How to Make a Trapeze Top

Written by jessica cook
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How to Make a Trapeze Top
Turn an oversized T-shirt into a fashionable top. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

A trapeze top gets its name from the A-line shape it takes, angling outward from the neck to the hemline. Trapeze tops cover up your torso, making them a flattering shape for many body types. Make your own trapeze top using an oversized T-shirt and you can have a brand new fashion statement from something that was just lying around in a drawer. You will need basic sewing skills in order to make your trapeze top.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Oversized T-shirt
  • Fitted tank top
  • Dressmaker's chalk or fabric marking pen
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Ribbon
  • Safety pin

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  1. 1

    Turn an oversized T-shirt inside out and fold it in half, lining up the sleeves so the fold goes right down the centre of the chest area. Lay it out on your work table in front of you.

  2. 2

    Fold a fitted tank top in half as you did with the T-shirt. Position it on top of the T-shirt, lining up the folded edges and the top collar areas.

  3. 3

    Use the tank top as a pattern. Using dressmaker's chalk or a fabric pen, mark the outer edge of the tank top strap along the shoulder area of the T-shirt. Pull the tank down in a straight line by approximately 1 inch and mark the line of the armhole on the tank as well. Draw another line to indicate the curve of the neckline. The extra inch will allow for seams later.

  4. 4

    Remove the tank top and draw a diagonal line from the bottom outer hem of the T-shirt to the underarm curve you drew in step three. This will create the angled, A-line shape of the trapeze top.

  5. 5

    Cut the T-shirt to match the lines you drew. Cut on the diagonal line of the hem, up around the underarm area to the shoulder of the T-shirt. Cut the neckline as well, and discard the excess T-shirt pieces.

  6. 6

    Unfold the T-shirt so you have two basic A-line tank top shapes in front of you. Pin the two pieces of the shirt together inside-out. Pin down the sides and at the shoulders.

  7. 7

    Use a sewing machine to sew a straight seam up each side of the tank top. Position your seam 1/4 inch in from the outer edges, then go back over the actual edges with a zigzag stitch that slightly overlaps the edges of the shirt. This will stabilise your seams.

  8. 8

    Fold down the top edge of the T-shirt neckline on one side by 1/4 inch, then fold down again by 3/4 inch. Pin this in place and repeat on the other side of the neckline, making sure to fold the fabric toward the inside of the shirt.

  9. 9

    Sew a straight seam right up next to the folded edges you just made on the neckline, one on each side. This creates a casing for the halter-style neck of the trapeze top.

  10. 10

    Cut a length of ribbon that is 24 inches long. Attach a safety pin to one end and thread it through the tube you made in the neckline of the shirt in step 9. Repeat this on the other side of the neckline, leaving the tails of the ribbon hanging out of both sides of the neckline and gathering the neckline fabric slightly across the middle.

  11. 11

    Turn the shirt right side out and put it on. Tie bows with the ribbons on either side of the neck to wear your trapeze top.

Tips and warnings

  • The best ribbon for this type of project is a grosgrain ribbon, approximately 1/2-inch to 1-inch wide.
  • Instead of a T-shirt, use regular fabric to make this trapeze top; you will simply need to add a bottom hem at the end of the project.

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