Free sewing pattern – Summer Drape Top

The latest release in my range of free sewing patterns and tutorials – the Summer Drape Top.

 

Summer Drape Top.  Free sewing pattern and step by step photo tutorial from So Sew Easy.

Designed for softly draping knit fabrics, this blouse is easy to make, flattering, cool and strappy, with tummy covering draping and a rounded hemline in the front.  And I’ve made it with wide enough straps that you should be able to wear a bra with only minimal straps peaking through at the back.  Or don’t wear a bra and let it all hang out this summer!

The Summer Drape Top comes in a one-size fits most design.  The pattern is free to download and can be made from less than one yard of fabric.  Great for a beach cover up too, over a bikini top.

This is a long post including lots of photos, all about how to print and piece your digital pattern, cut your fabric and a full step by step photo tutorial on how to stitch your top.

 

Where to get your free sewing pattern for the Summer Drape Top

The pattern is available to download for free from my design account with Craftsy - download here.  If you don’t already have an account, you will need to sign up to download, but don’t worry.  It’s free, quick and easy.  Add the pattern to your cart, and then checkout – no payment is needed, no address details etc.  Then you can download the pattern in a PDF made of 12 separate sheets of paper.

 

Summer Drape Top.  Free sewing pattern and step by step photo tutorial from So Sew Easy.

 

Constructing your PDF pattern.

(Note – these instructions are written assuming you are fairly new to sewing and give plenty of detail.  If you have used digital patterns before, or have sewn similar garments, do skip on through and sorry its so long!  If you are new to sewing, take your time, and do leave a comment if you have any questions.)

First time you’ve used a digital pattern?  Don’t worry, I’ll show you what to do.  Load your printer with regular printer paper, open the PDF file and print. Do not select any of the fancy printing options such as center, scale, fit to page etc.  You just want to print it out straight as it is.

If you are worried about printing out at the right size, then just print page 3 first, because this one includes a test box to measure.  The box is drawn at 5cm square, so print this one page, measure the box and if it’s 5cm you are good to go.  If not, then you might need to check your print settings to see what settings might need to be changed before printing again.

Once you have all 12 pieces, keep them in order.  Then set them out from left to right, 4 pieces across in a row and then another 4 underneath and the last 4 on the bottom row.  This is how the pieces will be assembled.  Each piece comes with a border which overlaps the next piece of paper, so you should cut off or fold over the top and the right hand side on each piece lining up your cut or fold with the guideline on the printout.

Then note where the letters of the alphabet fall on each sheet.  Letter A matches with letter A, letter B matches with B and so on.  Overlap your pieces, matching up the letters and matching up the pattern lines and stick in place with tape. It should look very much like this–>

Summer Drape Top - free pattern and instructions.  So Sew Easy.

Once you have your jigsaw completed you can read and note any instructions and directions, and then cut out your pattern pieces.  You will have two large pieces and 3 smaller pieces.

Where there are ‘notches’  cut around the black triangles (it doesn’t have to be super accurate) so that they point out from the pattern pieces.  This will help you match up your pieces correctly later on. Now your pattern is ready, let’s cut some fabric.

 

Cutting your fabric

  • The front and the back of the top are cut ‘on the fold’.  This means the pattern piece is only for half of the design.  You fold your fabric along the grain, just folding over enough to accommodate the size of your pattern piece.  Then place the edge of the pattern piece on the fold of the fabric and hold it in place there.  You can use proper pattern weights, pins, or even tins of tuna like mine.Summer Drape Top - free pattern and instructions.  So Sew Easy.
  • Before you cut ANYTHING, make sure that you have enough fabric for all of the pattern pieces.  So fold in the other side of the fabric and place the other large piece on the fold.  The 3 strap pieces all need to be cut twice, so while you have the fabric folded place these too and make sure you have enough fabric to cut all the pieces you need.Summer Drape Top - free pattern and instructions.  So Sew Easy.
  • There will probably be enough fabric space left over that you have enough to re-cut the 3 strap pieces if you make a mistake.
  • Once everything is laid out, cut out your five pattern pieces.  Where you get to the black triangle ’notches’, cut a little triangle of fabric sticking out, so you can match the correct pieces later on.  No need to be super accurate with the notches.

