Different ways to hem a circle skirt

Different circle skirt hemming techniques

In my last post I mentioned a quick way to cut the hemline of circle skirts when you’re in a hurry. After cutting, the hem still needs to be finished! This blogpost is about the different ways to finish the hemline of a circle skirt.

Determine the best technique for hemming: the shape of your hemline and the fabric of your skirt

Before I start on the techniques, let’s have a quick look at the shape of the hemline and the material of the skirt. These two factors are important for deciding which type of hemming works best for your project. A circle skirt is made out of panels cut in a circle shape, creating a rounded hemline. This is important as rounded hemlines can’t easily be folded over. Try it with a circular piece of paper: if you fold the edge inwards, several folds along the edge are needed to fold the paper inward all along the edge. The same thing happens with fabric:  the ‘ fold over and stitch-technique’ will create a messy hemline.

The second factor is the fabric. I used a chiffon like fabric: a semi transparant woven fabric. There is a slight stretch to it (normal synthetic chiffon doesn’t stretch), making it easier to use techniques that require a bit of stretching and fiddling with the fabric while hemming.

What are these ‘techniques’ I keep talking about?

When I mention ‘technique’ I am talking about different ways to sew something. For instance, a hem can be finished by a fold-over-and-stitch- technique, or a rolled hem technique. In both cases, the skirt has a finished hemline. The result of each technique might be slightly different.  That’s why it’s important to learn about different techniques. Remember my adagio costuming is about what works for you? Sometimes a rolled hem might work, sometimes a serger might be the answer to all your problems. Fold over hems are prefect for straight hemlines and give a great result, but are unsuitable for curved hemlines. Being able to use different techniques and being able to judge what technique will give the desired effect is the sign of a good seamstress.

My favorite techniques for neatly hemmed circle skirts are:

  1. The basic rolled hem
  2. The serged hem (only works if you own a serger or are close friends with someone who owns one)
  3. The rolled hem with fish line finish (adding fish line)

This is a circle skirt with unfinsihed hem, to give you an idea of how the hemming technique can change the look of the skirt.

Circle skirt with unfinished hem
Circle skirt with unfinished hem

The basic rolled hem

Use the fingers of your right hand to slightly roll the edge of the fabric inward, and stitch right on top of it so it stays put. The fraying edge of the fabric is neatly tucked away. The nice thing about this technique is that it is a fairly simple concept. The tricky bit is that rolling fabric by hand while operating your sewing machine can get messy and result in uneven, quite big, rolled hems.

I highly recommend investing in a sewing machine foot called the ‘rolling hem foot’. What it does is roll the fabric for you, as long as the fabric edge is fed into the foot in the right way. Sometimes it is included with your machine but if it is not, go to your local sewing machine store and order it. It will change your life for the better. With a rolleed hem foot, creating even, neat and narrow rolled hems is a walk in the park. It takes a bit of practice and after that you’ll be hemming in no time. Roll hemming creates a narrow, roll like hem.

The serged hem (you need a serger for this one)

I am slightly envious of people who own a serger. It’s an amazing machine that can stitch, finish and cut fabric at the same time. It’s the reason why store bought items always have such nice finished seams. If you own one, it will also be the bane of your existence. Operating one is not easy and since it uses 3-5 threads at the same time, a lot of things can (and will) go wrong. However, if you own a serger or are close friends with someone who owns a serger, finishing the hemline with a serger is a great option. It will create a narrow, flat, flexible hem. Special thanks to Brenda for serging this skirt for me 🙂

Circle skirt with serged hem

The rolled hem with lettuce finish (adding fish line)

If you’re into fancy finishes, try edging your circle skirt with fish line! It is a relative easy proces. Instead of a normal roll hem, sew fishing line inside the rolled hem. The fishing line comes from a spool and thus creates a meandering, lettuce like effect. Sparkly belly has a more extensive post about this technique on her website.

