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20 May 2010

Pattern-Free Women's Halter Top with Built In Bra

A couple of pregnancies and gravity can lead to what my best friend calls oranges in nylons. Conjures up a pretty picture, doesn't it? I've been relcutantly avoiding halter tops for years, but last night I figured out how to make one with a shelf bra liner.

Think of it as three easy pieces: THE NECK STRAP
THE ELASTICIZED BACK
and THE FRONT
Cut two of each piece in the photo below: Top 2 pieces - for halter strap - appx. 12 inches long and 2 inches wide (each)

Middle 2 pieces - body of halter top. If your bust measures 36 inches, cut these two pieces about 39 inches wide (to allow for seams and so the top isn't too tight). They should be long enough to cover your belly. **If your belly and/or hips are much wider than your bust, cut a-line shaped pieces rather than squares so that the shirt will not be too snug on your hips.


Bottom 2 pieces - (optional) bottom band. They are the same width as the middle piece (see disclaimer above) and about 6 inches tall - they will be folded in half to form the bottom band of the shirt.


First, fold those two bottom bands in half and sew onto the bottom of the shirt front and shirt back. You now have one front shirt piece and one back shirt piece.


Set the back aside. THE FRONT: Fold in half sideways. Take a small dinner plate or other round object and place as shown over the cut edge (not the folded edge).


Mark the shape of the plate with a pencil. We are cutting out the curve under the arm. Note how I didn't exactly follow the circular shape of the plate all the way. Cut yours similarly. When you open the shirt front up, it will look like this:


Lay the front down. Take your BACK piece which is still a big square and lay it over top of the front, matching up the bottom hems. Here I have folded down the back at exactly where it meets the underarm curve. See all that red fabric facing you? That is going to become a casing for the elastic at the back. I trimmed mine a little so the casing wouldn't be bulky and huge...


... made sure my casing was wider than my elastic, and sewed the casing. The elastic needs to be about 2 inches shorter than the casing in order to gather the fabric nicely.

When I threaded my elastic through the casing, it looked like this (below). Stitch the elastic in place at both ends. It will later be stitched into the side seams for stability. Here is the finished back laid over the unfinished front:
To make the built in bra, I amputated a black tshirt and made a facing for the bust of the shirt front. If you have never added a facing before all it is is piece of fabric cut exactly the same as the main shirt front (only in this case, it is not as long as the main shirt front). Before attaching the black facing to the main shirt front, stitch a piece of elastic across the bottom of the facing to gather it. Now place the black facing on the right side of the shirt and sew the top and both arm edges to the main shirt front. Leave the bottom (elastic edge) just hanging. Turn the facing to the inside and press in place with an iron.
Take the top of the shirt front and fold it down inwards to make a casing. This casing has to be wide enough to fit the halter strap through. Stitch the casing in place. View from the outside:

HALTER STRAP: fold each strap piece in half, then fold each edge in to the centre. Iron and fold in half again.



Take the two straps and attach them at one end to make one long continuous piece. Don't worry about being too neat about attaching the ends together. This part will be hidden in the casing we just made.
Finish the other two ends.


Using a safety pin, feed the halter strap through the casing.


Gather the front and stitch in place on both sides where I'm pointing to hold the gather in place.


Lastly, with good sides together, sew the front to the back down the side seams. Finished front view:
Yay! Another something for *me*!

37 comments:

Attilio said...

C, What an ingenious idea. hope after all this breastfeeding my 'oranges' stay put in the black bra!!! ;-)
thanks becky
bpbajona(at)maltanet(dot)net

Mama Lusco said...

Looks great! Your fabrics are lovely. Thanks for the tute!

Carmen Rose said...

Very cute, looks easy. Thanks!

Katherine said...

Cute! Good job! I should give this a try!

julie329 said...

Looks cute and quite doable! Came over from Craftzine.
Thanks.

Melissa said...

A shelf bra you say? I just may have to try this one.

Re giveaway day, I actually didn't get to it. I entered a few at blogs I already followed but I felt bad since I wasn't doing my own giveaway. Soon though, I hope!

Also, Sew along? I don't recall mentioning that. Propaganda, all of it!

Agnes said...

Brilliant!!

Leigh said...

THANK YOU! my "girls" thank you too!

Cathy said...

Genius! (as usual) :)

Melanie said...

Oranges in nylons? We've been over this! It is like KIWIS in nylons. But a built-in shelf for anything is a great idea!

jen said...

