Sewing Project: Retro Ornament Circle Skirt | Mint Green Sewing Machine: Sewing Project: Retro Ornament Circle Skirt

Monday, December 5, 2016

Sewing Project: Retro Ornament Circle Skirt

I'm so excited to share this project with you guys today! It's something I've been working on for a while and one of those projects that I wasn't too sure was going to work out like I envisioned but which actually came together better than I had hoped. 

As I've been talking about endlessly, my new obsession is designing my own fabrics. I've also been really into vintage novelty fabrics and intrigued by the idea of pre-printed panel circle skirts that were produced in the 1950s and 1960s (see an example here). Essentially you would buy as many panels as you like- the more panels the fuller the skirt- and sew them together. I thought it would be really cool to try to design my own and I came up with a fun vintage ornament idea based on a vintage tree skirt we have (you can see it in the photo right behind me!). 

The difficult part was making sure I drafted it correctly, that I laid out the panels the proper way on the fabric and that I made sure there was enough plain fabric for a waistband while trying to fit them on as little fabric as possible (Spoonflower fabrics aren't exactly cheap). I wanted it to be able to fit a range of sizes so I had to figure out where each waist size would be and then make a guide showing where to cut.

After a few tweaks and uploading a few different versions, I nervously ordered 4 yards of Cotton Poplin Ultra, hoping I had done everything right and I wasn't about to waste 70+ dollars. I finally received my fabric on Friday and spent the weekend sewing it up. The verdict: it worked! The skirt sewed up just as I had planned, the only thing I hadn't taken into account is that the fabric shrank a bit when I washed it, but I adjusted the seam allowances to be a bit smaller to compensate and it worked out just fine. I'm so excited to design some more motifs now that I have the basic layout figured out!

The skirt consists of 12 panels total, 2 each of six different ornaments. You could also make a half-circle skirt with just 6 panels, but I haven't yet calculated where you would cut the waist for that version.

If you'd like to make one, you can find the fabric for sale on Sponflower here:

(use for cotton poplin or basic cotton ultra- buy 4 yards for a full circle skirt)

(For Satin, Cotton Sateen- buy 3 yards for a full circle skirt)

 I have created a guide for where to position the waist seam for a range of sizes which you can download here:

 If there is some interest I can make a tutorial for those who would like help on how to sew it together.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you all have an amazing holiday season.


  1. It is so lovely! Would you mind sharing your formula for the panel skirt? How did you lay it out for spoonflower?If you'd rather not I do understand.

    1. I used Adobe Illustrator to create the design and draw the skirt- I think I'll try to do a tutorial soon.

  2. What a fabulous idea! I am very much looking forward to seeing more designs.

    1. Thank you! Yes I will definitely be doing more- it's just so much fun!

  3. This turned out super cute! And what a neat idea; I've never seen a panel print like this before. Are you wearing it with a crinoline underneath, or is this the fluff factor with the poplin alone?

    1. Yes, I'm wearing a crinoline underneath in the photos.