Learn Dressmaking - sew a perfectly fitted circle skirt with pockets | Melissa Jane | Skillshare

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Learn Dressmaking - sew a perfectly fitted circle skirt with pockets

teacher avatar Melissa Jane, Dressmaker-Corsetiere-Creative Weirdo

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (31m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. What you will need

    • 3. Taking your measurements

    • 4. Cutting the panels

    • 5. Finishing the edges

    • 6. Pockets and side seams

    • 7. Inserting the waistband and zipper

    • 8. Skirt hem

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About This Class


This class is perfect for anyone wanting to begin sewing their own clothes or just level up their dressmaking skills. I have created this class with all of the steps involved clearly on video and easy to understand.  

One of the best wardrobe basics is a simple circle skirt. They can be made to fit so many occasions and are so much simpler to make than you might think! A short miniskirt to twirl in can be a great everyday skirt or longer with a bold pattern as a gorgeous statement piece. 

But you can't make your own clothes without adding pockets! No worries there because I've made sure to add in some simple pockets that are perfect to hold a phone, keys, secrets to the universe, you know the essentials.

I've also included a workbook for you to record all your measurements, a pattern for the pocket and lots of useful info for you to begin creating your very own wardrobe.

Meet Your Teacher

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Melissa Jane

Dressmaker-Corsetiere-Creative Weirdo


Hello, I'm Melissa. I like to call myself yet another creative weirdo.

I have been sewing for as long as I can remember and I love fabric! I love to make all kinds of clothing, costumes, corsetry and being able to make the clothing fit to any body shape, is my mission in life.

I love Skillshare and I have grown so much as a person, creator and businesswoman because of this site and I'm so happy to be creating my own dressmaking classes very soon. 