Summer Drape Top - free pattern and instructions.  So Sew Easy.

 

Making up the Summer Drape Top

  • To get the best results with knit fabrics, use a stretch needle.  This has a ball end and will slide through the fabric without piercing it, to give the best finish on knit and stretch fabrics.
  • The seam allowances on this pattern are small, and allow for a serger to be used or an overcasting foot on a regular sewing machine.  The overcasting foot will sew the seam and finish the edges at the same time and give a professional looking finish to your inside seams.
  • If you are using a regular sewing machine and a regular sewing foot, use a small zig-zag stitch for knit fabrics and use a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

 

  • Take the two main pieces and place one on top of the other with the right sides of your fabric facing each other.  Line up one side seam on the front with the corresponding side seam on the back, keeping the raw edges and the tops and bottom edges even and then pin them into place.Summer Drape Top - free pattern and instructions.  So Sew Easy.
  • Stitch the side seam being careful to keep edges matched, and make sure the hem and arm curve are matched.Summer Drape Top - free pattern and instructions.  So Sew Easy.
  • Repeat for the other side seam to make a tube of fabric.  Note that the front piece is much wider than the back because of the extra gathering.
  • Now turn a small amount of fabric (suggest about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch) to the inside along the entire length of the armhole curve.  Pin and stitch.Summer Drape Top - free pattern and instructions.  So Sew Easy.
  • If you want to, you can do the same with the entire bottom hemline, but most knit fabrics don’t fray and often look better and have a better drape if left unfinished.  This is up to you.
  • The front and the back neckline edges need to be gathered.  So set your machine to its longest stitch length, leave good long thread tails and sew a running stitch close to the edge of the fabric.  Do each side of the V separately, front and back.Summer Drape Top - free pattern and instructions.  So Sew Easy.
  • You can draw up the gathers by pulling on the underneath (bobbin) thread and moving the gathers along as you go.  We will do this accurately later.  Set these main pieces aside for now.
  • Time to construct the neckline.  Lay out your fabric pieces and note the notches.  Each strap is made up of three pieces, the front neckline, shoulder strap and back neckline and the notches will help you match up the correct ends.Summer Drape Top - free pattern and instructions.  So Sew Easy.
  • Pin together, right sides facing, and stitch with a narrow hem.  When you get to the point of the V, lift your presser foot and pivot your fabric so you can carry on sewing in a straight line.  Make the point of the V sharp rather than rounded.
  • Repeat until you have two identical straps each made of 3 pieces.Summer Drape Top - free pattern and instructions.  So Sew Easy.
  • Fold each strap in half length-ways, right sides together.  The center section is the only section to be sewn.  Use a narrow hem and stitch the raw edges of the middle section together, with right sides facing, to make a tube.  Then turn each tube the right side out.Summer Drape Top - free pattern and instructions.  So Sew Easy.
  • Now match the center back and center front seams, right sides together.  Stitch the two parts together, pivoting at the V, to make a complete circle.
  • Turn the strap the right way, wrong sides together and press with an iron, carefully matching raw edges.Summer Drape Top - free pattern and instructions.  So Sew Easy.
  • Now it’s time to attach the neckline to the body.  Let’s start with the back because it has less gathering   Find the center back point of the neckline and the center V of the back main piece and pin them together, right sides facing.  Now match the edge of the main piece with the point where the neckline turns, and the edges are unfinished.Summer Drape Top - free pattern and instructions.  So Sew Easy.
  • The gathers need to be pulled and adjusted to match the length of the neckline piece.  Be careful not to stretch the fabric.  When the gathered side matches the length of the neckline, pin in place keeping all 3 raw edges even, and repeat on the opposite side.Summer Drape Top - free pattern and instructions.  So Sew Easy.
  • When pinned, it will look something like this.Summer Drape Top - free pattern and instructions.  So Sew Easy.
  • Stitch by serging, overcasting or using a wide zig-zag stitch to hold all the layers in place.  Stitch with the gathered side face up so that you can adjust the gathers as you go and make sure they are lying flatly as they go under the presser foot.
  • Repeat this procedure for the front neckline.  You will need to gather up the fabric more at the front than you did for the back.
  • Check your seams, trim any loose threads and you are finished.
  • If you find the top a little loose, you can always take in the side seams, either the whole length or just the top third, by sewing a wider seam and then cutting off the excess.

