When I first started really building up my handmade wardrobe just over 10 years ago, it was simple top patterns that I loved making the most. Tops don’t use much fabric, are fairly quick to make and will easily fit into your existing wardrobe so whether you are still in the beginning of your dressmaking journey or you just fancy a quick sewing fix, I’ve got lots of ideas and fabric suggestions of projects you can make.
Follow this link to my latest youtube video where I’ll chat about the different styles and what are the best fabric choices for each one. I’ve made most of the at least once and a few of them I’ve made in different types of fabrics so hopefully you can get lots of inspiration!
Super simple grown on or raglan sleeve sewing patterns
These simple top patterns are great if you are still building up your dressmaking skills because of the way the sleeves are constructed. A raglan sleeve is where you see a seam line go from under the arm to the neckline and the way this is sew is just like any other simple seam.
The grown-on sleeve is constructed as it sounds. It’s like an extension of the bodice - grown-on- and therefore is part of the simple seams that join the front and back of the garment together.
Friday Pattern company Raglan blouse sewing pattern
Style - This lovely loose fitting blouse has elastic in the cuff and hem to create a gathered effect and allow the fabric to ‘blouse’ over the top. It’s raglan sleeves are easy to construct, the casing for the elastic is created by just simply turning and pressing the fabric back on itself and the neckline is finished with bias binding. Pattern available as a pdf in this link.
Fabric suggestions - It looks best if fabric that are light weight and have drape and movement in them such as rayon, viscose or tencel so that the fuller cut of the blouse can hang nicely. I made mine using Atelier Brunette viscose twill and used some matching ready made bias binding - we have lots of combinations of viscose fabrics with matching binding!
Megan Nielsen River
Style - As with a lot of Megans patterns this one is super versatile! It can be made using woven and knit fabrics, opt for a top or dress length and also the shape of the neckline - V-neck or round - it’s reversible! This pattern is fairly loose fitting as it has no darts or fastenings. Pattern available as a pdf in this link.
Fabric suggestions - the options with this pattern are vast! Try thinking about what you would like the finished garment to look like and work back from there is picking a fabric. If you want something swishy and light weight go for a viscose/rayon/tencel. As the construction is so simple, something with a bold or larger scale print would work really well as you wouldn’t be cutting into that too much.
If you want something that's a bit more structured that will hold its shape and be easier to sew with , opt for cotton, linen or chambray.
Tilly and the Buttons Stevie Top
Style - This top, which also has a dress length option too, has a modern boxy fit with a round neckline and grown-on sleeves. It’s really simple to construct as the neckline is finished with a facing (which I think is easier to handle than bias binding) and you can opt for a button loop or pretty ties at the back. Pattern available as a pdf in this link.
Fabric suggestions - The options are pretty varied for this project too and depending on the finished look you could opt for something swishy like viscose/rayon/tencel or for a more structured garment that will holds its shape more, then linen, lawn, chambray and double gauze are nice options.
The version in the picture is made using a tencel fabric. We don't have that exact one any more as it was from a while ago but we do have lots of other plain tencel twill fabrics.
Super simple sleeveless top sewing patterns
Light and summery, cool and breezy - if its a sleeveless top you are looking for, or have a fabric remnant to use up, these are great options!
The Grainline Willow Top
Style - This classic sleeveless top is fitted at the shoulder and falls into a relaxed a-line shape with bust darts and a nice deep hem. There is also a dress length option too. The neckline and arm holes are finished with bias binding, which is a nice sill to master and I’ve got two really useful videos on how to make your own and how to attach it to your garments. Pattern available as a pdf in this link.
Fabric suggestions - Another versatile pattern that can be used with lots of different fabrics. I’ve made several of these ranging from visocse, which is light and floaty to a cotton/linen chambray that holds the a-line shape a lot more.
The version in the light blue fabric is a more stable cotton/linen mix and the darker print is as Atelier Brunette viscose fabric. We have sold out of that one right now be we have lots of other viscose prints.
The Grainline Uniform Tunic
Style - There are so many different mix and match options with this pattern! The pattern cover suggested 4 different combinations, choosing between sleeves or not, neckline shape, pockets and skirt shape. The overall shape is loose enough to pull on and off over your head with no fastenings but it does have bust darts and some waist shaping and is fairly straight over the hips. Pattern available as a pdf in this link.
Fabric suggestions - Fabrics that hold their shape a bit more, I think, work best for this pattern. Think cottons lawns, lightweight denims, chambray and linen mixes.
