Circle Knit Shirt Tutorial

Post by Raechel of
Circle Knit Shirt Tutorial

So. I have a favorite shirt. I’ll be honest, it’s probably my favorite because it’s the most comfortable shirt I own, AND my husband bought it for me and he thinks I look cute in it. That’s really all I need. Oh, and it’s a great backdrop for a pretty necklace! That too.

Anyway, I wear it with a long tank top, leggings and either boots or black Toms, depending on the weather. It’s my uniform right now. And I wanted to make one for Hazel because I thought she’d dig it too. (Or, at least I’d dig making it for her and seeing her wear it.)

So, I worked this week on developing a 2T-sized version of my shirt. I’ve got to say, once I figured it out, this is a really simple project and it turned out beautifully! Since it’s flowy and not fitted, it’s not hard to get a good fit. The key is not making the arms too long so your little gal doesn’t look dumpy or frumpy. But once you’ve got that under control, you’re good!

Circle Knit Shirt Tutorial 2

What you’ll need:

The fabric piece I used was knit (you want a drapey fabric), and was 20″ wide and 34″ long.  (so it’s not technically going to be a circle – more of an oval. it’s cool.) I used white because it’s what I had on hand, plus I’m digging neutrals these days. But get creative! You can find patterned knits even at JoAnn, and you can always embellish your top with a pretty pocket or flower applique. This is your basic starting point – have fun and make it yours!)

Circle Knit Shirt Tutorial 3

Also, you’ll need a sewing machine. A sewing machine is definitely not necessary, but since I have one and I like the extra-finished look, I used it for the project. Knits don’t fray though, so really don’t worry.

Get your fabric piece laid out on your cutting board, folded on the top so it looks 21″x17″.  (My piece started out longer than 34″, so I needed to cut it still at this point.)

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There. Now it’s all cut and square and tidy. Better!

(That’s a fold on the top – you want your rectangle intact!)

Circle Knit Shirt Tutorial 5

This might be a good time to tell you how to measure for a size other than 2T…

How to measure for your own sizing:

Width: Arms straight out, you want the sleeves to fall just on the hand-side of your elbow. So measure that distance – for Hazel it was about 20″, so I added 1″ for hemming, thus the 21″ width.

Length: For length, you’ll have to pardon my sailor language, but you want the front and back them to land right about at the crotch. So measure up and over the shoulders, from crotch-to-crotch. Was that really necessary? Anyway, Hazel’s measurement was 33″, so I added 1″ for hemming, thus the 34″ length.

Neck: And for the neck – I don’t like huge neck holes on little people, it just looks like a worn out onesie. I kept it small and had no problem getting it over her head. Remember: after you cut, you’re still going to turn it in, which will make the hole larger.

Okay, on to the task at hand:

Mark the center point of the top of your fold. If you’re using my dimensions, it’s at the 10.5″ point.

Circle Knit Shirt Tutorial 6

Okay, now fold the fabric in half vertically (so the top and the right sides are folds). Because this is a symmetrical garment, we’re going to make it easy on ourselves and cut everything just once.

Below are the dimensions for cutting:

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Now unfold it and it should look like this. It’s taking shape really quickly!

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Now comes the sewing ! You can skip this if you don’t have a sewing machine, of course.

Run a stitch all the way around the outside edge of the garment. Also, run a stitch around the inside of the neck hole.

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When you’re done, your edges will look like this. Lovely!

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know you’re looking at that neck hole and wondering how on earth this is going to go right; curves and hems are not friends. But it’s okay – this is stretchy! It will go right.

Circle Knit Shirt Tutorial 11

If you serged your edges, turn them all in 3/8″ or so and press. If you did not serge, turn your edges in 1/4″ and press, then another 3/8″ and press again.

Really don’t fret about this. Do your best, but remember that this garment is going to be forgiving, too!

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Pressing the neck hole. It’s almost like it wants to be turned out. So friendly, this stretchy material is! (Yep. Been watching Star Wars with Oliver this week. Love me some Yoda I do.)

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Okay, back to sewing. Set your stitch length to 3 (just a little longer than normal) because this is a hemming stitch and not a construction stitch.

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Beginning on a straightaway, backstitch once, then get going and don’t stop until you are back where you started. Easy hem!

