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The hoop skirt, which is sometimes referred to as a farthingale, pannier or cage crinoline, is a foundational garment from the Tudor and Elizabethan eras. Used to support the exaggerated circular and domed shapes in style at the time, hoop skirts were heavily structured petticoats worn underneath all layers of gown skirts. Hoop skirts can be fairly expensive to purchase ready-made, and may not necessarily come in exactly the shapes you are looking for. You can make your own hoop skirt for historical purposes or to complement a costume gown.

Determine what shape of hoop skirt you need. Your skirt can be completely round, oblong or boxy. Then determine the hoop skirt circumference you need at the bottom hem and the skirt length. Next, take your waist measurement.

Cut a rectangle of fabric that is as long as your determined skirt length plus 2 1/2 inches, and as wide as your skirt circumference plus 1 inch. Turn up the hem 1/2 inch and press it flat with an iron. Turn it under another 1/2 inch and stitch it in place. Press the hem flat.

Pin a long piece of twill tape around the hem, on the inside of the skirt, from end to end. Stitch right next to the top and bottom edges of the tape, creating a tube. Leave the ends open.

Measure up from the twill tape 4 or 5 inches and make markings with a fabric pencil. Do this all the way up the rectangle, stopping about 5 inches from the top. At each of these markings, lay out another strip of twill tape and stitch it in place like you did in Step 3. If you are creating a hoop skirt that is very wide at hip level, put twill tape closer to the top of the skirt.

Fold the top edge of the skirt down 1/2 inch and press, then another 1 inch. Stitch right beside the fold, leaving the ends open. Slip hoop boning through each of the "channels" created by the twill tape, leaving 1/2 inch of space at each end of the fabric. Cut a length of twill tape that is the length of your waist measurement plus at least 10 inches, and slip it through the waistband channel.

Stitch the center back seam of the skirt together, with a seam allowance of 1/2 inch, stopping just after the top layer of boning. Do not hit the boning, or you may break or bend your needle. Step into the hoop skirt from the top, and attach it to your waist by tying the twill tape in the back.


You also can make a hoop skirt without the fabric, by attaching the hoop boning to vertical strips of twill tape all around the skirt. If you want an oblong shape, you may need to attach strips of twill tape on the inside of the hoop skirt, running horizontally across the inside space of the skirt from front to the back. This will help the boning hold the shape.

About the Author

Melissa J. Bell

A writer with a Bachelor of Science in English and secondary education, but also an interest in all things beautiful, Melissa J. Bell has handed out beauty and fashion advice since she could talk -- and for the last six years, write for online publications like Daily Glow and SheBudgets.