This is the perfect top for a cool summer day. It’s made from a fleece sweater and a t-shirt that were old and tired. I put some pizazz back into these items by reconstructing them into a perfect fitting halter top. One of the benefits to making a halter top out of a thick stretch material like fleece is that you can create a top that can support your chest even if you are larger chested and looks very flattering as well. If your chest is smaller or you don’t need as much support you can make this top out of a long sleeved t-shirt. This top will also be designed to fit your shape. You’ve never had a halter that fit you so well!
Long sleeved fleece sweater (you can use a wool sweater – cotton sweaters will lose their shape and won’t work)*
Sewing machine or serger
Buttons (I used 7 buttons, you pick how many you want)
* You must use stretch fabric for this project.
1. Remove sleeves of fleece shirt where the sleeves and the body connect.
2. Cut sleeves up the side along the seam, where the side seam that makes the sleeve a tube and lay it out flat. Remove all of the seams so only fabric is left, no stitching.
3. Hold the wider end of the sleeve at the base of your breast and wrap it around your neck. This is half of your halter top’s top. Cut away extra fabric at the small end of the sleeve that goes past the middle part of you neck. It’s easiest to do this while looking in a mirror. Add a 2 inch seam allowance at the top or the bottom of the sleeve, you can adjust this as you work on the piece and shorten it if you want to. Hint: if the halter top’s fit is a little tighter then it will be a perfect fit with better support. Now cut the other sleeve the same as the first one you just cut.
4. Next we want to decrease the size of the narrow end of the sleeves. This is the part of the halter that fits behind your neck. It depends what you like, but a halter that is wider at the back of the neck provides more coverage and looks very elegant. Don’t go wider than 7 inches at the smallest part of the sleeve, if you do go wider it may be too bulky around the neck.
5. Set aside the sleeves and get ready to work with the body part of the sweater. Cut away any extra parts of the body of the shirt, removing the neck, sleeve holes and cut off the bottom seam, so what you are left with is a tube. Hold the body part of sweater up to your torso in front of a mirror. You want the tube to be long enough to go down to where you want it to hit, for me that was the middle of my hips and to extend to the underside of your breasts. Cut away extra fabric and use straight pins when needed.
6. Now hold the tube A.K.A. the cut up body of sweater up to your torso again. Use pins to mark and cut away extra material from the sides of the shirt so that the lines of the top match your curves of your torso below the breasts. No need to add a seam allowance.
7. Put away the tube and get ready to work with the t-shirt. Hold the t-shirt up to your chest just below your breast. Place a pin at each side of the shirt where the sides of your body are. You want to cut a band as wide as your body is under your breasts cut this piece 6 inches long. Cut 2 of these at the same time then cut 2 more. Now that you have 4 pieces that is as wide as your chest and 6 inches long, fold 2 of the pieces in half, so the piece is as wide as your chest and 3 inches long and do the same thing with the other side. The reason we are using t-shirts that are 4 layers thick is that we want the piece under the breast to be strong enough to help support your chest. Now pin these pieces together, cut off 1 inch from one side of the folded in half pieces. Then sew each of the pieces that are folded in half to each other creating a smaller tube. This will be the band that goes under your breast. It needs to be the tightest part of the top because it will help support your chest. Because we are working with stretch fabrics this won’t feel tight.
8. Pick up all your cut pieces and move to the sewing machine or serger. I used a serger for mine. If you use a sewing machine use the overlock stitch. If you don’t have a modern sewing machine you can use a zigzag stitch set on it’s longest stitch length, but this will have a rougher look. Stitch the sides of the tube. Then pin together the small band to the tube and stitch these two pieces together.
9. Pin the narrow end of the sleeves together and then sew. Wrap around your neck and position over chest, wrong side facing up. Decide how much cleavage you want to show and pin the wide end of the sleeves. Add an extra inch in length because once this top is on your chest will pull the cleavage line down. Now stitch where you have pinned.
10. Pin the wide part of sleeves to the top of the band. Decide where the middle of the band is and line that up with the part you stitched on the wide part of the sleeves then once you’ve pinned the sleeves to the band, stitch. This is the time to adjust the neck of the shirt if needed. A snug fit in the chest will provide better support.
11. Stitch the bottom of your top. If you are using a shorter sweater or top you may not need to remove the seam at the bottom from the original top. You can also leave the original seam on if you want a longer shirt or possibly a mini dress that is super short.
12. Sew on your buttons where you put in that cleavage seam. Now test out your top. It should be a snug fitting, supportive hott halter top!
Next week I’ll show you that chair that I’ve been working on . . .