Ready to get your sew on? If you liked the back-wrap top I shared last week, then check it— I’m back with detailed instructions! I hope you won’t be too intimidated to give it a go. If you’re worried about making darts, you can start out with a knit fabric instead of something woven. And you don’t have to make it reversible, but then it would only be half the fun. Point is: You make the rules! If you do make your own, though, just do me one little favor. Link it up, babies!
Step One: Find a shirt that fits closely (but doesn’t stretch) to your figure. Transfer its shape to a piece of kraft paper by poking holes along its border with straight pins. You may also chose to trace the shirt with a fabric pen.
Step Two: Trace the pinhole outline with a pen, cropping the shirt at its natural waist. It’s better to crop it longer than you may eventually want it and you can trim it down later. Add a 1/2″ border to the outline for hem allowance. Then Cut out the piece of paper.
Step Three: Trace the pattern from step two, and indent the outline of the 1/2″ hem allowance. Find the middle of the piece between the armpits.
Step Four: Draw a curved line from the inside, top of the shoulders to the waist, just about 3-4″ from the bottom. Make sure the line you draw intersects the middle point you marked in step three. Cut out the paper along the curve, flip the paper up-side-down and trace it to create the other side of the back.
Step Five: I got a little creative with the neckline by making a ’50s style v-shape. I also created extension pieces for each of the back wrap pieces, each measuring 19″ in length. I decided on their length by having a friend hold ribbon pieces at my waist, tying them comfortably at the front of my waist, and trimming the excess ribbon. Each piece measured 19″ long.
Step Six: Pin the pattern pieces onto your both layers of coordinating fabric and cut out each piece. Make sure as you stack the coordinating fabric that the right sides are facing each other or away from each other. I laid out my pattern pieces on the bias (diagonally) so the fabric would stretch a bit against my curves. I was able to get the back wrap pieces and their extensions all in one piece, instead of cutting out the extensions separately and connecting them.
Step Seven: Begin the process of making bust darts by finding the middle part of the front piece. Then measure out 4″ from the middle point on each side. This is the measurement I used to make my darts after holding the fabric to my body and judging where they should go.
Step Eight: Measure 1.25″ out from the points you just marked in step seven. This will be the width of your darts.
Step Nine: Place a dot in between the two dots from step eight, then measure up 5″. Connect the dots to create the lines for the darts.
Step Ten: Create darts using a similar technique on the sides of the front piece. Again, I measured my darts according to my own body, but if you are similar to me, you may want to measure 5″ down from the armpit hole for the top line of the dart. Then go down 1.25″ for the bottom line of the dart. The point of the dart was positioned 1″ above the point of the bottom darts, as shown in the above image. Connect the top, middle, and bottom lines of the dart to the point.
Step Eleven: Iron the darts so that the crease is right at the middle line of each dart. Then stitch along the outside lines of the darts. Then Iron them flat.
Step Twelve: Begin assembling the top by placing the back wrap pieces face-to-face onto the front piece. Pin along the shoulders and sides and stitch together, 1/2″ from the edge. Then iron the hems flat to prevent bulk when assembling the entire pieces in the next step. You may be able to see that I also sewed darts into the back wrap pieces for an extra fitted design, but it’s really not necessary due to the wrap style.
When you are finished connecting the pieces, make sure it fits you properly. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to make the proper adjustments before continuing.
Step Thirteen: After you’ve completed steps 1-12 with a coordinating fabric (make sure the patterns don’t show through each fabric), fit the pieces together carefully, face-to-face. At this point you are checking to make sure the armpits and shoulders match up. This is why you need to cut both fabrics at the same time and stitch precisely 1/2″ from the edge of the fabric. If they don’t match up at this point, you will need to rip out the hem and correct the fit of one of the pieces.
Pin together the pieces along the neckline, reaching all the way to the ends of the wrap extension pieces. Then stitch 1/2″ from the edge.
Step Fourteen: Cut little slits along the neckline and other curved areas where you have stitched. This will prevent puckering after you flip the piece right-side out.
Step Fifteen: Now pin along the bottom edge of the two pieces and stitch them together everywhere except along the front. This open part is where you will flip the piece right-side-out in the next step.
Step Sixteen: Now you can flip the top right-side-out through that opening you left in the previous step. Use a capped pen to help you with the pointy ends of the wrap extension pieces. Now iron along the hems to flatten it out. Flip under the open section of the front and iron along with the rest of the bottom hem.
Step Seventeen: Pin along the opening of the front, where you just ironed, and then stitch it closed, very closely to the edge of both layers of fabric.
Step Eighteen: Cut little slits long the armholes to prevent puckering after finishing them.
Step Nineteen: Fold under the fabric along the armholes, ironing as you go along. Work one fabric side at a time.
Step Twenty: After each fabric side has been folding under at the armpit holes, each fabric side’s edge matching up, pin the two faces together and then stitch very closely along the edge.
I hope to get a lot of wear out of this top through the Summer— with high waisted shorts, skirt, and even over top of dresses. Yep, it’s a suitor!