what i wore + a quick and easy top tutorial


Hubby & I went to an estate sale yesterday, and I found some great items…I’ll share those later, but here’s what I wore:


Jacket: Old Navy

Top: made by me (scroll down for tutorial)

Jeans:  Thrifted Jessica Simpson Jeggings (and they still had the tags!  SCORE!)

Boots: Bakers




Now for the top tutorial:


I made this one from and old silk skirt I had that didn’t fit me anymore.  I originally got it on clearance for $9 about 10 years ago…I’d say I’m getting my moneys worth!


what you’ll need

lightweight fabric (both sides of the fabric will be visible, so you will need a fabric such as a silk or voile that does not have a right & wrong side)



1)  Take three measurements: I will be using my measurements as an example.

a) your bust at the largest point  ~ 35″

b)  front bust (place the tape measure at the side seam of the shirt you are wearing and measure across the largest part of your bust  the distance to the other side seam) ~ 19″

c) length from just below your collar bone to the point where you want your top to hit ~ 19 3/4″


2)  Cut out the front pieces:  This top is simply made up of three rectangles.  For the front, cut two rectangles.  To find the length, take measurement c from step 1 and add the hem allowance:   +1/4″ for a rolled hem or narrow hem using a narrow hem foot; +1/2″ if you are doing a narrow hem by hand.

My measurement was 19 3/4″ and I did a narrow hem with the narrow hem foot, so

19 3/4″ + 1/4″ = 20″


To find the width,  divide the front bust measurement (b) from step 1 by 1.3, and round to the nearest 1/4″, so

19 / 1.3  = 14.6

Round to the nearest quarter inch = 14.5″

So I cut 2 ~ 14.5″ x 20″ rectangles for the front.


3) Make the arm holes:


Cut out a j-shape for the the arm holes.  I measured about 4.5″ down on the side and 4″ in along the top, and marked.  Then, used those marks and cut out the “j” for the armholes.  Next, round the center front bottom corners.  You can free hand it or use a small plate to trace the round edge.  Remember when you are cutting that the two front pieces should mirror each other so that you don’t end up with two front right pieces!


4) Hem the front pieces:  Do a rolled or narrow hem all the way around each of the front pieces except on the sides.



5)  Stitch the front pieces together:  Measure down the center front of your chest from just below your collar bone to the point were you want the “v” of the shirt to hit.  Basically, measure how low cut you want it, if that makes more sense.  Mine was about 6 1/4″ down.  Use a disappearing fabric marker to mark that distance down from the top of the front.  To determine how far in your stitching line should be from the center front, multiply the front width by .33.  In my case it was 14.5″ x .33 = 4.75″.  So my stitching line was 4.75″ in from the center front and stopped 6.25″ down from the top (see the diagram above).  Be sure to back stitch!


6)  Prepare the back:  For the back width, divide your bust measurement (a from step 1) by 2 then add 5-7″ depending on how full you want it to be.  So,

35/2 = 17.5

17.5 + 6 = 23. 5″


For the length, measure the length of the side of the front from under the arm hole to the hem.  Add 3/4″.  Mine was about 15.5 so,

15.5 + .75 = 16.25″

So I cut out a 23.5″ x 16.25″ rectangle.  Hem the bottom edge using the same method you used on the front pieces.  Then, finish the top raw edge using your preferred method.


7)  Add the elastic:  To be sure the front and back sides will match up exactly, line them up next to each other with the bottoms being even and mark where the top of the front side hits the top of the back side.  Fold the top edge over and press to mark.


Fold the back in half with short sides together, and mark the center back.  Fold it in half again and mark the center again.  Repeat this with the elastic.

Next, match up the sides, center, and the quarter points of the elastic to those on the back and pin in place.  The bottom edge of the elastic should be on top of the crease you pressed.


Set your machine to a wide zigzag stitch, and stitch the elastic to the fabric, stretching the elastic so that it is flush against the against the fabric as you stitch.


Fold the elastic over to the WRONG side of the back, and stitch it down again with a zigzag stitch, again stretching the elastic as you stitch.


Here’s what it should look like on the WRONG side.


8)  Put it together:  With the RIGHT sides together, stitch the front and back together at the sides with a 3/8″ seam allowance.  Finish the raw edges  using your preferred method; press seam to the front.


9)  Make and attach the straps:  (I somehow neglected to take pics of this part, so please excuse the fabric change.)


Cut a 4″ wide x 30″ long strip of fabric.  Fold the raw edges into the center and press.


Fold it in half again with the folded edges together (make sure they are even, not off the way they are in this pic).  Edge stitch along the folded edges to close, and then, edge stitch on the opposite side.


Find the center, and fold the straps to make a ‘v’ as pictured above.  Press then stitch in place in the center of the back.  Next, try the top on, and pin the straps to the front at a spot you are happy with.  The outer edge of the strap should be even with the outer edge of the arm hole.  Also, make sure the straps are not twisted.  Mark with a fabric marker. Trim the excess from the straps about 3/8 – 1-2″ from where you will be attaching them; finish the raw edges; stitch in place.  Done!


What do ya’ think?  Would you like to try your own version?

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments section, so everyone can benefit.  : )



  1. Adrianne at Happy Hour says

    April… I need a wife like you.

    This is SO cute and I can’t even begin to tell you how much I cannot make my own patterns, even when I think I can. So I am plenty impressed. Great work, you look so cute!!

  2. says

    I have to say that this is simply AMAZING!!! um, I would’ve tossed the skirt by now but you…well, you made it into a one of a kind REALLY stinkin’ cute TOP, love it! :)

  3. Taryn says

    Thanks for this fantastic tutorial! I have been looking for a tank pattern like this all spring and summer; not too pouf-floofy and not cut on the bias, no zippers, not knit-dependent – and you did it! My desperation led to several valiantly futile drafting attempts (I got a shapeless sack or some sort of infinity strap trap… there’s nothing more hilarious IN HINDSIGHT than having to seam rip yourself out of a self-inflicted summery voile straightjacket.) I’m truly grateful to have discovered your blog; you’re a ridiculously gifted teacher!

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