Sunday, April 10, 2011

California Dreamin' Tube Top Tutorial

Consider yourselves arms are very white and I am a terrible model.  That being said, I am tremendously excited about this tutorial.  I LOVE summer and the sun.  Therefore I love summer clothes.  I have been dreaming up this tube top in my head for weeks now and it has finally materialized.  It is really easy and dare I say, really chic.

It was about 39 degrees and windy outside.  Yep, I'm that dedicated.

This is just a white interlock knit.  Super simple.  If you have not sewn with knits before, this is a great place to start.  No serger needed (although I dream that I will someday have one for projects like this).

What you need:
  • one yard knit fabric
  • coordinating thread
  • 1" wide elastic (amount will depend upon your underarm measurement)
Start by taking your underarm measurement - right at your armpits.  Mine was 32.5".  Since we want all of the fabric to be gathered...add 12.5" to your measurement, so mine was 45".

For the length of the main piece, I went with 19".  However, I have an incredibly long torso, so if you are more average, you may want to go with 17".  But go ahead and measure - you will want the top piece to end  at the top of the hip...allow 1" total for seam allowance.

So, the first piece = underarm measurement + 12.5" x 17-19"

For the second piece, turn your fabric around and find the direction that does not stretch very much.  You want to cut in this direction.  In other words, you don't want the piece that sits on your hips to stretch very much so it will hold that nice shape.  So, measure well.  Take your hip measurement at the widest spot (mine was 34") and add .5" (so my piece was 34.5" long).  The width should be 11".

Second piece = hip measurement + 1/2" x 11"

Using the top piece (the large piece) decide which edge is the top and do a zig-zag stitch (or serge) along the top edge.

Now, with right sides facing, line up the edges (side of your top).  Stitch all the way from the bottom to top and then finish off with a zig-zag stitch).

Back to the top.  Fold over the top edge 1 1/4".  Stitch all the way around leaving a 1 1/4" gap to feed your elastic through.

For the elastic, my measurement was 32 1/2" but I don't want my top to fall down in the least bit, so I want my elastic working for me.  I cut it at 28" + 1/2" for total seam allowance.
Elastic = underarm measurement - 4"
Using a safety pin, feed the elastic through.

Once you have made it all the way around, stitch the elastic together VERY well.

Now to the smaller piece (bottom of your tube top).  With right sides together, stitch the sides from bottom to top.  Finish off with a zig-zag stitch.

Now, with the right side facing out...fold your top in half so it looks like this...

Turn your machine's tension all the way up and also set your stitch length at the maximum.  We are going to gather the bottom edge of the top piece.  Do not back stitch here and be sure to leave long threads on either end so that you can alter your gathering, if necessary.
It should look like this.

Now you are going to want to play with the gathers a little.  Using the threads you left on, pull  and stretch until your gathered edge is the same length as the bottom portion of the top (the piece pictured below).
Once you have this complete, you want to line up all of your rough edges.  Make sure that your top is right side out.  All the right sides are facing here.  

Now stitch all the way around and secure the seam with a zig-zag stitch.

Flip inside out and voila, it's done! 
Note:  For wearing, I turned the top elastic edge under so it looks a little more sophisticiated, but it looks great either way.


As always, if you make this project, please send me pictures!


  1. very, very cute. I, however, would only look like the sta-puff marshmallow girl in one of those! It looks great on you!

  2. very pretty. i think i can find some scrap knit material to give this a try.

  3. cute! I'm totally going to try making this!

  4. OMG! So cute! I might have to dust off my sewing machine and give this a whirl. since I've lost the weight i've fallen in LOVE with tube tops!

  5. I definitely have an addiction to tube tops! This one is great - I'm gonna give it a go! :O)

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