I hope you’ll all be as excited about today’s post as I am. Today I have for you not just a tutorial, but a FREE PATTERN! It’s the first pattern I’ve shared, and I had fun using my former workplace skills to recreate my marker scribbles into something you can all use. (I have a degree in graphic design and earned my living doing it before I landed this incredible gig of staying at home)
This shirt is called the Seamless Circle Shirt. Though if you look closely, you’ll see it’s slightly more of an oval than a circle. Taylor calls is her Flying Squirrel shirt, which is possibly the best name for it.
1. Choose Your Fabric:
The body of the shirt needs to have a lot of drape to it. So don’t use quilting cotton. For a really fast project, you could use a knit fabric, which won’t have to be hemmed. You’ll need a piece that’s at least 22″ x 33″.
The yoke (that piece for the neck opening) should be from a stiffer material. Quilting cotton would be perfect for that – and you don’t need much at all, so it’s a great project to use a favorite piece with only smaller pieces left.
Aside from your basics like a sewing machine, scissors, a fabric marker and pins, it is immensely helpful to have a Rolled Hem Foot for this project. My sewing machine came with one, and I learned how to use it just for this shirt. It’s definitely not required, but it makes quick work of hemming the very big circle circumference.
3. Print, Cut & Assemble the Pattern:
DO NOT use page scaling when you print. Print at 100%. Double check that the square labeled SCALE on the first page measures 1″ x 1″ when printed before proceeding.
Since the main pattern piece is much larger than a letter sized sheet of paper, it’s going to print out in 8 pieces. The second page of the pattern has a map of how to piece those 8 pieces together – they’re each labeled with a letter and have dotted lines to show where to tape them together.
Cut four yoke pieces out of your stiffer material (i.e. quilting cotton). Fold the fabric, and place the pattern piece over it with the “FOLD” side matching your fold, making sure the grain of the fabric is the same as I noted on the pattern. Either pin the pattern in place or trace with a fabric marker, and cut through both layers of fabric at once. Repeat for a total of 4 identical pieces.
Fold the main fabric in half once, and then in half again. You’ll notice that one side shows two folds, and on the perpendicular side you will just see one fold. Lay the main pattern piece on top, matching those folds with where I’ve noted SINGLE FOLD SIDE and DOUBLE FOLD SIDE. Cut through all four layers of folded fabric.
Using the photo above as a reference, lay two yoke pieces wrong sides together and sew along the three interior edges with an 1/8″ seam. Snip corners, turn right-side out, and iron flat. Repeat for the remaining two yoke pieces.
Join the two yoke pieces at the top raw edges. See the photo above for a visual. This step is weird to explain. Basically, open up the yokes, pin the edges right-sides together, and sew.
Fold the remaining raw edges inward 1/8 inch and press. There will be two layers of fabric, since you joined two yoke pieces in the previous step.
Open the main piece to show the rectangular neck hole.
Sandwich the yoke around the neck hole and pin.
Attach the yoke to the body of the shirt with a nice long stitch – I used 4. Run the stitch very close to the edge, to catch that 1/8″ you ironed under. Then, use the same stitch to top stitch the top of the yoke.
Whew! That really wasn’t so hard, but it was a lot of visual steps to show you. The top of your shirt is done.
Now stop and try it on your little girl! It’s not done yet, but it’s helpful to see how it fits before hemming.
This pattern is a size 6, but it can very easily be modified for smaller sizes by simply making the circle smaller when you hem it. While it’s on, check to see if the shirt falls approximately where you want it both on her arms and her waist. This pattern was designed for an 1/8″ rolled hem. If it’s going to take more than 1/4″ total hem to make it not cover her hands, adjust your hem accordingly.
Hem the entire circumference of the circle. This is where your rolling hem foot will save you a lot of ironing, if you have one. If not, iron over 1/8″ and then 1/8″ again (or whatever you determined in the previous step), so that the raw edge is enclosed, and sew around.
Finally, it’s time to sew the lines that will form the sleeves. On the pattern, you’ll see a line that says “Sewing line for sleeves.” Lay your pattern over the shirt while it is folded at the shoulders, and mark that line with pins. NOTE: It will not go all the way to the top of the neck. Sew along that line.
In case you’re wondering, the blue was just for the tutorial. I sadly didn’t have enough of the striped knit left to make a whole shirt, so this last step is showing the finished shirt I made for Taylor.
Here are some more shots of her shirt in action.