Yea! I’m back. My serger is online again and I feel much better. Sewing shall resume its normal place in my life.
I thought about doing a tutorial of the sleeves on my summer top, so here goes:
For those of you, like me who are rather tired of straps on summer tops that don’t cover your bra straps, and if strapless is a 4-letter word, this is a good solution to your dilemma.
Basic sleeveless top pattern, cut out, front and back sewn together
1/2″ wide ribbon
disappearing ink marker
1″ gridded paper or graph paper
1/4 yard fabric, same as the top
1/4 yard lightweight, fusible interfacing (I’m using SofKnit)
1. Baste a long length of ribbon where you want the strap to hit you on the back on each side. Try on the top. Pin the ribbons to each bra strap where the top edge of the top meets the ribbon. Mark 1/2″ below this point with the marker. Also mark the top point of your shoulder on the ribbon. Note: you only need to mark on one side, but do pin on both sides, because your measurements will be more even.
2. Take the top off and take out the basting at the back. Measure the distance from the top of the shoulder to the back and the top of the shoulder to the front on the ribbon. Make a note of these measurements because you’ll need them for the next step.
3. On your paper, draw a 4″ line. Mark the center of the line. From the center mark, measure the distances from step 2 and make a mark in each place. Centering your ruler at each mark, make a 2″ line that is parallel to the 4″ line.
4. Use the curved edge of the fashion ruler to connect the ends of all of the lines in a nice pleasing curve. Cut out the template. Cut along the 4″ line, leaving a 1/4″ hinge. Pin the back of the strap to the back. Try on the top and pin the front to the front edge of the strap. Open the slash until the strap sits flat (sorry about the photo…it’s plum near impossible to photograph yourself doing this). Measure the widest part of the opening.
5. Take the top and strap off again and spread the slash open the distance that you measured in step 4. Fill in this gap with paper. Use the fashion ruler to create a new edge.
6. Repeat step 4 to check your work. If you’re happy with things, go on.
7. Lay out the template on your fabric and cut 4. Cut 2 of the interfacing. Fuse the interfacing to two of the pattern pieces according to the manufacturer’s directions. Facing right sides together, pin and sew along the long edges of the straps with a 1/2″ seam allowance. Clip along the curve in the seam allowance every 1/2″ or so to the stitching line. Also cut out v’s at the sharpest points of the curves.
Now trim the seams, trimming the part of the seam that will lie next to the body a bit less–this is called grading and it will reduce some bulk when you turn the strap right side out. Turn the strap right side out and press it on your good old buddy, Mr. Hammy or a folded towel if you don’t have a Mr. Hammy in your life.
8. Finish the bottom edges of the straps however you wish. Today I used pinking shears, but you could serge it, or fold the raw edge under…choose your own adventure–I promise you won’t end up in a black hole. Topstitch along the long edges 1/8″ from the edge.
9. Sandwich the straps upside down between the facings and the right side of the garment. Stitch them in place.
10. Enjoy the cute straps you just made! (Wow, I look caffeinated).