One of the great things about knowing how to sew is being able to make JUST the right item… I bought a retro-style top at a shop in black… but really wanted it in something a bit more fun – and had this leopard-print spandex in my stash. That meant knocking off the top pattern and making my own top!
I started off by measuring the existing garment and transferring that to pattern paper.
I had some teal-blue lightweight knit fabric that I received for free from my former teacher – I used this to make up a toile – a test garment to see the fit.
The toile is treated pretty much the same as the end garment will be – though I didn’t bother to hem it and things like that before testing the fit and moving onto the final garment.
(Afterwards I hemmed it and finished it…)
I usually try to make my toile out of a cheap (or in this case, free) fabric that I still kind of like – that way if the toile works out, I have another garment!
Unfortunately, as you can see from the photo on the left – the toile didn’t work properly. I needed to lengthen the straps and increase the depth of the elastic shirring in the front. Still – on someone less busty than me – this would probably fit ok! I might toss it into the donation bin if I don’t have a friend who would like it…
Once I made the adjustments to my pattern, I cut the pattern out of the leopard-print spandex.
I don’t make my patterns with seam allowance included – I add the seam allowance as I’m cutting. This is so that I can pick and choose my allowance depending on my fabric and what kind of seam treatment I’m going to use. Also, with this technique, I can easily make alterations to my patterns if needed.
To hem the garment I used a twin needle and two upper threads. This is a cool technique, which gives the appearance of ready-to-wear cover stitching, without the expensive machine. The front looks like two rows of top-stitching, but the back is a zig-zag, so the garment still retains some stretch.
A friend didn’t quite understand how this works – so I’m hoping to do a quick Instagram video about it in the near future! Follow me on Instagram if you want to see it when it’s ready!