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Now, the same with the neck hole. It’s a little trickier than the outside hem just because it’s in the middle. Still, you can do this! (And feel free to take your time to make this stitch nice and even. Even with coordinating thread, this one will show just because it’s near the face.) Remember: slow and steady!

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So close! Seriously, we’re almost finished!

Just a few simple instructions: using a fabric ruler or any straight edge, make a line that goes from the center of the neck line to the corner of the sleeve. DO NOT actually draw this line – it only needs to be imaginary!

Make a small dot with a disappearing fabric marker 4″ in from the corner of the sleeve. Just a little one. (If you’re not confident in your ink’s ability to disappear, you can mark with a tailor tack, which is just a contrasting thread stuck through that point with a needle.)

Do the same on the other side and pin the shirt closed so nothing shifts while you’re stitching.

Circle Knit Shirt Tutorial 17

Back to the sewing machine for the final time! Sew a straight line from your mark to the corner of the sleeve on each side. Be sure to backstitch really well at the beginning and end – this is a construction stitch, so it matters that it stays in place!

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Press all of your hems so they lay nice and flat. Hang your little lady’s shirt on a hanger, then stand back and admire! All finished!

And for your viewing pleasure, here is a shot of  Miss Lady, rocking her comfy-yet-stylish circle knit top this morning (and it only took five mini marshmallows and a little Super Why for her to cooperate!):

Circle Knit Shirt Tutorial - Hazel

{After putting the finished product on her this morning I realized two things. 1. this bad boy is going to fit for a long time! Honestly, this size could fit 3T or bigger, and I maybe could have stood to make hers a little smaller. She’s not quite fitting into 2T yet.) 2. I should have used a darker color knit – what was I thinking trusting her with a pretty white canvas, just begging to be tainted? Sheesh.}

If y’all are interested, I can work on another tutorial for an adult-sized top. You could probably just enlarge the dimensions of this one, but there are some things I would change for a grown up to make it more flattering. Let me know!

Post by Raechel of

  • Tammi Schneiderman

    I would love an adult version. I have a great shear navy/white striped knit that I’d love to do this with and pair with a white tank. Thanks!

  • Betty

    Me too! I love the pattern but I don’t think it would work on my little boy! However, it would work in me. 😉

  • Danielle Kurtz

    I LOVE this! I want a dozen for myself and my daughter! If only I could find the time to make them.

  • Muireann

    I’d love to try an adult top. I’m here from Craftgossip, looking forward to reading more of your blog!

  • Kristie

    I would love an adult version. Thanks!

  • klue

    would love an adult one

  • Missy

    Absolutely love this. My daughter would probably make this her summer “uniform” also. AND I’m pretty sure that I have several knits in my fabric stash. Adult version please and thank you. :)

  • Kimberly Ragsdale

    I would love an adult version! Would be the perfect spring/summer staple! Love this one…just don’t have a daughter.

  • Jennifer Wingard

    Oh, DEFINITELY want an adult version. A top like this could become a staple of my wardrobe.

  • A Facebook User

    YES, please!!! An adult one would be lovely!!! :)

  • Athena

    To echo everyone’s sentiments – I absolutely would love to make an adult version. I am visiting from Craft Gossip also. Feel free to stop by TheStuffofSuccess and say hello. Thanks Athena

  • mrsblocko

    I too would love an adult tutorial!

  • Dorothee

    Oh, this is so adorable.
    I once had a shirt pretty similar to yours, and I just loved it. Till (its) death…. 😉
    So I would really love an adult version!
    And I want to thank you for sharing this Tutorial! I can’t wait to make one for my little girl!

  • Nicole

    I love oversized, flowy tunics; making my own would be even better. Pleaseeeee an adult version!

  • Lorraine

    I completely agree. This is my style. I an adult tut would be great. I can hardly wait. Now to put you and your blog on my daily reading list.

  • Chris

    Oh yes please I really want an adult top like this. Love it. Great job

  • Emmi

    I would love an adult version of this! Such a cute top! Thanks for sharing!

  • Sally O

    I would love the adult version – very cute!

  • Cheap Coach Handbags

    I am an adult tut would be great. I can hardly wait. Now to put you and your blog on my daily reading list.

  • Raina

    Please show us how to make an adult size of this top. I bought a top like this not too long ago and would like to know how to make my own.

