I learned this shorcut many years ago when making dresses to send to Guatamala. It was a way for us to make many dresses quickly, and without having to add binding/trim/edging ect. to the armholes. I made 30 of them in a week, so I know it works!
These dresses did not have a gathered front, like the top I made here, but the concept is the same.
I found this Sleeveless Top Pattern in a “free” box at an all day sew, and thought I’d make a quick summer top long enough to cover my hiney while sitting in those stacking chairs with the holes in the back that churches and banquets often use. When I got home, I scanned my pile of not-in-use quilt fabrics, and saw the fabric I wanted to use. A floral piece that was 50% rayon – sitting out because I didn’t know where to put it, and a left over batik from my office curtains. I am calling it my quilty top.
When I read the instructions, I imediately thought, oh no! I have to fuss with those armholes? I’m not ready for this! and then I remembered all those dresses I had made way back when.
The only difference is that, the top part that includes the armholes is in two pieces, so I would have to sew it first, then make a pattern piece for the lining from that. If using a pattern that includes the entire arm hole in a single piece, most of the work is already done for you. You can make your lining pieces from that.
After gathering the bottom piece of the front, and sewing it to the top piece, I added a cute top stitch. Gotta get my money’s worth outa that fancy machine!
I ironed it well, and laid it out on a piece of paper that often comes wadded up and stuffed in shipping boxes. Yes, I did iron the paper, too.
Then I traced around it, and cut it out.
I measured 3 1/4 of an inch down from the arm pit, and cut it off there.
I then matched it to the top of the pattern to make sure I got it right.
Pin to fabric, and cut.
Hem each of these lining pieces at the bottom. I used my tiniest hemming foot. More gettin my money’s worth – this time with fancy feet.
Now for the fun part.
I lay out the lining piece I made on top of the shirt piece right sides together, and sew the arms and the neck holes – but NOTHING else!
Repeat for the back.
Clip the seam allowances on the curves, being careful not to clip into the seam.
Leave the back in the right sides together position. [inside out]
Turn the front right sides out.
Now insert the front “strap” part into the “strap” part of the back. Do this for both sets of straps.
To do that, pull it through . . .
You want to make sure the seams line up nicely. Get your fingers in there and wiggle the fabric round, or whatever it takes, and pin it closed.
Pin and then sew across the top. It should look like this.
Remove some bulk, and turn inside out.
If it’s still bulky, turn it back, and trim more of the seam allowance.
If it looks a bit square in one spot, you can turn it back, and stitch a little closer on the sides.
I usually get it on the first try, but in case that doesn’t happen, just know that it ain’t over until it looks nice.
Once that is done turn the shirt inside out, but not the shoulder seams [those are done], and sew the lining and the sides of the shirt together in one swoop! OK, make that two swoops!
Either fold seam over and top stitch the sides, or zigzag to prevent fraying. I was lazy.
Turn right side out, and stitch around each arm hole, plus in the ditch right under the arm pit to hold the lining in place, and you’re ready to hem!
I fold my hem a 1/4, and machine baste, then turn a half inch and sew with matching thread. Nothing fancy there.
Finally, you must wear it to your favorite fabric shop to see if anyone notices the bolt of fabric that matches your new quilty top!
I like it, and it was free because I didn’t buy anything for it. I saved the lining pattern pieces, so I can churn these puppies out whenever I’m in a new quilty top mood now.
#NewQuiltyTop #SleevelessTopHack #FinishedArmHoleHack #SurpriseYourLocalQuiltShop