I made my sleeveless stripy version using a cotton pin-stripe that has a medium weight structure, was super simple to work with and easy to press. It was a fabric from a few years back but we have some nice alternatives that are similar. Also, I didn’t adjust this pattern for pregnancy, it just still fitted me for a bit in the earlier months!
The Cashmerette Springfield top
Style - At first glance the cut of this top is very similar to the Grainline Willow top. There are a few crucial differences. This size range is from US 12-28 and offers 3 cup sizes (C/D, E/F, G/H). View A features a loose, swingy silhouette and optional hem band, while View B uses back princess seams to beautifully skim your curves. Both variations have scooped necklines, back yokes, and comfortably split side seams. Available as a pdf pattern in this link.
Fabric Suggestions - like most of the other top patterns, depending on how much structure you want the top to have, you can tailor your fabric to suit as it's versatile for cotton lawn, linen, chambray and rayon/viscose/tencel.
True Bias Ogden cami top
Style - Another wardrobe staple for the summer, this simple cami has a soft V-neck at the front and back necklines with delicate spaghetti straps. It’s finished on with a partial lining around the necklines are arm holes, which makes for a more straightforward construction and finish over a bias binding. Available as a pdf in this link.
Fabric suggestions - I’ve made so many versions of this top in lots of different fabrics. I think something that has drape and movement like visocse/rayon/tencel works the best as it does have an a-line shape so sits nicely in a floaty fabric. I have also used double gauze and cotton lawn which work well too, it just gives an overall fuller shape to the garment as those fabrics are more structured.
The version in this picture is a cotton double gauze. We don't have any left as it was a few years ago but we have lots of other double gauze fabrics.
Super simple top patterns with set in sleeves
Grainline Scout Tee
Style - This classic t-shirt style has capped sleeves and a scoop neck. It’s more fitted over the shoulders but falls into loose shape below as it has no bust darts or shaping through the waist and can be pulled on and off over head without any fastenings. The construction is really simple and the neckline is finished with bias binding. The pattern is available as a pdf in this link.
Fabric suggestions - Again lighter weight fabrics are best given the fuller style lines of this garment. Viscose/rayon/tencel are great or opt for a lawn or even double gauze if it’s easier for you to handle and sew with - it will just give an overall fuller, more structured look to the garment.
The version in the picture is made using a printed viscose fabric. We don't have that exact one left as it was from a while ago but we have lots more viscose print fabrics.
Closet Case Patterns Cielo top
Style - I love the little details in this more boxy tee shape, which also offer a dress length. There is an angeles shoulder yoke, bust darts and an over all roomy fit. Choose between two sleeve options and either a facing or bias binding to finish off the neckline. The pattern is available as a pdf in this link.
Fabric suggestions - I prefer the look of this more roomy fit in a viscose/rayon/tencel type of fabric but it can also be used with more structured fabrics like linen, chambray and cotton shirtings.
The version in the picture is using an Atelier Brunette viscose fabric. We don't have that exact one in at the moment but we do have lots of other viscose prints.
Merchant and Mills Camber top
Style - This simple tee shape also has several more interesting details with a back yoke and an exposed bias finish at just the front neckline. The bust darts make it semi fitted but it does overall have a roomy fit with its a-line shape. The pattern is available as a pdf in this link.
Fabric suggestions - Having made this top before and learning the way that the bias finish at the front neckline is constructed, I think this pattern would work best in a fabric that has a bit more structure and isn't too slippery. So light weight cotton lawns, linen mixes or medium weight cottons I used a medium weight cotton for my version in the picture. We don't have that exact one anymore as it was from a while ago now but we do have other medium weight cottons.
Grainline Hadley top
Style - The Hadley is drapey, fluid, and sophisticated. It’s the semi-formal top that you need to wear to work or to throw on over your jeans for a night out. View A has a jewel neck, a pleat at the back neckline, and bracelet lengths sleeves. View B is sleeveless and features a soft v-neck. Both are subtly geometric as they have center seams in the front and back as well as a wide hem. The pattern is available as a pdf in this link.
Fabric suggestions - Light to medium weight fabrics such as cotton, linen, silk, rayon, voile or lawn. Avoid fabrics that are too stiff since this top requires a bit of drape.
The version I made in the picture was using a cotton double gauze. We don't have that exact one available as it was made a while ago but we do have lots of other double gauze fabrics.
A few years ago the g&g team all made different versions of the Hadley. It's a great way to see how different a pattern can look made up in various fabrics!