Make a Simple Circular Skirt for a Doll

  • 01 of 12

    Make a Simple Circular Skating Skirt for a Doll

    Velvet skating outfit with an easy to sew skirt, cape and top on a Lottie Doll
    A simple circular skirt, cape and tank top make a skating outfit for any doll. They are shown here on a Lottie Doll. Photo © 2014 Lesley Shepherd

    This simple circular skating skirt can be made in a number of fabrics and lengths to fit any size or shape of doll. Here I've shown it from stretch velvet with chenille trim to make a traditional winter ice skating or elf outfit for a Lottie Doll. In addition to the skirt, this outfit consists of a simple circular cape which is found at the end of the skirt instructions.  The simple stretch tank top is in a separate set of instructions. There are also instructions for a matching elf or santa...MORE hat if you wish, although here I've used the chenille trim  and some make a simple headband.

    The look of the skirt will be largely determined by the drape of the fabric you use to make it. See the article on fine knit fabrics, and working with fine velvets for information on finding and choosing knit fabrics for this skirt.  Four way stretch fabrics (fabrics which stretch in both directions) are the easiest to use for this outfit.  The 'ermine' trim is made from white chenille used for tying fishing flies.

    You can also make the skirt from lightweight woven fabrics. Quilting cotton will make a very stiff skirt, so try to find something lighter, like lawn handkerchiefs or lightweight silks to make your skirt.

     The circular skirt project will need:

    • Suitable fabric in the right thickness and pattern for your size of doll
    • Thin fabric (four way stretch if you are using stretch fabric for the skirt) for the waist interfacing
    • Fine needle and thread
    • Scrap of fine string or ribbon
    • Sharp Scissors
    • Pencil and Ruler
    • String
    • Pins or tape
    • Fray check or fabric glue
    • Trim if you wish to trim instead of hem your skirt. I used chenille intended for tying fishing flies.
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  • 02 of 12

    Measuring the Waist of Your Doll for a Circular Skirt

    Using a piece of thread or cord to measure the waist of a doll.
    A piece of cord or string is wrapped around a doll's waist to measure for a fitted circular skirt. Photo © 2014 Lesley Shepherd

    This simple circular skirt doesn't use a pattern. Instead, the measurements for the skirt are taken from your doll. This method will allow you to make custom skirts for any sized doll. I've shown how to hand sew the skirt in these instructions, but you can use a sewing machine for larger dolls, or fabric glue if you wish.

    Begin by measuring the circumference of your doll's waist using a piece of string or ribbon. Measure the waist near the doll's belly button if there is one, or...MORE at the narrowest point.

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  • 03 of 12

    Measure the Length of the Doll's Circular Skirt

    The length for a doll's circular skirt is measure with a length of cord.
    A length of cord is used to measure skirt length from the doll's waistline. Photo © 2014 Lesley Shepherd
    After you have the doll's waist measurement, use your string or ribbon to measure the length you want the skirt to be (roughly). Measure this with string, rather than a ruler so that you can adjust your measure for any tummy roundness.  You want to start this measurement at the same point where the waist was measured. This measurement and the waist measurement will give you the diameter for the circle you need to cut for the skirt.
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  • 04 of 12

    Work out the Doll's Waist Diameter

    Determining the diameter of a doll's waist in order to fit a skirt.
    The length of cord matching the doll's waistline is laid out as a circle on a ruler to determine the diameter of the waist in order to make a skirt. Photo © 2014 Lesley Shepherd
    Use your measured piece of string from the doll's waist to make a rough circle on a circle template or a ruler.  Take half the width of the circle as the measurement you will need to add to the length of the skirt in order to get the diameter size of the circle you will need for the skirt.  Here my doll's waist is roughly 1 inch (2.5 cm)  across, so I will need to add half of that or  1/2 inch (1.25 cm) to the skirt length in order to work out how large my fabric circle for the skirt...MORE will need to be.
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  • 05 of 12

    How to Mark Out A Circular Pattern for a Doll Skirt

    How to mark out a pattern for a circular skating skirt for any size or shape of doll.
    Marking out a circular pattern for a skating skirt for a doll. Photo © 2014 Lesley Shepherd

    Once you have the length you need for your doll skirt, plus a small amount for a hem (1/4 inch or .6 cm) or less add these measurements to half of the measurement across the circle of your doll's waist to work out how large a circle you will need for your skirt.  The total of length+ hem+ half of the doll's waist adds up to 1 3/4  (4 cm) for my doll. I need to make a circle  with double that measurement or a diameter of 3 1/4 inches 8 cm)  for my skirt pattern.

    If you have a...MORE drawing compass you can draw out the correct sized circle on paper. Otherwise, look for a circular glass, bowl or other object with the correct diameter to trace as a template for your pattern.

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  • 06 of 12

    Test Fit the Paper Skirt Pattern To Your Doll

    Test fitting a paper pattern for a circular skirt onto a doll.
    A paper pattern is test fitted on the doll, then the circular skirt is cut from the chosen material. Photo © 2014 Lesley Shepherd

    With the correct sized circle marked on your paper. Fold the paper in half so the outline of the circle lines up on either side of the fold.  Open the paper and fold it again to get fold lines which run through the center of your circular pattern.

    Measure and cut a circle in the center of your skirt pattern to match the size of your doll's waist. Cut down to the center of the pattern along one of the fold lines so you can easily fit the pattern around your doll's waist.

    Adjust the pattern...MORE if necessary for skirt length and waist opening. Make a new pattern from your adjustments. Tape or pin it to your skirt fabric and cut out the correct sized fabric circle.  Do not cut out the waist opening.

