Cami tops are such an essential during the summer months, and all year round for dressy wear and nights out, but it can be a nightmare trying to pick the perfect one for the perfect price. I thought it would also be nice to have a cami top that nobody else owns, so I tried my hand at making my own from scratch. It was actually a lot quicker and simpler than I thought, and here’s how I did it..
A cami top (that fits well)
A large sheet of paper
String for the strapes (about a meter)
Pins, Needle & Thread
Sewing Machine (or careful hand stitching)
I made my pattern from a cami top I already owned and knew fit me well. To trace the pattern I folded the top so the two side seams touched, so that I could clearly see half the front of the top, and half of the back of the top. This made tracing the front and back patterns much easier. You can then add a 1cm or 1.5cm seam allowance around the whole pattern. Remember to write on each pattern which is the front and back, and the sizes for future reference. Also note where I drew my ‘on the fold’ mark, becasue this will be very important when cutting out your fabric. Mark this where you top folds when you’re tracing it out.
Fold your fabric in half, making sure the edges are perfectly straight (otherwise your top will be slightly crooked and won’t sit right). Lay your pattern pieces along the fold of the fabric, again making sure you’ve places the right side along the fold (where we previously marked on the pattern).
Pin the pattern down in the seam allowance area, making sure not to damage the main area of the fabric with the pins.
Cut your pattern out carefully, making sure to keep your scissors as low to your cutting surface as possible to get close to the fabric, and so the fabric doesn’t pull away from the pattern piece.
Using your own cami top as a reference, measure how long you’ll need your straps to be, and cut that amount from the rope. Be sure to leave about 1cm extra at each end for seam allowance.
Open out the front and back pieces, and lay them together with the right side of the fabric facing in. Pin each side together. If you place the pins as I have shown in the photo it’s much easier to run the fabric through the sewing machine, as the needle will just skip over them.
Sew up each of the sides using a straight stitch on your sewing machine.
If you don’t have an overlocker, finish the seams with a zig-zag stitch on your machine. This will stop the threads from unraveling.
Two steps I forgot to photograph were sewing on the straps and hemming the edges.
To Hem: Along the bottom of the top and around the neckline, turn your fabric in half of your seam allowance (.5cm / .75cm) and then turn it over again the same amount and pin it in place. You can iron this in place before you sew if you like, but I didn’t bother. Then sew a straight stitch as close to the edge of the hem as possible and as straight as you can. TOP TIP: if you use a matching thread it won’t matter if your stitching is a little wonky. You can then iron out your hem flat.
To Attach the Straps: I hand stitched mine on because doing it on the machine proved to be very fiddly. Use a basic ‘in and out’ stitch until you think the strap is secure.
And there you have your very own, and very unique summer essential. I’m going to try this in a few different fabrics and colours soon too. Try using a faux suede or faux leather for an AW take on it. Let me know how you get on making your very own camis. Tag me on Instagram @gemma_dreamlovestyle