High Low Circle Hem Tutorial

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Brewing in the back of my mind has been this pink and orange circle dress. I’ve had the fabric for months, it’s just been such a busy couple of months I was almost too scared to start on it.

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I certainly shouldn’t have been scared. This thing took 2 hours to make from start to finish. Clean studio to clean studio, I might add. I didn’t test anything out before I started sewing, and I ended up paying for it a little bit with the waistline, but overall everything worked like a dream.

I included a high-low circle hemline here because I had enough requests for a tutorial, I thought I would do it again so I could better explain it. It’s really easy. So easy that I’ve made a printable pattern. Not printable from home, (it takes forever to format to print on 8.5×11 paper) but you can easily take the file to your local copy shop and they can print it out on their gigantic plotter for something like 15¢-50¢ per square foot. Or you can draft your own using the instructions after the jump.

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The two colors are very similar in content and weight, the orange being a bit heavier. I wanted to have the pink on the bottom when I first conceptualized this dress, but I didn’t have enough fabric for it. You’ll need at least a yard and a half if you want it to come close to hitting at the knee. I’m a knee length gal, so more yardage was required.

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I drafted my own skirt and used the Renfrew tee as a base for the bodice. I took in the Renfrew tee about 3/8 inch at the fold line, none at the shoulders or arm pits then just about 3/8 inch at the waist line. I wanted the top to be form-fitted so I can wear the dress sans belt.

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I made the mistake of cutting the bodice too short, so I ended up adding a waistband for the needed length. It worked out just fine, and looks like it’s supposed to be there in a way. Next time my dress won’t have one. And I will be making another one of these. I sort of wish I had made this skirt last year or the year before in the height of the orange/pink craze, but I still love it regardless of what’s trending.

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The jersey is crazy comfortable, it feels like I’m wearing lounge clothes. I can’t wait to make another one. Next one will be out of a print, I think. Now I need to find the right print.

Outfit details:

  • earrings: Brazil
  • necklace: Annily Green
  • skirt: handmade
  • belt: hand-me-down from grandma
  • leather bracelets: handmade
  • bangle: c/o Apricot Lane
  • shoes: thrifted

Click to read more for the full how to make this skirt!

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Supplies:

  • 2 yards jersey with 40-60% stretch, preferably 4-way
  • 1 inch elastic cut to waist measurement
  • sewing machine and matching thread
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • large roll of paper

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Take your measurements and write them down. Or if you want a 22 inch skirt with a 26 inch scoop in the back, just click the free pattern at the end of the post. It’s graded by waist measurement, every 2 inches from 24-36 inches.

Find your waist radius by using the first equation in the image above. Write down the waist radius.

Subtract your back measurement from the front and find the difference. With the 22″ front and the 26″ back, the difference was 4 inches.

Divide the difference by two, that’s the magic middle, or 2 inches.

Add the magic middle, 2 inches, to the front measurement, 22 inches, and your waist radius, 3.75 inches and you get your skirt radius. Write down the skirt radius.

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With a ruler and pencil, draw out your skirt radius. Find the center line of your skirt radius and measure to the left that magic middle number, 2 inches. Draw out your waist radius. The shorter side is the front and the longer side is the back. See the above diagram for grainline and fold. Cut one piece out.

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Sew elastic right sides together and pin to the circle skirt. Zig zag stitch the two pieces. Since you’re working with a jersey, there’s no need to finish your hemline.

If you want a more polished hemline, get some knit hem tape and iron your hem before stitching it. This will make stitching a curved hem much easier. A straight stitch is nice here, since you don’t need the seam to stretch. Iron. Wear.

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This printable is subject to melissaesplin.com’s terms of use. This printable is free for personal use only.

 

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    1. This is amazing! I love the colors it makes me think of sherbert and summertime. I love skirts and I’m a knee length gal too! I actually just blogged today a vintage maxi skirt that I shortened to knee length. Haha

    2. phil says:

      orange is really cool !!! i lke the belt too :-)

    3. Your grandma has got style! Just love the belt, it really pulls the whole outfit together.
      Oh, and great tute, I have been looking for a sweet dress like this to make for our 2yo. I think she’ll love it.

    4. Kristin says:

      Ok, so I normally hate the mullet hem, but this dress is so cute! Maybe I dont hate a slight mullet hem on a full circle skirt…. Adorable and looove those starburt/sherbet hues of pink and orange. Yummy!

    5. Emily says:

      Love the subtle hi low hem. :) Such pretty colors together!

    6. Kristie says:

      Way cool. Love the belt. And I love the subtle hi low hem. I am not a big fan of the huge hi low hems, but this seems so doable. Thanks!

    7. Lelie says:

      What a lovely dress! I really like the colourcombo. I wouldn’t have thought about combining these colours, but I really love it. It fits you like a glove and it suits you very well.

    8. Dee says:

      Thanks mellissa ! I love the colors…. I just bought orange retro shoes .. I guess pink will work perfectly with them !

    9. alana says:

      Is this a good twirly skirt? My daughter has become obsessed with twirly skirts lately and it looks so comfy :) Your version is amazing and looks great on you.

    10. sonia says:

      This is so cute. My daughter wants me to make one for her. Where do I find the pattern for the top? Thanks!

    11. Kuv says:

      Love your directions for how to do this. Thanks. I’m trying to make one for my teenage daughter and would love to use your pattern. How do I print your pattern on 8 x 11 sheet of paper?

      • Melissa says:

        Unfortunately it’s not formatted for printing on standard letter paper. I just don’t have the time in my schedule to do that. You can email the file to your local copy shop and they can print it for you on their large format B&W plotters. I’m pretty sure it costs around 15¢ per square foot. Not expensive at all.

    12. I made this today, absolutely adorable and so fast! My favorite pattern ever, now obsessed with your blog! Thank you so much, my 15 year old sister will be so pleased with this cute skirt

    13. Sarah Helene says:

      LOVE LOVE LOVE this “Circle skirt Dress” tutorial– it fits perfectly! I love the orange/pink strip T with lovely orange circle skirt and ‘hand-me-down from Grandma” metallic gold & silver belt to add PIZZAZZ! Your instructions seem easy to follow with excellent line drawings & sharp photos. 2 hours from start to finish, you are talented, so thanks for sharing. Sarah in Minneapolis

    14. Sharon Speed says:

      Do you told the fabric matching the selvage edges and giving you 30 inches of fabric on either side of the fold? I need to make one of these with the back of the skirt almost touching the floor. Just trying to figure yardage using this pattern. I will be using lycra or 4-way stretch sheer mesh.

    15. Evelyn Wiant says:

      Am I right to assume I could create the pattern by making a very large “compass” from a string that’s the length of the skirt radius and swinging it to either side? I don’t have enough paper to sketch this out, but its basically a perfect circle with the waist off-set to one side, correct?

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