Full Circle Blouse Tutorial

If you saw my tutorial on the Half Circle Blouse experiment, here is the full circle one. This is for fabric approximately 58 inches wide. You will need about 2.5 yards.

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Here is my paper mock up pattern. circle blouse pattern

I sketched my pattern out on a piece of paper first. I measured my neck and then added an inch of overlap for fastening, then added seam allowances (I use 5/8” but use whatever you are used to). That was my length for the neckband. For finished width I decided on 2.5 inches so I doubled it and added seam allowances so my total was 17.5 inches long X 5 inches wide. That was my neckband pattern.

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Then I drafted the blouse pattern on a piece of paper. I knew my fabric was going to be 58” which is 29” folded. I then assumed I would fold the fabric over from the end to form a square 29” by 29”. Now I had to do some fancy figuring (remember the geometry!) to figure out the rest of the measurements. I know I wanted to gather the neck into the neckband to I wanted the neck opening to be double my neck size so for me that was about 30 inches. In order to figure out how to mark my circle I needed the radius of the neck opening. For those of you who have forgotten your geometry, radius = circumference/3.14. So with a 30” circumference my radius was 4.77 inches. The radius for your hem circle is as wide as your fabric will allow, which for me is 29”.

On the Half Circle Blouse I made the opening for the neck on the side, so the neck and the armhole made it large enough to go over my head. I wanted something different for this one so after the circle is cut I will cut the circle straight up the back and insert a 7 or 9 inch zipper up through the neckband.

I fold the circle in half and match the armholes so I can cut a seam in the back. From here I can draft the armholes using a cup to round them. Face them with single-fold bias tape. I picked a cute calico, no more boring bias tape for me, and whipped up some bias tape for the facings and hem.

IMG_0554I decided to do a little experimenting with this one for more shoulder coverage. Since I had plenty of fabric in the circle to work with, I shaped the armholes a little before I faced them and brought the first 5 inches or so down on the shoulder. I sewed a shoulder seam, hoping to catch the upper edge into the neck band and only gather the neck at the front and back. Let’s see if this works. I did this because on the half circle I really didn’t like that it required a strapless bra because it showed so much shoulder.

Next I insert the zipper into the back. I don’t have an invisible zipper foot so I used my regular zipper foot and put it in all the way up to the neck and finished the seam. I finished the raw edges on the serger. This part was so frustrating and looks so messy I won’t even take a picture. After many tries I kind of gave up and took solace in the fact I will wear a sweater most of the time in this outfit. The fabric was just too slippery and I broke 3 needles trying to get it to work. So what did I do? Whip out the trusty iPad, get on Pinterest, and find a solution. After looking at a few solutions, the quickest one was to use was placing tissue below my slippery fabric to give the feed dogs something to grip and keep the fabric from getting pushed down. It worked perfectly! Yes I had to pull paper off all the time and kept putting more pieces under my work but so worth it as to not have a ratty hem and get the zipper finished. All I can think is how much I could have learned and learned faster if I had had Pinterest 10 years ago!

IMG_0574All that is left is the hem which I faced with the rest of the custom bias tape. It was interesting because it gave it a little stiffer quality and support to the hem than when the fabric hung without it. You can see that the hem kind of sticks out more like a peplum and you can see some of the facing. I love it. If you want it to lay down more and not have that contrast peeking out then do a rolled hem.

I also made a bias cut belt but don’t think it was great. It was wavy and did not come out great but it’s useable. I also can wear it with a regular belt.

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In hindsight, the half circle blouse on 45 inch fabric produces a longer hem than the full circle on the 58 inch fabric. So if you want more rear coverage, go with the half circle. The full circle does not really produce more fabric around the body or this fabric was too soft to make much difference or once I spread out the shoulders it wasn’t enough. Now I am thinking what about a half circle on 60 inch fabric? That might make a mini dress or longer tunic for leggings. Anyone ready to experiment?

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