How to 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
    The Spruce / Lesley Shepherd

    This simple circular skating skirt can be made in a number of fabrics and lengths to fit any size or shape of a doll. Here's an example, made 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 that is found at the end of the skirt's instructions.

    The look of the skirt will be largely determined by the drape and quality of the fabric you use to make it. 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 the size of the doll
    • Thin fabric for the waist interfacing
    • Fine needle and thread
    • A 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
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  • 02 of 12

    Measuring the Waist of Your Doll

    Using a piece of thread or cord to measure the waist of a doll.
    The Spruce . 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. We'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 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.
    The Spruce / 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. Measure this with string, rather than a ruler so that you can adjust your measurements 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 Spruce / 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.

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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.
    The Spruce / Lesley Shepherd

    Once you have the length you need for your doll skirt, plus a small amount for a hem (1/4 inch or 0.6 cm) 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 length + hem + half of the doll's waist adds up to 1 3/4 in/4 cm for the sample doll.

    If you have a drawing compass you can draw out the correct sized circle on paper. Otherwise, look for a circular glass, bowl or another 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.
    The Spruce / 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 that 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 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 Skirt on the Doll

    Test fitting the circular skirt on a doll.
    The Spruce / Lesley Shepherd

    Set the pattern or nap (the 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 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

    Trimming the waist opening for a circular skating skirt for a doll.
    The Spruce / Lesley Shepherd

    To adjust the center opening for the doll's waist, you want to leave roughly 1/4 inch/6mm of the 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. You may also need to cut straight into the seam allowance to allow nonstretch fabrics to bend away from the opening. Do not cut the opening any larger than 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 Spruce / Lesley Shepherd

    Cut a piece of fine fabric with a similar stretch to your main fabric to make the waist facing. Here we've used a scrap of four-way swimsuit fabric, which does not ravel. Make sure your facing fabric extends at least 1/4 inch/0.6 mm out from the seam line (waistline 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.

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  • 10 of 12

    Stitch the Opening

    Stitching a facing to the waist of a circular skirt for a doll.
    The Spruce / Lesley Shepherd

    Stitch using a sewing machine or a simple hand backstitch along the seam line for your circular skirt waist. If using a backstitch, use small stitches to ensure your fabric will not ​unravel.

    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 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, keeping the skirt fabric free of stitches.

    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.
    The Spruce / Lesley Shepherd

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

    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 Spruce / Lesley Shepherd

    To make the circular cape shown as part of the doll skating costume; 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 of capes, including nurse's capes to go with the nurse's cap for a doll.