Camisoles consist of a rectangle of fabric stitched together down the short sides, with piping or ribbon straps. They are one of the easiest garments to sew, which makes them an ideal project for beginners. This camisole can be made using eye hooks instead of a zipper, or it can be laced, corset-style. Make muslin versions of this camisole before attempting to sew fabrics that are more expensive.
Measure your chest where the band of your bra normally rests when you are wearing it. Take a deep breath and measure your bust line and 3 inches above your bust line. Measure your waist as well. Add 1 inch to the bust and waist measurements for a seam allowance.
Measure the distance from 3 inches above your bust line to the bottom edge of your waist and add 2 inches. This will be the length of your finished, hemmed and trimmed camisole from top edge to bottom edge.
Use tailor's chalk to mark along the top edge of your chosen piece of muslin fabric at a point that is the same length as your bust measurement. Mark along the bottom edge of the fabric at a point that is the same length as your waist measurement. Because most women have smaller waists than busts, your waist measurement will usually be shorter than your bust measurement. Center the waist between the two ends of the bust. For example, if your bust is 38 inches and your waist is 28, mark a point 5 inches from the left side of your fabric at the waist as your beginning point, then measure 28 inches and make your second mark.
Use a straight edge to mark lines with your tailor's chalk from the marks at the bottom edge to the ones at the top. Cut along the lines to create a long, narrow piece of fabric.
Fold the right side of the fabric over 1/2 inch and iron it flat. Repeat for the left side. Stitch the right and left sides down 1/4 inch from the fold.
Attach a hook and eye every inch, beginning 1/2 inch from the top or bust edge of your fabric, and ending 1/2 inch from the bottom or waist.
Put the camisole on with the hooks in front. Check the fit. Your camisole should be fitted at the waist, but will be loose at the top. To fit the top you will have to make two darts from the widest point on each side of your bust line to the top edge of your camisole.
Subtract the measurement that is 3 inches above your bust line from your actual bust measurement. Divide your answer by four. Pinch the top edge of the fabric together in the same amount as your answer. For example, if your bust measured 38 inches, and the measurement 3 inches above your bust line was 30 inches, your answer would be 38 -- 30 divided by 4, which would equal 2.
Pinch together 1 inch of fabric on each side of an imaginary line from your right nipple to the top edge of the camisole, if the answer from Step 4 was 2. If it was 3, you would pinch 1.5 inches on each side, and if it was 4 you would pinch 2 inches and so on. Iron the fabric flat. Stitch along the open side of the seam to make your first dart. Repeat for your left side. Try your camisole to ensure that it fits.
Place a pin on the front right and front left sides of your camisole to mark where your straps should attach. Turn the camisole around with the hooks in back and mark the position the straps should attach in the back as well.
Cut four 10 inch lengths of satin ribbon or piping. Attach on the inside of your camisole by stitching back and forth across the ribbon or piping several times.
Put your camisole on one last time. Check the position of the ties you made, and make bows over each shoulder.
Turn the camisole inside out. Fold the bottom edge of your camisole up 1 inch and iron it flat. Fold it up a second inch and iron it flat again. Stitch the hem from the left side of your camisole to the right, 1/4 inch from the open edge of the folds you made.
Use rickrack or ruffled seam binding instead of ribbon to make your camisole ties if desired.