Friday, August 31, 2007

tie top

Several weeks back, I bought some yardage of a knit that seemed similar to a cotton sundress I've been wearing this summer. At the cutting counter, I realized--oh no!-- that it was, in fact, a very synthetic fabric. As she was cutting it, I wanted to run, but decided to follow through with the purchase. I had intended to make some sort of dress, but, synthetic or natural, I had no idea how to sew with a knit. Well, in theory, I know that you need a serger, but that's about it. So the fabric sat. And sat.
Then yesterday, I was putting on one of my favorite sleeveless tops (I bought 2 of them I like it so much!) and noticed that the fabric was really similar and that it looked like pretty simple construction. I was wearing one, so I got out the other and traced it. I took a look at my sewing book, and saw that I could use a zigzag stitch, so I got to work. It came out a bit tight, but I think I'll definitely make another because we're nowhere near the end of tank top season here in FL.

It was super simple. Here's how it went if you'd like to give it a try:
1) Trace a tank top that you like the fit of. Just make a straight, horizontal line at the neck. Cut 2 from your knit fabric.
2) Cut 2 strips from coordinating cotton fabric. Mine were about 4.5" x 30".
3) Zigzag stitch around the armholes, then turn under and straight stitch.
4) Make straps by folding cotton strips lengthwise, right sides together and stitch. Leave an opening for turning. Turn right side out and stitch opening shut.
5) Lay strap on top of knit fabric, along neckline, right sides together. Center, pin, and stitch. Repeat for other side.

6) Sew sides by placing right sides together and zigzag stitch from bottom of armhole to bottom of shirt.
7) Since my fabric doesn't fray, I stopped here and left an unfinished waistline, but you could always hem it the same way as the armholes. Put the top on and tie the straps--you'll see that the armholes are adjustable, so this design is pretty forgiving.

OK. I hope I didn't miss anything. I saw a similar pattern for making a tie-at-the-shoulder top from a t-shirt in this cute book I found at the library--I Wanna Make My Own Clothes. This book is geared toward teens and is all hand sewing and fusing. I would have loved it in middle school. Anyway, I'm sure this top has been done many times, but it made for a satisfying afternoon of sewing for me!


  1. i like it! it may get me over my jersey intimidation! thanks for the tute!

  2. I love this! Especially how the polka dots are in the same neutral family as the knit. It looks great and looks super easy, too.

    I kind of want to try that neckline out on some tees I have laying around (I don't really like crewnecks.) So cute!

  3. hey kayla:
    that shirt is really lovely. i think the material would be interesting used in the dress you were considering. also, i meant to tell you that i saw a serger at sears that was on a close-out sell marked down to $130. it wasn't a baby-lock but a full-sized serger. might come in handy for you...

  4. Great top, and thanks for the tutorial. I've also never sewn much stretch fabric, but it doesn't look so hard there. I love the neckline idea, it looks brilliant.

  5. very cute! i really like the fabrics you chose, and it looks great on you.
    i am veering more towards browns these days too... funny as i too remember the orange-and-brown living room of my youth :)


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