Thursday, 19 December 2013

DIY Crop Top

Today I will teach you how to make your very own elasticated crop top just like the one in the above picture!

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.
Also, you will need to know how to do a straight stitch, and how to 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:

  • Fabric - I recommend a fabric with a little bit of stretch. You will need fabric for the outside of the top, as well as fabric for the inside “lining” - you can just use the same fabric for both, if you want, but both top and lining fabrics should have the same amount of “stretch”. Note: I've made this top using non-stretchy fabric too, but unless you have double-jointed shoulders, it's pretty hard to get on and off!
  • A small piece of elastic (just enough to fit around your waist!)
  • Scissors
  • A pen
  • Pins
  • A safety pin
  • A sewing machine (you could do it without if you are very patient, but using a machine will make your life a lot easier)
  • A measuring tape
  • Newspaper

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!)

After you've drawn your pattern and cut it out, "wear" it to make sure that it is about the right size.

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".
Making darts
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.
Fold the fabric on the horizontal line, and using a straight stitch sew along one of the triangle's edges.
And you should end up with something that looks like this:
Lining your top
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!)
Then you just need to sew the back and the front together at only the sides and the shoulders!
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.
Pin a safety pin onto one end of 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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  1. Thanks for the tute! I've been wanting to make something more than skirts for a while now, but have been putting it off because I thought it would be too hard! But you've made it seem totally doable ^___^

  2. Love it!!! You are awesome as usual!

  3. This is so informative! I will definitely do this during my winter break. Thank you so much! xo

  4. Annika, I love your blog and can't wait to try this new DIY! I was just wondering if one day you could do a tutorial on making sleeves for a top like this or your smock dress? Xx

    1. Thank you so much! I have just been attempting to do that - I have no idea how to do sleeves yet BUT if I figure it out, and it works successfully, I'll definitely post it!

  5. This is an amazing DIY! You really laid out every single step but still managed to keep it fairly simple :) I love your handmade crop top!

    Xo, Hannah

  6. So cute! I love the fabric, where did you find it? :)

    1. It's actually from my mum's friend's mum who was an awesome crafty lady and a bit of a fabric hoarder, and passed away recently... and so I inherited ALL her fabric. It's all gone to good use :)

  7. This is such an awesome tutorial! You are way more advanced than me, making your own clothes! So inspirational! Definitely gonna try this one out soon (though I probably won't be able to wear it soon seeing as its -5 degrees F today...

    Miche from Buttons and Birdcages

  8. How much yards does this need?

  9. I just want to say, I am so stoked to have stumbled across your blog! I've followed you on lookbook for a while and hadn't realised you had a blog. I'm really interested in trying my hand at sewing soon, so your posts are very helpful for easy projects to try, so thank you very much!

    Shannen ♡

    1. Thank you!! So so so much! I already know about you from your vests on tumblr, which are AMAZING! ^_^
      If you need any help or sewing tips, just let me know ;)

  10. This is amazing!! I really want to make some crop tops to match the skirts I am going to make so I can make my own co-ord sets!! So thank you!!!

  11. Love your tutorials, thank you so much for doing them! I don't know if you've ever answered this question, but where do you buy your fabrics from? I've struggled to find stretch fabrics as nice as the ones you use :)

    1. This particular one was actually from :)

  12. Thanks so much for the tutorial! I will definitely make this top ASAP! :)
    Your skirts are so cute btw, where did you buy them?

    oh and my computer is having issues so if i accidentally sent you four comments, i apologize! :P

  13. Thanks you so much for this tutorial. I'm going to try it out! I was wondering. When I take my mesuares, mesure "b", how do I take it? thanks!

  14. Thank You so much!!!! You rock at tutorials!!

  15. This might be kinda random... but you and Katie need to move to Austin, TX. So we can keep Austin vintage!! (and weird)

  16. I'm a beginning sewer and your DIY sewing projects are SO accessible. Thank you!!!

  17. THIS is why you are on my reading list... a great idea, can't wait to try it! :)

  18. What is the length of the top ( measurement 'b')?

  19. How do you cut the armhole so perfectly?


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me a message! I read every single one. Don't forget to check back for a reply if you leave a question! ♥

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