The Nitty- Gritty of the Skirt…but first, MATH.

When it comes down to it, you’re reading this because you want to know how I did this, –right?

So, it all starts with some math….yep, it does. Sorry.

Basically I wanted a full “dome” look to the skirt…so in order to make a dome-looking thing, I had to sew a dome.

Sounds reasonably easy, right? Nope. It ain’t.

I found out it was the math, and then the design, that made all the difference.

If you’ve been researching “hoop skirt” construction in order to get this shape, you are in for a sorry disappointment. From what I was able to find out is that, historically, hoop skirts were created by joining row after row of gathered levels, each slightly bigger than the one before it. Doing this method of construction will not get you a “dome” shape….it will, however, waste time and fabric….as I did make one.

This is the prototype that I did using this method…it just ended up being a very big bell-shape… and it was ridiculously long.


So let’s get to the math, shall we?

The first measurement that you’re going have to take is your length…from your waist to the floor….you might want to have someone else do this for you because if you look down while doing it, it will change your measurements.  So for this example, let’s use my measurements….mine was 38 inches.

The next calculation you’re going to have to make is how big your bottom circle is going to be…essentially, you want half a globe to make your skirt totally dome-shaped.  You are going to need to know the circumference of your circle (this will also be the size of your bottom hoop btw).

The formula to figure this out is:  (your length  x 2) x  π (or 3.14)

So my measurements went like this: (38 x 2) x 3.14= 238.64 inches or 19.88 feet …or since I’m Canadian… 6.11 meters. J (btw to get the metric equivalent, divide your inches by 39 and that will give you meters.)

drafting 1

So here comes the hard part….scaling and making the pattern.

To make my pattern, I found direction on line for making a paper globe… here

You’re gonna want to print out the paper pattern for the globe on their link….

In order to make your dome/half globe, you have to scale the globe pattern to your size…..

The globe takes 12 triangle-shaped pattern pieces to make the dome….so divide your circumference by 12….example: my circumference is 238.64 inches ÷ 12= 19.88 inches. –so each piece is going to be 19.88 inches (50.91 cm) wide at the bottom.


If you physically measure the wedge from the globe pattern at what will be the bottom of your skirt, you will find that is measures 4cm or 1.57 inches. If you divide 50.91 cm by 4 cm, you get a scaling ratio of 12.72. –that means for every measurement on the globe pattern, you are going to have it enlarge it, or times it, by 12.72 in order to get the correct measurement– this ratio is based on my measurements…yours are going to be different.

Now, you’re going to need about 2-3  yards or meters of brown craft/pattern paper, in order to draft your pattern. You are also going to need a good ruler and a French-curve ruler.

You are now going to need plotting points….fold your craft paper in half. The nice part about this pattern is that it is symmetrical, so folding it in half will make your pattern even on both sides.

I found that when drafting the pattern, starting at the bottom was the best…and working right to left. So the first line you want to draw is going to be a vertical line, 90 degrees perpendicular, on your paper –this is the bottom of your skirt so the measurement will be half of your bottom segment –in my case it’s half of 50.91 cm which equals 25.46 cm.

Using your scaling ratio, measure the spine of the globe piece and translate that into your pattern.

The next step is to get the width of the globe sections and translate that on your pattern piece.

The only thing that you do not need to add is the top section of the globe…this is where your waist will go eventually.

After you are done plotting, use your French curve to get a line with a slight curve to attach all the lines.

Add 1/4 inch around you piece for seam allowance, and cut out your pattern. Hint for cutting out the pattern, pin your paper together so that it doesn’t shift.

Your pattern should look like this.


When you open it up, it should look like this:


Now, go have a drink and relax, until we go to cut out the fabric!


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