This is the second of the three tutorials I mentioned in this post. The tutorial below explains how to make a top with lace yokes and sleeve inserts, using a large recycled turtleneck and some stretchy lace. The lace I used was in the remnant pile at Hancock, but you could probably find a lace top to recycle if you want you’re top to be made entirely from recycled materials.
It wasn’t necessary to take a picture of the shirt before because it was just a big turtleneck. So, I’ll start with an explanation of how I cut it up.
It would be best to use one of your basic t-shirt patterns to cut out the proper shape. If you don’t have one, please see this post for a quick tutorial on making a pattern from one of your favorite t-shirts. In all honesty, I didn’t use a shirt pattern, I just measured and eyeballed it (I’ve done it a few times).
Fold the shirt in half, so you can use your basic shirt pattern to cut it out.
1. Cut the turtleneck out, creating the neckline you want the top to have. Make sure to remember seam allowance for the neck band. Save the turtleneck for later.
2. Cut out the rest of your top. You can cut the back and front out separately for the best fit. I cheated and just cut the front and back the same (sacrilege, I know!). Cut the shoulders out 1/2″ to 5/8″ larger than your pattern to account for the seam allowance that you’ll need to attach the lace yoke to the shirt.
3. Now cut out the section of the top that you would like to replace with a lace yoke/insert. Save this section of the top to use when you cut out the lace yoke.
4. Fold your sleeve pattern in half and cut your new sleeves from the old sleeves. Don’t subtract the seam allowance. Although you’re using the existing sleeve seam, you’ll need seam allowance for adding the lace insert, which means you also need to cut 1/2″ to 5/8″ bigger than your folded sleeve pattern.
Next, cut out the lace inserts.
Use the piece you saved from cut #3 to cut out your lace yokes. Don’t forget to add 1/2″ to 5/8″ seam allowances to each edge, except the armhole edge.
You’ll want your sleeve inserts to match up with your neckline inserts at the armhole. Here’s the sleeve insert equation: sleeve insert width = finished bottom-of-yoke-to-bottom-of-yoke measurement + plus seam allowances.
Once you have that measurement, cut out your lace on a fold. Use your folded sleeve pattern to shape the cap properly. The length depends on the length of your sleeve. Cut the same amount from your sleeves to make room for the lace insert.
Sew the lace yokes to the shirt front and back. Finish the seams, press the seam allowances away from the lace inserts and topstitch, if desired (see this post for an example). Pin the front and back together, right sides together. Sew and finish the side and shoulder seams. Press all seams toward the back.
Sew the sleeve inserts to the sleeves. Press the seam allowances away from the lace inserts. If you topstitched along the yokes, you should also topstitch along the sleeve insert seams. Sew the sleeves to the armhole, matching up the sleeve inserts with the inserts on the shirt.
The turtleneck collar should be perfect for creating a hem band. Usually they are just folded rectangles.
Cut the turtleneck apart at the seam and along the fold at the top. Line the two rectangular pieces up right sides together. Sew and finish the side seams. Fold the band under, raw edges lined up, wrong sides together and press. Sew the hem band to the bottom of the top.
Cut the neckline band from the left-over, bottom section of the shirt or from a section of the sleeve. Double the finished width of the band and add seam allowance for the cutting width. The length of the band should be 1″-2″ shorter than the neckline opening (depending on the stretchiness of the material), plus seam allowance for sewing the ends together. Sew the ends together, fold wrong sides together, lining up the raw edges and press. Sew the neckline band to the neckline, with the seam at the back.
If you don’t have enough material to cut one long piece for the neckline band, you can cut two pieces–one using the front neckline measurements and one using the back neckline measurements. Remember to add seam allowance for sewing the pieces together, and be sure the finished measurement is 1-2″ shorter than the opening. Line the two seams of the neckband up with the shoulder seams, when sewing the band to the neckline.
For the sleeve bands, follow the same instructions as the neckline band, using the sleeve opening to determine the length measurements.
Press everything into submission, so you have nice clean seams and smooth lines.
Next up, the tutorial for the dolman sleeve top
and the lace yoke dolman sleeve sweatshirt.