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Make your own pattern for a velvet top

This is a lovely, quick afternoon project if you feel like something new to wear out in the evening. In this tutorial, I'll take you through making a velvet top from scratch, using a t-shirt you already have in your wardrobe to make your own pattern. Let's get started!

1. Choose a top that you like the fit of, and use it as the basis of your pattern. Just lie it out flat on the ground and follow the seams to trace off each pattern piece.

Original top to copy

2. I used one pattern piece cut on a centre fold for the back and the front of the top. To accomodate the front neckline, I just drew an alternate neckline on the pattern piece. The sleeve is also on the fold, so that there's only a seam under the arm. Cut one back piece, one front piece and two sleeve pieces. Remember to leave seam allowance.

Trace your pattern pieces

3. Place the back and front pieces right sides together and sew the shoulder seams. Then lay the joined pieces out flat, and set the sleeves into place with pins.

Set the sleeves

4. Once you've sewn the arc of the sleeves in place, sew right up the side seams, continuing through to the underarm seams to fully close the garment.

5. I used facing to finish the neckline in order to avoid a bulky seam. Cut a piece of velvet and a matching piece of fusing for the front and back necklines. Iron the fusing to the wrong side of the velvet, and then sew the ends of the pieces together to form one big round neckline piece. With the right side of your top facing out, pin the facing to the neckline, right sides together. Sew all the way around the neckline.

Cut a facing

Sew the neckline

6. Notch the seam of the neckline at intervals. This makes sure the finished product turns beautifully and lies flat. Flip the facing to the inside, and sew a neat top stitch all the way around the edge.

Clip into the curves

7. Velvet can be a little bulky, so I finished the hems with only one folded edge. For a neat inside finish, I cut with pinking shears to make sure fraying was kept to a minimum.

8. And there you have it! A wearable copy of your favourite top, in velvet! In hardly any time at all.

(Admittedly I should have ironed the top out nicely before taking this picture.)

Have fun!

Velvet top