Aww it’s the final week of the Simple Sleeveless Top Blog Series as part of my Me Made May Challenge. I’ve had loads of fun making up these tutorials and different versions of this ultimate simple top from my book.
For the last instalment I’m going to show you how to add a button band opening.
The style of this top is semi-fitted and it has no fastenings or openings – you just have to pull it on and off over your head. It means that there needs to be enough ease at the waist to allow you to do that.
Adding in a button band means you can take it on and off by opening the buttons so if you wanted you could make it more fitted around the waist by simply taking in the side seams.
I’m going to show you how to add a button band to the back but the same steps can be applied to the front bodice if you would prefer to have the button opening there.
Cutting out the fabric to include a button band
On the basic pattern both front and back bodice are cut out on the fold. To add the button band we are going to cut the back bodice out NOT on the fold and add an extra 6cm onto the pattern piece from the centre back fold line.
You can either do this by taping a new section of pattern paper on or simply cutting it 6cm away from the fold and then cutting up the fold in the fabric.
Make the buttonband
To strengthen the button band, iron a 2.5cm strip of interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric 5 cm away from the centre edge of the fabric on both sides. Remember to stay-stitch the neckline!
To create the button band, fold and press 2.5cm towards the wrong side of the fabric along the centre back edge.
Fold and press another 2.5cm towards the wrong side – this will hide all the raw edges.
Pin in place or use some wonder tape (which is like double sided sticky tape for fabric) to hold it in place then top stitch this fold down with the outside of the top facing you.
Attach the bias binding to the neckline
Sew the bias binding onto the neckline, right sides together, sewing in the crease of the binding. Leave a little over hang at the back opening.
Press the binding up and the little extra overhand bit under as show below.
If you want the binding to be visible, fold it in half and press to the wrong side of the fabric (show in the right hand side of the picture below).
If you want the binding to be hidden fold it as above and then fold again so that it is on the inside (shown on the left hand side of the picture below).
Top stitch the binding in place. If you have chosen to hide it on the inside like me, stop the line of stitching when you reach the top stitching that goes down the buttonband. Then hand stitch the last edge of the binding so that it is not visible from the outside.
Hem the top as per the normal instructions but stop the stitching when you reach the stitching on the button band. Then hand sew the last little bit so that it is not visible.
Mark and Sew in the Buttonholes
Now position and mark where you want your buttonholes to be on the left hand side button band. I used buttons that were 12mm.
One buttonhole should start 1.5cm – 2cm from the top edge (it will depend on the size of your button) and one about 2 cm from the bottom. Then evenly space the rest of the buttons in-between, initially I did it by eye and then measured to double check it was even. I used 7 buttons in total and they were 8cm apart.
Using the one step buttonhole setting on the machine (or equivalent) stitch the buttonholes in place and then sew the buttons in the corresponding place. Alternatively you could use press-studs or poppers if you don't have a buttonhole setting on the machine.
You could also combine this technique with lowering or changing the shape of the neckline (see previous post here) and the yoke variation that I showed you last week (link here) and just have a button band either on the yoke part at the back or the main back bodice piece.
The combinations can become limitless so go for it! I hope you have been inspired to give it a go. I think it is so much fun to be able to bring your own design and interpretation to a simple pattern - that's what a handmade wardrobe is all about!