Special Sunday greetings you naked molerats! Since you’re so naked, I thought you might want to make yourselves some nice little circle skirts. And perhaps, like me, you find yourself with little mole rat patterns just a touch on the small side. But the grading of a circle skirt isn’t so easy, is it you naked rodents? Oh no, not so easy at all…

OK. Goofing around aside, I’ve been giving myself a headache reviewing geometry, so I made myself a calculator and thought I’d share it! I don’t know about you guys, but the math involved with circle skirts is not immediately apparent to me. I mean, I DO get it, after staring at it for a bit, but my understanding totally vaporizes after a few hours and then I have to study up again.

Recently I’ve been plotting about two separate circle-skirt related issues in my head. First, as much as I love my full circle skirt pattern (Kwik Sew 3637 – here’s my last project using it!) it’s just a bit too, um, full circle. I think I’d like to check out a half or 3/4 circle skirt and see how I like that.

For those unfamiliar with circle skirts, here’s the difference between the three styles. Full circles are full doughnuts, half-circles are half a doughnut – you get the picture. Whether you have a full doughnut or a half doughnut, the inside of the doughnut is the same length as your waist measurement. The green circle on each drawing below marks the waist measurement. So if your waist is, say 30″, then that green line is 30″ long in each drawing, but the full circle skirt has twice the volume of the half circle skirt. Get it??

For a much more interesting comparison, here’s a full circle skirt. In action.

{image Whirling Turban}

Here’s the oh, so lovely three-quarter circle skirt.

{image Whirling Turban}

And a slightly pixelated half circle skirt…

{image Get Go Retro}

The other circle-skirt related problem I’ve been mulling over has to do with grading up circle skirts (i.e., making the skirt larger than the pattern I’m using.) Since I usually start with a size 18 pattern (in the big 4 sizing) and do an FBA to get the bust to fit, I also have to grade up the skirt as well. To properly grade a circle skirt, one needs to move the waistband DOWN, not add width to the pattern piece! Here’s what I mean…

OK, I admit I usually grade up my circle skirts the ‘wrong’ way. It works, but it makes the bias hang super-extra weird! My problem was I didn’t know how much to move the waistline down to add the inches I needed, as there’s all kinds of geometry involved!

My problem is (hopefully) solved! I studied helpful posts from other smart folks on the internet and practiced the equations in Excel so that I’d have a handy calculator and won’t have to remember what the difference between the radius and diameter is anymore and how pi fits in to all of this. 

In fact, it’s so handy, I’m sharing with you all!


The Circle Skirt Worksheet

patty brower

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