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1. Introduction: Hello. My name is Melissa for Melissa Jane Design. I am a dressmaker, and I have been sewing for most of my life in this class. I would teach you how to take your own measurements to create a perfectly fitted circle skirt with pockets. I am passionate about making sure women's clothing has pockets. Along with his class is a workbook for you to record your measurements. A pattern piece for the pocket and lots of useful information. There is also a class project where you can follow along to create your own circle. Skirt it out of any fabric that catches your eye. And I'd love to see some photos, so please make sure you post them in the group. Thank you for checking out this class, and I hate to see you saying 2. What you will need: for this class. I'm going to be using a plain white cotton fabric. If you have something else that you'd like to use, just make sure it is a woven fabric. I have some fabric scissors. They tend to cut fabric. A lot better than Regulus is some thread snips, some shop dress pins, a small roller. I use this to make same allowances. It's much easier. It's a threat. This is just plain polyester threat. A measuring type. This is a dress zippo and a fabric mocking pin and a nun, Picca, just in case. 3. Taking your measurements: see here I have the workbook so that we can record all of management's. And I'm also wearing self comfortable clothing that is not going to constrict or bunch up anywhere. So I have the most accurate measurements. The 1st 1 is for the waistband. You can either have it on the waist itself, which is the smallest part of your torso, but I prefer to have it just a little bit lower right on my iliac crest. So the top of my hip bones, and then take this measurement and I mark it down in the workbook. But you can have it sit wherever you feel more comfortable. Next measurement is for the hips, so you take the widest part of your hips. Make sure not to squeeze too much. I'm gonna get in my accurate measurement possible. The next one is for the hem length, so you measure down as far down as you would like this good to hang, so you go from wherever you took your waistband measurements. For me, it's the top of my iliac crest, and I go down. I prefer to go about 60 centimeters, but you have to make sure it's not going to exceed the width of your fabric. I'll explain this in the next video. So the next measurement we take is for the zipper. We need to figure out how long the zipper needs to pay. So I go down the measuring tape to where my hip measurement waas, which is 1 25 Take the very end off the measuring type and I go bring it back to wear my waistband measurement waas, which was 105 And the difference between that is the length that the zip inmates to bay. So the next begun to figure out the radius off the waistband. A circle skirt is essentially just two semi circles off fabric. But we need to find out how big is the inner radius off the skirt in order for it to fit us properly, Which is what I'm showing you here in the diagram. So on each half off the circle, we need to find out what is this measurement here. And the way that we do that is we take the waistband measurement, which for me is 105 We need to divide that by 6.28 now, this applicable for both centimeters and inches. The answer for me is 16.7 once in centimeters. So in each half of the circle, the inner waistband measurement is going to be 16.71 centimeters. And I'm going to show you how to apply this measurement in the next video. And I really hope I describe that problem. If you have any questions, please let me know. 4. Cutting the panels: So here is where we put everything into action. So I've laid out the fabric is flat as I possibly can, and I'm just putting in the markings for the entirety off the length that I've got. So I've got the radius of the waistband to hem length and then 1.5 centimeters for the him allowance. Now, what I've done is I've created a mark, right? The very end. And that is where I turn the fabric, create the fold from there, flatten it out as much as possible. I've actually given myself about two centimeters extra fabric, just in case, because you can see how the very end of the fabric is not quite straight. So now what I do is I use the measuring tape and I go from the very corner of that fold, and I mark out the 16.71 centimeters that is my radius off my waist band. So I do that in a semi circle from the salvage of the fabric away over to the fold. Now what I've done is I'm marking the hem length. So mostly what I do is I do the 16.71 I plus the 65 centimeters that I have as the hem allowance and whatever number that equated to is what I marked down as hem allowance so that I've always got the beginning off measuring tape right at the very corner off the fabric. Here I am putting the same allowance on the inside off the waistband, so it's not taking up any of the fabric that will be I'll be using. And I'm also putting in the hem allowance as well. Next up, I like to do that. Like to pin around the entire edge off the fabric from all the way along with him is all the way along the fold line as well, as well as up where the salvage was what that was cut off. That helps to keep it all nice and straight and flat because I will not be opening it up straight away because I have to use this portion that I'm about to cut out for the other panel that I need to cut as well. I've created the dots for this particular section that I've marked. They are quite close together, so I feel comfortable not having to draw a line all the way around. If you if you feel more comfortable drawing a line all the way around you very much welcome , do that. I did prefer to put the doctor in there cause it's less that has toe come off in the end. Now make sure you do not cut off the very corner section of where the waistband is because it makes a lot easier to put the fabric on for the next panel. She is the section that we are going to be cutting the waistband because there is enough left over on the fold line where I'm able to cut out of used 11 centimeters for mine because that gives me a four centimeter um, waistband. So what it is is that I cut it out as 11 centimeters because it's going to be folded over length ways, which gives me a four centimeter, um, waistband, plus a 1.5 centimeter same allowance. And then I'm just marking in here a 1.5 centimeters seam allowance for either end off the white Spence. Just see it there. The mocking, if you're