I made this top using @sakuraflorr's beach Tracer as inspiration. This can also be adapted to a regular bikini top by omitting some steps. I did not follow a pattern and usually sew things for myself arbitrarily and have very little sewing experience/knowledge. Please read all of the steps before attempting this and use common sense, what works for me may not work for you.
- Yellow thread
- Nylon paracord (or something similar)
- 5-7mm elastic
- Sewing machine (I used a straight stitch for the whole project, you should probably actually use a stretch stitch or overcasting stretch stitch)
If you want to follow my other creations my instagram is @gunsinspacecosplay.
Step 1: Measure Yourself and Sketch
Fig 1. Under your bust
Fig 2. From under bust over breast to where shoulder seam would be approximately
Fig 3. In between breasts for how low you want the middle to dip
Fig 4. from fullest part of your breast to where the side seam would be approximately
Fig 5. From shoulder seam to where the bottom of the back will go (I used the bottom of my bra as the reference)
Not pictured: Measure from the bottom seam up a few inches to where you think you'd want it to sit under your armpit. My measurement was 3.5-4".
Sketch what you want it to look like. I decided on a simple bralette style with a panel in the front and a lower back.
Step 2: Measure Your Fabric
Normally your chest is larger than your back so the seam sits farther back on your body than half way. My under bust measurement was 32", but because the material is stretchy I drew it as 30". So I made the front piece 18" and the back 12". The pictures are for the back piece.
I folded my material in half because its meant to be symmetrical from left to right. Most of this I drew upside-down to confuse you.
Fig 1. Measure out half of the width of the back piece plus seam allowances. Mine is (12"+ 1" allowance)/2= 6.5"
Fig 2. Measure from your bottom seam up a few inches. This will be how long the seam under your armpit will be. Generally lower is better for comfort. My measurement was 4" but I decreased it after I sewed it because it was still too high for comfort. Try 3" plus a seam allowance.
Fig 3. If this was the front piece, you would use the measurement from the fullest part of your breast to the side seam for this, measuring from the outside seam inward.
Fig 4. Measure from the bottom seam to where you would like the back (or front) to dip to. You should use the measurement between your breasts to determine this. I made my back lower than my front.
Fig 5. Measure where the strap will be. Use your measurement from Fig. 3 to determine centre of the strap and make it as wide as you like plus seam allowances. I was going for something more sporty so my straps are thicker.
Fig 6. Connect the dots by sketching a rounded line for the arm hole and the back.
Step 3: Cut Your Pieces Out
Following your sketched lines, cut your front and back pieces out. Make sure you pin the halves together so they don't slide around and they stay symmetrical when you cut them. (fig 1&2)
When you unfold your fabric you should end up with two pieces like Fig 3 (front) and Fig 4 (back).
Step 4: Designing the Front Panel
You can pin your top together to see if you need any modifications (fig 1). At this point, I put it on (got stabbed a bunch by the pins) and realized I needed the arm holes to be bigger, so I trimmed them. Remember to trim both side evenly.
Measure out how big you would like your middle panel to be (fig 2) based on how large your front piece is (fig 3).
Fig 4 is where I determined where to cut the front piece. I turned it right side down with that panel underneath to see through it and then sketched where I would cut allowing fro 0.5" seam allowance inside the front panel.
Cut the piece out (fig 5).
***NOTE*** If you do not care to put in this extra panel, skip ahead until Step 7.
Step 5: Make the Loops for the Cord
This step is a little bit more complicated and can also be skipped because you don't NEED the cord to still have to look "tracer-esque". This is also how I made the leggings I'm wearing in the first picture if you were curious.
Use your main fabric to sew loops by folding it over by a centimetre or so and sewing along the long seam (fig 1). Cut the excess off and chop that long piece into approximately 1" pieces (fig 2). Don't worry about the seam coming undone because you'll be sewing it into the panel soon.
Fold each 1" piece in half with the seam inside (fig 3) and pin it between the right sides of the centre panel and one side of the front (since now it is in two pieces) (fig 4, 5 & 6). Continue this every few centimetres.
How many loops you have depends on how big your top is. Be sure to pin in between the loops as well since you don't want the fabric or loops to slide around while you sew them (fig 7).
Step 6: Continue With Loops on the Other Side
Once you've sewn one side (fig 1), be sure to pin the loops for the other side at the same intervals (fig 2) so that they end up symmetrical (fig 3). Mine aren't perfect, it's hard to do.
Step 7: Sew Your Seams
Sorry, I'm missing a bunch of pictures for this step.
Start with sewing together the straps (fig 1) and the side seams by putting the right sides of the fabric together. Then fold over all the rough seams and sew them down on the right side (the machine puts out a nicer finish on the top side). Once you get to the bottom seam (under bust) make your seam a little larger so that you are able to fish an elastic piece through it.
If you decided not to put in the panel or the loops, you're almost done.
Step 8: Add an Elastic
Once your under bust seam is finished, cut a piece of elastic smaller than your initial measurement. My initial was 30" and I cut my elastic at 26". Cut a small hole on the inside of your seam and attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic (fig 1). Ease the safety pin through the entire seam careful to hold on the free end. Once you're through, sew the two ends of the elastic together (fig 2) and if you'd like, sew up that small hole you made to run it through. I didn't. Your end product should look like figure 3, all bunchy.
If you're not adding the laces, congrats- you're done! If you are adding them, continue!
Step 9: Lace the Loops
Using your paracord, lace the loops like you would a shoe. It's up to you if you want to leave the laces dangling (like my cover picture) or tie them in a bow or cut them short and glue the ends together. With any of the options you should melt the ends of your rope so it doesn't unravel (if you are using a nylon or polyester rope), or try gluing it if you're using cotton or something else flammable. To connect the pieces just use super glue to put the ends together and slide the seam behind one of the loops so it looks seamless!
Hope that turned out for you and you enjoyed following along with the tutorial! If you have any questions, put them in the comments and I'll get back to you!