On Saturday, I had a go at my second handmade top (you can read about my first try here). This one is sleeveless, although the shoulders are quite wide. I made this one without a pattern, again. I’m not trying to be clever (!), I just don’t have a big fabric shop nearby so I can’t easily buy a pattern, plus I am rubbish at following instructions so I know if I did buy one I’d struggle.
I hadn’t done my hair when I photographed the top, so you have a headless photo. Also, I don’t think I’m really that white!
I had to use two different fabrics for this top, because as with my first one I don’t have any big enough pieces of fabric to make a top in one fabric. I need to buy some more fabric, but I’m on a spending fast (and I have lots of small bits of fabric that need using up!). However, I measured really well, and the joins match up fairly well. The chalk pencils I got for my birthday might have helped with this!
It was fairly easy to make, and it only took a couple of hours to do.
Firstly, I measured my bust, hips and shoulders. I’m a size 12 (UK), and my top measures 42 inches at the top, 44 inches where the blue and purple fabrics join and 46 inches at the bottom.
I folded my fabrics in half to make a centre line (almost visible in the final top above), and cut my trapezoid shapes (the purple front and backs are 21 inches at the top and 22 inches at the bottom, and the blue front and backs are 22 inches at the top and 23 inches at the bottom. Hence, the trapezoid shapes are barely noticeable as there’s only an inch difference between top and bottom).
I decided what kind of neckline I wanted and then drew and cut it on to the front of the purple piece. Then I shaped the back neckline and did the same.
Next I pinned and sewed the shoulders together. Then you can check that your head fits through the hole you’ve measured!
Then I sewed the front blue to the front purple, and the back blue to the back purple. This is easy to do if everything is measured correctly, as you can line up your centre creases.
Then I pinned the sides and sewed them together, leaving arm holes (I left 10 inches for arms). (In the photo below the top is right side round, but you want it inside out to sew the sides so your stitching is on the inside and not visible.)
I left my top and bottom edges raw with the intention of binding them, which is a bugger (don’t do this for your first top unless you have experience binding, perhaps with quilting projects). I couldn’t decide on a ribbon to hem with, so ended up making my own bias binding. This is very easy to do, and I’ve done it for all my quilting projects, so it wasn’t new to me (there are instructions on the web if you need help). The bias binding I made for this top is a lot narrower than I”m used to using for quilts, so it was quite fiddly to iron and to pin to the top.
You should stitch your binding with an invisible thread, but I didn’t have any matching colours so I used white! It meant my final stitching is visible (and it’s not perfect).
To do the sleeves, I just folded them inside twice and hemmed with a straight stitch.
And we’re done!
I honestly can’t believe it took me six years to finally commit to a garment sewing project, as I’ve really enjoyed both the projects I’ve done so far, and they’re wearable. The neckline on this top is puckering a little, so were I a contestant on the Sewing Bee I’d get marked down, but I’m pleased with this effort given my lack of knowledge and experience!