How to make 3 tops with 1 pattern?

How to make 3 tops with 1 pattern

Making a pattern can be easy yet time consuming. However once you have worked out the kinks and perfected 1 pattern, you can turn that 1 pattern into several different tops. In today’s blog post, I will teach you how you can make 3 different tops by simply using one pattern.

Basic Pattern

For starters, I created a basic sweetheart, princess seam tube top. I draped it on my mannequin, then brought the pattern onto paper. 

I actually didn’t take a photo of my sweetheart princess seam tube top in of muslin. However, it looked similar to the image below.

If you don’t have a mannequin, you can create the top pattern by wrapping fabric around you and pinning out the princess seams. 

What are princess seams? Princess seams are seams that are sewn to add shaping or give a more tailored fit. 

Dress Form

In the front, there is a center front seam and then a princess seam that runs from the top of the shirt above the bust down to the end of the shirt. The back mimics this as well. 

Once I fitted the pattern and ensured it is what I envisioned, I then brought the pattern to paper. 

What does bringing the pattern to paper mean? It means tracings all my pattern pieces onto paper and adding seam allowances. 

 Why? Because paper doesn’t stretch and I can keep it for future uses.

Pattern Paper

Normally, I would transfer my patterns on to pattern paper. However, since the pandemic, most stores are closed or out of stock for pattern paper. As a result, I use the advertisement paper that we receive in the daily mail instead. 

When you run out of materials that can’t be found at your local stores, be resourceful and use what you have on hand.

Pattern Manipulation 

Pattern Manipulation

Once you have your basic pattern on paper, then you can start manipulating.

What does manipulating a pattern mean? Manipulating patterns or pattern manipulation is the process in which you change and reshape pattern blocks to adjust the fit to incorporate a new design. Basically turning your original base pattern into a desired new pattern.

With summer here, I wanted to create some crop tops and high waisted skirt outfits for a curvy woman aka me. 

Starting with the tops, I knew I wanted puff and/or flutter sleeves because they would allow comfort and ease. 

I also knew I wanted high waisted skirts because it would be the most flattering on my body type.

With my silhouettes in mind, I started to alter my patterns.

Design for Curves

curvy design

My first top is a sweetheart, puff sleeve, halter tie crop top. I took my base pattern and made it out of muslin. After making it out of muslin, I had to fit myself again. 

As a designer, fitting yourself is hard to do, because you can’t see how the garment looks like on yourself. Also, you wouldn’t be able to see if there are any fitting issues. Therefore, it’s quite difficult to find and fix any fit issues you may have. 

Luckily, I have other designer friends who came to my rescue. She came over and fit me. She ensured that the pattern fitted well and the execution of the design was what I wanted and envisioned. 

After the fit finalizations, I was on to cutting my top. For this top, I had found this blue floral print that would be great for summertime. I also found this scallop exposed metal zipper that would be cute for this crop top.

Turning one into three 

Making more patterns

Following the completion of my first top, I then moved on to my next outfits. I designed a pink chiffon button front top with lace high waisted pencil skirt for my second outfit and a white knit tie front with a gathered tulle skirt for my third outfit. 

If you would like to know how I made any of my skirts, let me know in the comments below.

Since the base of my tops are the same as my basic pattern, then I didn’t need to fit myself.  

However, I did need to manipulate my top pattern to accommodate for the different designs. 

I added seam allowance to the center front seam and took out the seam allowance from the back of my second top since I was having a button closure.

For my third top, since I was using knits, I took away all seam allowances. Why? Because knit fabric stretches and do not require much seam allowance to be sewn together.

Then I measured out how long I wanted the ties in the front and added it to my pattern.

Once I made the slight alterations to my patterns, then I was ready to make my tops. 

Sewing all 3 complete outfits took about 3 days. Even though, patterning took about a week. The process is tedious but essential to ensure that there are no mistakes when you start sewing.

Among the sun

All photos were taken by my husband. If you haven’t yet, check out his work.

I had so much fun making these 3 outfits. It has been over a decade since I’ve made something for myself. I hope you enjoy it as much as me. 

I had a photoshoot in a field of sunflowers and wildflowers. The weather was perfect on the day I went. We also had plenty of fun with my little family and brother and sister in law. 

Remember that any design is possible as long as you have a base pattern.  What are some things you are looking to make for fall? Let me know in the comments below.

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