That is perfect I hate strapless bras and going braless at my age is well a real let down LOL I think I'm gonna work on this this weekend I hope! thanks so much I love your blog!

luvs and glitter
~jen

Caiella said...

Love this!! One day I'll get off my lazy butt and re-organise my sewing stuff to make this =D

heather jane said...

Ooooh. Great idea!

casserole said...

You had me at built-in bra. I am SO adding this to my must-sew list!!

I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:
http://sewingdork.blogspot.com/2010/05/pattern-free-womens-halter-top-with.html

--Anne

shadybrooks said...

LOL - I'll never get the terminology of "oranges in nylons" out of my head now :) LOL I love the fabric that you used!! I'm thinking that I'm going to have to try making this one! Hopefully my oranges will stay on the shelf! :)

T & T Crafts said...

this is wonderful! saw it on craft gossip. after having 2 kids and not being exactly "flat" to begin with, my "oranges" will appreciate this tutorial! i love your terms such as "amputate" (a term I use too for many sewing & craft projects) and the title of your blog is just great. now following! :)

wigglywoo said...

That is fab! So simple but such a great top for the summer. I'm adding it to my must sew list right now!!!

jaya pratheesh said...

thanks for showing me how to add a shelf bra.. i've been trying to figure this out to make a night-time nursing top. THANK YOU!

emmilou said...

woo hoo!! at last, after 3 kids, i can wear a halter top again...hahaha!!! thanks so much for such a great tutorial, just like t&amp i saw it featured on craft gossip...love the blog name too ^_^

Casey said...

We call those "national geographic boobs" around my house.:) When they hang down to your belly button, or at least are on the move that way LOL. I've had 3 kids, so I feel your pain, a good bra can be a WONDERFUL thing.

bruce said...

Hi,it is really nice work done by you!!..thanks and cheer up!!

halter tops women

medo said...

that is really awesome step by step directions! and visual as well!! it didn't leave me wondering "errr, what was she talking about here?" LOL and i LOVE the idea as well!! you are The BOmb!!! definitely going down in the "must sews" for my daughter!!! LOL

Lidia ZuniReds said...

good and extraordinary idea!!! :)

natasha | sohobutterfly said...

Genius! I've been wanting to sew a few "back to work" tanks to wear under cardigans, and I think I've found my muse-pattern!!

elizabeth said...

This is such a great idea! and thanks for sharing! I have been working on skirts to entice warmer weather and now this will be my next project!! :) I love your site!! very inspiring and creative!

Villainous Vixen Designs said...

I love the dinner-plate idea... can't believe I never thought of it!!
I wish I could wear a cute halter like this... the shelf bra liner would definitely not work for me. But I love it nonetheless!

Neldajay said...

you are a genius! I might try this one! thanks for the tutorial.

FlyAwayHome said...

Yep, I am at the "orange in a nylon" stage too so this was a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

Amy said...

Great tutorial. I am rtrying to make some things for myself... Tops are quick and really cute. I have the oranges in nylons too... I seriously laughed when i read that.... Way funny. 3 kids nursing.... Wouldn't trade it for the world!
Thanks, i am glad i found your blog. I am going to follow you.

lovecrafts said...

Great tutorial, i like it very much. i will make it for me in this summer. thanks for sharing...

Ruth said...

Thanks for this idea!
I have wanted to make one for ages but don't like not wearing a bra, this will work perfectly!

kiran said...

Nice fabric designs. Looks pretty. Its a nice idea. I appreciate your work. Thanks for sharing with us.

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Elizabeth Wright said...

I have just printed the pattern and can't wait to make it!! I love halter tops with built in bra's. Thanks for sharing!!

Loki said...

I just used this tutorial to sow a dress for my sister. Turned out absolutely amazing, thanks for the inspiration :)

Harpa Jónsdóttir said...

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

popmaven said...

I found your tutorial after trying a slightly different version of my own - using the EXACT SAME FABRICS :) I'm trying yours right now but I'm confused on the pieces to cut for the body. Are both pieces really the bust + 3"? Or is that bust + 3" divided by 2 (because you have 2 pieces)? Or do you take bust +3" and fold in half like the bottom piece? Right now the instructions say it's two pieces, not one piece, so I'm wondering whether I actually need to cut 2 pieces bust +3" as that would go around me twice.

Thanks for any clarification! :)

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