Where I fail at finding jumble sale gems, my mother in law is a pure expert. I’m always envious of the wonderful old treasures she brings home and I’m lucky that she often hunts out beautiful vintage fabrics for me. Its part of the reason I have a sewing pile up to my bum – and I love it. She gave me a beautiful, but torn, 1950’s bed sheet that I’ve been wanting to turn it into something for ages, so I decided to make a top.
This doesn’t require much sewing skill, just a good bit of copying. You’ll need another top to use as a template – the rest is simple. Make sure you try it for size at various intervals so you can adjust if needed.
You will need:
- Around a metre of fabric
- tailors chalk
- Basic, loose, non-stretch top (as a template)
1. First create the back piece of the top. Iron your template top (yes I know… I skipped this step. I wish I’d ironed it. Iron it!). Fold the top in half and place a pin at the top and bottom of the centre line. Now unfold it and pin onto the fabric. Using tailors chalk draw an outline along one half (the side half, not the bottom…) of the top to the pinned centre.
2. Unpin the top and fold the fabric in half along this centre point. You could outline the whole thing, but this method ensures a symmetrical finish. add an inch for seam allowance (and amendments!) and cut the back of the top out.
3. Use this back piece as a template for the front piece – in this case I just made the neckline a little lower and cut a small section from the arm hole as per my template top.
4. Snip along the curved neckline of both front and back pieces, press and pin. Sew along the neckline then cut the excess fabric away. You can finish the seams with facing if you want a more professional finish – but with my fabric this would have shown through so I kept it simple. I’m all for simple…
5. Now pin the tops of the arms together and sew to create your neckline.
6. Pin the side seams together and sew. Press open. Then snip, press, pin and sew your arm holes in exactly the same way you did with the neckline, cutting off the excess once more (again – you may choose to line the arm holes here).
7. Finish the hem of the top by turning under twice, pressing and sewing. To add a more unique finish I chose to taper the edges of the top and sew a patterned top stitch over the hem and neckline.