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.. and without crawling on the floor with a string.. with the Fan-Fold Technique
This 'fan-fold' technique of cutting a circle skirt is a fast and low-stress way to cut circle skirts when you don't have a large table to support the fabric while you cut. And it is THE way to cut chiffon without losing your mind. You fold the fabric like a fan and then cut a twelve-inch line across the end.... and your 6-yard-hem circle is now ready to mount on a waistband and hang!
Why does this technique work? Almost every fabric stretches when cut on the bias, which is why you have to HANG YOUR SKIRT before hemming. Therefore, it DOES NOT pay to get hung up on exact cutting before the skirt has hung and stretched. Your perfect circles are going to turn into perfect trapezoids after gravity has its way.
|You are going to make half-circles from rectangles. You will need one rectangle for each half-circle.
This is the calculation for the Prime Measurement used to calculate both length and width of each rectangle: (skirt length + hems and seams + waist opening radius).
The width for the rectangle is the Prime Measurement. If your fabric is wider than you need you DON´T have to trim it to size first.
The length of the rectangle is twice the Prime Measurement.
Example: The diagram on the left is the rectangle for each half of a 2-half-circle skirt for a woman with a 36" hip and a finished length of 34 inches.
|The picture at the above left has a circle marked in dotted lines in the middle of the left side (the eventual location of your waist opening) with a little mark in the middle of the circle. That is the midpoint of the long side. Take two safety pins (in case one comes out) and put them at the midpoint. No, you do not have to mark the circle.|
|Fold your fabric in half across the short width, creating a square. .
|Make your first diagonal fold.
|Now fold again on the line marked 2nd Diagonal Fold. As above, start the fold from the center waist mark and make the longest edges line up. You will not be able to line up the top edges; keep the shortest section on top. Fold as accurately as possible.|
|Now make at least one more fold (for 16 sections). 2 more folds will give you 32 sections, and 3 more will yield 64. The more sections, the rounder the resulting half-circle will be. Remember to fold from the center waist mark and match the long edges as even as possible. Keep the shortest section(s) on top. Pin or baste or tack or secure with pony clamps ruthlessly as you fold to keep it folded. It doesn't have to be exact, but be as exact as you can be!|
Now make your fan as long as the Prime Measurement.
|Open your half circle up. As you can see, the multiple folds give a very circular effect while saving your sanity AND keeping the scraps as usable as possible! You are now ready to mark and cut your waist opening and sew your skirt together, starting [HERE].|
|You can save fabric by cutting two half-circles from one piece of cloth, overlapping the patterns a bit. To do this, you need to mark the waist-center points for both half-circles before you start cutting.
Maura Enright, Proprietor
Author: Maura Enright
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