Saturday, May 26, 2012

Hip To Be Square: Easy Starter Top Tutorial

Today on Hip to Be Square-- the Easy Starter Top/Dress.  This is one of the first pieces of clothing I made for my girls.  See?  Here it is in dress form.  I even made a matching dress for Sophie.

It's nice and easy... thus, the Easy Starter Top!

1/2 yard main fabric
1/6 yard coordinating fabric
1/2 inch elastic, cut to chest measurement (mine is 20 inches)
sewing stuff

Use 1/2-inch seam allowance throughout.

Cut your rectangles.  My measurements are for a 18-24 month top.  To make it larger, just add length to your biggest rectangle and your sleeves/straps.  (See pic for my measurements.)

 Sew up the sides of your main piece and the 2-inch facing piece.  Zig-zag the main piece to finish.

Go ahead and hem it now, so you don't have to deal with it later. :)  To do this, fold over 1/4-inch and press then another 1/4 inch and press.  Stitch.

Put two strap pieces right sides together and sew up long sides.  Repeat with other sttrap.

Flip them right sides out and press. Then topstitch close to the edge.  After this, run a gathering stitch along one of the short ends.  Gather them up (not shown).

On one side of the bottom of the strap, measure up 1.5 inches and mark.

Find the top center of your main fabric.  Measure 2.5 inches out from the center and mark, using fabric marker or pin.  

 Use the marks you made to place your gathered sleeve, right sides together.  Pin it in place.

 Now pin the ungathered side to the center of the back.

Line up the (1.5") mark you made with the outside of the strap with the raw edge of the main piece.  Pin in place. 

Fold one side of  facing piece down 1/4 inch and press.

Pin facing piece to main piece, right sides together, so straps are sandwiched in between.  It'll look like this:

Trim excess of straps off.

Fold casing over and press.

Sew casing down and stitch, leaving an inch opening through which to thread the elastic.  Thread through with a safety pin.  Stitch elastic together and close up casing.

 It's nice and roomy and perfect for summer!

And the straps actually look a little like capped sleeves, which I really love.

And if you've made it this far, here's another thing... I put this dress up for sale in my Etsy shop because, let's be honest, my girls don't really need more clothes. :)  It's $16 with shipping.


  1. This is darling! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great little top. I think I might make some for "dress a girl" as they simple but really pretty

  3. Thanks for this. I just made this dress using your tutorial.


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