Summer Drape Top.  Free sewing pattern and step by step photo tutorial from So Sew Easy.

I really hope you enjoy this free sewing pattern for the Summer Drape Top.  If free patterns are your thing, to check out the free patterns page above, and join us on the Pinterest Group Board where we all share our favorite free sewing patterns.  And do check out my other tutorials too.

If you make a top from this pattern, I’d love to see it and hear how you got on.  Do leave a comment or drop me an email.  Especially if you would like your top featured on the site..

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68 Responses to Free sewing pattern – Summer Drape Top

  1. MammaNene says:

    Thank you Deby for sharing! Taken on Crafty :)

    but… What size is?

    I love that you wrote about seam allowances: here in Europe are NOT in the pattern and I always feel confused when other country’s designer realeases pattern w/out talking about them!
    I’ll be sewing one (or more) for sure!

    • Deby Coles says:

      Because it is loose and drapey, it is a one size fits most. I have a 36 inch bust if that helps with sizing. A more slender person might find it loose under the arms in which case its a simple adjustment to take in a little at the sides, until you are happy with the fit.

  2. Judy says:

    Awesome tutorial. Thanks for sharing this

  3. Great pattern, I ma printing it off as I speak (type)
    I have the perfect fabric for this top, I just hope I have enough of it :D

    Also, thank you for introducing me to craftsy xxx

  4. Deborah says:

    I LOVE it!!! It is similar to my favorite White House Black Market top that I wear much too much. Thank you so very much ♥ It looks fantastic on you.

    **happy smiles** Deborah

  5. carolynmcginnis says:

    I just found your blog, not sure how I got here, but I love it. I live in FL and we go to Little Cayman at least once a year. If you want fabric from FL, message me what you want and I will bring it with me as long as you can meet me at the airport.

  6. mary says:

    I love this darling top! I would love to make this but my arms don’t like showing themselves! wondering if there might be a way to make a little sleeve to this pattern? Really love the front drape look.

    • Deby Coles says:

      Hi Mary – you know, here in the Caymans its always so hot that sleeveless is the way to go everyday, so I have never tried to draft a sleeve. It’s certainly something I’ll give some thought to and if I can make it work, I’ll post a follow up with some sleeves. Maybe something fluttery that sits just on the top….?

      • Patricia ( Trixie) says:

        I forget what the name of the sleeve, I wanna suggest, but I think it’a a win or butterfly sleeve.I also LOVE this top, the only thing is I can’t find my cart !!!!
        I’ve had a macmini for the last 4 or 5 yrs, but u’d never know it from my ability to use it….
        GOD BLESS & thanks Luv

  7. Virginia says:

    I love this top. I so want to try and make it. Perhaps, I’d make it longer as a dress.
    Great job. This post is going in my inspiration file and I’ll pin it. Loving your blog, and I am not a sewer…yet.

  8. Super cute! Thanks so much for linking up to Do Something Crafty Friday on See Vanessa Craft!

  9. eviv says:

    thanks a lot for all the work you’ve done.

  10. I love this top and pattern I have a couple fabrics I am eyeing on my shelf. Thank you so much for the gift of this pattern!

  11. Lisa Doran says:

    Love the patterned one! I’ll be printing this out and making it but with more ease to accommodate the “girls” !

