Knock if Off is a series hosted by the fabulous Heidi of Elegance & Elephants and is one of my favorites. Knock offs are awesome – we all do it – see something at the store and think, “I can make that!” That’s why so many of us sew in the first place! The series is already going strong, and you can check out projects from the last 2 weeks here!
For my project, I recreated this Applique Colour Pop Top from Mini Boden.
It’s a perfect top for summer and really simple to make. Plus you can customize it with whatever applique you want! It doesn’t take much fabric and is great for showcasing scraps of cute fabric. I actually think this is the perfect project to make from an old t-shirt if you have one laying around, and that makes the project even simpler! Anyways, versatile top, simple to sew, and great for the upcoming summer months – makes a perfect top to knock off!
Fun right? I’m going to show you how to make your own!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Fabric (I think anything light to medium weight is fine – linen, cotton, knits, etc. and amount will depend on what size you’re making, but for most kids, 1/2 yard will be plenty).
- Scraps of fabric for applique
- Strips of fabric for shoulder ties, or store bought bias tape if you’re looking to skip some steps :)
- Paper backed (double sided) fusible web (I use Pellon 805 Wonder-Under)
I’m still trying to work through my stash and not buy new fabric, so I dug through stash for all the solid cottons I could find. Ended up using some leftover linen from this coat and a bunch of scraps from various projects. The yellow fabric is actually polka dotted because I couldn’t find any solid yellow :)
To cut your main fabric, find a top that fits your kid well – a loose fit tunic is probably best. Measure the width of the bottom. Add one inch for seam allowance and that will be the width of your fabric.
For the length of the fabric, I used the same tunic to measure the general length. The top of your fabric will be folded over twice to create a casing, so add that to your measurement and know that this will hit at the top of the chest (not shoulders). Also remember to add about 1.5 inches for hemming the bottom. You need two of these rectangles – one for the front and one for the back.
Fold one of the pieces in half lengthwise to cut out the armholes. I just eyeballed this, but draw and cut a curve in the top corner (not on the fold). The top inch and a half will become the casing, so this should be a straight line down before it curves.
When you open up your piece, it should look like this.
For simplicity sake, I decided to make the front and back of the shirt the exact same, so using the cut piece, trace the same curve on the 2nd rectangle.
You will also need to cut two strips of fabric on the bias for finishing your armholes. I cut my strips at 1 inch by about 12 inches or so (and had a lot extra). You’ll need your scraps of fabric for the applique. I had 6 colors and 2 circles of each and my circles were about 2-2.5 inches, so I cut little rectangles that would fit two circles on them. You’ll also need fabric for straps. If you’re using pre-made bias tape, you can skip this step, otherwise, cut 2 strips of fabric that are 2 inches wide and 30ish inches long (does not need to be on the bias). Again, mine ended up being longer than necessary, but you can always trim them later.
Now let’s get started with the applique! Be sure to follow the directions for your particular fusible web. Cut your fusible web into rectangles slightly smaller than your fabric scraps. With the Pellon Wonder-Under, there is a papery side and a rough/web side. The rough side will be ironed down to the wrong side of your fabric. Repeat with all the fabric scraps.
You can easily draw on the papery surface of the fusible web, so sketch your shape out (or just start cutting if you’re feeling daring!)
Cut out your circles and play around with placement on your fabric. Be sure to leave 1/2 an inch on either side for seam allowance, plus room to hem the bottom as well.
Once you’ve got it just the way you want it, carefully peel off the paper backing and adhere the circles to your main fabric with your iron. Be sure to read the directions of your fusible web first! Wonder-Under requires a damp cloth between the applique and the iron. Once you’ve got all your circles fused on, top stitch around the edge of the circle with coordinating thread. Take your time, rounded edges are always tricky – but if they aren’t perfect, no worries! It just adds character! :)
Repeat with all the circles.
Fun! Now we need to construct the top. Lay the front and back pieces with right sides together and pin the side. Sew up the side seams with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Finish the raw edges with a serger, zig zag stitch or pinking shears, if desired.
Press the seam open. To finish the armholes, take your bias strips and press one edge in about 3/8 inch towards the wrong side. Repeat with the other strip.
To finish the armholes (click on the picture below for a larger view):
1. Pin the bias tape along the edge of the armhole (right sides together). Raw edges should be aligned (not the folded edge).
2. Sew along the edge of the armhole with a 1/4 inch seam allowance and then press the bias tape up.
3. Flip to the wrong side and fold the bias tape twice, once along the previously pressed crease and then again to encase the raw edge. Pin and sew along the edge of the bias tape fold.
4. Trim an excess bias tape, press flat and you should have a beautifully finished armhole! Repeat with the other side.
Once you have your armholes finished, we can finish the front and back neckline. Fold the front edge down about 3/4 inch towards the wrong side and press. Fold down another 3/4 inch, press and pin. Sew along the edge to create a casing (leave the two ends open).
Repeat with the back. To create your ties, fold your strips lengthwise, wrong sides together and press. Fold the two edges in towards the center fold (folding your strip into fourths) and press. For the ends, unfold the strip and tuck the end in about half an inch. Fold it back up so you’ve got a nice clean end. Then top stitch around all open edges. If you’re using pre-made bias tape, you can just skip right to the top stitching step.
I went ahead and eyeballed the tie length, but ended up shortening them after I put them in the top. So, if you want to top stitch everything but the last few inches, you can finish that part after you’ve measured out the exact length that you want.
Using a safety pin, thread one tie through the casing on the front of the top, and the other tie through the back casing. Tie them (and trim and finish edges if necessary).
Then hem the bottom to the desired length by folding and pressing the bottom edge twice towards the wrong side and stitching close to the folded edge.
Now you know how to make a simple and fun summer top! And think of all the endless applique possibilities!
If you make a top using this tutorial, please add it to the you & mie flickr group! I LOVE seeing your creations!
OR if you’ve made your own knock off project, be sure to add it to the Knock It Off Flickr Group. And don’t miss out on the rest of the series over on Elegance and Elephants!
So before I go, I couldn’t not share how goofy my kid is, but for some strange reason during this photo shoot, Yuki decided to sing “Doe A Deer” from the Sound of Music at the top of her lungs on repeat. Oh how I wish these photos captured sound . . .
I love her . . .
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!