Friday, July 6, 2012

{Sewlebrity Crush} Zig-Zag Knit Top from The Petite Sewist

I am sew excited to introduce my Sewlebrity Crush... 
Stephanie from The Petite Sewist!

In my eyes, Stephanie is a "Sewlebrity," and here's why I've got a "Crush" on her!
I noticed Stephanie's blog when she auditioned for Sew-vivor, and I thought her project was so cute. I also thought the name of her blog was adorable. I'm glad she's here on the blog today, sharing a fun project!
Today, she is showing us how to make this cute, zig-zagged knit shirt.

But first, here are a few reasons why I have "fallen in love" with The Petite Sewist.

Stephanie, thanks for being my Sewlebrity Crush. You rock!
{To see the amazing line up of my other crushes, go here}.

Now here she is, with her fabulous tutorial!
Hello FEA readers!  I am Stephanie and I blog over at The Petite Sewist where I show off my sewing creations, share pattern reviews, tutorials, petite alterations and style tips.  I would love it if you stopped by and said hello.  

One of the things that makes me unique or different about some other sewing/craft bloggers is that I LOVE patterns.  I feel more comfortable using a pattern as a starting point than completely winging it.  Yeah, I know, rather left-brained of me, don't you think?  Because I am so familiar with patterns, I often find myself at the clothing store staring at a blouse or dress trying to figure out how it was made.  Sometimes I can't find a pattern to duplicate that style, and then, well, I must step outside my comfort zone.  Scary!  

Such is the case with the top I found at, here

I like the diagonal movement of this stripe knit tee, but with a higher neckline and tighter fit on the underside of the Dolman sleeves.  (More form-fitting tees are better for petite gals and also people with tiny busts. Don't worry if that does not describe you.  You'd probably still look great in this tee.)

Here goes....

Striped Knit Top Tutorial

You will need 1 2/3 yards of lightweight jersey knit.  I used this striped knit from

It has a little bit of a stretch to it on the crosswise grain.  That's important.

Okay, the first step is to create your pattern.  Grab a t-shirt that fits you well and fold it in half.  Place it on some tracing paper with center front on the edge.

Now, trace around the edge and remove the t-shirt.  You won't be needing it again.

First, I widened the neckline.  Then, I blended the shoulder and sleeve line into one, with one straight sloping line.  You'll also notice that the underarm has been lowered and sloped out.  The black dashed line shows seam line of the t-shirt back.  The solid black line was added afterwards for seam allowances, 3/8" on all edges except the bottom and center back.  The hem allowance on the bottom edge is 1".

Make sure you add a fold symbol to the center back as a reminder.

Using your t-shirt back, you can now create the t-shirt front.  Trace all around your existing pattern with another piece of paper, except the neckline.  Decide how low you want your neckline and draw a straight line connecting the top of the shoulder to the lowest part of the V. 

The T-Shirt Front should now look like this:

Since you will not be cutting this on the fold, you'll have to add 3/8" to center front.  Okay, that was the hard part.  Now cut out your pattern pieces:

The T-Shirt Back should be placed on the fold.  I pinned my stripes at the selvage to make sure they are straight on both sides.  (Tip: Pattern weights work much better for cutting out knit fabrics than pinning.  If you'd like to learn to make your own, visit my blog for this tutorial.)

Cut the front pieces separately, lining the neckline up with the stripes. 

 Here is a close up:

Cut it out, flip it over, and place it back on your fabric to cut the second piece out. (Your two pieces are right sides together.)

See how all of the stripes line up at center front?  That is what are going for.

The last step is to cut a strip of fabric out for the neckline binding.  It needs to be 1 1/2" wide and the length of your entire neckline, including seam allowances at center front.  Fold the strip in half and mark the fold with a pin.

Note: Before I cut out my nice knit fabric, I made a muslin (a trial run) of this pattern in an ugly green knit I had lying around.  This helped me to see if I needed to make any fitting adjustments so I didn't ruin my striped knit.

It's time to sew!  Are you excited?  I am.

The first step is to place the left and right top fronts on the back top right sides together.  Sew the seams at the shoulders and the sides with 3/8" seam allowance.

DO NOT sew the center front at this time.  I know it's hard to tell, but it remains unsewn in this picture.  I used a serger for my seams.  If you don't have a serger, you can use a zig-zag stitch on a regular sewing machine.

 I incorporated stay tape in my shoulder seam to avoid stretching with time.  This is optional.  (For more about stay tape, click here.)  Iron your seams to one side.

It's time to attach the neck binding to your neckline.  Remember that pin you used to mark the center of the neckline binding?  Place your binding right sides together along the neckline, matching the pin up with the center of the back neckline.  Pin around the neckline.

Okay, so as you can see my neck binding is pinned around the length of the neckline.  Sew a seam 3/8" from the edge with your sewing machine using a ballpoint needle.  (These needles are best for sewing knits.  A regular needle could snag your fabric.)  Iron your seam facing up, towards your neck.

 Fold the top of the neckline binding down 3/8".

Fold it over 3/8" again, so that it meets your seam.

Fold and pin all the way around your neckline.  This folding takes place on the wrong side of the fabric.  Now, flip over your shirt to the right side.  Stitch in the ditch of where you made the neckline seam.  Make sure to catch the fold of the fabric on the wrong side so that your neckline binding is completely enclosed.

Now it's time to close up the center front.  Place the center fronts right sides together and match up all of the stripes, pinning as you go.  Take it to the sewing machine and sew a seam 3/8" all the way down.  Iron the seam open.

Finished seam close-up:

To finish the edges of the sleeves, serge the edges first.  (If you don't have a serger, a zig-zag finish will do.)  Fold the edges over 3/4" and pin.  Sew sleeve hem edge using a twin needle.

And here is the finished sleeve hem:

To finish the shirt bottom edge, serge the edge (or zig-zag), fold over 1" and finish the edge with a twin needle at the sewing machine.  A twin needle is a must for knits.  It has two lines of stitching on top and a zig-zag on the underside of the fabric.  This gives the seam a little stretch which prevents your seam from breaking as you move around.

The finished product:

A breezy top perfect for summer!

I love these diagonal lines.  They elongate my torso.  They emphasize the shoulders and meet perfectly at the center.

Thanks for inviting me, Rachel!  Have a great day everyone!


Sewlebrity Crush is sponsored by the wonderful Fat Quarter Shop.
Stay tuned for a big giveaway on August 1! 


  1. Great looking shirt. Thank you for the wonderful tutorial.

  2. Now that is my kind of sewing! Use something that fits you well as your pattern. Love how she did this. I used the same idea for my ruffled dress I made myself. you can find a post about it on my blog.
    I also love Stephanies blog name - too cute!

  3. Excellent tutorial! Everything was explained thoroughly and the photos supplied were exactly where a visual would be needed. Excellent - T-shirt AND Tutorial!
    Thanks very much for sharing!


Thanks for your comment. Have a great day!
♥Rach H