Make It or Buy It? Modcloth Camisole Bike Top

Posted by on Jul 05, 2016

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Piece of ClothingRetro Bike Ride Top from Modcloth 

Based on: camisole 

Assessment: This cute little top from ModCloth would be fairly easy to make. 

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Skill to Know — Bagging Out: The biggest challenge about making the camisole would be sewing the curved seams of the petal collar pieces. To make these pieces simpler to sew, they will need to bagged out. The collar on the ModCloth top is sewn in this way. If you’re not familiar with the term “bagged out” this means that two layers of fabric have been sewn together, one on top of the other. As is the general rule in sewing, you start with right sides together and follow your curved seam line. You only need to mark the line on one side. These pieces were probably left open along the neck edge so that there would be seam allowance to attach to the top with.

Once you have the outside curved seam sewn, trim the seam allowance down to somewhere between 1/8th and 1/4 inch. The seam will be easier to sew if you start with a nice wide seam allowance. For curved seams, I often leave a full inch. Some pattern instructions tell you to clip curved seams but usually this isn’t necessary if they are trimmed down enough. After trimming, press the seam open. This is the most important part. You can use a sewing ham to do this. Also, a little side note and tip about sewing things that are bagged out: you can use a wooden dowel to press open seams when you’re sewing a narrow belt or strap. Just insert the wooden dowel in through the opening you left to bag through and press the seam open on top of it.

Tool to Consider – Sewing Ham: If you don’t own a sewing ham, I highly recommend one. They are very useful. Sewing hams are great for pressing curved seams on. They are also handy for pressing bust darts and molding suit jacket fronts. 

Pattern to Reference: I searched online for a pattern that could be used to make this top but, oddly couldn’t find one. The key elements of this top are the back button closure, bust darts, and collar shape. If you found a pattern with a similar collar, you could easily add a couple more petal shapes to recreate the collar on the Retro Bike Top. 

Decision: If you’re looking for a project to try your hand at patterning this would be a great one to start with. To make this top you would need a yard of fabric for the body/shell, a half a yard for the collar pieces, and buttons. Materials would cost around $20 to $25 and it would take just a couple hours to make. To pattern the top yourself would take about an hour to an hour and a half. You could follow the flat pattern drafting instructions for a shell in a book like Pattern Making by the Flat Pattern Method by Norma R. Hollen.

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