Before we start...
You need to know that each piece of fabric has a "right side" and a "wrong side". I'll refer to these terms throughout the tutorial. For example when I say place fabric "right-sides together", I mean place the pieces together with the pretty sides touching.
back stitch (sewing backwards and forwards at the beginning and end of each stitch you make, to secure it in place and ensure that the stitches do not "fall out"). As long as you can do these two things on a sewing machine (and seriously, just google it if you can't), you're ready to give this DIY a go!
What you will need:
Making a pattern
Cut out a pattern that looks like the newspaper piece below, but using your own measurements. Note: Waist and under-boob measurements go all the way around you, and shoulder-to-shoulder is basically bra-strap to bra-strap, across your neck/chest (to get a better idea of where you should be measuring, if you're confused, click here).
I usually just round up my waist measurement to make it the same as my bust measurement, because I find that easier in drafting a pattern (and I don't have much of a bust anyway), but if you're bustier, I recommend taking note of the difference! I also recommend adding 2 inches or so to your bust and waist measurements before drawing them onto your pattern (this is your "seam allowance", and giving yourself a bit of extra fabric is never a bad idea - you can pretty easily make something smaller if it's too big, but it's much harder to make something larger if it's too small!)
Cutting your fabric
Next, place your pattern onto your piece of fabric and cut that out. Tip: to save on time, I doubled my fabric over before cutting it out - which means that I got two pieces from one cut!
You should end up with two identical pieces cut from your fabric. One is the "back" and the other is the "front".
This step isn't necessary, and you can feel free to leave it out if you want (you'll just end up with a slightly different style of crop top)! To make darts, take your "front" piece, and on the wrong side of the fabric, draw a horizontal line just underneath the "arm hole" about 6-8 inches long (depending on your size), then make it into a triangle.
And you should end up with something that looks like this:
Your lining pieces need to be cut out so that they are the exact same size and shape as your front and back pieces. To cut out your lining, all you need to do is place them (right-side down) on the lining fabric, pin, and cut around them! Keep your fabric and the lining pinned together (you'll see why in a moment). (Note: as I mentioned before, my lining is cut from the same fabric as my top.)
You should end up with this after cutting out: front and back pieces pinned right-sides-together with their lining.
For both the front and back pieces, sew them to their lining pieces by sewing all the way around the edges EXCEPT for the bottom edge.
Then, turn the pieces inside out, and you should have two of these (they should remind you a little bit of Finn from Adventure Time's hat).
Constructing the top
You need to pin these two "hats" together at the shoulders and sides. They should be pinned right-sides together (remember that I used the same floral fabric as my lining, so don't get confused by that here!)
Turn it inside out, and try it on (this will work if you've sewn it in all the right places)! If it's a bit too big, then all you need to do is turn it back inside out, and sew the seams further in! For example...
Make sure you do this (especially if it's too wide) before the next step, if you do need to resize it!
You're very almost done. Now you just need to fix up that raw edge, and insert your elastic!
Elasticating the waist
First, wrap your elastic around your waist, stretching it a little bit, but not so much that it's uncomfortably tight. Cut your elastic while it's stretched at this length.
Then, while while your top is turned inside-out, fold the bottom edge of the top up like in the below photo, making sure that it's folded up the same distance all the way around (and is a little bit wider than your piece of elastic - put the elastic next to it for reference).
Pin the fabric together all the way around to secure it. Then, simply sew a straight stitch almost all the way around, creating a "casing" for your elastic. Unlike before, your stitches are now going to be visible, so make sure that the thread compliments your fabric.
You stitch almost all the way around because you need to leave a small gap where you will insert your elastic.
Insert this end in through the gap in the top, and use the safety pin to pull it all the way through the casing, and out the other end! (Make sure you don't lost the other end of the elastic while you do this! A good tip is to put safety pins on both ends of the elastic, just in case this happens).
After you've threaded your elastic all the way through, sew the ends together, and push the elastic back inside the casing.To finish it off, sew across the "gap", making sure that you don't accidentally sew over the elastic inside the tube.
And that's it!
Enjoy making your very own! For a different style of crop-top, you might choose to leave out the elastic, make a higher or a lower neckline, make it oversized, or forget about the darts - a huge number of variations are possible! Please tweet or tag me in a photo if you happen to try this out for yourself - I'd love to see the results!
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