I saw this great sleeveless blouse on Pinterest based on a circle skirt pattern. It was so cute and looked pretty easy but I couldn’t find any tutorials or even another example. There are other shirts based on a circle skirt but few like this. So I will attempt to write my process so others can try it too.
- Measuring tape
- At least 3 yds of fabric, should drape well 45”
- Package of matching bias tape
- Matching thread
- Paper if you want to draft a pattern
- Snaps, Velcro, or button
- Pattern Drafting:
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 neck band. 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 neck band pattern.
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 neck band 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”.
- Cutting the circle:
So I wanted to do a practice mock up before cutting into my favorite fabric to I went to Joann’s with my coupons and got some nice fabric for a trial run. When I got home I realized the fabric I liked was only 41” wide. I want to keep my original pattern and make the next one like that. I modified the original pattern to be only a half circle. So I folded the fabric in half and drafted my circle. I had to adjust the neck radius because I still wanted the circumference for my neck to be approximately 30” on the half circle. All I did was double the radius (about 10 inches) I found for my full circle measurement and there was my new neckline. For the hemline I just used the rest of the fabric and made it as wide as possible; I can always shorten it.
- Estimating the armholes:
Once I have the half circle draped on the dress form, I pin the seam up to under the arm. Then I estimate the length of the armholes. I cut the non-seam side down to match where I pinned the seam so I had two slits on each side. Then I wanted to round the armholes for a better fit and face them with bias tape. I used a cup to give some shape and cut a teardrop shape.
I think the arm holes are a little low so I will take the neckline down an inch after I do the facing since I have plenty of length and a little more fabric gathered into the neck won’t hurt. Now I know I need to start with shorter armholes.
- Face the armholes:
I wanted to practice using bias tape facing for my armholes so I made bias tape out of a fat quarter that complimented the fabric. I followed this bias tape tutorial and found it easy. I used the Scientific Seamstress’ bias tape maker to fold it instead of buying one.
- Gather the neck and finish the neckband:
The neckband is interfaced with a light facing. Press it right sides together and sew the sides. Turn and press again and then turn the hem under and press. I marked the sides of the neckband with a little over lap for snaps. Gather the front between the armholes so it fits in the front half of the neckband. Right sides together and sew, keeping the other layers free. Do the same with the back. Fold the neckband down so the gathered part is between the two layers and the hem is turned under. If you made the back or inside of the neck band a little longer than the front you can stitch in the ditch to secure the inside of the neckband to the front. Sew on snaps at neck side.
I wanted to face the hem with the same as the armholes but didn’t have quite enough to do it so I settled for a narrow hem using my narrow hem foot. I have a hard time keeping it lined up right so it is not as neat as I’d like. I have to keep practicing.
- Make a belt (optional):
I didn’t have much fabric left so I just made a bias strip, folded it in half and sew. Turn it so the right side is out and iron. Sew ends close. Or you can skip the belt for a maternity shirt or use a store bought belt. You could also make a coordinating belt out of a men’s tie!