June 11, 2012

circle hem shirt {a tutorial}

Since the high-low trend is still rocking, I thought I'd whip up an easy blouse with a circle (actually mine is more of an oval) hem! I love this sheer fabric and the fun print in aqua and poppy red! To style my shirt, I paired it with my diy aqua skinny jeans...see I told you they were a new favorite! Want to make a circle/oval hemmed shirt too? Here's how!

Find a shirt that you like the fit of. Keep in mind that this shirt has no closure (zipper, buttons, etc) so it will just pull over your head. My fabric is not stretchy at all, but it is loose enough it pulls over my head easily. Lay out your fabric and fold it in half, WRONG sides together if you're sewing french seams (like I did because my fabric is sheer and I don't have a serger) or if you are using a serger or a fabric that doesn't ravel you can just fold your fabric with RIGHT sides together. *What are french seams you ask? Here's an easy to understand tutorial. 

 Now, pin your shirt in place and cut around the sides, sleeves, and neck. Not the hem though, you'll want to leave this long to make your circle/oval hem! I left about an inch for my seam allowances. I didn't measure or anything, I just eye-balled it...perhaps this isn't the best approach but it worked fine for this top since it's not super fitted. 
 Next, cut the top layer of fabric around the neckline to make it as deep as your want it. Mine is just a simple, modest, rounded neckline. The next few steps: 1. gathering the shoulders 2. sewing the shoulder seams 3. sewing the side seams and 4. sewing the sleeve hems are not shown in this tutorial, sorry! But, I did it the same exact way as in this tutorial here except I didn't gather my shoulder seams near as much on this circle hem shirt. Also, if you choose to do french seams you will have to sew wrong sides together, trim seam allowances, turn wrong sides out, and sew new seams (encasing the first seam). The other tutorial does not utilize french seams, so that's not described. It's up to you! But, french seams are really easy, just a bit more time consuming! I definitely like their appearance on sheer fabrics though! :)
Now, to sew the neckline you can either sew a narrow hem like on the sleeves, or you can use a bais strip out of your fabric (This is what I chose to do). To make your bias strip measure the circumference of your neckline, lay out some spare fabric, and cut a strip -on the bias (diagonally)- that is as long + 1 inch of your measurement and about 2 inches wide. You can make your strip wider if you want wider neck bias binding. Then fold it in half (hotdog style) and iron in place. Then fold each edge toward the middle fold. You will have a long strip of fabric that has 3 fold lines and 4 sections. Attach bias strip to neckline. *If you are unfamiliar with this process here is a good tutorial! Since we don't need a lot of yardage of bias binding (not even close to a yard!) you can skip down to where the tutorial says "Folding Your Bias Strip" and follow the directions from there. 
When attaching my bias strip around the neckline, I started at the center back and just folded under a bit and overlapped the ends when I made it all the way around.  
 Finally, create a oval or circle template out of paper that is as wide as the width of your shirt. Place it inside the shirt. Cut around the top half of the circle on the front of the shirt, and cut around the lower edge of the circle on the back of the shirt. When looking at the shirt, your cut lines should form a circle or an oval (depending on which one you chose), see black arrows above. Mine looks kind of off in this picture though.

Now, sew a narrow hem and that's all! Enjoy your new circle/oval hemmed shirt! TA-DA!  

Happy Sewing!
More tutorials here!

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