Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Zoo-sical Top Tutorial

It's summer, folks!  It's really summer!  This weekend, we did yardwork, played in the sprinkler and even washed the car in our swimsuits!  Okay... WE didn't wear our swimsuits, but the girls did, and they looked cute doing it.

This top came together by the clashing of this cute zoo fabric with these embroidered teal (aqua?) scraps from a crib skirt I just finished with some Wild Thing ribbon from Pick Your Plum.  Seriously, I looked at all three, lying scattered in various places around my basement (sorry for the mess, Babe) and thought, Yes.  This will be good.  And it was.  It is.

Oh, and isn't the zoo fabric a little Seuss-y?  Maybe it's the Lorax-y flowers that make me think that?  Either way, here it is: The Zoo-sical Top!

1/2 yard main fabric
1/4 yard coordinating fabric
1/2 inch elastic
sewing get-up

Use 1/2 inch seam allowance unless otherwise noted!

Cut two rectangles out of your main fabric, measuring 1/2 of chest measurement plus 2 inches by 6 inches.  (Noelle's chest measures 20 inches, so mine are 12 inches by 6 inches.) 

Fold your rectangles in half and measure in 2 inches and down 2.5 inches.  Make a little curve at the corner for the armhole.

Do the exact same thing for your lining fabric.  Then sew up the sides of both the main and lining fabric.

Hem the bottom of the lining fabric.

Cut four pieces from your coordinating fabric, each measuring 4 inches by 8 inches.  Place right sides together and sew up the long sides.

Flip them right sides out, press.  then sew down one side of each of them, using a 3/4 inch seam allowance.

Cut two pieces of 1/2 inch elastic, measuring 5 inches each.

Take a safety pin and thread the elastic through that casing you just made.  When the elastic gets to the edge, sew it in place.  You can see how I tacked it down on one side then pulled the safety pin through the rest of the way.

Tack the other side down, so your straps look like so...

Now run a gathering stitch along one side of each strap.  Make sure your straps are mirroring each other!  Gather them in.  

Now go back to your bodice.  Pin the main and lining pieces, right sides together.  

Then pin your straps in place, sandwiching them in between the main and lining pieces.  It's going to be kind of tight quarters, but here's what you need to keep in mind:
1. The elasticized part should go on the inside (closest to the neck).
2. The gathered part of the strap should be in the front (whichever side you like better).
3. Place the outside edge of the straps 1/2 inch away from the outside corner of the bodice piece.  Then when you're sewing, you'll sew right up to the edge of the straps.
4. Be careful not to catch the edges of your straps!  I like starting at the top corner of the front and going straight across.  Then my straps are in place (in the front at least), and I can push them out of the way as I'm sewing under the arm.  

When you look in the bottom, it'll look like this:
(I wanted to apologize here for being so wordy, but then I realized that would add more words, but then I couldn't help myself, so I just started typing.  So sorry 'bout that.)

Once you've sewn the whole kit and caboodle together, flip it right side out and press.


And now move on to the skirt portion!  Cut a strip of coordinating fabric 6 inches by about 32 inches (this doesn't have to be exact).  Cut a strip of the main fabric 8 inches and from selvage to selvage.

Run a gathering stitch along the top edge of the main fabric and gather it till it's the length of the coordinating strip.  Pin and sew.  Finish with a zig-zag.

Then pin the short sides, right sides together and sew.  Finish with a zig-zag. 

Hem the bottom by pressing over 1/4 inch and then doing it again.  Here's what you'll have at this point.

Run a gathering stitch along the top of the coordinating fabric and gather until it's the same as the bodice piece.  Then place the bodice inside the skirt (right sides together).  Pin, sew, finish with a zig-zag stitch.

Bust out the cute ribbons you got from Pick Your Plum (Never heard of it?  What?!  Watch out... it's addicting!) and bust out (that's a lot of busting!) your bow-making skills that have long laid dormant. 

There are tutorials all over the place for how to make these.  I haven't checked them out in a while, but I'm guessing that many have you use glue at some point.  Instead, you'll want to grab your needle and thread and stitch the bow on till it's secure. 

Now you have a cute top that's perfect for summer days and a good ol' trip to the zoo.

 Or you can make your own zoo.

...Complete with a mastodon!  

...And a little monkey, of course. :)


  1. Such a gorgeous top, Heather!!! Love the fabric combination!!!

  2. that is sooo cute. well done


I love comments more than I love buying new fabric, and that's saying something. :)