A Wild Cheetah-Print Circle Skirt

Idle Fancy - Half Circle Skirt - Snow Leopard Print Cotton Mood Fabrics-3550

¬†Good morning, friends! How has your February been? Mine has gone by entirely too quickly, a blur of long work days and frolic-filled weekends. It’s also been a time of introspection, style-wise. As I’ve written recently, I’ve been in the mood for a bit more glamour in my wardrobe. Less pastels, more vivid color. Instead of skirts covered in adorable cats, I’ve craved, well…a skirt covered in a different cat, entirely! Maybe I watched too many Ann-Margret movies, as a child, but nothing screams glamour to me like a good animal print garment. When done right, it’s the chicest print out there.

Our dear Mood Fabrics, of course, does it right. This black & off-white cheetah print appeared online in December and I snapped up a length of it, with all that glamour on my mind. This fabric is a wide opaque cotton, with a fairly crisp drape and good stretch from its elastine content. I’d say it’s most comparable to a nice, weighty cotton sateen, perfect for a structured spring dress, cute little cigarette pants, or–tada!–a party skirt.

Idle Fancy - Half Circle Skirt - Snow Leopard Print Cotton Mood Fabrics-3579

Me being myself, I chose the latter option. It merged nicely with my other obsession this month: the circle skirt. All variations of this classic, from half to full, get so much wear in my wardrobe. They dress down well in printed denim, for a retro daytime look, or dress-up beautifully with a silk blouse and heels. Once I make one, I remember how much I love them and promptly make five more! I’ve been on a 3/4 circle kick most recently, but I thought the structure of this fabric would lend itself well to the half-circle. Such a crisp drape suits the more belled silhouette of a semi-circle nicely.

I made my half-circle pattern quite awhile ago, but there are now plenty of calculators around to help with the math. (My two favorites are from Patty and By Hand London.) My personal preference is a pieced approach to circle skirts, to cut down on fabric waste. This one is two pieces, front and back, attached to a straight waistband, and closed with an invisible zipper on the left side. That’s the other thing about circle skirts–there’s no easier project, for a quick sewing fix. If you know how to sew a waistband and a zipper, you’re good to go. Make sure it hangs overnight, to let the bias fall as it needs, then hem it up.

Idle Fancy - Half Circle Skirt - Snow Leopard Print Cotton Mood Fabrics-3583

Let’s see, what other construction details are there to note on this simple piece? The seams inside are all serged to finish and the hem is pretty narrow, about a half-inch, in deference to the fabric’s crispness. Of course, I made my life more difficult, by securing the waistband facing by hand and hemming the skirt with a small catch-stitch all the way around. Circle skirts, even half ones, have hems that go on forever and ever. A glass of wine and a good movie always see me through, however. This one was hemmed to Tim Burton’s Big Fish!

This is exactly the animal print skirt that’s been missing from my wardrobe. It is insanely comfortable, but also ready for a party! Nothing says “Let’s get festive!” like a classic animal print, paired with black accessories. Chic, but super fun. The only problem with this project is that I’m wishing I had more fabric leftover! Suddenly, cheetah print capris sound like a necessary wardrobe addition…

Idle Fancy - Half Circle Skirt - Snow Leopard Print Cotton Mood Fabrics-3575



  • Sarah - Fabric Tragic
    February 27, 2015

    Like you, I think animal print done well is beyond fabulous. And you have done very well indeed!

    • Idle Fancy
      February 27, 2015

      Thank you, Sarah! Long live (tasteful) animal print!

  • Peter
    February 27, 2015

    That skirt truly is glamorous. Love your photography — and your wonderful writing!

    • Idle Fancy
      February 27, 2015

      Thank you so, so much, Peter! It’s funny, whenever I’m in the middle of writing a book, my sewing posts get similarly prose-y. I can’t turn it off!

  • ME Pendleton
    February 27, 2015

    I love this print & your circle skirt ! You have such great style & your fit is right on . Great job !

    • Idle Fancy
      February 27, 2015

      Thank you so much, M.E.!

  • Ginger
    February 28, 2015

    Cheetah!!!!! Love it!

  • AJW
    March 1, 2015

    I love the skirt and more important, the way you have nailed the fit issue. This skirt looks just terrific on you — fabulous job.

  • Lori
    March 1, 2015

    I love this skirt on you, the fabric and the fit are purr-fect! Sorry for the play on words. Great job and I admire that hemming by hand.

  • sallie
    March 3, 2015

    Super gorgeous! I love this new ‘glam’ you! But then again I just love all versions of Mary. Circle skirts are always a classic, and so is animal print, making for one timeless garment! Also I just watched Big Fish a bit ago too – love that movie!

  • Fiona
    March 3, 2015

    Love this change of style on you Mary! The body of that fabric suits the shape of a circle skirt so well!

  • Sew Busy Lizzy
    March 12, 2015

    I never tire of fabric print and I think it’s lovely here paired with a simple classic skirt. Nice job!