Toward my effort to make my own wardrobe basics, I tried my first sewing project on a sewing machine since middle school. My grandma bought me this sewing machine (affiliate) for Christmas 2017 (thanks, grandma!), and I was excited to make a black midi skirt to show off when I came back home to Columbus for Christmas.

brother sewing machine for beginners

I love this beginner’s sewing machine. So easy to use!

The TL;DR – it did not go well… but I think that’s only because of my body type. See, I’m a pear shape, which loosely translates to all about that bass. 


But I still think the process that got me a useless scrap of fabric is worth exploring, because the method behind my madness wasn’t wrong – I just had… well… too much booty.

1) Took my measurements

I firmly believe that everyone should know their body measurements. It’s easy for men; their pants correspond to their approximate height and stomach size. But for US women… what does a size 10 mean about your measurements? And how many of you have properly measured your bra size?

In any case, I advocate for measuring yourself every six months or so – more often if you’re losing or gaining significant amounts of weight – so that you won’t be so surprised next time you’re one size up or down at the store. I recommend using this handy chart to help your measuring:


2) Did some calculations

The formula for a circle skirt isn’t that complicated – but the less math I have to screw up, the better. That’s why I love this circle skirt calculator I found. I put in my measurements and was told exactly the cuts I needed to make to form my circle skirt – more on that in a second.

I also found this great resource while browsing Pinterest called the Golden Number. It’s supposed to be the ultimate guide to a skirt or dress length for a flattering fit every time. (Didn’t work for me, but c’est la vie.)

perfect dress size golden number pinterest

With my planned skirt length and width, I was ready to go! — sort of.

3) Accounted for Plus Size

If you want to sew your own circle skirt and you happen to have a healthy BMI, great! You can look up any circle skirt guide on Pinterest, cut out your shape, add some elastic, and throw on a hem. Easy as pie.

Unfortunately, things are a little harder on the plump side of life. Because we often need more than one yard of fabric, we have to cut our skirt in pieces and then assemble. I found this great tutorial for a four-panel circle skirt. It requires a bit more assembly than a traditional circle skirt, but it was easy to follow even for a beginner like me.

4) Assembly

I put the four pieces together and sewed on some elastic. (I had to have my husband help me keep the skirt straight in order to pin the elastic to the fabric before sewing.) I was so excited to try on my new skirt…

And it was about two inches shorter in the back than in the front – not because of my sewing, but because… well. Dat booty. And hiking up that much in the back does not make for an appropriate view, believe me!

Looking back, I think I’ve always had this problem – back from the full-length brown ombré skirt I loved so much in high school when it wasn’t cool at all, to the short dresses that I could never get to work with my lower half. It’s the curse of the pear, really.

5) Next steps

I still need a reliable Midi skirt at some point. An uneven cut has been mentioned a few times on social media, so I feel that’s a good step. My favorite dress is knee-length in the front and floor-length in the back, and it is super flattering!

How do you know what style of clothing will fit you, though — before you commit a fashion faux pas? Patience, that’s how. I’m working on a big resource to help you find your body type and customize a wardrobe just for you, along with some other helpful tips.

That won’t be launching until later this year, though, so stay tuned… and wish me luck with my next project!

Also published on Medium.