Camisoles have become a female fashion necessity. No matter the season or occasion, a little peek of colour or lace under a blouse, sweater or jacket, or worn just by itself, adds pizazz to any outfit. You can create your own one-of-a-kind fashion statement quickly, with just an hour or two of your time, and a beginner's knowledge of sewing. Show your creativity and individuality by choosing a limitless combination of fabrics and trims.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Soft tape measure
- 1 yard or less of knit or woven lightweight, silky fabric
- 1 yard or less of cording, ribbon or trim for the straps
- Marking tool, such as pen, pencil, chalk or straight pins
- Sewing machine or needle
Strip down to the undergarments to be worn under the camisole. Use the tape measure and measure the apex (the highest point) of the bust. Add 1 inch of "ease" plus the standard seam allowance (5/8 inch x 2 for each side of the seam); this is the width of fabric needed. Measure the length of fabric needed by finding the point above the apex where the camisole will begin (remember this spot for future strap placement), the point below the waist where the camisole will end, and adding 2 inches (1 inch each for the top and bottom hems). Measure the length of the straps by placing the tape measure above the apex and over the shoulder to an equal distance across to the back (similar to the length of a bra strap). Add seam allowances to each end and multiply by two; this is the amount of trim needed for the straps.
Purchase a remnant (a small piece of fabric) which is larger than your measurements, or have the store cut the length needed from a bolt of fabric that's wider than the width measurement. Purchase the length of trim needed.
Wash and dry the fabric and trim as directed to allow for shrinkage. Lay the fabric flat on a table and fold the right sides together (the wrong side faces the skin); place the selvedges (smooth edges) together, parallel to the fold. Divide the width measurement by two. Use a marking tool to mark the fabric with the width measurement parallel to the selvedges, and the length measurement parallel to the fabric's cut edges. Cut the fabric with scissors. Lay the trim flat on a table and cut each strap to the Step 1 measurement.
Keeping the fabric right sides together, sew the seam securely together with a short 1/8-inch running stitch; use either a needle and thread or a sewing machine. Iron this center back seam open. Make the top and bottom hems by folding each edge under 1/4 inch to the wrong side and iron into place; fold under another 1/4 inch so that the raw edges of each hem are enclosed and iron into place. Topstitch (the stitches will be seen from both sides) each hem close to the edge.
Pin each strap above the apex at the front hem and at an equal measurement across to the back with the raw edges to the wrong side of the camisole. Try on and adjust if necessary. Topstitch the straps into place with short stitches, stitching through all layers of fabric; repeat stitching to reinforce.
Tips and warnings
- For best results, use thread made from the same content as your fabric.
- If the camisole fabric is knit (meaning it can be easily stretched) and you're sewing with a machine, be sure to use a ballpoint needle.
- Glue rhinestones onto your camisole for some bling, or sew on any embellishments.
- When operating a sewing machine, keep fingers away from the needle and always start slowly and stay in control.
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