This is a personal project I created using waste fabrics.
For this you will need:
- Sharp scissors
- Pinking shears (zigzag scissors)
- Thread of your choice (I used polyester thread as I was sewing a polyester fabric)
- A flat surface to cut on
- A sewing machine (you could hand sew this but it might take a while...)
- Ironing board
- Pins! lots of them!
I wanted this project to combine some basic sewing techniques as well as being able to be creative with the choices I was making. In this project I did:
- pattern cutting
- making my own bias binding
- upcycling fabrics
- innovative, on the spot design changes
Step 1: Paper Pattern
Many years ago, I coveted a top that my sister owned, so I decided to make a pattern from it.
I used newspaper at the time.
Here you can see the Front, Back and both combined with a piece of fabric joining the shoulders.
Step 2: Fabric Choices and Cutting
For the top, I decided to use some squares of waste fabric samples. These silky pieces were donated to me by a friend.
- I did not have enough fabric for both the front and back, so I chose two contrasting patterns in the same material.
- The flowery pattern at the front.
- I started with the piece of fabric folded in two, but then I decided to leave a strip of fabric on the left side of a few inches wide, to save for the belt (as seen in Image 1)
- The animal pale print was used at the back.
Step 3: Sewing the Top Together
This step is quite straightforward.
- Place the front and back fabric pieces on top of each other.
- Pin them all the way along the side seams.
- Sew the seams together using a straight running stitch
- Now you can open up the the garment to see how it looks.
- To finish this part off, I sewed along the edges of the top.
I used pins, thread, the sewing machine and scissors at this stage
Step 4: Attaching the Straps to the Back
After sewing along the edges of the top at the front and the back, next, I needed to attach the straps to the back.
- I cut piece of a contrasting fabric for the straps
- I did this by laying down the fabric over the news paper pattern
- Then I only cut out the sections that I needed
- I sewed these onto the back section of the top
*Note* I on purposely didn't attach the sleeves to the front as I wanted to finish the edges of the garment first, that would then be hidden by the design at the front.
Step 5: Edging With Bias Binding
Originally I finished the edges of the top by doubling the edge over and sewing a long with a running stitch (see Image 1)... But i decided this looked terrible! So I unpicked everything and decided to make some bias binding to finish all the edges.
- Using the same material as I did for the straps, I created the binding
- Using pins, an iron and an ironing board, I used a similar technique from this video Bias Binding by Abbie Sanderson
Once the binding was created, I pinned to all around the edges of the garment
I selected a straight stitch on my sewing machine and sewed very close to the inner edge of the binding.
You can see from the images above, I used the bias binding on
- the whole of both arm holes, so from the shoulder right round to the underarm
- I used it on the front and back
- I also used it on the base hem line of the top at both the front and back.
Step 6: Attach the Straps to the Front
I changed a few things on my design as I went.
The original top had a simple curved neckline, but i wanted a softer look.
- I hemmed the front panel straight along at the top
- Then I folded that inwards with just over an inch in depth.
- I pinned the straps to the inside of the front at either side
- I sewed the straps into the front piece, but only on the inside
- This created an edge to the front of the top with no seams
Step 7: Finished Top!
Here you can see 4 images showing details of the finished top I made.
You could use these techniques for any garment of your own
- Using waste or unwanted fabric
- for the main pieces
- for binding edges