Introduction: Top Made From a Skirt, Without Pattern

When I looked through all my material to see what I wanted to make I realised that I only had small pieces left apart from this old skirt. I'd decided to cut this up as it had never suited me but I loved the material.

I then looked around at online retail pictures to see what I could find to give me some inspiration. I decided to use the attached photo as a basis. I wanted to make a sleeveless top with a flounce down in front of the arm holes but mine would be floatier and not as fitted, as this would suit the material better.


  • One piece of material (white/black flowery) approx 1m x 60cm
  • Two pieces of material (white/black flowery) approx 50cm x 60cm
  • One piece of material (red) approx 1m x 50cm
  • 4m white bias binding
  • Cotton
  • Sewing machine
  • Overlocker (optional)

Step 1: Making the Pattern

I started by measuring my bust, around my bottom/hips and the length that I wanted the top to be. As I was doing this on my own with a retractable tape measure meant for DIY, this wasn't going to be particularly accurate!

I drew a sketch of the rough shape of the pattern pieces on paper, including the measurements. This is shown on the photo above. For the moment the pattern pieces didn't include the shoulder flounce.

As you can see from this photo, I'd originally thought of having a separate section in the front of the top, as the top that I'd been working from has but as there was no way I could pattern match this with the material available, I decided to just make this into one piece instead.

The main front pattern piece has a fold line in it to create one larger piece but the main back pieces of the garment are two separate bits sewn together with a seam. This was done mainly because of the size of the material I had available.

Once I had the picture of what I wanted the pattern pieces to look like, I drew them to size on old newspaper. I did this by starting with drawing on the rough measurements then joining these up into the pattern pieces. I have found before that if drawing the pattern pieces this way doesn't look quite right then drawing round clothes that you know fit works well to get the shape.

The reason for not doing the pattern for the flounce to start with was because I wasn't sure exactly what shape the flounce pieces should be to give the style I wanted. Attached is a photo of the two pattern shapes that I had in mind. As a test, I cut out a very rough piece in the shape of Option 2 to try out how this worked in reality.

Step 2: Cutting and Preparing

To begin with I unpicked the skirt and ironed the material. I then pinned the pattern to the material and cut out the pieces. I thought I might have had to adapt the pattern slightly as the material was only just long enough but it actually worked out really well and was the perfect length.

I pinned the following together:

  • The shoulders of the main front and back pieces
  • The shoulders of the front and back side pieces
  • The sides of the main front and back pieces
  • The sides of the front and back side pieces
  • The centre back seam

Step 3: Adjusting and Sewing

I sewed all of the seams that I had just pinned, except for the centre back seam. I wanted to check the fitting of the top before I sewed this one.

Once I had sewed these seams, I tried on the main front and back piece. I then saw that this needed a dart to fit properly on this bust. This was pinned (you can see this on the photo) and subsequently sewn. I also then sewed the centre back seam.

The flounce was then pinned n place between the main front / back sections and the smaller side front / back sections, as you can see in the second photo. This was quite tricky as when I'd added the dart in this had changed the shape of the seam and so it was hard to make it match up. I would definitely recommend being organised and starting with the dart already in the plan!

When I looked at the top with the flounce in I decided that I wanted it bigger and flouncier! Therefore, I redid the flounce pattern more towards the original option 1 (see section 1), with a bigger curve. Luckily, the piece that I had roughly cut turned out to be almost exactly the right length which made measuring the new one a lot easier.

I applied shop-bought bias binding to the red flounce pieces. Rather than sewing once then folding over and sewing the other side down, I pinned it so that I could sew it all with one line of sewing. This is because both sides would be visible.

I then pinned the red flounce sections into the white/black flowery material and sewed these into place.

I then applied bias binding to the neck and arm holes which I think always gives a great finish.

At this point I thought the top was complete. However, I decided that, as the material frayed really easily, I would overlock the raw edges on the inside of the top. It wasn't possible to do this right to the edge as the raw edges go into the seams but it definitely feels a lot more long-lasting for having done it, even if it's not perfect.

Step 4: Finish

I am quite pleased with the finished result, particularly the mixture of the white/black and red materials. Looking back the pattern worked quite well but it would definitely have been easier if I had put the dart in the original pattern.

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