Monday, August 9, 2010

The Boardwalk Top Tutorial

Hi, everyone! I thought up this top and I'm naming it "The Boardwalk Top" because it reminds me of walking along the beach or boardwalk! I hope you enjoy it! May I present to you, "The Boardwalk Top":
Refashioned from a t-shirt, great for hot weather, with straps inspired from a project on the blog Ruffles and Stuff, and a little bit of the cutting of the top from a t-shirt project book.
To make "The Boardwalk Top" you will need:

A t-shirt that fits you (it can't be a really fitted t-shirt because it won't make a comfortable top)

Some more knit fabric (grab a t-shirt from the thrift store, one you don't want from your closet, or some knit fabric that goes well with your t-shirt)

Fabric scissors

Chalk or washable marking pen

Ruler or yard stick

Straight pins

Sewing needle

Sewing machine (it can be threaded in any colour)

Thread that matches the top well or complements it (it doesn't have to be a lot because you will just using a little for the straps)

Measuring tape

1. Okay, you have your shirt.

 Cut off the sleeves inside the seams. When you cut off the sleeves look at them, you can save them for a sleeve pattern if you think of making a shirt sometime.

Now, you could stop here and you would have a tank top, but it looks so boring and plain! Let's go on.

2. Flip the shirt over so that the back is facing you. Line your ruler or yard stick up from the bottom of one arm hole to the other, draw a line with your chalk or marking pen, and cut across. I didn't draw the line this dark, but I wanted everyone to be able to see it, so it's drawn over with the Paint program on the computer.

3. Now it looks sort of like a bib! Open the shirt like this and put your head through the head hole so that the shirt is hanging from your neck. Put a pin in the shirt where you want the neckline to stop, some people may want it lower then others.

Draw a line with your chalk or fabric pen nice and straight (you don't your top to be crooked!) just above where the pin is and make it straight across the t-shirt, remove the pin, and cut along your line. You should have two pieces now and they should look something like this.

4. Stretch all raw edges gently so they roll a bit. The raw edges are where you have cut. And stretch the t-shirt's sides a little bit. I used a top that was fitted (I should have used a slightly less fitted top) and this helped to make it a little bigger but, it didn't make it much bigger. If I made this again it would be with a not so fitted shirt.

This is a little random, but I keep a cream cheese container next to me while I work. It saves me the extra clean up time of picking up all the little thread and fabric scraps. I also use one for putting pins in so I don't have to put them back in the pin cushion right away while I'm sewing.

5. Now you need to make the straps. I made "rope" straps, but you could do braided ones too. To make rope straps you need to put on the top and measure with your measuring tape over your shoulder from one end of the top to the other. I measured 16 inches from the front of the top, over my shoulder, to the back of the top. Now double your measurement. I got 32. That's about how long you need to cut your strap pieces. You can leave off a few inches if you run out of material, though.

How do you make the straps pieces? You will need 6 pieces of fabric that long to make your straps and 3of those for each strap. Grab your extra t-shirt or knit fabric so you can make your straps. You can't make all your straps out of that other piece you cut out of your top because they won't be long enough. That's why you'll only need 2 strap pieces from that t-shirt scrap. Here are some things to keep in mind.

 -The straps need to be 1 inch wide and your measurement (doubled) in length (in my case, 32 inches long)

-You will probably have to piece some fabric together to get you length (I did)

-My top had a huge logo on the back instead of a label, it's okay to cut those huge logos up! Mine had sparkles so there are some sparkly places in the straps!

-Cut the part from the first t-shirt (the one you are using for the shirt part) anyway you need to! The straps are being twisted, so it doesn't matter if there is a seam from the shirt somewhere in the straps. 

-It doesn't have to be a perfect cutting job. I used a yard stick because it was 1 inch wide, so I lined up the fabric with the yard stick and kept cutting strips and used the yard stick to measure the pieced together pieces to make sure they were 32 inches long. Here are the cut pieces in their 32 inch piles (I grouped the fabric pieces into piles when there were enough to make 32 inch strips):

I pinned them into 32 inch pieces:

I sewed them using a sewing machine (You could do them by hand but with a machine is way faster and it doesn't matter what colour thread you use, I used white):

6. Pin 3 strips together at the top like you are starting a braid. (you can braid them if you want but, the ropes look really cool!) You could sew where the pin is and it will be a little easier to make them into "ropes".

I added some instructions with the Paint program on the computer to help explain the process of making the ropes. Trust me, it is really easy once you start! I will explain by using the colours of the pieces too. Click on the picture to make it bigger!

I pinned it to my leg to make the ropes and ended up sitting on the floor, so I had lots of space. It does get easy once you understand it. Continue the same thing over and over until you almost reach the bottom of your strips. Sew the other end in place. Repeat with the second set of strips.

7. There, the hardest part is done! The hardest part is really just cutting all those pieces for the straps. Now, take the straps and pin one to each front top corner of the top, grab your matching or complementary thread and handstitch them to the top.

 8. Now, put the top on and let the straps drape over your shoulders, put a pin where each strap is through the shirt at the top of the back of the shirt, and take off the top. The pins should be pretty much evenly spaced apart from each other and in from the sides a bit. (They were for me) Take your measuring tape and make sure the straps are not bending so you get a correct measurement, take your first measurement (16 inches for me), and put a pin in each strap where your measurement is. 

Make sure the back of the shirt is facing you, line the pins in the straps up with the pins in the shirt, cross your straps (or leave them like regular tank top straps), and handstitch them into place! Adjust the straps if you need to and snip the rest of the straps off (or leave the long ends tucked into the shirt for when you need to make the straps longer)

9. Put on your new top! You're done! Pefect for walking (or running) on the boardwalk or beach, playing outside, and enjoying your summer! And if it's chilly you can just throw a sweater over it! Enjoy your top!

This tutorial is property of My Passions for Fashions and is for personal use only.


JHill said...

Thanks for linking up to the Mad Skills party this week!

Amy said...

That is an amazing shirt. Stopping by from Friday Favorites. I am also hosting a party today if you want to show this off. Thanks and have a great day..

Nina @ Momma Go Round said...

Super creative! I love the twisted straps, really cute!

I'm hosting a t-shirt linky party today. I hope you'll link this up!

Jingle said...

that's very creative.

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