Circle Shirt Tutorial

Circle Shirt Tutorial—also known as the project that took three tries, nearly made me throw my serger out the window, led to the discovery of water soluble stabilizer, and had me so frustrated I wanted to scream.

I saw a great circle shirt tutorial on Pinterest and thought I’d give it a try.

It looked so easy.

So I found some pretty floral sheer fabric on the cheap rack at WalMart and thought it would be so pretty and flowy. I cut it out and got out my serger to narrow roll hem the edges. That’s when the hair pulling and temper tantrum began. I just couldn’t get the machine to stitch right. I read the manual. I adjusted the tension. I looked online for advice. I even cleaned and oiled that blasted machine. Finally I stomped my feet, gnashed my teeth and gave up for a few days. I bought more fabric…still a little sheer, but cotton and not slippery like the first fabric. I decided I needed some kind of stabilizer to help the fabric go through. I thought to myself, “I wish they made stabilizer that just dissolved when I washed it.” And guess what? They DO make dissolving stabilizer! What a discovery! The stuff I found at Joann’s was called Sulky Water Soluble Stabilizer. I thought it would solve my problems for sure.

I brought it home and fed it through my serger, only to hear something snap. It was only a very critical METAL part of the lower looper. Great. Another tantrum ensued.

So I gave up and bought a jersey knit fabric from WalMart for $2/yd. I cut out the shirt, sewed two lines and tah-dah! All my problems solved. So simple. Why, oh why, didn’t I just get jersey knit in the first place?!?!

Want to try the circle shirt? The easy version that only took a half hour to make?

Here is the tutorial:


– 1 yard 60” wide jersey knit or other knit fabric that does not fray. You can use 45″ fabric, but your shirt will be pretty short.
– Matching thread
– Yep, that’s it!

Step 1: Fold the fabric in half and square up the edges so that all the corners are 90 degree angles.

Step 2: Round off the two bottom edges. An easy trick to make sure both sides are even: round one side, then move the scrap you just cut off over to the other side to use as your guide.

Step 3: Cut a neck hole. I used a favorite tank as a guide.

I cut through both thicknesses along the back edge, then moved the tank out of the way to cut the front part through only the top layer of fabric.

  You can get creative here and cut any shape neck you want…a boat neck would be cute or something big and gaping. Whatever floats your boat. haha.

To make sure both sides were symmetrical, I folded the shirt down the center the other direction and evened out the curves around the neck:

Step 4: Sew two lines up the sides to fit around your middle. My fabric is not super stretchy, so I left it pretty loose. I also didn’t sew perfectly straight because my mid-section is not straight. I curved the line to fit the curves of my body.

You are done! I told you it was easy…as long as you use no-fray knit fabric.


  1. Jenn I always look forward to your posts and this month has been wonderful! Everything you post is so awesome. I can't wait to try out all your Halloween things! Thanks for such a great blog!

  2. This is Fantastic! I am about to make one to wear out to mums night out I needed a new top to match new shoes but the shoes were pricey so this cheap top is a great idea!! it looks stunning!

  3. This top was super easy to make. I'm really happy with how it drapes! One problem though, now I need some new accessories to finish off the look. Hehe. Good problem to have, don't you think?

  4. Thank you SO much for this tutorial! Yesterday, my daughter asked if I could make her one, but I couldn't figure out that pattern (it was in size 2T)…I was puzzled when trying to convert it to her size. So, thanks again for your tutorial!


  5. I just have to tell you that I've looked EVERYWHERE for these kind of shirts and couldn't find one that I loved. I also checked out fabric stores and couldn't find a pattern. I was searching the blogs online on a whim and ta da! THIS WAS MY ANSWER! Thanks for posting this!:) It looks so super cute!

  6. I accidentally deleted a comment from a reader asking about the fabric I bought from WalMart.

    The fabric was in the bargain fabric section, so each store has a different selection and it rotates quite frequently. If you couldn't find anything there, I would check at Joann Fabrics or I know Hobby Lobby has some really cute knits. Or you could re-purpose a jersey knit sheet if you already have one or found one at a thrift store.

    Hope that helps!

  7. Hey – gorgeous!
    I want to make one and I have 2 questions –

    1, do you sew right sides together and hide the seam or do you sew wrong sides together and have the seam show?

    2, are the selvage edges along the bottom of the garment or are they the sleeves…?

    Thanks so much!


  8. Made this tonight, took a few attempts to get the fit right (pinned, of course!) but what an easy and comfy top! Will be making another in a thicker fabric, a stylish replacement for the fall go-to sweat shirts!

  9. Jennifer, I would like to thank you for this post before my mom passed she use to make shirts like this I had totally forgotten about them. Wanted to give you a couple extra ideas that she did for variety. 1. use same or contrasting bias strips to cover edges. 2. Fold fabric triangular for a dresser look. Thanks again Jennifer this brought back some wonderful memories of my Mom.

    • Lorinda, wow! This is what I love about blogging… how sharing a simple idea can bring people together. Thanks for taking the time to comment and share such a sweet memory of your mother.

      I love your ideas for changing things up. I have some fabric that I've been meaning to make into a shirt and now I want to do it with contrasting edging!

  10. Love this! I might have to try a jersey knit sheet however – I am a sz 22 and wear a G cup so …yeah…moar fabric plzkthx. I'm also thinking a lettuce edge would be cute on the "sleeves". For you thinner babes I bet a one-shouldered option would be smashing! Oooh…doing it in lace with a cami underneath would be pretty fun too.

  11. Seeing this post 4+ years later. How long did the shirt last without hemming & the jersey last in the wash? I am about to handsew it for a conference this weekend. Wish me luck!

  12. I have a top I love, that has sleeves very similar to this. I was puzzling over it for a while because I love the look and want to recreate it. Thank you for the very clear instructions; I can't wait to try it out!

  13. This is the BEST blog post Ever!! You're account is soooo true to life to how my attempts at copying pinterest tutorials are. I don't usually leave a comment, but I wanted to give my props for your awesome instructions, including all the steps leading up to your victory! I'll definitely be looking forward to more!

  14. Meant to make matching maxi skirts for daughter and me but opted for a top for me instead. 1st i accidentally sewed down arms on wrong side of fabric then after fixing it, it looked better on my little girl since I didn't measure properly where sides should be sewn so now my little girl has a whole outfit instead and she looks adorable. Thanks so much for your tutorial and I will make myself one too soon.

  15. I'm obviously being dumb, but I have found that if I sew the wrong sides of fabric together then turn it out, the floaty fabric at the sides is then on the inside!


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