curious, is well, I've also got the fabric as right sides together so if you're using a fabric that has a patent on it, it is always best to make sure that you have the fabric right sides together in always to make sure that you have enough off the correct fabric. And you don't have one panel that's cut with the right side of the design on it as being the outside. But it's actually different, so always make sure that the right sides and the wrong sides are the same. Now here is where we are cutting out the back panels off the skirt. So what I've done is that the first panel that I've cut out is actually the front panel because the fold is in the centre front. But for here, I'm actually cutting the fold about 1.5 that exactly 1.5 centimeters away from the fold one of the back panel, because what we're actually gonna be doing is that I'm going to be cutting the fold line off the back panel because I need that same allowance to add zipper at the back. And here is where we also used all of those pins that I put into the skirt. The front panel originally, that is to hold it in place on for the back panel as well to make sure that it is all very secure. It's not gonna be moving around as we're cutting it or manipulating it in any way. And obviously I have spent this video up. So I'm actually a lot slower than this in real life because I'm very particular about making sure that it's all the same length. And I haven't cut into the original pattern pace as well. Now I'm gonna keep that, um, the spear piece of fabric day because that's what we're going to becoming the pockets out off. Now I'm cutting out the waistband of both panel, so it's gonna be exactly equal for both panels. Now, this part I'm just flattening out the fold line as much as possible because I'm gonna be cutting along that fold line as close as I can to write on the very edge of that fold, because that gives me 1.5 centimeters of seam allowance for the back the centre back so I can put the zipper into the back without losing any, um, any of the wits, because if I didn't cut that we would have to cut. We would lose three centimeters off of the waistband. And that's not really what we want, because then it won't fit. You hear what I'm doing here is I'm folding it over in. I feel good extra to fold so that I can check to make sure both the waistband and the him our ally the same length. I haven't cut it wonky in any particular way and got my parts in a missing or and it's all good. So now it's time to cut out the patent piece for the pockets that I have included in the workbook. So what I did is that I printed out the workbook first, and then I read through. It'll measure rolls or good, And then I've printed out a separate piece for the pocket so that I could use that by itself. And I got to make sure that you are cutting out four separate pieces of fabric for the pockets because we've got to pockets one on one on each hip, and they obviously need to pieces of fabric for each of those pockets. That's foreign title, and here we have the skirts, the waistband of pockets 5. Finishing the edges: So now what I'm showing you is the finishing off the same allowances for this side Sainz and the centre back panel. I'm sure when you hear that to zigzag the edges off the fabric, you'll nature's exactly it not further in from the edge of the same allowance, but right on the seam allowance itself. So what I've done here is I've shiny that you're actually causing a little fold to be made inside this exact off the stage. Where is if you do it right on the very edge? Like I'm just about to show you you won't lose nearly as much fabric off the seam allowance . So, you know, I told you the unpick of my coming here day at some point. So here I'm showing you that when this exact it's the right hand side, it's just on the outside of the fabric. So what doing is that? The zigzag stitches, actually, totally encasing the very edge off the fabric. It's going to reduce the amount that you will lose in Frank as you wash it over time and it will help to keep the fabric nice. And, um, it will keep its shape a lot better, So this is sort of what you're going for. It will be slightly rolled in some sections and other sections might just be cut in slightly, but it is going to cause the fabric to slightly pocket. Like what you're seeing here. It's not gonna be able to lay flat now. The best way to do fix this is to lay it out flat as much as you can get a nice iron and ice hot iron and slightly pull the very edge of the same allowance to make sure it's all nice and flat. Not so you're stretching it, but just the fabric lays flat. It's a little bit of work, but in the end that you will really appreciate it. 6. Pockets and side seams: So now we're gonna go ahead and put the panels for the pockets onto these skirt panels. Now, make sure that you have the fabric right sides facing up. It's very important and a little bit hard to tell, Miss. But it is. That little puppet I'm pointing to is actually the mark that I made right here. Fort Lee sent it back to make sure that you know exactly where the center back same is. So what I've done is I've measured out five centimeters down from the very top of the fabric, not from the top of the seam allowance, but the top of the fabric. I've laid down the pocket panel here where that five sent me to Marcus and I have done it right side to right side. So the right side of the pocket is facing the right side of the fabric. Now you do that for each off their panels. So both the back panels and the front panel as well. So you pin them on first, and then you stitch them down, Ali to put the pins in this way because I found that makes it much easier to go toe stitch down it when you got it going through the sewing machine. So this is the front panel here. Got Teoh. Make sure to check to see if it is the right side facing up. Put the mark in, lay it down so that the right side of the pocket is facing the right side of the scale. Found panel fabric and then pin it down. So you do that for each off the side seams, and now it's time to six the mold in. So I've decided to do a, um, a stitch that's about to 12 millimeters away from the edge of the fabric. And I've also done a quick little zigzag along the edge of the fabricas Well, to make sure that the pocket fabric doesn't fray when it gets into the wash, you push it, Teoh the outside just like that, and then you find it down nice and flat. It's the next step is to you. Put the right sides off the fabric and the pockets