Sewing Ruched Front Top
September 4, 2014
The new ruched front tops I recently made are so simple to sew and super comfortable to wear, too. I decided to make these after seeing some tops like this somewhere and I liked the look. I didn’t even have to go and buy another pattern, thankfully, since I have quite a few already.
The red top in the photo just above is the first one I made. I bought this fabric on clearance and I decided to use something that wasn’t real expensive in case the top didn’t turn out. Well, it did turn out and I have already wore it several times. I am glad the clearance fabric is soft and washes well.
After making the light red color one in a knit fabric I decided to make one in a cotton fabric. I love good quality cotton fabrics and I think some of the cottons I find at quilt shops make great fabrics for clothes and bags, too.
I have plenty of cotton fabric in my stash and I had this one in a pretty summer looking floral. I have had it for a couple of years as I remember I made a skirt with some of it and a bag, too, a couple of years ago – both of them I still have and wear-use. I really like how this one turned out bright and colorful and I have a couple of pairs of shorts to wear with it.
Both versions of this top turned out well. In my opinion though the knit one has a better drape and look to it for this type of design.
How To Make a Ruched Front:
To make a top like this you just need to know how to sew and to gather fabric. You will need a two piece pattern for a top with a front and back and a small cap sleeve or even a sleeveless top. Below are some photos on how to create the ruched front.
I used a pattern for a cap sleeve top that I have designed from the Bernina My Label program I own. I recommend using pattern drafting material – its kind of like interfacing – and tracing your top front pattern piece so you don’t ruin your actual pattern. (mine is kind of wrinkled in the photo from use and also from a cat who likes to sit on it) You will just need one side of the front traced. Then draw lines which start at the center front and extend almost to the side edge. You can see in my photo above I have 6 slash lines. Cut these lines and then spread them apart to open the center front – this is the part that will be gathered. I used some tape to hold the slashes about 1 to 2 inches apart. I then retraced the pattern piece.
Above is the photo of my cut out pattern piece and the marked areas for where I gathered the fabric. To do this I just ran two long basting stitches on each side of the front piece and then pulled them up to gather until the lower part of the top seemed straight. I then placed the fronts right sides together and sewed them. You may want to sew an extra row of stitching to hold the gathers in place. I then just finished the top according to the pattern. Super fun and simple to sew.
What projects are you currently working on? Click on Leave a Reply and tell me about them.
Have a great day!
Sewing Simple Chevron Top
July 8, 2014
This simple blue chevron top is a sewing project I finished a couple of months ago. I had intended to share it sooner but things have gotten in the way of my plans which is I guess how life goes for everyone at times. I have wore the top several times already and love how simple it was to sew and how comfortable it is to wear. Also, it looks good with skirts, shorts or jeans.
The pattern I used for this top was from the Bernina My Label software – which is pattern drafting software I have that drafts patterns by your measurements. I have mentioned it before and use it quite a bit. This top is actually not one of the patterns in the software – I used the tunic pattern to design this simple cap sleeve top. It is only two pattern pieces – a front and back – and I make a bias neckband facing which I am going to share with you below on how to do this.
The fabric I used was a 100% cotton fabric that I think I ordered from fabric.com. The one thing about making clothing with the chevron prints is that you want to have a little extra fabric to match the chevron pattern as close a possible to look uniform. Also, you want to make a top that does not have a lot of complicated darts or seams that will make the print look strange.
The neckline of this top is sewn with a bias strip of fabric for the facing. A lot of patterns come with a facing that is curved but I often find they are kind of wide and do not always lay well. I have found that using the bias facing technique works much better – especially with this style of top. Below is a little tutorial on how to make a bias neckline facing.
- Step 1 – cut a fabric strip on the bias that is 1 1/4 inch or 1 1/2 inch wide and a little longer than the length around your neckline. For this top I did 1 1/4 inch wide. Note: the bias is the 45 degree diagonal grain of the fabric – most quilting rulers have the angles marked and you can use that as a cutting guide.
