How to Sew Summer Tops

Written by virginia watson
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How to Sew Summer Tops
Beginners can quickly sew this summer shirred camisole top. (Sewing machine image by Susanne Karlsson from

Summer tops can be some of the quickest and easiest garments to sew, as they generally use lighter fabrics and less fitted silhouettes. Additionally, summer tops rarely require linings, which can increase the amount of time and skill needed to complete a garment. This project will help you create a simple camisole top that is elastic shirred at the top and bottom hem. Beginners can complete this project within an evening or two of work. Woven lightweight cotton fabrics are appropriate for this project.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 1 -2 yards fabric
  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Iron
  • Elastic thread

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  1. 1

    Measure yourself. The most important measurement is the bust, as you will need to be able to pull this top off and on without a zipper. Additionally, measure for the length of the top from the shoulder to your hip, or wherever you want the top to end.

  2. 2

    Cut the fabric. You will need to cut two identical rectangles of fabric for the body of the camisole. Add 2 inches to your bust measurement to get the width of the rectangles, and add 1 inch to the desired length of the camisole for the length of the rectangles.

  3. 3

    Pin the rectangles together with the right sides facing and sew along the length of the fabric. Press each seam flat with an iron. Turn 1/4 inch of fabric over at the top and bottom hems of the camisole and press. Turn and press again. Sew this hem close to the pressed edge of the fabric.

  4. 4

    Wind elastic thread onto your bobbin by hand. Insert the bobbin into your machine, and leave your regular thread on the top part of the machine. Turn your camisole right side out. Use tailor's chalk to mark at least three lines a half inch apart on your camisole at the top hem and bottom hem. This will become the shirring.

  5. 5

    Sew along each line that you have marked, stretching the fabric slightly as it moves under the presser foot. Move between the lines without cutting the elastic thread. Simply raise the presser foot and the needle and move the fabric so that the next line is positioned under the needle.

  6. 6

    Cut two strips of fabric that are 2 inches wide by at least 20 inches long, or whatever the desired length is for your straps. Fold each strip in half and sew with 1/4-inch seam allowance. Turn the straps right side out and press flat. Fold the ends of each strap inside, press flat and sew.

  7. 7

    Attach the straps to the inside of the camisole. Sew the straps to the camisole along the shirring lines at the front and back of the top.

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