and I’ve seen these on sale recently in the shops, usually in the bridesmaid/ eveningwear sections. I’m always shocked at how much they are especially when they’re so easy to make!
I’ve probably made over 15 of these dresses for myself, friends and family over the years. It’s easy to do, very quick and gets startlingly good compliments! It involves using a full circle skirt and some very long straps which’ll wrap around you to make a beautiful dress!
This quick tutorial will cover the basic steps on making your own!
So make a decision – do you want a long dress or a short dress? Either way it’ll use up about 4m of jersey (with leftovers for another project but you really do need the length here). You’ll want a reasonably stretchy jersey for this – at least 25% or more ideally – because that’ll help it conform to your body (and make it comfier).
Grab yourselves a pen,paper. ruler, tape measure, calculator and fabric!
We’ll start with getting your waist measurement. Measure at your narrowest part (or just where you want the skirt waist to sit). I’ll use mine as an example – 68cm (or 27″)
Then take off 10% off that total. This is to add negative ease so that it sits more snugly at the waist and doesn’t gape. That’s 61cm now.
Then we need to add on your seam allowances. You’ll be adding on two side seams. For a seam allowance of 1.5cm, add 6cm to your waist measurement. Up to 67cm.
Now for some math! (Go grab a calculator. I don’t expect anyone to be doing this in their heads…)
That final number is your circumference. Divide this now by pi! (If there’s no pi symbols on your calculator or you don’t know how to get it up you can use 22/7 or 3.142). And divide again by 2. This’ll be your radius. Mine is 10.6cm.
If you don’t fancy all that math you can use the circle skirt calculator from By Hand London which automatically includes your seam allowances and will also tell you how much fabric you’d need.
If you don’t want such a full skirt you can do this with a half circle skirt as well. Again, you can use the By Hand London site to work this out too! (Or after you divide by pi, don’t divide by 2…)
So what now?
Take some paper (at least the length of your skirt + radius and square shaped).
From the corner point, measure out your radius length to create an arc.
This’ll be your skirt pattern. You will need two of these cut on the fold to create your skirt.
So ideally you should cut both your pieces with fabric folded so your selvedges are meeting. If your skirt is particularly long it won’t fit this way. You should fold your fabric in the other direction so allow it to fit. Don’t worry this won’t affect the overall outcome.
For the long straps you need to cut 2 x 2m lengths of 25cm. If you’re quite big busted you should make them wider (I’d say if your over a size 12-14 make it 30cm wide, more if needed)
Start with the skirt side seams. You can finish the seam edges if both like, it’s jersey and won’t fray so it’s completely up to you.
And for the rest…
Turn over and pin the side edges of each strap.
Make 3 small pleats towards one side of the strap.
Overlap the middle in a slight V shape and pin
Pin the short ends of your waistband together and sew.
Press the seam open and then fold your band in half lengthwise to create a thin band.
Pin the straps to one half of your skirt, making sure it’s centred.
Over this, pin your waistband ensuring all the raw edges are together. You should try to place your waistband seam at the centre back of the skirt.
All four pieces pinned in place? Now sew!
I like to leave my hems raw but feel free to finish yours how you wish!
What you should have now is something that looks like a big circle skirt with two very long straps attached to it!
Here’s some ideas on how to wear it!