One of the reasons we turn to sewing is being able to make our wardrobe dreams come true. Sometimes all the inspiration you have gathered browsing instagram, Pinterest, the high street, or observing passers-by materialises in mental images so detailed, you instantly start thinking which pattern to use as a starting point to make it happen.
As soon as I got the idea for a jersey top with a tie at the neck, I knew the Freya top from Tilly’s Stretch book would be perfect. The hack itself was actually quite simple – all that was needed was adding the tie and cutting out a little keyhole neckline.
For those of you interested, here is a step by step tutorial on how I did it:
1/ Pattern pieces
Trace out the pattern as you normally would. We will only be altering the bodice front piece, so if you have already traced the pattern before, you may want to retrace this piece, if you do not want to alter the original.
Using a curved ruler, draw the keyhole neckline in the shape you desire. For reference, mine is 13.5cm deep (Don’t forget this includes seam allowances, so it will be a bit deeper once sewn up).
Now that we have the neckline sorted, we need to draft a facing piece, which will give it a clean finish. Place a piece of tracing paper folded in half on top of the keyhole shape you have just drawn, trace it out and trace another line about 6cm away from the original one, following the same shape (I ended up working on a single layer, as I find that easier for pattern-matching striped fabric). Cut around both lines on the folded piece of paper – voila, we have our neckline facing piece!
The last thing we need to do is to draft the tie. The easiest way is to trace the neckband piece of the mock neck version and extend it by about 45cm, which will form the tie. Don’t forget to mark the end of the neckband on the patternpiece and cut corresponding notches in the fabric.
Cut out the facing piece on a single layer and our new neckband/tie piece on the fold. Cut the rest of the pattern pieces and assemble them as per the instructions, except for the neckline finish .
To prevent the keyhole from stretching, apply form tape interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric.
Overlock the outer edge of the facing, pin right side to right side onto the keyhole neckline and sew.
Turn the facing towards the back and topstitch in place using a straight stitch.
Now we need to construct the neckband/tie. Fold the pattern piece right sides together lengthways and sew from the neckband notch on either side all the way to the end, pivoting at the corner and stitching down the short side as well. The unstitched part between the notches will form the neckband. Trim the seam allowances, turn it inside out and press.
At this point, you should have the front and back bodice sewn together at the shoulder seams. Using the neckband notches as your guide, pin the neckband/tie onto the neck opening of the bodice, right sides together, and stitch in place.
Fold the unstitched half of the neckband over the seam allowance towards the inside of the garment, pin in place and stitch in the ditch.
Now all that’s left is to tie the tie in a nice bow and you’re good to go!
Until next time,