Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Circle the Sea top tutorial

There are all sorts of tutorials out there on circle skirts, but this is kind of a circle top. Riley's been wearing it all day, and I love how it looks. As does she.

Actually, it's kind of like two tops attached to each other-- a tank and a poncho. And it's not overly difficult to put together.

First, to figure out how big you want it, measure the distance from the center of a well-fitting shirt to the edge of the sleeve (or measure your kiddo-- either way!).  For my 3T/4T daughter, I cut a circle with a 17-inch radius.

Use this to make a ginormous circle, just like you're making a circle skirt.  Here's my basic shapes tutorial for you if you need it.  Or there are lots of circle skirt tutorials, and the principle is the same.

Once you have your circle, find the center.  Draw out a hole for the neck.


Now cut a tank top that has the same neckhole.

 **Just so you know-- I started with a tank in the same color but then decided I wanted it in the darker blue... but I didn't take pictures of that one.  Sorry if this is confusing!!

Make sure you leave seam allowance!

See, here's the tank I actually went with.  Sew the shoulders of your tank piece together.

Cut a strip, 2 inches by 16 inches or so.

Run a gathering stitch down the center and ruffle it.

Pin the ruffle a little off-center on your circle's neckline.  Sew it down, following the line of your gathering stitches.

 Now pin the tank to your circle, right sides together, so the ruffle is between them.

If you flip it right side out, you'll have this.

Now this is a little weird, but it works.  With the right sides together, sew up the sides of your tank.  I have my circle stuffed inside it here.  Just make sure you don't accidentally catch it!

Finish the tank armholes and hem, either with bias tape or by folding it in and zig-zag stitching (which is what I went with.  You're not going to see it either, so you could actually leave it unfinished, too.)

Fold your circle in half, right sides together.

Mark a spot, 4 inches down from the top edge.  This will be the armhole. Do this on the other side, too. 

Also mark 6 inches out from the center of the bottom (this doesn't have to be exact-- see how I did it?). 

On both sides, sew from one mark to the other.

Fold the armhole and bottom opening over, so it lines up with the seam allowance you used on your circle.  Finish them with a zig-zag.

It looks like this when turned right sides out.  From here, the idea is to make it look like one continuous stitch, so topstitch from the bottom of the armhole to the opening on the bottom.  You'll have some overlapping stitches, but that's ok.

**The overlap will be MUCH less noticeable if you use matching thread.  I kind of like the contrast, but it's also easier to see for tutorial purposes.  You're welcome. :)

I don't know why I didn't take a picture of these last two steps, but also topstitch your neckline.

Add buttons if you like.

Circle the Sea top-- done!... though if your daughter is like mine, she'll like the top better if she gets to act like a butterfly. :)  She did a lot of flapping.


  1. Super cute. Found you via Sassy Sites. Love this. I might even be able to make matching ones for my girls.

    1. Thank you! It really does look cute... Even cuter than I could capture in the pics. And Riley has asked to wear it every day since I made it. Ha! :)

  2. my girls will definitely like to have such butterfly wings. thank you for the tutorial.

  3. How darling..... Thanks for linking it up @CountryMommaCooks…..have a wonderful week:)


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