12 Bandana Circle Skirt Sewing Project.

In a normal summer, we’d be outside and at the pool, not so much inside, sewing. But this isn’t a normal summer and we’re doing Camp Quarantine at our house.

My 12 year old daughter made this 12 bandana circle skirt. We used the “instructions” from this book from the 1970s, which I recently ordered.

Book Cover: Cuts of Cloth by Ann Sayre Wiseman

Interior Page View of Cuts of Cloth by Ann Sayre Wiseman

I use the term instructions lightly, because the book basically says, “Sew 12 bandanas together, then cut a circle for your waist and make a waist band!”

It’s almost that simple, unless you decide, as we did, to shorten the skirt and have to hem it! Did you know that hemming a curved edge is completely different than hemming a straight edge? Yeah, neither did I. (Or if I did, I forgot.) More on that below.

The Process

My daughter sewed the bandanas together, after laying them out on the floor to get a pleasing arrangement. Then we had to look up how to figure out how big to make that waist opening.

I knew that Lisa Polderman of Poldapop would have something on her blog to help me. I found her blog post on circle skirts, which led me to her recommended tutorial, by Dana Made It, on making the the waist opening and for cutting to length.

That tutorial was excellent and we made the pattern and cut the waist. I zig zagged the raw edge of the waist opening.

Making the Waist Band

For the waist, we looked at the hand-drawn picture in the book and tried to figure it out. I happen to collect sewing notions for use in collage and assemblage, so I checked my stash for useful bits and pieces. I had some white bias strip, with the two edges already turned over, in both 2″ width and 7/8″ width. We went with the 2″. My daughter folded it over the waist opening, pinned it, and sewed it on. We happened to have a single, extra long shoelace, so she threaded that through for the draw string.

A test try-on showed that it worked! It was a skirt! But it also dragged the floor. She wanted it a little below the knee, so measured, went back to the tutorial, made a pattern and cut it to length.

Then it was on to YouTube to learn how to hem a curved surface. The excellent video we found gave us three options:

• sew a basting stitch, and do a gathering-ease thing, iron and hem

• do a rolled edge hem

• do the ribbon edge hem

I had never done any of these, even though I’m a somewhat experienced sewer and have made clothes before. We went with the ribbon hem, thinking it was the easiest. It may not have been, but it’s done and it looks good!

The basic process for the ribbon hem is that you sew the ribbon to the wrong side of the skirt fabric, then flip it up, to the front of the skirt (right side of the fabric) and top stitch it down. Sounds easy right? There were hiccups. It would be easier the second time around.

Project Review: 12 Bandana Circle Skirt

In review, this is a really fun, easy project, particularly if you don’t add the complicating factor of cutting it shorter and having to hem it. The instructions call for 16″ square bandanas, I seem to have forgotten that detail and ordered 22″ square ones. The 16″ ones would have been better, then maybe we wouldn’t have had to shorten it.

I wish I had searched harder for really soft, high quality, 100% cotton bandanas. While these do claim to be cotton, they’re very thin. We used one or two old bandanas we already had and the contrast in quality is striking.

I do recommend this as a fun project for a new sewer, if all goes well you could be done in an afternoon. (Our hem added some time.). A fun variation might be to make a handkerchief skirt – same idea, with using printed floral handkerchiefs.

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