Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tutorial: Make an Over the Top Circle skirt with this great trick

How have I just recently found out about this miracle stuff? It's been around for ages, but it just crossed my path a few months ago while I was designing my Bon Bon dress. When I Google search for it, this description comes up.
  1. Horsehair Braid is a type of crinoline netting that is now manufactured from nylon or polyester. This stiffener is used to give body to hemlines and puff sleeves, as well as adding decorative flair to hats and costumes. It comes in a variety of widths.
If you search Etsy for Horsehair Braid (or Crin or Crinoline) you will find a wide variety of widths and colors. So far I have used 5/8", 1", 1.5" and 2.5" widths, with 5/8" being my most favorite so far. In the picture below is 2.5", 1.5" and 5/8". On the wider braids, such as the 2.5" there is a thin string along one edge. This helps you to curve the braid to fit. One the narrow braids you don't need this.


So today, I am going to show you how I made this Over the Top Circle Skirt.


First of all, you need to make your circle skirt pattern. It seems a little intimidating, but if you use this free calculator, it does all the work for you! For the above skirt, I made my outer skirt 1" shorter than the underskirt. How did I get all that fullness? The secrete, besides Horsehair Braid: Multiple Circles of fabric per layer. The top layer consist of FOUR full circles!! The underskirt consist of TWO full circles! 

Cut out 4 (or even more) circles per your pattern.

Then unfold the circle one time so that it is folded in half, and cut the circle open along ONE folded edge.

 Repeat this for each Circle, so that all 4 are split open like this.

Making sure you have the right sides of the fabric together, sew the 4 circles together. Make sure to finish your seams to prevent fraying!

Time to break out the Horsehair braid. On the RIGHT side of your fabric, start pinning the braid to the raw bottom edge of your skirt. I started out with 1.5" braid, but that was too stiff for this light weight fabric.

I switched to 5/8" braid and it worked much better! Sew the braid to the skirt 1/4" from the raw edge. 

Sorry about switching fabrics on you here....but I forgot to take photo's :( This is the Under Skirt, which I used costume satin. Since it is a heavier fabric, I used the 1.5" Horsehair Braid. 

Once you have the Horsehair Braid sewn all the way around, turn the Horsehair Braid down, and then around to the back side. Press in place. The raw edge should now be completely encased. Pin in place. Note the blue polka dot fabric- I put that over the rough edge of the Horsehair Braid so that it's not scratchy if it hits my daughter.

From the front side, sew the other edge of the Horsehair Braid down. I like to sew about 1/4" from the edge of the Horsehair Braid. Repeat this process to finish both the Outer and Under Skirt hems.

I cut my waistband 4" x the length of the Under Skirt waist (which was about 31")

Sew the short raw edges of your waist band together.

This will sound like it's wrong...but trust me. Slip the waist band over the skirt so that the RIGHT side of the waist band is against the WRONG side of the UNDER SKIRT. Line up the raw edges, pin in place, then sew in place. Finish the raw edges.

Flip the waist band out from the Under Skirt and divide into 4 equal sections, mark with pins. 

Run a gathering stitch around the waist of the Outer Skirt and gather it to the size of the waist band. Line up each seam of the skirt with a pin on the waist band to keep your gathers even. 

DSC_0648 (1)
Pin the Outer Skirt to the waist band, so that right sides are facing. Sew in place. Finish the raw edges. 

You will now have each skirt sewn to opposite sides of the waist band. 

Fold the waist band in half, pushing the Under Skirt so that it's laying under the Over Skirt. 

With the waist band folded in half evenly, sew around the bottom edge, close to the Over Skirt. Make sure to leave a 2" opening to insert your elastic.

Insert the elastic into the waist band. I used 1" elastic. Sew the waistband closed.


Tada, you are finished!! Wasn't that easy? This skirt has some serious twirl! My daughter does not want to take it off!!



Happy Sewing, Mandy from Mandy K Designs


  1. Mandy, this is a slick waistband application. As a seasoned seamstress, we used horsehair braid in hems and waistband facings on a regular. Then the styles were softer and the use of the braid went away. I love how it works in the hem of this skirt. Thanks for sharing. Donna

  2. I love it. Sadly I can't find a Dutch store yet who carries this. But I am not giving up! :-)


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