How to make a clashing print 1/4 circle swing skirt….

There’s nothing like a bit of print clashing to add a hint of interest to your wardrobe. A few weeks ago I stumbled across a beautiful skirt on the Free People website and decided to try and make a version for myself. The next problem was to source 3 or 4 prints that were different but also worked together.

Print clashing skirt

Print clashing can but slightly daunting, so with a picture of my inspiration skirt in hand on my phone I hit my local Spotlight Store in hope of finding 3 prints that worked together. After a little procrastination and putting together a couple of different combos I decide on 3 prints that where tied together through colour. I selected a black floral paisley print, red monotone printed floral and a printed mustard small spot. All prints are 100% Rayon which give the skirt a beautiful drape. The black floral paisley was the linking print with its mustard and red tying all three prints together.

My inspiration
My inspiration

Now to share with you how to make this skirt from scratch. That’s right you don’t need a pattern. You can do this all by yourself with some paper, a tape measure, a pencil, a rubber and ruler.

You will need a piece of paper that is at least 45″ to 55″ square. If you don’t have pattern paper you could glue newspaper pages together to create a sheet big enough. To begin you need to work out what the radius will be for your 1/4 circle skirt based on your waist measurement. Follow the below steps to get your number. Be sure to work it out in inches which is slightly odd for an Aussie but the radius table is in inches.

  1. Measure your waist where you want the skirt to sit – mine is 28″.
  2. Add 1/2″ seam allowance – 28″ + 1/2″ = 28 1/2″.
  3. Subtract 1″ for stretch – 28 1/2″ – 1″ = 27 1/2″.

Find this measurement in the first column of the table below and find the radius measurement in the second column. If you are in between measurements in column 1 like I am, find the mid point between the numbers in column 2.

1/4 circle radius table

Next write down this measurement (mine is 17 3/8″) and the length that you would like your skirt. My skirt is 30″ long. Use these figures to mark out your pattern as below.

Base skirt guide

Base pattern piece
Your pattern will look something like this

Mark you pattern pieces 22cm down from the waist seam and measure this to check your hip measurement. Extend the side seams out further if you need to make more room for your hips.

The next step is to make a little road map on how you would like to break up your pattern. This can be anything you want but make sure you think about how the panels will join up at the side seam. Take a look at little road map below.

My road map
My road map

Now it’s time to transfer your little road map onto your pattern piece. I started by marking down each side seam how I would like the pieces to join up. Then you just have to go for it and draw all your curved lines. You can go back over and improve your curves if they don’t look right once you have them all marked out.

The marked out pattern piece
The marked out pattern piece

Clearly number all your pieces before cutting them up to add seam allowance. I added 1cm seam allowance to the waist seam and panel / hem seams. I also added another 6mm to the side seams to accomodate the invisible zipper. You also need to check the flow through of the pieces that join at the side seam. I did have to make a few alterations here so that there where no pointy bits at the side seam. It involved skimming a little off the top and adding a little to the bottom of each join.  I forgot to take an image of this so hopefully this step makes sense. However, I have just added a little video tutorial to my stories highlights on Instagram if you want to check that out.

Print blocking midi skirt
Side view

Clearly mark all you pattern pieces with the name of each print you will be using and also make sure you cut all of your pattern pieces the right side up.  Don’t be tempted the cut some pieces out wrong side out to save fabric as your pieces will not sew back together properly.

Finally create your waistband pattern piece. My waistband was 8cm wide and 73cm long to create a waistband that is 3cm wide finished. I also fused my waistband.

Follow the below steps to sew your skirt.

  1. Sew all panel pieces together. Stop a little before where the hem starts.
  2. Roll hem all hems. Stop a little before the side seam hem.
  3. Overlock all panel pieces.
  4. Finish stitching panel pieces together where you stopped just before the hems.
  5. Overlock side seams.
  6. Join 1 side of the waistband to the waist seam. Notch at the fold line of the waistband.
  7. Sew invisible zipper starting from notch at fold line of the waistband.
  8. Finish sewing the side seam.
  9. Finish the roll hem at the side seam.
  10. Bag out top of the zipper with the waistband.
  11. Iron 1cm seam allowance of waistband under and stitch down waistband.
The roll hem foot
My life saver. The roll hem foot.

And now you have an amazing print blocking skirt. Good Luck! Feel free to ask questions if you embark on this skirt making journey. I’ll be happy to help….  My dream is that everyone who wants to sew and make their own clothes gets the support and mentorship to make their me made dreams a reality.

Print blocking skirt

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