together at the side seams. Make sure that you're matching up the points where the top of the pocket and the bottom of pocket is and make sure it's laid out nice and flat. I like to put a pin in the top off the pocket and the bottom of the pocket as well. And that's a good way to make sure that the seam allowances are lying flat so that when you're stitching them down that it doesn't get caught anywhere. Now, make sure you stick around right around pocket. And now the little tip it I would like to put in here is that when you're laying down the two side panels here, make sure you measure out the sorry, make sure that your the bottom edge is exactly lined up, and then you able to pull it slightly to ensure that one is not longer than the other. To this way, you've got away from the top of the panel all the way around the pocket and right down to the bottom. It's all level. It'll equal, and it's going to stitch really nicely. This is one of the main ways to show that ironing the same flat like lining the same allowance flat before you do. All of this comes in really handy. That way you can make sure that everything is equal and it'll lines up beautifully. Now here I'm stitching. I am doing a 15 mil seam allowance here, which is just on the inside off where you've stitched the pocket in place. So then you go down to about a centimeter past where you joined in with joined the pockets on you. Leave the needle in the fabric, lift up the foot, turnaround the fabric, and now you go around the pocket. Now with a pocket panel pace, I've only, um, included a one cent to me two seam allowance. Now, when you get down to the bottom, it can be a little bit tricky as you're spinning it around and making sure that the seam allowances are laid nice and flat. It's not gonna get all pocket that way. You get a nice crisp corner when it's all turned out properly. So even if you do have to stop it a few times and leave the needle in the fabric lift oppressive, foot up push, It might manipulate the fabric a little bit just to get it lying flat. It will be worth it in the end. And as you turn it back around and you stitch all the way down to the bottom again. Make sure you do a back stitch here. A swell. So you just a little backstage and that secures old in place and it doesn't come undone. Now, what I do like to do here is you bring the top of the pocket up. Sorry, but the lighting there it's a little bit strange. I like to do a little zigzag stitch going from the very top of the pocket. Um, now, remember, with his exact stitch on the right hand side, when the needle comes down, it has to be just in the outside of the fabric. That way it catches the outside of the fabric and it que in cases up quite nicely and thread. And then it's not going to fray That makes sure that it's going to stay in good condition for a lot longer. And it's not gonna Frey and get holes in the same in any way. So here it is, the side seams now attached. I haven't ironed them down yet, but I just wanted to show you he that it looks like a normal scene. And then you could just put your hands in your pockets and you won't even be able to tell 7. Inserting the waistband and zipper: So now we're going to be putting in the waistband and a zipper. So what we're doing here is that we're laying out the skirt panels, right sides facing up, and now what we need to do, We need to find the very center of this center front panel. That way, when we put the waistband in, we can make sure that it's going to be equal on both sides. So you put the side seams together, and then you lay out the top of the fabric and then you put a pin right at the very front point that make sure that you're getting exactly the center front. The next thing you need to make sure that the fabric for the place band is right side facing the right side off the skirt panels. So you just make making sure to so it right side the right side, and then you pin at the centre front and then you slowly work your way from the centre front to the back, pinning as you go. And now you have to be aware that the scope panel, the top of this court panel, might have shifted a little bit. Why you've been dining and manipulating it. So you've got to make sure that you, as you go from back from the back to back to the center front, manipulate the fabric slightly to make sure little fits in place. But it should do as long as you measured it properly. And now you just need to stitch a Whalen. So now that it's been stitched, I laid out on that you're whining board or wherever you are hiding, and make sure that you push the same allowance up towards the waistband and not back down towards the hem of the skirt, and we need to iron that in place. So in the end, what we're looking for is to have the seam allowance enclosed within the waistband. And then we just find that in place. Make sure to go over the skirt panels because you don't want to die in any creases into any folds or anything into the scope, and he can see how we find it facing up. And also make sure that when you're stitching down the waistband, try to make it so that the seam allowance for the side seams are facing towards the front so that helps to keep the panels. The sorry, the pockets in place. Next part is that we need to iron down the seam allowance of the top off the race band. And here I used my little little metal rule, the hue, and that really helps to make sure that I get the 1.5 centimeters seam allowance exactly lying down to make it sure that it's gonna be equal on both sides. And I'm getting the four centimeter waist band that I'm looking for. So you do this all the way along and you can see here that I'm doing in exactly 15 millimeters. Next thing that you do is that you fold down the ironed same allowance so that it's halfway down. So pretty much what you're doing is that your folding the waistband in half length ways, but just making sure that the waistband is covering over the same on the other side that you've already done to make sure that when you stitch it down, it is going to catch the inside. So what you're looking at the moment is actually the inside of the waistband, and then you just need to iron it in place not stitch it just yet, So that's it from the outside. The next thing we're going to do is that you need to open up the baseball that you just ironed. And then you put the this is the vaccine, and so we're going to marketplace where the zipper is going to go. So I've not there just above where the stock deficit, Parise. And now you're just