- Step 2 – after you have your strip cut finish off one of the long raw edges with a serger or a zigzag stitch
- Step 3 – then pin the other raw edge with right sides together to your neckline starting at the center back of neck- overlap the ends a little (what I usually do is just have an extra long strip and after I am done pinning it to the neckline I cut it where I need to)
- Step 4 – sew the strip to the neckline edge using a 1/2 in seam allowance
- Step 5 – Clip the curved neckline edges close to stitching line, with a steam iron press bias strip out with seam pressed toward the bias strip
- Step 6 – Understitch the facing just inside the neckline seam on the bias strip – you can use the inner toe of your presser foot as a guide
- Step 7 – Press the facing to the inside of the top and topstitch the facing down from the right side of the top – I usually use a 3/8 inch seam or the outer edge of my presser foot as a guide while stitching around the neckline – press again after you complete your topstitching
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and are getting lots of sewing projects done this summer. I would love to hear about what you are working on – click on Leave a Reply to tell me about your current projects and crafts. Also, to receive future blog updates and tutorials follow my blog via email subscription, RSS feed or bloglovin. All icons are in the right sidebar.
Have a great week!
July 1, 2014
In this previous month I worked on a few patriotic projects and wanted to share them on my blog. I love the colors red, white and blue and usually have them decorating my home for the months of May through August. The colors just seem to fit my summer mood and go with the holidays of Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day.
The first project was a star garland that I made. It was super quick and easy. I was at Pier 1 back before Memorial Day and found these cool grapevine looking colored stars. I used some of my red, white and blue yarn and strung them to make a mantel garland.
The next project I made was a wreath for my front door. I was at Michaels back in May and saw this tied fabric garland and decided I could make my own and use up some of my fabric scraps. I then used the fabric garland on a wire wreath that I first covered in burlap ribbon. I had a few of those stars leftover from my garland project and took some jute twine and tied them to the wreath.
Below are the photos of the steps to make the wreath. I used a glue gun to secure the burlap after wrapping it onto the wire wreath and I also put a little glue on the fabric garland after wrapping it around. To make the fabric garland I used jute twine and just cut 4 to 5 inch pieces of fabric about a half inch wide and tied it to the jute. It was a great way to use up some leftover fabric in my stash.
The last project I made were fabric coasters made from 1 1/2 inch wide strips of fabric. This is another great way to use up some of your stash. To make these coasters you will need:
- a sewing machine
- 1/4 inch presser foot
- thread to match project
- 1 1/2 inch strips of fabric
- 2 1/2 inch strips of fabric for binding edges
- 6 inch squares of fabric for backing
- 6 inch squares of warm and natural cotton batting
- rotary cutter
- quilters ruler
The first step is to lay your 6 inch square batting on top of the wrong side of the 6 inch square of fabric.
Then you will lay your first strip of fabric wrong side on batting and right side up – then place your 2nd strip on top of that strip right sides together and sew using a 1/4 inch seam – it is helpful to have a 1/4 inch foot for this step.
After sewing the strips together onto the batting and fabric backing you will press them and continue to sew strips in this manner covering both sides of batting. After a final pressing use a ruler and rotary cutter to square off all your edges. You will have a piece that looks like the photo below – front and back views. This called quilt as you go strip piecing.
The final step is to attach the binding. For this I used a 2 1/2 inch wide strip pressed in half and sewed it to the wrong side of the coaster with the raw edges even. Since there were no curves in this coaster I did not use a bias edge binding, just a straight strip. You can probably google how to make and attach quilt binding for a better explanation of how to do this.
After sewing the binding to the wrong side you press it over the raw edge to the right side of your coaster. You may want to clip the corners a little. I like to pin it in place before sewing. Also, you will need to miter the corners by folding them in and pressing them in place. I then sewed around the folded edge of the binding using a narrow zigzag stitch. Photos below are of the finished coaster.
I like to use these coasters outside on my patio and in my kitchen and living room. They are super simple and quick to make if you have all of the supplies on hand – they make a good housewarming gift, too. You can also use this same process to make a matching potholder by using a larger square of batting and backing fabric – like 8 or 9 inches. For potholders you may want to use the thermal fleece type of batting so they are more heat resistant and even use 2 layers. I have also used 2 layers in the coasters if you want them to be thicker. If you decide to use 2 layers you may want to use a walking foot to sew the strips down so they don’t shift.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my projects and get inspired to make something patriotic for the summer season. If you have any projects you have currently made I would love to hear about them – click on Leave A Reply and tell me about them.
Have a great day!