    Treat the cut edges of the fabric with fray check or fabric glue to prevent fraying if you wish.

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  • 07 of 12

    Test Fit the Circular Skirt Fabric On the Doll

    Test fitting the circular skirt on a doll.
    The fabric for the circular doll skirt is folded in quarter, then a small amount is trimmed from the skirt center in order to test fit the fabric on the doll. Photo © 2014 Lesley Shepherd

    Set the pattern or "Nap" (direction the fibers run on fabrics like velvet) so the pattern or nap lines up with one of the fold lines on your pattern. You want the nap or pattern to go straight down the front of the skirt.

    Fold your circle of fabric in half, then in half again, and use sharp scissors to trim the center point of the folds to make a small opening. Don't cut an opening as large as the waist measurement. You want to make the opening as small as possible to fit over the...MORE doll to get the skirt on, and to allow for a seam allowance for the waist facings.

    Carefully test fit your skirt to see if you can slide it onto your doll, either over the hips or over the doll's head.  If necessary, see the next step for how to adjust the opening in the skirt to allow it to fit onto the doll.

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  • 08 of 12

    Adjust the Waist Opening for a Circular Doll Skirt

    Trimming the waist opening for a circular skating skirt for a doll.
    The waist opening for the circular doll skirt is trimmed open with a seam allowance. If necessary a slit is cut for a back opening. Photo © 2014 Lesley Shepherd

    To adjust the center opening for the doll's waist, you want to leave roughly 1/4 inch (6mm) of seam allowance.  For some dolls, if the stretch in your fabric doesn't allow the skirt to slip over the waist, you may need to make a short slit from the fabric center down the back fold line to make the opening larger. (see photo) You may also need to cut straight into the seam allowance to allow non stretch fabrics to bend away from the opening. Do not cut the opening any larger than...MORE necessary!
    You can fit doll velcro or a small button to close this opening at the back of the doll skirt once you add the facing.

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  • 09 of 12

    Prepare and Fit the Skirt Waist Facing

    Setting the waist facing over the waist opening on a cirucular doll skirt.
    The facing for the circular doll skirt opening is set over the skirt fabric with the right sides of the fabric together. Photo © 2014 Lesley Shepherd

    Cut a piece of fine fabric with a similar stretch to your main fabric to make the waist facing. Here I've used a scrap of four way swimsuit fabric, which does not ravel. Make sure your facing  fabric extends at least 1/4 inch (.6mm) out from the seam line (waist line mark) of your doll skirt.

    Set the facing fabric on top of your skirt fabric so the 'right' or patterned sides of the fabric are facing one another as shown in the photo.

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  • 10 of 12

    Stitch the Opening For the Circular Skirt Waist

    Stitching a facing to the waist of a circular skirt for a doll.
    The waist facing is stitched to the doll skirt with a sewing machine or a hand sewn backstitch, then the opening is trimmed, the facing turned to the inside along the seam line, and stitched to the seam of the skirt waist. Photo © 2014 Lesley Shepherd

    Stitch using a sewing machine or a simple hand backstitch  along the seam line for your circular skirt waist. (the line that matches the size of the doll's waist)  If using a back stitch, use small stitches to ensure your fabric will not ravel.

    If you cut a slit for the skirt opening to make it easier to fit over your doll's body, stitch a seam down both sides and across the base of your slit as shown.

    When you have finished sewing the seam, trim out the facing fabric from the center of...MORE the skirt opening, leaving a fine seam allowance as shown,  and turn the facing fabric through the skirt opening so the facing sits on the back of the skirt fabric as shown.

    To keep the facing from rolling over and showing on the good side of the skirt, use a needle and thread to stitch the facing to the seam allowance of the skirt and facing, keeping the skirt fabric free of stitches (stitch through the facing and into the seam, but not into the skirt itself.

    Test fit the skirt on your doll and check that the waist is at the correct place and the skirt is the correct length. Adjust if necessary.

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  • 11 of 12

    Finish the Circular Skirt Hem

    Stitching chenille trim to the bottom of a circular skater skirt for a doll.
    Chenille trim is stitched to the bottom edge of a circular skater skirt for a doll using a overcast or 'whip' stitch. Photo © 2014 Lesley Shepherd

    The hem for a circular skirt can be stitched as a tiny rolled hem, or finished with trim. Some fabrics (felt for example) may be left as cut fabric. Suitable trims to finish the skirt edge include braid, cord, felt, rick rack and chenille as shown here.

    To sew the chenille trim around the skirt, I used a whip stitch, taking a stitch up through the base of the skirt, bringing it through the chenille trim on the skirt side of the trim center, then back over the trim and over the edge of the skirt...MORE to come back up through the skirt again. 

    The chenille trim will need to be "unrolled' to prevent it from twisting as it is sewn on to the skirt. The stitches used to fix it in place can be hidden in the chenille fibers by 'fluffing' the chenille around the thread using the point of a needle after the trim is fixed to the skirt. 

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  • 12 of 12

    Make a Simple Cape for Any Size of Doll

    The pattern for a circular skirt used to make a stretch velvet cape for a doll
    The pattern for a circular skirt can also be used to make a cape for any size or shape of doll. Photo © 2014 Lesley Shepherd

    To make the circular cape shown as part of the doll skating costume in this tutorial, I cut a second circle from my stretch velvet. This time I cut a very small piece from the center of the folded circle of fabric and down the center fold line to the middle of the circle to make the neck and front openings for the cape.  

    All the edges were treated with fray check, then chenille trim was sewn to the cape edge, beginning at the back of the cape.

    If you wish, this technique can be used for a range...MORE of capes, including nurse's capes to go with the nurse's cap for a doll.