Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Novelty Felt Circle Skirt Tutorial!

It's finally here! Many thanks to everyone who've sat tightly for this blog post. I was beginning to wonder when my almost 11 month old was going to receive teeth! Guess what? She received them alright, in two round of  threes -- in less than two weeks. She now has 6 teeth almost completely in.

This was my stance for the last three days. I even edited the pictures and text of this blog one handed! Super hero Mommies rejoice!

Before I get started I'd like to preface that this tutorial is specifically for fabric which doesn't require a hem (felt, faux lether, etc. etc.). You can always use the folding technique for regular fabric and follow this hemming tutorial. If you are in a super time crunch or suffer a case of the lazies, you can use Wrights Hem Tape (I prefer the lace option).

Be careful when using stretch fabric. This folding technique cannot be chevron'd.

The driving force behind this tutorial is to show you ladies out there, you don't need to bleed your bank accounts to look authentically vintage. Next time you want to drop a few Franklin's on a dress -- consider buying a sewing machine instead. Most of my dresses cost about 40$ in materials (if I go to Joann's with a coupon). Etsy is a cornucopia of vintage patterns, costing anywhere between 5.00 - 100.00 (vintage swimsuit patterns will run you 60 - 100.00 -- sorry ladies). 

The BEST thing about a pattern? You will always have it. You can mix and match items and make it as many times as you want, in as many different materials and add on as you can possibly think up! Imagine having an outfit to go with each vintage purse, Bakelite bangle and jewelry set you have! 

The only thing between you and the outfits you want is a sewing machine, NOT $400.00!!!!


Waist divided by 3.14 = Diameter

Take your waist measurement and divide it by 3.14

Then Diameter divided by 2

Marilyn would be

23.5 divided by 3.14 = 7.4840

7.4840 divided by 2 = 3.7

She will cut her waist at 3.7

Length: Measure your waist to desired length. You can measure your favorite skirt or dress under the waistband to the hem.

Having trouble figuring it out? 

When in doubt cut smaller first. You can always go back and make the waist larger.


Let's get started! You will need

  •  Three yards of CRAFT felt 
  • Tailors chalk, sewing pencil or regular chalk that will be visible when marking
  • Measuring tape
  • Very sharp scissors
  • Sewing needle and thread that matches your material
  •  Masking tape
  • 2 Hook and Eyes
  • 9 inch zipper (optional, but I do recommend it)
  • Felt Squares (35 cents a square at Joann's) and matching thread for your appliques 


If you are a sewing virgin, I really recommend you do something easy. Maybe a Christmas Tree, hearts or harlequin diamonds!

Keep in mind each layer and piece will need to be hand sewn to the skirt as pictured to the left

 Take your Felt and fold it in half (as pictured). Then fold it in half again.

 In the top left corner, take your measuring tape and lay it as pictured above. My measurement was 6". Mark the front of the tape and your number (in this case 6")

 Thread a needle and put it in the top left corner. Move your thread to one of the marks. 
(make sure your fabric stays on the ground. Do not allow it to pull up). 

Now you will swing from one side to the other. Marking as you go.

You will be left with a perfect semi-circle. 
 You can also cross check with a drafting compass if need be.

Starting at the waist line you just drew. Measure down to the length you want. I am 5'7" and prefer my skirts at 26 inches, just hitting mid-calf. 
 It should look like so.

Using your waist semi-circle as a starting point, mark two lines on each side of the tape as you move towards the other side. 

Making large lines like above will make the cutting easy.

Working towards the other side

Last length mark

Now it's time to cut!  Since the material is very thick, feel free to cut the first two layers and then go back and cut the rest.

  Your scissors MUST be sharp. There isn't a hem, so whatever you cut into the bottom will be visible. Take your time with this step. 

Next. Cut your length lines!
Cut the top two layers, and then the rest

 Your skirt should look like this!

When you open it up it will look like a perfect half circle!

Part Two of the Novelty Circle Skirt Tutorial!

Final Part ~ Appliques


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Wendy. I hope you make one!

    2. I have a collection of fabulous vintage patterns from as far back as 1932.... I inherited all of them being the only girl... this pattern is so elegant in just a nice moving fabric even without the appliqué! I absolutely adore the vintage look and this skirt midcalf length a sexy pair of stripe down the back nylons and a demure top boat neck looks stunning and accents the waist... strutt your stuff stilettos and red lipstick... WINS EVERY ARGUMENT! Ps. A suspender belt is far more comfy and classy underneath! Promise to send pics. ... kissus Gwenikè

  2. This is great! Can't wait for the next part. Will you be including images of vintage novelty skirts for inspiration?

    Emily's Vintage Visions

    1. Part Two will be up tomorrow. Since you asked, I will include inspirational images when I go through the applique portion!

  3. This is fabulous and how easy to make:) The added novelty items are looking so cute!

    1. I hope you make one! I would love to see what you come up with!

  4. I love this! Thanks for sharing. I'll check back for part II.

  5. Oooohhhh!!! So excited for this!!!! I've been waiting since you announced you were doing it! Can't wait for part 2. As soon as I can get my butt to the fabric store I'm trying this!!

    1. <3 Can't wait to see what you come up with!!!!!!

  6. Great tutorial, have been really excited about this. Am planning my appliqué and definitely want to try it out. Thanks!

    1. FANTASTIC! I can't wait to see what you make :D

  7. I am totally using this to make some skirts this winter when I am snowed in. You are a fountain of knowledge for me.

  8. Hi love your blog, Just wanted you to know I have just used your great poodle skirt post and created my own, please drop by and take a look, I also mentioned you, hope you don't mind, but thought everyone should know how great it was. thanks, ally at

  9. I wish I had known about your awesome blog before sunday's pinup parade! I even saw you and your family at the tiki room. You look so nice and easily approachable. Maybe I'll get to make a felt skirt and meet you next time. I would love to show you my outcome. Thanks for this tutorial!

  10. I'm definitely going to make one! I think this tutorial is easy enough for me! and not a lot of sewing, so I wont need a machine! fabulous!

  11. hi i wanted to ask when you cut the waist and you said you number was a 6 how did you determined not sure what mine would be lol

  12. oops never mind i reread instructions and i get it now thanks

  13. I might have made my waist a tad big.. is there a way to adjust that?

  14. Can this skirt be made out of cotton fabric and still haventhe dame or simialr look?

  15. Can this skirt be made out of cotton fabric and still haventhe dame or simialr look?