This technique creates a hem that is rolled, and falls in natural curles and curves.

Circle-skirt-fishline hem
Circle skirt with rolled hem and fish line

For tutorials about how to add fishing line to the hemline of a skirt, try this curly hem tutorial on Youtube, this tutorial by Sparkly Belly. It is fairly easy to add the fishing line to the rolled hem and I really like the results. So floofy!

For your enjoyment, here is a quick overview of the effect of the different hemming techniques.

Different circle skirt hemming techniques

If you enjoyed this post, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. If you have a question or comment, let me know through Facebook and I might write a blog post to answer your costuming question.

Thanks for reading and see you soon!

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A quick tip to cut circle skirts to the desired length

It’s been quiet on this blog for a while. Rest assure though that I am still costuming my heart out! Finding the time to blog about it, now that’s the real challenge. Instead of showing you stuff I madein the last couple of weeks, I’d rather start with a quick update on things that are going on on my (our) lives.

1. House

We’re remodeling the attic! Four to six builders took over our house and transformed our attic into two decent sized bedrooms. They build two dormers and replaced the old window frames at the front of our house. Our dog acted as their supervisor and kept a close eye on things.

Dog supervising construction

The downside of remodeling? Once the builders are gone, it’s left to us to finish the job. Like plasterig the walls, painting the woodwork, dragging all the stuff we stored in other parts of our house back upstairs. We’ll be busy with finishing the job well into July. But look at that space! For reference, the old roof is the diagonal beam in the right part of the picture.

The dormer half done

2. Dance

There were hafla’s, mermaids and drum solo’s. I did a performance as the moon that I am very pleased with. In a costume that I borrowed from a friend (thanks Laudie!) because I didn’t finish the moon goddess costume yet. These are my students and me performing a drum solo with my dance friends from Sense of Bellydance drumming. That’s me on the right, with the blinged up old school Bella. My weekly classes are almost at the summer stop, which makes me sad and happy at the same time. Sad because I love teaching and happy because I am run down and tired and would love to have a break.

Drum solo hafla Zeist3. Costuming

See those blue skirts in the previous pictures? I got some left over fabric that I am transforming into costumes for my student recital next Sunday. By ‘some left over fabric’ I mean I had about 25 meters lying around. It was inexpensive and the guy at the fabric market offered me a discount for buying two bolts. I’m sure you’d done the same! There’s not enough to make double layer chiffon skirts for everyone, so I made five single layer chiffon skirts instead. Here’s a quick tip for hemming circle skirts when you’re in a hurry and the skirts have to be ‘one size fits most’.

Hang them on a clothes horse or laundry line and leave them there for about seven days. The threads in the fabric need to adjust to their new position and gravity needs time to work it’s magic. Some parts of the fabric will stretch out a bit, making the hemline uneven.

If I had time, I would put each skirt on my dressform and carefully cut the hemline to even it out. If I had more time, I’d go over to a friend, who would lovingly cut the hemline to my personal length while we eat chocolate, share bellydance tips and fawn over the latest costume designs. Unfortunately, my time is limited (see 1. House and 2. Dance). When I run out of time, I create shortcuts that help me do the job.

The quick and dirty way to cutting hemlines on multiple circle skirts

Take a circle skirt that is already at the correct length and hang it next to the unhemmed skirt(s). Make sure that the skrits are pinned on exatly the same way at the top, otherwise your hem might come out a bit wonky. I am aiming for slightly longer skirts with the last three because I am going to finish with a lettuce hemline. Using the finished skirt as a guide, cut the hemlines on the unfinished skirts.

Hemming circle skirtsTadaa, the skirts are ready for the next step! More about different ways to hem a circle skirt in a later post.

That’s it for today! See you soon 🙂

If you enjoyed this post, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook or Twitter. If you have a question or comment, let me know through Facebook and I might write a blog post to answer your costuming question!

Thanks for reading, and cut those circle skirts ’till you can cut no more!