Monday, September 6, 2010

The Circle Top pattern

Remember this top from the Iron on Transfer post? As Promised here is the tutorial...
Only today we are making one that looks like this

I like to call the Circle top. I call it this because you start with a circle and then you end up with a top. Well maybe there are a few more steps than that. But I promise that it is super easy to make. You can make this for any size person you want I make most everything for my daughter but feel free to make this for yourself as well. (just adjust the measurements) So here we go!

Start by making the top pattern.
Step 1: measure from the middle of one shoulder to the middle of the other shoulder. (across the back of the neck) For my daughter this was about 8 inches. You are going to be making a circle with the diameter of that length, make sense? So since my daughters measurement was about 8 inches, I happened to have a salad plate with that measurement and I used that to trace my circle, however you have to get your circle, is fine, places and bowls work awesome.
Step 2: fold the circle in half and then in half again.

Step 3: measure the neck opening of a shirt that fits well. For my daughter this was about 4 inches. Divide that in half, so for me that was 2 inches.

Step 4: along the top fold and the flat side folded circle measure in the 2 inches (or whatever measurement you had) then about an inch downward start your cut and round up towards your mark. ( so that is looks like the picture above. I hope I haven't confused you too much)

Step 5: You should end up with a doughnut looking thing. (if not you did something wrong, and should try again) Cut your circle in half. Save half discard half.

Step 6: Trace the half you are keeping on a new piece of paper extending the "U" shape by 3 inches.

Step 7: Cut out the shape you traced and then you should have 2 "U" shapes, on longer than the other. Mark the short one front and the long one back. You will be cutting two each out of your fabric of choice. (you may also add one each of interfacing to stiffen your fabric if you choose)

Step 8: Cut your fabric. (and interfacing if you choose) you should have two of each. This is also where you would iron on your interfacing if you choose to use it, I did for this one since my fabric is pretty thin for the top.

Step 9: You will also need 2 two inch stripes of elastic. The thin elastic like pictured above works best.

Step 10: You are going to start by sewing together the back piece to it's liner (so the two long "U" shaped pieces together) Before you start this you need to place the elastic for the button fastener. To do this fold the elastic in half.

Step 11: place it loop side in (or down) in the middle of the top of the "U" shape. One on both sides, pin it in place. That may have seemed a bit confusing keep reading on and it will make more sense.

Step 12: Sew the pieces right sides together. Clip the corners and notch the curve so that it will lay flat when you turn it right side out. (You will notice I did not sew the whole "U" closed, only sew a few inches down the sides and then through the neck area, as shown above)

Step 13: turn the piece right side out and you should have two elastic loops at the top of the "U". Sew the right sides together for the front as well so that you have two "U"'s

Step 14: Prepare the Bodice of the top. Cut two rectangles, out of the fabric of your choice. The measurements are up to your model and preference. For my top I like a full ruffle and I used a thin silk as my fabric so I multiplied my original 8 inch measurement and multiplied it by 8 so I got 24, for a less full ruffle you may go with doubling your measurement. How long you want your top is the second measurement, measure from the top of the chest, right under the base of the neck to where ever you would like the top to end. (keep in mind you will hem the bottom) For me that was 12 inches. So I cut two rectangles 24 inches by 12 inches.
Step 15: Measure from the top of the shoulder down below the armpit. For my model this was 4.5 inches. Subtract one inch. For me that leaves me with 3.5 inches. At the top corners of the front and back of the bodice roll the fabric over and tuck in the unfinished edge so that it looks like the picture above, sew down as long as your measurement was. For me that was 3.5 inches. Do this to both corners of the front and back.

Step 16: Gather the top edge of the front and back piece. (To gather sew a basting stitch and then pull the thread to gather the piece.)

Step 17: Pin the gathered edge right sides together to the front "U" shape and the other gathered piece right sides together to the back "U" piece. Make sure you don't pin across the whole piece but about 2 inches in on the curve of the piece. Sew them in place to be careful to only sew it to the front piece and not the lining.

Step 18: Fold under the front and lining piece that is not sewn to the bodice. (as pictured above) Top stitch it in place and also around the rest of the edge. This should place the lining in place on the back. Do this for the front and back piece.

Step 19: With right sides together attatch the front and back pieces starting where you stitched down to on the bodice. (as shown above)

Step 20: hem the bottom and attach buttons. (the best way to place the buttons is to fold the flaps over the the front and decide where you want them. Sew them in place and you are done!

Then put it on your model or yourself and marvel at your great work! It wasn't so bad was it? Now go ahead make 20 more in all different fabrics. You know you want to.


  1. Very cute, what a great idea. I thought of all the yummy washes from the basin. It is nice to have a recipe!

  2. yippee! have been looking and looking to find this pattern and today i stumbled upon you thru Tea Rose Home and your wonderland dress. thanks for making it so easy peasy. pity its into autumn and winter, summer fabric is so much nicer with this pattern, but will still try it out and missy can wear a top underneath!
    thanks and great blog and tutes
    becky bpbajona at maltanet dot net

  3. Hi! I just saw this tutorial about a week ago, although I cannot remember how I stumbled upon your blog. I made this shirt today! I actually started it about a week ago, but with a 1 year old I have to do things little by little. I just finished this morning, except for the buttons. That's my last step. Thanks for the instructions!

  4. thank you! I been wondering how to do this

  5. Hi!
    I've linked this post from my blog because I've sewn a dress with the help of your tutorial :)
    Tx for sharing


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