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Circular skirts from table clothes

Guardmom | Posted in Fitting on

I need to make 30 circular skirts. We’ve already decided to buy round table cloths and cut out the center and add an elastic band to make the waist. What I need to know is how much ease should I add to the girls waist measurements so that the skirts can be pull on and off. The plan is to have the girls pull the skirts on over their heads then off over their hips.

If you’re wondering what these are for;They’re for a marching band show. This year’s show is fire and ice. The girls need to pull these skirts on over their fire costumes to become ice, then pull them off agian to return to fire.


  1. Teaf5 | | #1

    Wow, thirty skirts!  I'd assign a number to each one skirt, marking it with masking tape inside, and have a chart with the essential measurements to correspond to each girl. 

    Are they all the same waist and height?  If not, you may run into problems using pre-cut tablecloths for all of them, because a larger waist circle will result in a shorter skirt, and a smaller waist circle will make a longer skirt, but the girl with the larger waist may be much taller than the one with the smaller waist.  (Try a few samples using paper towelling and different sized dolls to get an idea of what I mean.)

    For the waist elastic, measure their hips over their fire costumes and add a couple of inches.  Anything that will slide over the hips will slide over the shoulders, as the hips are rigid, but shoulders can flex and bend to fit through very small spaces.

    The elastic band should be the same size as the waist (before stretching), but it's always better to make it about 2-4" longer to allow for fitting.  Connect the loop, attach the skirt, and then take a 2-4" tuck in the back of the band.  There will be a little extra gathering in the center back, but it will look nice on a circle skirt. 

    The tuck will allow for growing ease or measuring errors and will allow girls to interchange if they happen to forget one. (I assume you'll make one or two extras, just in case they are normal kids who sometimes misplace the most important part of a costume!)

    1. Guardmom | | #2

      Thanks, I forgot about the hip trick. Yes these will be numbered and assigned to each girl. Once the skirts are made we're trying them on and heming. My sizes run from 0 to 20 and 5 foot to 5'9". I have more questions to come, but dinner is calling.

  2. jjgg | | #3

    one other issue you may have to deal with is that when the table linens are hanging as skirts, they may stretch on the bias areas so the hem will not be even.

  3. DONNAKAYE | | #4

    I recently read an article -- it may have been in Vogue Patterns, Sew News, Sew Stylish or something -- about exactly how to do this.  I'll see if I can track it down for you....d.

  4. User avater
    paddyscar | | #5

    Hi Guardmom:

    I just made a circle skirt last week when my granddaughter was here - she's 6 and loves twirlly skirts.  It's rather fresh in my mind, and having read through the responses, here's what comes to mind.

    * round table cloths will limit your size and may increase costs

    * if you go with them, mark your waist circle and stay stitch before cutting to avoid severe stretching and drooping, especially if there is any open/loose weave patterns within the fabric

    * decide PRIOR to cutting if you want the hems to be equal distances from the floor (for a uniform look) or if you want them all to be a measured distance below the individual knees.  There are a couple of reasons you don't want to have to re-hem a circle skirt - 1) you're paying to have it predone if you buy a circular tablecloth 2) it is very time consuming and hard to recut something precisely when it's on the bias 3) you are guaranteed it's going to wobble along the bottom

    * have you considered sheets or sheeting, so that you can get size you want?

    I finished off Molly's circle skirt hem by serging the edge all the way around and then turning the hem up just the width of the serged edge and over stitched with a straight stitch.

    Threads has circles featured in issues #10 - p. 35-37; #21 - p71; #31 - p. 81; #68 p. 10


    Hope some of this helps,




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