The weather may not be cooperating for Spring yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be dreaming about it in our sewing room! The Afternoon Chambray Floral Top sewing tutorial by Melissa of the Sewing Rabbit Team is the perfect closet staple – it’s classic, feminine and flirty. Using the new Dear Stella Ludlow fabric line and some chambray, this top is ideal for Spring and Summer, or for those lucky ones….VACATION. I can already picture it paired with linen pants! Eek. I need to make one…stat.
Afternoon Chambray Floral Top Tutorial
If you’re anything like me, you currently have a wishlist full of Anthropologie-style tops, all of which you haven’t purchased because you say to yourself – “Oh, I could make that.” I call it the sewing catch-22. Your closet is in dire need of refreshing, but you haven’t the time to sew all the projects that inspired you to DIY, instead of buy.
So, for this tutorial, I tried to capture all of my favorite Anthro details in one easy DIY, without looking like the Anthropologie lookbook threw up all over my dress form. This top has all the essentials: lace, chambray, drapeyness (that’s a word, right?), floral, mini pocket. And it’s pretty darn quick, which is why I’m calling it the Afternoon top. I made mine in one afternoon, including taking the pics, so it’ll be even faster for you. Plus, it’s a great way to use up odd pieces of fabrics you have leftover!
Here’s what you’ll need:
4 fabric pieces: Once you’re done making your pattern pieces, measure them to see how much fabric you’ll need, as the measurements below are based on my size, which is roughly medium-large (8-10).
- Fabric A for front: approx. 27″ x 24″ – Chambray
- Fabric B for lower back panel: approx 24″x 24″ - Dear Stella Ludlow Floral Navy
- Fabric C for lace back yoke: approx. 14″ x 10″ – Joann’s craft lace
- Fabric D for binding and pocket- 1/2 of a quarter yard – Dear Stella Mini Paisley White
- See-thru ruler
- Long ruler
- Curved ruler
- Pattern paper
First, you’ll need to find a pullover sleeveless top in your closet, preferably one without stretch fabric. One of my favorites is one of cats that my friend gave me and it’s what I use in this tutorial as my template.
Create a straight line near the edge of your pattern paper: this will be your center front line. Using a square, draw a perpendicular line coming out from the bottom of the center front line. This will be the bottom of the hem.
Fold your top in half on the center front and center back, so that your side seams are aligned. Pin the side seams together to make it easier in the next few steps.
Start by pinning the center front at the hemline in the bottom corner of your squared line on the pattern paper. Then, up the rest of the folded center front on the vertical line on the paper. Smooth out the garment and pin in place. Trace the hem line, and mark the side seam point where is meets the hem. We’ll use that point to make the straight side seam line.
Measure the length of the side bust dart. Measure the dart intake. Mine was 3 inches long and 1 inch wide (1/2 inch on either side of folded dart). Make a mark where the dart leg starts at the side seam. On your side seam, create an equal dart leg, open to the amount of your dart intake, so for me, I drew a 3 inch line, 1 inch away from the other dart leg. Note below that the top dart leg went a little beyond my side seam; yours may be significantly more if your dart size is larger. I redrew the dart tip 1/4 inch inset from the pivot point and redrew the legs.
Pivot around the dart tip, lining up the sewn dart line with the top dart leg you drew underneath.
Then, retrace the armhole and neckhole.
Draw straight line from bottom of hem to bottom dart leg for the side seam. Repeat straight line from top dart leg to armhole seam.
On the following points, draw a 1/4 inch perpendicular line : Armhole squared off from side seam, neckline squared off from center front fold line, hem line squared off from center front fold line. This little squared off section will keep you from having curved line from coming to a point where they meet. After you’ve squared out a little bit, draw a smooth curve on the following lines: armhole, neckline and hemline.
Add your seam allowance; I used 1/2 inch for everything. No need to put seam allowance on the center line, as it will be our fold line.
Then, I remembered that I wanted to do smaller bias binding, so I went back and edited the neckhole and the armhole down to 1/4 inch.
Repeat the steps for the back panel.
On the back, I opted to add a lace yoke at the top. If you’d rather not add that, skip the next few steps. Mark a perpendicular line 5 inches down from the neckline. You may shorten or lengthen this length as suits your design. Cut the pattern down this line.
Trace the top piece and add 1/2 inch seam allowance to bottom and shoulder and 1/4 inch seam allowance to the armhole and neckhole.
Trace bottom back panel piece. I added a pleat, so I moved the piece over 2 inches from the center fold line. Then, add 1/2 seam allowance to hem and side seam and 1/4 inch seam allowance to armhole.
Bias – you’ll need 2 1/4 yards approximately for the neckhole and armhole binding. It might be more or less, depending on your size relative to mine. You can use premade double-fold bias or you can make your own. I used this tutorial from Oliver and S to make continuous strips for my top. I made my binding with 1/4 inch seam allowance, so I made it 1 1/8″ wide to allow a little room for folding. If you make a bigger seam allowance, you’ll need to calculate your binding accordingly.
From the rest of the fabric I used to make the bias, I cut out a pocket. You can use my patch pocket pattern here. Cut one of each piece, except the pocket, on the fold. Cut one of the pocket on single ply.
Sew up the front darts first. Iron intake down towards the hemline.
Prepare the pocket by stitching a 1/2 inch stay stitch all around the edge, leaving the top alone. Clip into the seam allowance to allow the curves to fold smoothly.
Iron the sides and bottom of the pocket by folding it up 1/2 inch, using the stay stitch as your guide. Fold the top of the pocket down 1/2 inch two times, to create a rolled hem. Stitch the rolled hem down.
Place the pocket on upper chest. I went and looked in a mirror to see if I liked the placement before pinning in place. Topstitch it in place.
With the right sides facing together, fold the lower back panel and mark 2 inches from center fold. Stitch a line 1 inch in length, parallel to center back fold line.
Centering the pleat intake, iron the pleat.
Pin back lace yoke to back lower panel and stitch with 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Iron seam allowance towards bottom and topstitch down.
Pin front to back at shoulder and side seams. Stitch 1/2 inch seam.
Iron shoulder seam allowance towards the front, if you used lace, like I did. If not, iron them to the back. Topstitch in place. Iron side seam allowance to back and topstitch in place.
Pin bias tape onto armhole. When you get to the end, fold the edges back of the original starting point so that there are no rough edges.
Stitch bias using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
Iron the binding over the stitching and fold it back over to the back. Pin in place.
Topstitch bias down. Since your seam allowance was originally 1/4 inch, make these stitches just slightly less so that you catch all of the layers of binding and fabric.
Foldover hem 1/4 inch, two times and topstitch your hem. Press and you’re done!!
My favorite part is the back!!
Special thanks to Dear Stella Fabrics for donating the fabric from their new collection, Ludlow. I used the Navy floral for the back panel and the White mini paisley for the pocket and bias trim. Dear Stella has so many fun new fabric lines out that you need to check out:
I love working with their fabric.
Thanks so much for stopping by, and until next time…