Monday, August 20, 2012

Sandbridge Top

I've been getting my house (and blog!) in shape as summer winds down.  I'd like to start off the school year with a semblance of organization.:)  Part of that is bringing home some of the tutorials I shared earlier in the year for guest posts.  This top tutorial goes along with the Sandbridge Shorts and was shared at Kitschy Coo back in March. 

I've made several of the tops for my little girls.  They are comfortable for hot weather and have enough of a sleeve to meet the school's dress code.  As you can see below, the fit of the sleeve varies a little depending on what kind of knit fabric you use. 

Sandbridge in Rain1
Sandbridge in rain
rib knit

Sandbridge Top

Materials: knit fabric, ¼ inch elastic, patience!

The top is a little more involved and requires a bit of finagling. But it’s still doable!

Print off the pattern pieces
HERE Landscape and Actual size for printing

Cut them out and tape the front 1a and 1b pieces together.

Both the top and the sleeve are cut from fabric that is folded. You’ll be cutting out 2 tops for the front and back and 2 sleeves. When working with knit fabrics, you want the stretchiest part of the fabric to go side to side.
On one of the top pieces, mark a cutting line ½” from the neckline and cut. This piece is now the top front.
You will also be cutting a couple of strips of binding 1” wide. 24” of the 1” binding will be plenty. It doesn’t have to be a continuous strip but 2 strips need to be about 7” long and the other 2 about 5” long.
Take your sleeves and press up and pin a ½” hem. You can use either a faux coverstitch on your machine or a twin needle to hem the sleeves.
Faux coverstitch
Stitch a basting stitch on both sides of the sleeves. Pin the sleeves to the front panel, lining up the hem of the sleeve with the mark you transferred from the pattern and the bottom of the sleeve extension.
Gather sleeve to fit and stitch together with a ¼ inch seam. Press the seam towards the body. Remove your basting if it’s showing. Repeat for back. And don’t worry about the little triangle hanging over the seam. We’ll take care of it later!
1. Take one of your 1” binding strips and fold it in half with wrong sides together and press.

2. Pin the strip to the right side of the top front’s neckline with the open edge against the neckline. You can gently stretch the binding but don’t overdo it. Stitch with a 1/8” seam using a stretch stitch.

3. Fold to the wrong side and press making sure the binding edge is a little lower than the front neckline edge.

4. Stitch along the bottom of the binding strip from sleeve seam allowance to other sleeve seam allowance using a straight stretch set at a 3.

*On my original Sandbridge top, I did a row of stitching across the top edge. But I found that the neckline had a tendency to roll forward so I chose not to do it on this top.*

Repeat for the top’s back neckline.

Next, you are going to be folding over the extension on the raglan sleeve.

1. Fold the edge inside. With the fabulous star fabric from Amanda, it pretty much rolls in on its own.

2. Fold the top edge under.

3. You want to match up the sleeve casing with the binding on the neckline. I was using my seam allowance ruler to hold it down whilst I took a picture. Stretch the fabric a little to get rid of the wrinkling.

4. Stitch along the lower edge of the casing using a straight stitch set at 3...

5. …until it meets up the stitching on the binding. Don’t forget to backstitch!

6. This is what you should have.

Whew! That was the tricky part.

Okay. Now you can go ahead and stitch the side seams together with a ¼” seam.

Press the side seams towards the back panel of the top.

Time to make more binding strips. Fold them in half wrong sides together like you did for the neckline.

1. Time to cut off the corner of the sleeve if you haven’t already.

2. Pin a strip of binding to the right side of the top’s underarm. The binding needs to extend past the sleeve hem edges so you can fold the edges in for a clean finish. I would recommend stretching this binding strip a little while applying. Stitch with a 1/8” seam.

3. Fold the binding to the wrong side and stitch all around the binding strip. I used a straight stitch set at 3.

4. This is what your underarm, I mean the top’s underarm, should look like.

Hard parts all are done. Hooray!

Now you need to insert elastic into the casings at the top of the raglan sleeves. I generally use a safety pin to thread it through the casing, stitch one end of the elastic down, and pin the other end so I can torture my girls even more by making them try on the top to decide what length the elastic needs to be.

Do your kids run and hide when you ask them to come try something on? Mine sure do!

I ended up threading a 4 inch long piece through each casing but the final length ended up being closer to 3.

Last but not least, fold up the top’s hem and finish in which ever manner you are most comfortable with. If I’m feeling really mean, I have the girls’ try on the top again to double check how short I need to make the hem. No wonder they run and hide! I did a faux coverstitch on one shirt and a twin needle hem on the other.

And that’s it. Now you have a cute, little summer top!

Btw, I know it seems a little torturous with all the binding and such. But it does make a more finished garment. And believe me, by the time you’ve sewn half a dozen of the Sandbridge tops, you can crank them out in no time at all.J

I LOVE having my picture taken!


  1. you are so good at sewing with knits !

  2. Love this - I'm so lazy I haven't got around to trying it yet but I really want to!!


    1. I do admit that the constuction is a bit fiddly but I do love the result! Thanks.:)


  3. Hmmm... Abby was just saying she would really like a new shirt... :) They are all really cute!

    1. Thank you, Brittney! The girls have 5 of these tops in rotation...BK is wearing one today.


  4. This Summer!!!!
    Gorgeous tops Cindy and I love your girls!

  5. Beautiful tops, Cindy. My kids used to groan at trying on clothes... LOL!!!

  6. So simple and so many possibilties to sew this top! I've been looking for such a great pattern for ages :-)

  7. would this pattern be too big for a 5T little girl?

    1. Hi Adele!
      It should be fine. One of my daughters was 5 when I made the pattern but the other one was 3 (and the size of my 5 year old!). The tops fit the girls for over a year too.:)


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