Polka dots is the absolute favorite of many women around the world! While it looks absolutely cute on kids, it has stayed in adult garment industry in dresses, skirts, tops for a long time now! So when, I recently found some fun material at JoAnn’s, I was ready to buy it. I bought a yard and half of it thinking it would make a great skirt or a girls pillowcase dress and had many more endless options. Here’s the picture of the fabric below. As you can see it had elastic sewn on it.

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I started by making a skirt out of it, which was quite fun. All there was  to do was measure the waist size and cut the material a little shorter than waist circumference and then sew up the open sides. Tadda! and the skirt was ready! The material was fun and easy, so I decided to try a top out of it. Heres a quick and easy DIY tutorial for the polka dotted top.

For it you will need: A yard and half piece or maybe little more fabric. You will need to measure only the chest measurement for this quick top. Here is a great link on how to take measurements: measurement chart.  As, the elastic is bound to the fabric in my case, the fabric has more flare, so the top in general has more flare and falls well on the body. Hence I did not need any other measurements. Before starting out I cut about 1/2 of elastic width to reduce the bulk where the top sits at the chest.

Length of material you need = (chest measurement (c) +c/2) eg: If your chest circumference measurement is 28: then 28 +28/2 =28+14=42inches of material (plus some extra for seam).

Below is the concept for what I had in mind before starting work on the top.

First, as in figure(a) below cut the (c+0.5inch seam) length out of the piece of fabric.

photo-17With the fabric right sides together, sew close the open edge. Turn it inside out, so that the right sides are facing out and sewing is on the inside. Now, you will have a tube top or a skirt pattern. If interested you can leave this flowy tube top as it is. One thing to keep in mind for the tube top is to cut the elastic a little shorter than chest measure so that it fits well. If you find a floral beach fabric, it would make a great flowy top for the beach too!

Proceeding further: I wanted to put some sleeves on it, since summer is finally here and am happy to leave the cardigan at home.

So now as in fig(b) we proceed to cutting the sleeves out of remaining part of fabric. Add 0.5 seam allowance to all measurements below. For the sleeves, you can first  cut off the elastic band of remaining material (we don’t need the elastic). Then cut polygon of one side width x/2 and one side width x/4. x being circumference/2 as per fig(a).

The above fig(c) and fig(d) are pictures of front and back of the top. I have a square front and triangle back. You can do it the way you want.
If you want both front and back square, cut rectangles for sleeves out of remaining fabric with width x/4.
The length of this piece is from: (shoulder to chest + shoulder to width of back +0.5 for seam) measured as per chart: measurement chart

After you cut the sleeve pieces, hem all edges to stop fraying. At this point before putting the sleeves in, you have an option of folding in the elastic band in or leaving it as such for a border effect. I folded it in. Make markings on the top, as shown in fig(c) for where you want the front sleeve to start on the chest. Secure the sleeves on front by pins and see how it looks. I don’t have a photo of this step, but this is absolutely important step. Now sew the sleeves on the front.

When you are sewing the back edge of the sleeve that is triangle, mark the center of the top on the back. Again, secure in place using pins going from center of the top towards the arm. Start sewing from center towards the arm as indicated by arrow in fig(d)

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Once that is done your top is ready.

Since my top was too flowy, I sew 2 darts on the front bottom edge about 2 to 3 inches away from front center, as shown in fig(c) of concept drawing.

May 7, 2013_4

PS: If you are stitching this with a fabric that is not bound by elastic and so does not have flare, you will need 4 measurements, chest, bust, waist and hip and cut out the top shape accordingly. You can also measure just the bust and hip and then make a line across them to get a fuller rectangular top. Would love to do the rectangular version of this with an eyelet fabric. Hope this tutorial reads as easy as it was to make.

Happy sewing!

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