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A swirly skirt that is modest, too.

Cutting the Spirals

This spiral skirt by Birch Street Clothing takes a lot of fabric, but it's worth it! There's only one pattern piece, the swirl itself. The trick is you have to cut all the swirls in the same direction, so no folded fabric. I cut the fabric I was using to the lengths of the pattern piece, and cut all 12 (!) swirls at once.

After that, my only problem was that the seam allowance wasn't specified on the pattern nor in the instructions anywhere I could find it. I used 1/2 inch, but then when I opened my women's sized pattern I see that it's marked for 1/4 inch seam allowance. The skirt did come out a bit tight at the hips for my 7 year old, but it's wearable and beautiful.

spiral laid out on 12 layers
12 layers of spiral all cut out

As you're sewing, the only "trick" is to keep an eye out on the curves not to get the fabric caught in a fold. Just slow down and keep smoothing out the fabric, and it sews easily as you match the markings on the pattern. I have no idea how Birch Street designs these great patterns, but I like 'em!

Variations and Ideas

girls spiral skirt

Instead of turning under a casing and inserting elastic, I made a lycra waistband. To make the lycra waistband, I cut a length of lycra the size of my daughter's waist, sewed the ends together right side to right side. Then I folded the band in half (so cut it twice the width you want, plus seam allowance) and sewed it to the finished skirt right side to right side. You have to stretch the lycra as you go. I mark with a pin the half way point of the lycra and the half way point of the top of the skirt to keep the stretch even across the waistband. It's just like adding ribbing to the cuffs of knit shirts and such, if you've ever done that.

Now I'm off to make one of these for me, and another one for my 12 year old daughter. We're about the same height already, so the only difference will be the number of swirls and the length of the lycra waistband. See my review of the women's size spiral skirt for more variations appropriate for teens and women.

I highly recommend this skirt. The sewing is easy, the cutting is really the only challenge. Also, you end up with a lot of remnant, since the swirl is essentially a huge bias piece that takes up more than half the width of 150cm wide fabric. That's about the only disadvantage to this gorgeous skirt that I can think of. If you use 3 spiral pattern pieces as in the instructions (always try the instructions first, I guess), you can lay 1 upside down between the other two across the width of the fabric and this cuts down on the size of the remnant pieces. The pattern is printed on quality newsprint type of paper. I traced the pattern on tracing paper. It comes in both a long and ballerina shorter length with instructions from 4 -12 years. Essentially, besides the length, you add more swirls the bigger the kid. To order your own pattern from Birch Street, Click here.

The above image is a picture of the girl's spiral skirt with a vest I made from a jumper top pattern. The fabric is a synthetic taffeta. Although the pattern says to stick with soft falling fabrics, the taffeta does very well for drape.

Sometimes when you need a skirt right away, you can find one one Here are current auctions when you search for spiral skirts:

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