Friday, July 27, 2012

Summer Two Piece: The Tutorial

Okie Dokie, here we go...due to overwhelming interest (4 people, I think) here is the requested tutorial so that you can make your very own Summer Two Piece ensemble!


When I whipped it up it was really a very simple project, and it still is in step by step form, it just seems like a bit much when it's all broken down.  But stick with me and by the end you'll have a few outfits from these two simple little pieces.

Before we begin I have to clarify two very important things:

#1- I do not know anything about pattern drafting.  This is just a series of some rectangles slightly adjusted, it's not couture, so please don't get your undies in a knot if I'm not doing something the way "it's supposed to be done"
#2-The measurements I'm using are to fit my body.  As I've mentioned before, I'm very small busted (about a 36 A or B).  I think most grown women are little more well endowed than I am (can you use that phrase for women?) so make adjustments to suit your body.  If you're more 'bossomy' then make your pieces a little wider, if you're longer in the torso, make your pieces longer.  It's not rocket science, just experiment.  Think of mine as an extra-small and make your pattern bigger as needed.  Just think about how store bought patterns look, they just expand by about 1/4" - 1/2" for each size up.
#3- I'm going to break this down into two parts, the pattern and then the sewing.  It's going to seem long, but trust me, the whole process can be done in about an hour.
#4- I'm writing this as if I'm writing for beginner sewers.  If it seems too simplistic, consider yourself an intermediate sewer.  Congratulations!

Here we go....

To make your pattern, here's what you need:

- Craft or tissue paper
- Ruler or measuring tape
- Pencil and paper scissors

1) Start by drawing a basic rectangle.  This should be the length of your top plus about 3" for seam allowance and bottom casing.  The width should be a couple of inches wider than your widest part of your torso for a loose fit.

2) In the upper right  LEFT hand corner (that should say LEFT below, sorry about that) measure and mark as below.  We'll use these measurements to soften up the edges a bit.

3) Extend your measurements to the corners as shown.  These new lines will be your side and top edges.

4) Round out your top edge by just free hand drawing a slight arc in the line.

5) Do the same for the bottom edge.

6) That was your front piece.  Now we need to make the back.  It's almost the same but shorter because it sits lower on your back.

7)  It's difficult to see, but basically it's the same idea, measure in around 3" from the RIGHT top corner, connect to bottom to create angled side seamand slightly curve up the top edge.

8) As a little extra something I added a lining or "shelf bra" inside.  Tube tops are always better with this added feature and it's super easy to add.

9) Don't forget to make the back of your lining (which I almost did!).  I actually didn't even make a separate piece.  I just used the back that we already made and drew a broken line about 5.5" down from top.  Once I've cut out my back I'll just fold this up and use it to cut my lining.

OK, that's your pattern pieces.

PART TWO: Sewing your top

Here's what you need for this section

- Your pattern pieces
- Scissors and pins
- Narrow and Wide Elastic (if you have lingerie elastic for the narrow elastic it's best to use that)
- Stretch fabric and matching thread
- Sewing Machine

1) Cut out your pattern pieces on your fabric.  CUT ALL PIECES ON A FOLD.
(Sorry, I'm showing you this on ivory fabric which may make it hard to see the stitches, but as I said a couple of weeks ago, I'm using up my stash and this is what I had on hand.  No trips to the fabric store until I use up what I have!)

I almost missed the back of my bralet, but  it's there
at the top of your back piece.
Don't forget to cut it out too!
 2) We're going to make your 'bra-let' first.  With right sides together, sew your side seams and finish with a zigzag or serge, whatever you usually do.

4) Measure about 2-3" from each side and pin.  Measure another 4" or so from your first pins.  Baste long stitches in between your pins and gather slightly.

5) Measure a piece of the narrow elastic around your torso, under your bust line.  Cut a piece that is a comfortable length and sew together by overlapping the ends.  You should end up with a loop of elastic (that isn't twisted).

6) Divide your loop of elastic in quarters.  The easiet way to do this is the pull the sewn piece to one end and mark the other end with a pin.  Now, bring the two pins together and pin the other ends.  Now you have marked off quarters.  Do the same with the bottom of your bralet.  Now, match up your pins and pin your elastic to the bralet, having edges even.  Make sure you elastic is on the right side of your fabric.

7) Using a narrow seam allowance, sew your elastic down, pulling as you go making sure it's somewhat even.  You can use a zigzag and stitch over the inside edge.

8) Now we're going to make the body of your top.  Start the same was as the bralet by sewing the front and back together along the side seams.

9) All right, it's coming together!  We're almost there.  Now, slip the bralet inside of the bodice, WRONG sides together.  Pin the upper edge so it's even all the way around.  You can baste this edge if you want now.

10) Using your 1" waist band/wide elastic, cut a piece that fits comfortably around the top of your chest area. 

Follow the same steps to adhere this to the top of your bodice as we did to the bottom of the bralet.

11) Once you have your elastic sewn onto the top edge you just fold it under and press.  This is what give you the seamless look rather than a casing and it's what makes this top special!

12) If you want a blousy look for your top, just sew a small casing along the bottom edge, insert elastic, and close. Measure the elastic to fit loosely around your hips. Don't make the loop like we did before. Just use a safety pin and feed it into the casing, stitch the ends together, and then close the casing.

And that is it!

I know what you're saying. "Uh Tamara...that's only one piece!  Where's the bottom?!?!"  Guess already know how to do it.   Just click your heels three times and say there's no place like home.  Oh wait, sorry, that's something else.

Seriously though, you now have the skill, the tools, and the knowlege to make the skirt.  Just make a rectangle about an inch wider than your hips and angle it out, curve up the bottom edge just slightly, add your elastic to the waistband just like we did for the top of the top, and hem it.  There you go!  You've created your own skirt.  Look at you, you'll be an intermediate sewer in no time~

Now, the four of you who requested this tutorial better get sewing because I want to see your creations!  Have fun and just go for it.  If you want a more casual look, sew a tie on the front.  if you want a dressier look, lengthen the skirt and add a slit.  Make it your own.  I can't wait to see what you come up with~

Happy sewing!


Angela said...

Love your step by step instruction, I feel like I could actually do this, and i havnt made clothes before only drapes and things, found you over at Serenity Now link up, thanks for posting :)

Adorned From Above said...

Great tutorial and so easy. I love it. I have a link party, and I would love it if you would link this post. You can find it at
It is called Wednesdays Adorned From Above Link Party.
I hope to see you there. Have a great Day.
Debi Bolocofsky
Adorned From Above

Kathy Bradshaw said...

Great tutorial and pictures. Stopped by to say hi from the blog hop.
Come visit me sometime the tea is cold and no shoes are required. Kathy B.

Anonymous said...

Great tutorial, very detailed, thank you, love it!

Jill said...

Great tutorial Tamara! I'm pinning it to try sometime! :)

Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
Hope you have a fabulous week!
Jill @ Creating my way to Success

Seaweed and Raine said...

Thanks so much Tamara. I've bookmarked it ready for summer!

Cheerios and Lattes said...

Looks great! Thank you for sharing this at Saturday Show and Tell. I can't wait to see what you have for this week! I look forward to seeing you there.

Garage Sales R Us said...

Beautiful!!!!! I am visiting from the sassy sites link party. I am you newest follower! I blog over at I hope you will stop by and do the same. I also have an awesome giveaway going on with a Cricut Machine! It's only got a few hours left on it so hurry over and enter!


Debbie said...

Love this. Thanks for sharing

Crafty Brooklyn Army Wife said...

TFS!! Great tutorial and love the top. Stopping by from Sassy Sites! linky party.

Here is what I shared this week:


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