Saturday, August 18, 2012

Twirly Top Tutorial

Nothing like a little bit of alliteration to make a good title!

I sewed up a shirt for my daughter the other day and was asked about a tutorial, so here it is!
This is the original one....

I originally decided to make it because she has a cute polka dot one we bought and I loved it so much I decided to make it. Then in the process of making it I realized it was exactly like the little dresses I made her way back when I first started sewing. It comes together so quickly, I think it usually takes me an hour to an hour and a half. In fact, it'll probably take you longer to read this tutorial than it will to actually make it.

First we need to draft the bodice piece.  You can get the rough shape from a shirt that fits your kid.  This is what I use for my girl who wears a 2T/3T.

Once you have  your bodice piece cut out 4 pieces with the tall side (the left side in this picture) on the fold, making sure the fabric stretches side to side.

Set those aside.  My straps measure 6.5"x2", cut two straps.

 For the bottom of the shirt, measure around your child's chest, mine is 20".  Divide that number by 3.14 (20/3.14=6.37) Then divide that number by 2 (6.37/2=3.18) When using a knit fabric I round down, so my final number is 3. This will be the radius of the inner circle.  Determine the length you want the bottom part to be.  Mine is 9". Add the radius of the first circle to this number, (9+3=12).  This is the radius of the outer circle.

Take your fabric and lay it out, folded in half.  I make a compass using my measuring tape, a pin, and a marker. Draw your outer circle by placing a pin and the measurement of your outer circle, and pin it down.  You want the flat part of the circle along the fold.  Take a marker and draw the outer half circle (half because it's on the fold).

Now do the same for the smaller circle.  Make sure you pin it in the same place so the inner circle is centered.  I usually make a little dot.

Cut along the lines, and unfold.  This is the bottom of the shirt.

Here's all the pieces cut out, 4 bodice pieces, 2 straps, and the bottom.

 Take one of the straps and fold it in half lengthwise wrong sides together, then sew down the long edge.

Turn it right side out and topstitch down both long sides.

Repeat with the other strap.

Now take one bodice piece and lay it right side up. Position the traps so they are lined up with the top edge, and just a little bit in from the side so they don't get caught in the stitching.

 Take another bodice piece and lay it right side down on top of the other one, sandwiching the straps in between.  Pin the straps to keep them from shifting.

Now we're going to sew along the curves and across the top.

Start where my fingers are, don't sew the short sides or the bottom.  After you sew up one curve, across the top, and down the other curve, turn it right side out and top stitch, again skipping the short sides and the bottom.

Now take one of the other bodice pieces and lay it right side up, and place the loose ends of the straps like you did the first ones.

 Put the last bodice piece on top, sandwiching the straps again.

And repeat the sewing and top stitching.

Now decided which side is going to be the "wrong side" of the shirt, and which will be the right side.  With wrong sides facing out, sew the short sides together.

Now to attach the bottom to the bodice.  Take both the skirt and the shirt and place pins equally spaced on both.  I usually do it quarters, so 4 pins.  Take the skirt and turn it inside out.  Place the bodice upside down inside the skirt, with the bodice's right side against the skirt's right side. Line up the pins, and pin them together.  Then sew all the way around the circle, attaching the bodice to the bottom part.  Make sure you are catching all three layers (the two bodice layers and the skirt layer) when you are sewing around.

This is the wrong side of the skirt on top, pinned to the bodice.

Once you finish sewing pull the bodice of the shirt out of the top of the bottom skirt part. 


Turn it right side out and all that is left to do is finish the bottom edge of the skirt.  I prefer a rolled hem because it's quick and easy. You could also leave it raw if you are using a knit.

Now admire your fancy new top! I hope the tutorial was clear, let me know if you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer them. 


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