My sister’s Designin’ December idea!

Yes, my sister, who isn’t fond of sewing (she loves to draw), asked me a few weeks ago  to make her a top.  No rush, no pressure, it would be great though if it was ready by the date of her husband’s Christmas party, this Saturday – which actually wasn’t a problem.

She had already purchased this GAP top, in grey, but she wanted another just like this in her favourite colour.  Easy! I could trace the grey one!

She did find her favourite colour – this lovely deep teal green.

I borrowed the grey top and set about tracing it exactly.  I took special notes and photographs of the design of the back neckline and the flaps at the side seams because, after all, those were the things that made this top NOT a plain boring tank top.  I must admit her grey top is made of a lovely 100% rayon and hangs nicely.  The teal green fabric that she picked out is a nice weight though and the colour is much more vibrant and, although polyester, it did have 7% rayon and 3% spandex in it for a nice drape.

My tracing paper wasn’t wide enough so I did the front (and the back) in two pieces and taped them together afterwards.  Although I did have to dig this front piece out of the trash can once because I forgot it was actually a pattern piece and not a scrap!  I was determined to make a special note to add a 2 cm seam allowance around the neckline, shoulder seams, armholes, and side seams on my tracings.  The front side seams would have to have another additional 4 cm on each side to make the side seam flaps.  Surprisingly enough, I remembered and cut it out right!

I even traced the little strip at the back to make sure I got it’s “not stretched” size right.

Finished tracings done, I double checked my measurements before cutting out this beautiful fabric.  Even the bit of rayon in the fabric made it feel like I was cutting butter!

Now just because I’m curious, I had to check the sizing of my traced pattern pieces against another tank top pattern I had, Simplicity 1886, unfortunately that pattern was for woven fabrics and my sister’s fabric is a knit.  Well let’s see the differences …


The back pattern pieces were similar at the bust, waist and hips (difficult to compare the hips though because my sister’s GAP top has an extremely curved hem).  But the coverage at the shoulders and armholes was very different – perhaps a matter of style only?

The real difference came with the front pieces.  The front pattern piece for the woven top not only had darts but was a total of 4 inches wider.  Obviously when making a knit fabric with lots of stretch you can pull it over your head and chest without difficulty.  On the other hand, a woven top would need more space built in.

Another thing I noticed was size 14, for example, was described as having a 36″ bust and yet a finished measurement of 40 1/2″!  That’s where those extra 4″ went!  I stayed faithfully with my traced pattern pieces.  They were an exact copy of the grey knit GAP top and the teal green fabric my sister chose had pretty much the same percentage of stretch as her purchased GAP top.  Fingers crossed!

I did use a straight stitch for this fabric but I kept it long as short stitches actually sunk into the fabric.  I did use a stretch needle.  I also used Wonder tape to hold my self made bias tape down at the neckline, “V” and armholes.

On this top, putting the bias tape around the neckline from the front through the back and through to the front again was something new for me.  I had to bridge the gap in the back “V”.  I sewed a strip of elastic into the back bias tape across that “V” gap to make it slightly stretchable, yet strong and sturdy.


I used 1” wide interfacing to support the hem and add shape.

And I was done!

And more importantly – it worked! The side seams had the same 2 cm flaps as the Gap original – me-made by folding over and sewing down the extra 4 cm of fabric on the sides of the front piece.


Then there was that cute back cutout!


All in all a cute design.  Thanks for the idea, the GAP!

I guess this qualifies as a Designin’ December idea? as my sister did have a Designer Original and a Designer me-made oops! actually an I-made COPY!  😂😂😂   If you are wondering what Designin’ December is all about, read about the Challenge here!  How is your Designin’ December sewing coming along?  I’ve just started mine!

Happy Sewing!


20 thoughts on “My sister’s Designin’ December idea!

  1. That is really cool seeing how you created the top. For me, not a Sewist, it looks like a lot of work, careful measuring. Thank you very much Linda. I love the top. 😁

    1. You’re welcome! I’m always looking for new projects and your fabric was fabulous! 😍 glad you like it!

  2. This top looks fabulous. I love the colour and style. I haven’t started my December make yet as I need to do some major pattern drafting.

    1. Thank you! I was happy my sister liked it! Well I don’t consider this one an entry, but an example. I’ve just started mine, bit by bit it will get finished!

  3. Really cute, and it was helpful to see your process in creating this knock off shirt. Lucky sister, that Fabric is stunning and the back is so cool.

    1. She grabbed a beautiful fabric! So beautiful I was nervous making it, in case I messed it up!

  4. What a lovely top. It looks great on. You have really made a fabulous job of it. The colour is gorgeous. To my shame I still haven’t made last year’s “Designing’ December” garment. I would love t so maybe I will find something easy & quick to ‘rip off”, *ahem* pay homage to. 🙂 Xx

    1. I’ll keep an eye out for you, maybe this year it will work out for you? Good luck!

  5. It came out so nice! She obviously has no lack of confidence in you (-;

    1. She picked a great fabric! I was just saying to someone else that when I make for others I am 3 x nervous and have a “do you like it, really like it, do you? Do you?” feeling! It is so worrisome!

  6. It is beautiful, now all you need is the party. Have fun!

    1. My sister hasn’t reported in yet how the outfit and the party went. I’m dying to know! 🙂

  7. I love to copy (and occasionally improve upon) favorites, for myself, my daughters & other favorite people. This was a great refresher – I have a similar top I’ve made so many times that I’m tired of it – but adding the back feature or the seam detail might be just the ticket to refreshing it. Thanks for the details!
    Here’s a hint from a fellow pattern maker – wide (cheap) non-woven interfacing makes great, almost indestructible pattern paper. It’s may be on a roll by the yard, but it’s often sold precut in packages (and I wait for a sale or a coupon.) I press it and roll it on the largest fabric tube I can find, so it’s always ready to use.

    1. If you love copying, you should join in the DESIGNIN’ DECEMBER Challenge! I have the details a couple of posts ago! Thanks for the tip regarding the tracing paper – non-fusible interfacing is a great option! 😁👍

  8. Oh my gosh, you did a fantastic job. Now your sister has her special pattern for the future also. Nice work.

    1. Thanks! I’ve got the pattern saved now, in case she comes over with more fabric! 😁👍

  9. OMG! Tracing existing clothes to make a pattern! I have got so much to freaking learn LOL! Good job by the way.

    1. Hahaha it was easier than it sounds. I had the same kind of fabric as the RTW top and I just copied it exactly! (Thanks)

    2. Being able to copy favorites, and change them up a little if you like, is one of the best things about sewing.

      1. I am imagining it is (cause I haven’t gotten to that level yet lol). I have an article of clothing I am itching to take a part and make a few changes to 🙂

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