  • Amy

    Yes Please! Adult for sure!

  • Maggie

    Found you from Pinterest — well done tutorial! I’d definitely wear this. There must be a breezy knit in my stash….

  • Joanne

    Please do! An adult version! For my grown-up daughter and for me!

  • Courtney

    I found this on Pinterest as well and would LOVE an adult version! Please and thank you! Such a great tutorial!!

  • Ag

    the crowd is screaming “adult version!!!!!”

  • Bianka Fuksman

    Yes, I want to make the little and the big versions now! Thanks!

  • alexis

    adult version for sure!

  • Weezy {Hearts}

    If you have any time at all I really would love to see an adult sized tutorial for this shirt – it’s just perfect for the warmer weather and you could really make it out of anything :)

  • Terisabeads

    Very cute! She’s gonna stain it anyway, so give her some fabric paints and let her paint it!

  • Megan Rose

    Oh please yes an adult tutorial! I’m quite firmly plus-size and finding cute forgiving tops for summer, when everything is clingy and gross, is such a challenge.

  • Ludy Darville

    Yes. I want the adult tutorial too.

  • Allison

    i am part of the crowd- adult version!

  • CBear

    An adult version! Pretty please!

  • Nancy Schwartz Bemboom

    This will make a great beach coverup for the little one!

  • Jennifer Spilly

    Awesome tutorial! I would totally make one of these for myself and my daughter. Not matching, of course :)

  • Sarah peabodt

    Yes please do an adult version tute!

  • Anika

    Wow, such a nice shirt! I would love to get the adult version! Thanks for sharing it!

  • Trisha

    Oh yes. I would love to see an adult version

  • Lynda

    An adult version please!!

  • Amy

    Just clicked over from pinterest. I saw a friend wear one of these and went straight home and made it. Definitely my absolute favorite top. :)
    Btw…I think my brother and sister-in-law know you from Olivet! You all were a few years ahead of me. Small world! :)

  • Michelle

    I would definitely use an adult tutorial. I just bought a bunch of voile for super cheap just this morning – I’m hoping that 1-1.5 yards will be enough for an adult version, and that it’ll work in voile, which is pretty drapey. But is the stretch necessary?

  • Margot

    Yes yes yes, please make an adult sized pattern!!

  • Jo

    Another hand up for adult version – although I’ll be using this kids tutorial as well (3 daughters here). I found you via Pinterest. :)

  • Smalltropolis

    This is such a simple and cute idea!

  • Tina

    I’ve been looking all over the web for a tutorial for this kind of shirt, please share an adult version!

  • Micki_Berthelot

    I have a similar “store bought” top in black that I bought last month. I have almost worn it out already! I’d love to make more of them for myself.

  • Alma

    I would love an adult version too!

  • Karla

    Yet another vote for an adult version! Found you via Your daughter is adorable :)

  • Jessica

    adult version please! :)

  • Emily

    PLEASE put an adult version!! I want to make one so badly!

  • Fanchon

    I would love to see you do a tutorial for an adult version. Thanks for offering…I look forward to it. I would love to make some of these for me and my daughter.

  • Shawnty

    Yes please adult version. Make one I will;-)

  • Dot

    Yes please do an adult tut for this. I love it.

  • Abbey

    Yes, an adult tutorial, please! I saw one of these when I was out shopping the other day and thought how easy it would be to just make it myself. I’d love some help, though!

  • Gerrie Glaser

    Would love to see the tute for an adult version. Even for my teenage granddaughters it would be fun! Thanks so much for sharing this. ~Gerrie~

  • Nicole

    Just so you know…I pinned this on Pinterest and I’ve never seen so many repins! Love this and I’m taking a chance at making an adult one from these instructions…wish me luck!

  • Andrea


  • Mari Anne

    I would really like to see what dimensions are for the adult size. I have a teen daughter she would just love this!!

  • Uki

    I’d love to see an adult or teen version! (:

  • Kat

    Add me to the ‘adult version’ song. It looks so good and being a bigger gal, this would look fun but also cover up the bits I don’t want to show off! Thanks!

  • marie

    Wouldn’t an adult version be exactly the same as this one except with adult measurements? This tutorial shows you how to custom size as it is…. wtf?

