How to make a strapless bandeau top

Updated April 17, 2017

A bandeau top is a basic strapless top that may be designed to either cover only the bust area or the entire torso. Many swimsuits are made in this style, often with the option of adding straps if you need additional support. Making your own bandeau top allows you to cater for your particular shape and size, and will create an item of clothing suitable for many occasions, whether casual or formal.

Choose your fabric. A lightweight woven fabric such as dupioni, lightweight linen or batiste is flattering and durable.

Prewash your fabric to soften it and fray its edges.

Get your high-bust measurement by wrapping a tape measure right under your arms, high on the slope of your breasts.

Cut the selvedges (self-finished edges) of your fabric down to your high bust measurement plus at least 5 inches extra. For example, if your high bust measurement is 34 inches, your fabric should measure a minimum of 39 inches.

Draw a diagonal line from one corner of your fabric rectangle to the opposite corner, using chalk and a ruler.

Create two triangle by cutting carefully along the chalk line using a rotary cutter and mat.

Fray the edges of your fabric triangles by removing some yarns then machine washing and drying.

Wrap the triangles around your body so that the selvedges wrap around your high bust immediately under your arms and the cut edge hang down either side of your torso and over your hips. When you are happy with their placement, pin them in place.

Attach your triangles together by sewing around the top edge; a simple straight or zigzag stitch is fine. Remove the pins.

Work out how much clear elastic you need by wrapping it around your high bust until it fits securely but not too tightly. Pin this around the top edge over your line of stitches, then sew it in place with a zigzag stitch.


If your high bust measures more than 36 inches, buy wider fabric or cut longer triangles. Both options will cover more skin. Experiment with different ways to wear your bandeau top. Leave the long ends loose for a casual, summery look, or gather them up and tie them around your waist for a neater finish. If you want to vary the neckline, you can bring one long end around to meet the other on one of your hips, twist both ends tightly together and then wrap them over one shoulder, securing them by tucking them into the top edge at the back of the top.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric
  • Washing powder
  • Tape measure
  • Dressmaking scissors
  • Chalk
  • Ruler
  • Rotary cutter
  • Mat
  • Pins
  • Needle
  • Cotton
  • Clear elastic
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."