  12. Hi Deby, just wanted to send you a link to my blog post about this pattern. I have mad it up today and it is FANTASTIC! Thank you so much. I hope you like my version
    Hannah xxx

    http://madewithhugsandkisses.wordpress.com/2013/05/04/butterfly-summer-drape-top-xxx/

  13. libbyQ says:

    i have been thinking a lot about sewing and upcycling clothing so i am so pleased to have found you~!!
    i like the style of this top and have been considering making some summer clothes so I’ve added you to my favorites. i’ll find the right fabric and be back for a read and a sew up. thank you for offering this.

    i looked at Hannah’s and was quite pleased with it all over again~!

    :-)
    libbyQ

  14. libbyQ says:

    i have been thinking a lot about sewing and upcycling clothing so i am so pleased to have found you~!!
    i like the style of this top and have been considering making some summer clothes so I’ve added you to my favorites. i’ll find the right fabric and be back for a read and a sew up. thank you for offering this.

    i looked at Hannah’s and was quite pleased with it all over again~!

    :-)
    libbyQ

  15. gorgeous and great instructions :)

  16. Sara says:

    I love this top and the drape is lovely looking.

    You are a fantastic pattern designer!!

  17. This is a great top Deby. Thanks so much for sharing with Wednesday’s Adorned From Above Blog Hop.
    Debi and Charly

  18. Nellie says:

    Love it! I am a super big fan of draping. Will have to try this. Thanks for sharing

  19. Cheri says:

    What a cute pattern. Thanks so much. I don’t sew much but I will give this pattern a try for sure.

  20. Bethany the ngnrdgrl says:

    Wow! I’m impressed! You made your own pattern and it is FLATTERING! I love it, Deby! I’m pinning this! Thanks for the share!

  21. heidi says:

    Thanks for the link to the free pattern. The top is so cute, and it’s great for summer. Hope you have a great day.

    Heidi’s Wanderings

  22. heidi says:

    Thanks for the link to the free pattern. The top is so cute, and it’s great for summer. Hope you have a great day.

    Heidi’s Wanderings

  23. Jenna says:

    Cute, cute top! Thanks for sharing at Give Me The Goods Monday! Can’t wait to see what goods you bring next week! Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof

  24. I love this top, it looks so comfy and stylish. Thank you so much for sharing on Blog Stalking Thursday! I have featured your project on Blog Stalking Thursday Features YOU! The post is going live later tonight. I would love for you to stop by and grab a feature button. Thanks again for sharing!

    • Deby Coles says:

      Wow Katie – I am honored to be featured – thank you so much. I’ll certainly drop over and leave you a comment. Thanks for hosting your weekly party – much appreciated.

  25. hunny13 says:

    Sweet! Thank you!

  26. hunny13 says:

    What a sweet and charming top! So creative, young lady.
    I live in southern California where summers are deadly hot and this is a top I would love to stitch by the gross :) Unfortunately, I am both old and fat. Is there a way I might modify your lovely pattern to fit a cow such as moi?

    • Deby Coles says:

      Hi Bonnie – and never fear. I think this pattern could be easily adapted for all shapes and sizes. Just below I have commented on an earlier post about upsizing the pattern for larger sizing. But do test it out on some dollar test fabric to make sure you are happy before cutting your good fabric. Good luck.

  27. kelly says:

    I love this pattern! I’m quite the novice when it comes to patterns. This pattern will be my first clothing, and I was wondering how do I enlarge it. I’m a size 20 with a 42 bust. I wanted it to be longer as well. Any help would be so great!

    Thanks Deby
    Kelly

    • Deby Coles says:

      Hi Kelly
      I suggest up-sizing it all over in the same percentage. If I am a 36 bust and you are a 42, then the size around would need to be 17% larger. The strap length probably doesn’t need to be longer, but you would need to increase the width of the front and back pieces – say by 10% to accept the extra gathers. Then increase the width of the front and back main pieces by 17% to make it larger round. You can simply cut the pattern across the middle and add in some length to make it longer front and back, but do increase both the same so the side seams will still match.
      I’m certainly no pattern grading expert, so I suggest giving it a go first in some cheap test fabric to see how you get on.

