To make a slightly improved version that looks even better than mine you will need:*
- 32 lengths of ribbon or strips of fabric finished on each edge**, each 41″ long and approximately 1″ wide. These are mine:
- 900 inches of flexible poly piping. My local hardware store sells rolls of 20 metres (800 inches) for NZ$7
- A strip of fabric 45″ long x 4″ wide for a drawstring waistband
- A 65″ drawstring between 1/2″ and 1″ wide (anything non-slippery will do)
- 3 metres of string/twine and a large needle with a hole big enough to thread the twine through.
- Duct tape
Step 1: Making the vertical hoop strips:
Place 2 lengths of your 32 lengths of ribbon/fabric wrong sides together. Sew a line across the top 1/2″ from the edge. Reverse and forward your stitches at both ends a number of times so that the line is very secure.
You should end up with a ladder of stitches holding the two lengths of ribbon together. If I did my math correctly you should have 8 4″ gaps and 8 1″ gaps, and end up on a small gap. The little gaps are where you will thread your hoops through.
Do this to the other 30 lengths of ribbon, so that you end up with 16 strips in total.
Step 2: Making the waistband
Sew two buttonholes side by side and 1″ apart 1 1/4″ up from one long edge of the 45″ drawstring waistband. The buttonholes are to thread the drawstring through and should be 1/4″ longer than your drawstring ribbon is wide. It does not matter where on the 45″ of the waistband you place your buttonholes, though I like to place them at the centre (i.e. 22 inches from one short edge)
Sew the two short edges of the waistband wrong sides together so that the waistband forms a circle.
Step 3: Attaching the strips to the waistband
Pin the hoop strips/ribbons to the right side of the waistband on the long edge closer to the buttonholes at regular intervals, with the short edge of the strips meeting the edge of the waistband.
Baste them to the waistband using 1/2″ seam allowance
Fold and iron the waistband in half along the length, so that it is now 2″ wide.
Fold the unfinished edge with the hoop strips sewn to it up into the waistband. Fold the other edge into the waistband and iron, so that both unfinished edges are hidden inside the waistband.
Step 4: cutting and threading the hoops
Now cut your hoop lengths.
Length 1: 70″
Length 2: 85″
Length 3: 92″
Length 4: 102″
Length 5: 110″
Length 6: 117″
Length 7: 125″
Length 8: 130″
Slice along the length of the poly piping for three inches at one end of each of the hoop widths.
Step 5: adjusting and taping the hoops
Using a dressform or with the help of a partner, try the hoopskirt on and assess how it looks. You may need to shorten some of all of the hoops (do this from the un-sliced into end) if the hoopskirt looks too big on you. You may find that you want to adjust the relative bell shape of the skirt.
When you are happy with all of the hoops and the shape of the skirt, fasten all of the hoop connections by wrapping them with duct tape (I know, so historical!).
Step 6: fixing the hoops in place.
The problem with the hoops as they are now is that they can slide round inside the tapes and change the shape of your hoopskirt. The way to fix this is to attach your hoops to your 16 vertical strapes/tapes.
I’ve got this idea that there must be some sort of screw/fixing thing out there that would do the trick, but I haven’t manage to find one.
You could use bolts and washers, but then you would have big lumps all along your hoopskirt, catching on your petticoats and tearing at them. I thought of using little tiny screws, but was afraid that the would work their way out, or tear at the strap fabric too much.
So my solution now is to sew through the tapes and the poly piping. Check that you really like the way the hoopskirt hangs, and then thread your big needle with the cord. Tie a knot in one end a couple of inches from the end. Push the needle through the strap and poly piping from front to back at one intersection.
You may find it helpful to drill holes in the poly piping with a drill gun and a very small drill bit (especially if you are like me and have almost no arm strength), or poke them with an awl.
Check the way your hoopskirt lies each time you sew a hoop to a strap to ensure it is correct.
Go have some chocolate and make yourself a cup of tea, because you are going to have a lot of these connections to sew, and are going to get really tired and irritated with them!
Ta da! Your hoopskirt is done!
Now make a lovely frilly petticoat or two to go over it (please, please, please don’t wear your hoopskirt without a petticoat or two. There is no worse look than hoopskirt lines showing through your skirt)
What I would do better next time (I have included these improvements in the instructions):
-I would use 16 vertical straps to hold it together, rather than 8
-I would put my hoops closer together (and end up with more hoops)
-I would do a drawstring waist. It’s easier to make than a proper waistband, and easier to adapt to many sizes
* This will make a hoopskirt to fit someone who is approximately 5’7″ and with a natural waist of 29″ hips of 39″, though it will fit a lot of sizes on either side of that too. If you are considerably taller add an addition 5″ to each of the 32 lengths of ribbon, and an extra hoop that is just a few inches bigger around than the bottom one. If you are considerably shorter, just omit the bottom hoop or two and trim the 32 lengths of ribbon. If you are considerably bigger or smaller around in the waist and hips you may lengthen or shorten the 45″ waistband and the 65″ drawstring and add or subtract a few inches to your hoop widths.
**Overlocking is fine. I used a roll hem on mine.