Thursday, June 9, 2011

Crossover Back Top Tutorial

(Note: I started working on this project/tutorial about a week BEFORE Maggie at Smashed Peas and Carrots posted her tutorial and pattern. So please don't think I am copying her! Great minds just think alike!)

I am so in love with these shirts! Eliza better love them too, because she now has four of them hanging in her closet. I kind of lost control and couldn't stop making them. The funny thing is, I know my husband will be baffled by these shirts. The whole crossover back thing is much too complicated for him. So I know he will never choose them when he is dressing her. Oh well. 

My pattern is based on a top that my mom made for me when I was a baby. I just placed it on top of my fabric and traced it. It's already a little small for Eliza, so I made everything a bit larger when I cut it out. Over the process of making a few of these, I fine-tuned the pattern. I've narrowed the straps a bit since I took the pictures for the step-by-step. So don't worry if your straps don't look just like the pictures.

Want to make one for your little one? This fits my 17-month-old peanut pretty well. (If you do need to make it larger, I'd suggest not making the straps much wider--just make them longer.) I made it kind of long, so it's like a long top or a short dress, whichever way you want to go with it. You even have enough fabric left over for matching bloomers or shorts.

1. Gather your supplies:

  • at least 5/8 yard each of two coordinating fabrics (you'll have some left over)
  • thread
  • four buttons (if you want to make it reversible--if you don't want/need it to be reversible, you can just use two buttons, or even two snaps if you'd like)
  • pattern (download here). Cut it out and line up the hatch marks, then just tape it together. Trace it onto freezer paper if you'd like. (See below)
  • scissors, pins, sewing machine, etc.(not pictured, but you know what they look like)
2. Place your pattern on the fold of your fabric.
You can pin it, or I like to use freezer paper. (I hate pinning) Just place the freezer paper shiny side down and iron lightly. It will stick to your fabric while you cut it out. Then you can peel it off and reuse it several more times (I think I've used it maybe 6 times or so before it stopped working so well, but then I just trace it onto a fresh piece of freezer paper).

3. Cut fabric out.
4. Repeat with coordinating fabric so you have two matching pieces.

5. Pin all the way around, right sides together.

6. Sew together, leaving an opening about 1.5 inches for turning. I used a 1/4 inch seam allowance. The seam won't actually take any stress, so this should be fine. I used my 1/4" foot for this.

7. Before turning, clip your edges along the curves. This will help everything stay nice and flat when you turn it right side out.
8. Turn everything right side out by pulling it through the opening. Pin the opening shut, tucking in the edges.
9. Topstitch all the way around, close to the edge. I used a variegated orange/yellow thread in my bobbin and a green thread in my needle--so that the thread matches on each side.
10. Add buttonholes* to the straps.

Hint: use a pin at the top of the buttonhole when you are opening it up. It will keep you from pushing too far and ripping the buttonhole thread.

11. Sew on buttons to the front of the top. To make the top reversible, sew two buttons back-to-back on each side.

And you're done!

*I was super-scared of trying buttonholes. Terrified, actually. But I read through my instruction manual really carefully and made a bunch of practice buttonholes. When I moved on to the actual top for the buttonholes, my hands were actually shaking. And I don't think I took a breath the whole time while I waited for my machine to do its thang. But I was surprised how easy they are. So don't be afraid. If I can do it, so can you! But if you still aren't ready to face your buttonhole fears, just add snaps instead (those are really easy!). It just won't be reversible.

And have I mentioned how cute these are with matching ruffle-butt bloomers? So your little independent munchkin can look adorable as she runs away from you and your camera.

Let me know how this works for you. This is my first attempt at a tutorial and pattern. If you have questions, just ask! 

Until next time,


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  1. I LOVE it! So so cute! I definitely want to try this!!!

  2. So cute post! Love it!:) Nice to find out your space...hope to see you on my blog:)


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