gonna need to pin in place right at the center back, seen where the waistband joins the skirt panels to make sure that that stays even so that when you are putting in the zipper that stays even on both sides, so you just get a nice matching spot on either side of the zipper. Now, when you're stitching this part here down, all you're gonna be doing is that you're going to based, as in do a very long stitch from the fold line that you've just done off the waist band down to the bottom of the zipper, and then you do a regular stitch all the way down the road with him. But when you're pinning it, make sure that you pin it from the bottom of the him first, and then you slightly stretch at the fabric and then make sure it's all even, and then you just pin it'll down in place. So you gonna be basting from the middle of the fold line of the waistband down to the bottom off the zipper right here and then you're going to normal stitch all the way down. Once you've done that, I'd suggest you put it down to your whining board, and then it's a very highly recommend that you I And down, um, this vaccine hit Iron it open. So you're moving this seam allowance on either side and ironing down off the same. This way we can attach the zipper to the center back, and because we've only just basted it along this line here, it means that you're able to easily on picket after we have inside of visible. So what you do is that you make you lay down the zipper with the teas, teeth facing outwards so down towards the fabric. Now you try and light lay down the zipper so that it is centered along the same line. I don't get it exactly right, but it's it's quite difficult to do when you first for you guys, but it's it's a really good skill to practice. So you put a pin on either side of the zipper all the way up to just below, um, the actual name of this one, the tuggle of the little zipper. So you make sure you put it on either side and try to keep the teeth centered on the same one. So now what we need to do is that you have This is a zipper foot and now try to bring it up as close to the tuggle off the zipper and fairly close to where the teeth. And then you make sure you do a quick little backstage there, and then you just stitch all the way down to the bottom of the zipper. And I'm actually you stop and do another little back stitch here just at the top off the stopper for visit. And always make sure of it. Before you start doing any stitching, you hold the end off the threads because otherwise the sewing machine will actually pull the threads back into the machine, and you'll get it all tangled up so you'll see here that I didn't get it exactly straight on the basted. Same. But this is what it will look like on either side Off zipper from the outside, that's see, I didn't do it all the way to the top. The next you're gonna do a quick little same a couple of stitches just above where the stop Aries on this IPO today seem going to do it. You're going to enclose the top of the zipper. So this point, you just need to pin down the top of visit the way spent on either side and you enclose the ends of the zipper within the waistband, so you might need to push it slightly to the side. At this point, it's good to unpick the first couple of stitches to try and give you a little bit more space to work with. Make it a little bit easier if you depend it down. And they were You can see how the talk Mrs up very equally, and that is right where the fold is, where it was signed as well. The next thing we need to do is we just need to pin down the waistband now. There is a special way that I do this to ensure that we always catch the inside off the waistband when I'm stitching it from the outside. So what you do is that because I find it so that the bottom section here, if the waistband is over just slightly over, I put a pin in from the outside and then on the inside, I just catch the bottom of it and make sure that the pin comes out fairly, fairly well underneath the same line. I hope you're able to see that, and I think I'm explaining it well enough. Here's what we do. It's covering over the same one off the outside. Put opinion from the outside off fabric and make sure it catches just a very bottom off the waistband on the inside. And then the pin comes out underneath the same one. That way you'll always know that the waistband will be caught within the stitches, even though you're stitching it from the outside. So I decided to open up the back, basting to make sure that I had enough room to move and to do this stitching to make sure that I have stitched on the inside off the waistband. Run very Zippo. Let's make sure that it's court on either side of both the front and the back, and it looks fairly straight. You can see this is how these about will end up, and I made sure that it makes out nicely in the back. It's not perfectly straight, but I'm quite happy with it. Still, next we're going to be stitching down from the outside on the waistband. Know what I'm doing is I'm only stitching it a good probably 2 to 3 millimeters away from that same line. But I'm still catching the waistband on on the inside of which you can see here. 8. Skirt hem: so, out of the many ways that you can hem a skirt or pants or a dress or anything, I decided to do a quick little rolled him off. Finishing enough. We've a zigzag stitch which causes it to get this little curl here at the very bottom. And then what you do is that you folded up slightly. I did fold it up about 1.5 centimeters, and then if you give it a slight pull, it actually Smoothes out quite nicely. So when you folded over like this, and then you give it a nice little pull, it actually these execs, it actually helps to make it so that it keeps the fold quite quite well. So when you sign it, you get this beautiful straight fabric that has been rolled over quite nicely. And the zigzag stitch is actually helping it to keep it in place as well, because it in Bunches up the fabric slightly. So here I am, just showing you how to fold it to pull it slightly. And then I did in place. And then this time I have done a It's about eight millimeters off um, him with just a regular straight stitch. Now that still causes the him to bunch up slightly because we are affecting the grain lines of the fabric. So what we do is that I just get the steam iron again. I give him a very slut pool, which you'll see here. And so I put the I and down I pulled him very slightly. You get a beautiful flowing him that doesn't have any bubbles in it.