Equipment And Materials
- Tape Measure – you don’t necessarily need one but I like to keep one at hand for clothing alterations.
- Fabric Scissors
- Chalk Pen/ Tailors Chalk
- Sewing Machine – you can make this by hand if you like
- Iron and Ironing Board – I like to always point out the importance pressing your fabrics is especially when making clothes, it can be the difference between you loving what you have made and it going in the bin!
- Fabric – I chose plain white cotton ( it was bedding beforehand) depending on your size and fit you will need anything from 1m of fabric upwards.
- Squared pattern paper or normal A4 sheets stuck together will do. – HobbyCraft sell a pack of the pattern paper for £4.20.
Creating the Shape
I took a vest that I usually wear underneath jumpers or shirts, just a basic stretch. I used this shape to create my pattern. Take note if you are using something that stretches you will need to remember that the garment will revert back to original state when not on your body so you may just need to add on 1-2 inches to your pattern.
Start by folding your vest in half (lengthways) so you only see half of the body shape. Place onto the paper and trace around the top. If you are needing to add 1-2 inches due to the stretch fabric, do that now. Trace down the centre front and mark as CF, this will be cut on the fold. Go to the other side of the vest where your armhole is, this is where you want to create the flare so that the vest hangs off your body instead of clinging to it. At the bottom measure across 2-3 inches and grade up to the armhole.
Cut this out of the paper and transfer to the fabric.
Cutting The Fabric
You want to cut the pattern on the fold, remember to cut 2. One for the front and another for the back, you also want to cut another layer to strengthen the top part of the camisole. This is 2 pieces of the same fabric cut out of the top part of the vest. The piece needs to be no more than 5 inches in depth of the original pattern. See image below.
Cutting The Straps
Cut 2 strips of 13-14 inches long and 2 inches wide. Take these to the ironing board and press, then as if you are making bias binding fold the 2 sides inwards approx 1cm in so that the edges are almost touching. Press the folds into place and fold in half, press into place. This will create a nice strong strap for your camisole top. Put to one side until needed.
Sewing The Top Together
Place the right sides together and pin into place. Sew up the 2 side seams with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Once sewn into place, press seams open or to one side and move onto the next step.
Sewing In The Straps
This step you need to pin the straps in the triangle points of the vest on the right side of the fabric. You then want to pin on the inner layer, the short layer of the vest in place. They should match up perfectly so follow the lines and pin into place. So you should have your original layer, the strap and then the shorter inner layer. Sew the edge with a 1/4 inch seam allowance and cut into the seam to release the curved area. Repeat for the back of the top and take to the ironing board to press.
Creating A Neat Edge
Once you have turned through the layers and your fabric bundle is starting to look like a camisole top, you can topstitch the edge around the top to hold the inner layer down into place. Make sure your seam is pressed and crisp before topstitching the layers in place.
Hemming Your Camisole
Take your top back to the ironing board and press up a fold of 1/4 inch along the bottom. Do this all the way around, fold up again with a 1/4 inch seam allowance and press. Pin into place and sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance to hold the neat edge in place. I added on a lace trim on the bottom for decoration, you can do this or add on fringing or any decoration you have.
This is the finished product, I would love to see what you create with your own clothes and if I can steal any ideas. This camisole method can be used for so much more so please check out my other posts on how you can make more from your existing wardrobe.