How to make a hoop skirt for a dress

Written by carol gold
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How to make a hoop skirt for a dress
Hoop skirts were first worn by women in the 18th century. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

A hoop skirt can be made at home using inexpensive materials. You can customise your skirt to be any shape, any colour and just the right length. You can attach any top or blouse to the skirt to make a dress. Hoop skirts were first worn 300 years ago. If historical accuracy is important to you, you may want to do some research on particular skirt shapes that are specific to historical periods.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Muslin or any non-stretching fabric
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Bias tape or ribbon 1.5 to 2 inches wide
  • Thread to match colour of skirt
  • Boning

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  1. 1

    Select your fabric. Muslin, cotton, linen all work well. You can even use an old sheet. Select a fabric to match or complement the top of your dress.

  2. 2

    Measure from the waist down to desired length of skirt and add two inches. Measure to determine the desired circumference at the hemline.

  3. 3

    Cut a large rectangle of fabric. The width should equal your skirt length measurement. The length of the rectangle should equal your circumference measurement. Cut one piece of bias tape the length of the rectangle plus 10 inches for the waist. Cut three to six pieces of bias tape (determined by the number of hoops you desire) the length minus two inches.

  4. 4

    Hem the two long sides of the rectangle. Turn 1/4 inch up all along the edge. Press with iron. Turn up again 3/4 inch. Press with iron. Stitch as close to top edge as you can. Repeat on opposite side.

  5. 5

    Sew bias tape along edge of hem, leaving 1 inch at each end of fabric for seam. Use a long, straight row of stitching on both entire edges of tape. You are creating a casing. Repeat at opposite edge.

  6. 6

    Lay fabric right side down with bias tape showing. Lay pieces of tape in horizontal rows equidistant from each other, leaving a space of 1 inch at each side. Leave at least 5 inches from waist.

  7. 7

    Slide boning into each hoop casing, and cut to match. Thread bias tape through casing at waist with tape ends extending out.

  8. 8

    Sew back seam. Put ends of fabric together inside out (casings on the outside). Stitch 1/2-inch seam. Do not stitch over waist casing. Turn right side out. If wearing over a dress, step into the skirt and tie at waist. If attaching a top to make a dress, tack it just below the waist of skirt (so as not to stitch the tie).

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid hitting boning when you sew the back seam.

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