Travel Top by Rhonda Buss
Create a convertible top that easily transforms into a dress with long or short sleeves. Or wear it as a tunic with tights simply by adjusting a few drawstrings. Perfect for travel, this top will become your go-to garment, offering a slew of wearable alternatives.
54"-wide knit fabric with crosswise stretch (amount according to measurements)
Matching all-purpose thread
Removable fabric marker or chalk
To determine the bodice length, measure from the shoulder down over the bust to just under the bustline (or longer if desired) (1), and then add 1/2" to account for the seam allowance; record.
Measure the hip circumference plus 2" for seam allowances and ease; record.
Measure the desired skirt length from the bodice-length end point. Add 2" to the measurement to account for the hem allowance; record.
From the fabric, cut eight 1 1/2"-wide strips 2" longer than the skirt length for the drawstrings; set aside.
For the bodice, cut two rectangles from the fabric measuring the fabric width x the bodice-length measurement. Choose one long edge as the rectangle upper edge, considering the print direction, if applicable.
Fold each rectangle in half widthwise; mark the upper-edge center using a removable fabric marker or chalk.
Choose one rectangle for the bodice front. Measure and mark 3" to either side of the center mark. Measure and mark 2 1/2" down from the center mark. Disregard the center mark and connect the remaining marks with a smooth asymmetrical curved line, denoting the front neckline (2). Cut along the line.
On the bodice-back rectangle, measure and mark 3" to either side of the center mark. Measure and mark 1/2" down from the center mark. Disregard the center mark and connect the remaining marks marks with a smooth asymmetrical curved line, denoting the back neckline. Cut along the line.
Cut one rectangle measuring 5"x (the neckline opening + 1") for the collar.
For the skirt, cut two rectangles measuring half the hip circumference x the skirt length measurement.
Use 1/2" seam allowances and a stretch stitch unless otherwise noted.
Fold each skirt rectangle lower edge 2" toward the wrong side; stitch near the raw edge, and then stitch again 1/4" from the first stitching line. With right sides together, baste the skirt side seams. With the fabric wrong side out, try on the skirt and pinch the sides evenly until the skirt is comfortably snug around the waist and midriff; pin out the fullness along the upper edge (3).
Remove the skirt and adjust the side seams, drawing a line from each pin-mark that tapers to nothing at the hip (4). Stitch the side seams following the line, continuing to the hem. Remove the basting stitches and trim the seam allowance to 1/2".
Press open the side-seam allowances. Straight stitch the seam allowance long raw edges to the skirt from the waist to the hem, creating two casings on each side (5).
Place the bodice rectangles on a flat work surface with right sides together and the bodice front facing up. Center the skirt upper edge along the bodice-front lower edge. Mark the skirt opening width (6).
With wrong sides together, stitch the bodice lower edges from each mark to each rectangle short edge, creating the armscye seams (7).
Fold each rectangle short edge 2" toward the wrong side; straight stitch near the raw edge to hem each sleeve, and then stitch again 1/4" from the first stitching line.
Stitch the shoulder seams from each neckline opening to the sleeve upper edges. Press open the shoulder seam allowances, and then straight stitch the seam allowance long raw edges from neckline to sleeve, creating two casings on each side.
Fold each drawstring in half lengthwise with right sides together. Stitch the long edge using a 1/4" seam allowance. Using a bodkin, turn each drawstring right side out. Insert each drawstring into each casing, using a bodkin or safety pin to thread it through. On the bodice, align one drawstring end with each neckline opening; pin. On the skirt, align one drawstring end with each skirt upper-edge seam. Knot the opposite drawstring ends.
Turn the bodice wrong side out. Match the bodice waist opening and skirt upper edge with right sides together, aligning the casings and side seams; pin. Stitch the bodice to the skirt.
Fold the collar rectangle in half widthwise with right sides together, matching the short ends. Stitch the short ends, press open the seam, and then fold the collar in half lengthwise with wrong sides together. Pin the collar raw edges to the neckline opening with right sides together and the collar seam along the bodice center back; stitch. Turn the collar to the right side; topstitch 1/4" below the collar seam to secure the seam allowance and add a professional touch.
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