  • Samantha

    Please do a post about making a version of this: I love it and I looks easy to make. I would just buy it but $40 for a swimsuit cover up is not in my budget! :)

  • Marloes Pieper

    YEeeees, adult version pleeease! :) Love this one

  • Alyssa

    I would love to see an adult style tee. The last time I tried to make one by comparing it to my favorite circle tee, I used the wrong fabric or something and it just came out looking too weird and didn’t fit right. I’d love to see how to do it right!

  • Heidi Wilson

    I thought this was for an adult until I saw the last pictures…So disappointed! How long do we have to wait for one we can wear :-)

  • Tania

    Adult version please!!

  • Dazy Jo

    For all of you asking for the adult tute- scroll back up to the text above the pic of her marker and ruler. It already says how to measure for your own dimensions. The sewing etc would be the same. There you go, adult version, ta dah.

  • Julie

    Would love the adult tutorial! Or just a note on the changes you would make! Looks great, totLly want to try this! Thanks!

  • Angry rant

    How about a version for 12-13 year olds? We seem to be neglected and forgotten in sizes, between kids clothes and adult clothes. How about our age? we exist!

  • Shannon In Love

    is the 4 inch mark for adults too?

  • Dvorakdiva

    Yay I love this top and would love an adult version!!!

  • Alyssa

    I am totally making one for my girls but would also love to make one for me! Excellent tute!

  • Deborah

    I just bought a top similar to this one, love it but the elastic around the waist is a bit much. Love the simplicity of this one without the empire waist :)

  • Karen Lange

    Please, please, could you show us how to make the adult version?

    Thank you very much!

  • Jessi Goodman

    heres an adult version I bookmarked a while back

  • amy schleicher

    Making this tonight…but for me! I needed an easy project while hubs watches KU! Thank you pinterest…and of course you!!!

  • Diane

    Ditto….adult version would be great for summer….or anytime I want to be comfortable!

  • sue

    Beautiful! And your tutorial is great. Thanks for sharing!

  • Juliana

    Hi mah,My recommendation is not to mix nteatrps especially if you are using the thick size yarn. The Cage pattern comes up soft , while the Fish Thorn is tough. It will be kind of untidy project.If you would like to make it anyway, I suggest you to do it in the smaller size at first ( like 10 stitches ) , then make it in the real size if you are satisfied with the result.Instruction: After knitting wished rows of Fish Pattern, knit one more row with the basic stitch, and then switch to the Cage Pattern from Row three in the given instruction . Again after doing the Cage Pattern, knit one more row with the basic stitch and switch to the previous pattern . Just make sure to knit the same number of rows for the Fish Thorn.

  • Erik

    thanks a lot. So I take your advice and don’t mix rettapns. But a whole long scarf just by Fish Pattern? And my yarn is multicolored and not thick. Any idea?

  • scuff66

    and again……
    Adult version!

  • Diane French

    The professional presentation caught my eye. Plan to make one for myself and a friends daughter. Great humor!

  • Ann

    This is a wonderful tutorial. I would love to see an adult-sized shirt tutorial.

  • Trisha F

    An adult version? Of Course!!!!

  • Sarah

    Thank you so much for the tutorial. I came across it on Pinterst and i made on for my daughter that night. Its a yellow striped knit. i added a bright pink circular pocket to the front. even though its winter she is wearing it layered. i have a second one cut out with a longer more oval shape for more of a dress look. Thank you again!!!

  • Bailey

    I absolutely love this little shirt! If you’re scared of white, you could always take some Rit dye and change the color to something less dirt-obvious. :) I’ll be borrowing your tutorial for myself and my little girl, thanks!

  • Kari

    What a cutie! That was the first thing I thought- this will fit her for a while! Great job!

  • Steph

    It looks great and so much fun!! I would love an adult size too!

  • Beatriz

    Hi!!! Thanks for sharing this tutorial, it would be nice an adult version!!! Begging from Argentina!!

  • Kiss

    Nice Shirt. I like ti style. Thanks

  • Diane


  • manda

    Great tutorial. I’ve made these same type of tops also (for myself), they are so comfy! I think your explanation of measurements are very clear for all sizes :)

  • Nathalie Brault

    Adult version please, I am over weight a bit, so I would love to wear this this summer, cannot wait for you to make this soon, I’ll make myself a few in different colors. thanks so much
    I just subscribed to you blog.

  • kathy

    at least post the dimensions of your adult shirt pulllllease

  • Amber Benike

    Dear Lord your child is cute! And the top is like icing on a cupcake – perfect! In addition to that, I also have Brother machines :) and I am inclined to tell you that I loved the sailor talk – finally something I can understand! THANK YOU so much for this tutorial! I am headed out to Joanns right now!!

  • Allie

    I would love to see an adult version!

  • Bethany

    I loved this!! I just enlarged the size and it worked great:)Once I cut it out I put it over my head to see if it would fit and instantly loved it. I plan on making many many of these!Thanks so much for the pattern/instructions:D!!

  • Jan

    This is just the kind of top that *I* would love to wear! It would be fantastic if you did an adult size tutorial!!!

  • Wanda L

    Hopefully, you will find the time to give instructions for an adult version! Also, your daughter is beautiful and, so stylish in this Flowing Top!

  • Wanda L

    Hopefully, you will find the time to give instructions for an adult version! Also, your daughter is beautiful and, so stylish in this Flowing Top!

  • Brenda

    Made this tonight (adult version), 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!

  • mae

    yep – we all want to make the adult version!

  • Shaleen de Klerk

    Would love an adult version! Going to make this one for my granddaughter for sure! Thanks for sharing x

  • Cindi

    Adult version…please?

  • Teresa Bravo

    I also would love the adult version??? Have you had a chance to create one?

  • Laura

    love it :)


    What a wonderful simple top to make. I love how you shaped the arms. Thanks for a great (and fun) tutorial.

  • Janelle Parrish

    I bought some fabric for a topper which I never made. This will be perfect! Thanks for sharing.

  • cindy

    holy crap that is freaking adorable! I MUST make for my 22 month daughter!!!

  • karine

    J’adore, c’est vraiment très sympa ! merci pour les explications.

  • Mary Shepard

    Would love an adult size pattern for the circle Knit Shirt.Would be wonderful for the summer months. Thanks.Mary

  • Shannon

    Yes, please, please!!

  • MG Meredith

    Read the instructions. It tells you how to measure for larger sizes “A-dolt sizes”.

  • Emily

    Yes adult version please please! That would be awesome!

  • Flo

    Would love, love, love this in adult size, maybe even chubby adult size. And would love your variations to make more flattering to adults.

  • Zap

    Hi! I would like to know what you would suggest to make it more flattering for an adult. I made one last year (from another pattern) and, frankly, it looks like a maternity top or a giant muu-muu! Your main pic of your fav shirt looks great!

  • Reduce Reuse Repurpose

    I have a summer dress made out of a beautiful knit that I’ve been wondering what to do with (I’m kind of over wearing it as a halter dress) and I love the idea of using skirt portion to make a circle top. I couldn’t tell from your instructions if the stitch for the sleeve was from the mark you made 4 inches in straight to the right for a horizontal stitch or from the mark straight down to the hem for a vertical stitch.

  • Brianna Zimmerman

    Have you made an adult version yet?

  • anikenitet

    Very simple and very amazing and ingénius !! Bravo !!

  • yasmin

    YES YES YES!!! Adult version please!!!

  • Brandy Lewis

    please please give an adult size tutorial … I am a Medium!

    • Julia

      See my comment above!

  • Connie Hutchins

    Could your tutorial show a basic hem for those of us whom do not have a fancy sewing machine?

  • Kindred Heart

    Adult size tutorial, PLEASE? :)

  • Michaelene

    I would love to see an adult version of this!

  • JK75

    That is awesome! I hope you DO make an adult tutorial!!

  • norma

    would love an adult size medium.

  • Ginger Jordan

    Please do an adult pattern – a plus size or XL.

  • Julia

    You can easily make this adult size. The instructions are there, just get someone to do the same measurements on you :)

    How to measure for your own sizing:

    Width: Arms straight out, you want the sleeves to fall just on the hand-side of your elbow. So measure that distance – for Hazel it was about 20″, so I added 1″ for hemming, thus the 21″ width.

    Length: For length, you’ll have to pardon my sailor language, but you want the front and back them to land right about at the crotch. So measure up and over the shoulders, from crotch-to-crotch. Was that really necessary? Anyway, Hazel’s measurement was 33″, so I added 1″ for hemming, thus the 34″ length.