  28. Niki says:

    Wahoo! I’m making one for me right now, and after that, one for my friend! BRING ON THE SUMMER!!

  29. JudeB says:

    WOW! This top looks super cool. I’ve downloaded the pattern and feel a shopping spree coming on for some pretty fabric. I’m a bit scared of sewing stretchy material though, inspite of having been a sewist for donkey’s years, but I will get some stretch needles and give it a try, as I’m just loving the finished look.

    Thanks for sharing

    • Deby Coles says:

      Thanks for the kind comments Jude. I can see that you have a sewing blog too – hopping over now to take a look. Let me know if you make the top – I’d be happy to feature your finished item and a link to your site.

  30. Patricia ( Trixie) says:

    Patricia ( Trixie) says:
    June 11, 2013 at 7:41 am
    I forget what the name of the sleeve, I wanna suggest, but I think it’a a win or butterfly sleeve.I also LOVE this top, the only thing is I can’t find my cart !!!!
    I’ve had a macmini for the last 4 or 5 yrs, but u’d never know it from my ability to use it….
    GOD BLESS & thanks Luv
    Reply

    • Deby Coles says:

      Hi Patricia, I’ve sent you a couple of emails so that I can try to help you out, but haven’t had a reply. Please look for my emails, or send me a message via the email me link on this site and I will try to help out with your problem. It seems perhaps the email address you are listing here when you comment isn’t working or getting to you. Deby

      • Patricia ( Trixie) says:

        I guess I’ve been giving u the wrong email DUH!!!
        I don’t want my Grandson and his wife to have the baby be4 I get this top made LOL
        GOD BLESS

        • Deby Coles says:

          Yay – I got your email and I’ve replied. We’ll get this sorted out very soon….

        • Patricia ( Trixie) says:

          Hi Deby dear. I’m gonna try and get the photo on here.I know i saw somewhere instructions on how to do it.I’m afraid to get off this page ,in case I loose it.I really did enjoy making that swell top.I gonna make more for my G.D.I.L.after making it and having Kristelle try it on ,i’m thinkin’ of the next one being out of the other peice of fabric I got.It isn’t a knit ,but it’s really light weight. I’m planning on enlarging it a bit more. I’ll sent the photo as soon as I find out How to
          GOD BLESS Thanks again

          • Deby Coles says:

            Hi Trixie and I’m glad you’ve had success with the pattern – I’m really keen to see your results. And Yes, I think it should easily work with a non-stretch fabric so long as it has a nice drape to it. You can send me an email with your picture using the link at the top of the page or on the contact page (under about).

  31. Teresa says:

    This is my sewing project for today but I’m stuck. The section on creating the neckline is not working for my brain for some reason. I sewed the center sections (right sides together as the picture shows). But the next set of instructions have me baffled. I sewed it as I THOUGHT you instructed and now I have a circle as you show but it is wrong side out with no way to turn it. :-( I’ve tried and tried to figure it out but I’m stuck. HELP. And since this is serged, I’m not sure what my next steps should be to fix this. Looks like I’m the only one that has been stumped by this. Thanks for clarification.

    • Deby Coles says:

      Yikes – you should have turned the collar pieces the right side out once those center sections had been sewed, and then joined the two sections together. I’ve gone back into the post and made the section BOLD that you had missed. I guess the serged edge is pretty impossible to unpick. I suggest cutting close to your stitching where you just did the two joins, turn the pieces the right way out, and then join them again. You’ll only loose a little bit, just the width of the seam, so it will just make the neckline a fraction narrower. Or if you have enough fabric, you might just start those collar pieces again so you don’t loose any width. Hope this helps. Deby

  32. Pam says:

    VERY flattering!!! This would be great for hiding a little tummy.

  33. Around the Island says:

    I love this top and can’t wait to try it out, thanks so much for sharing. My only concern is that I’m far more pear-shaped than I would like at the moment (think flat chested weeble). Do you have any suggestions for making the middle and bottom proportionally bigger than the top?

    • Deby Coles says:

      I’ve had a reader make this in a maternity version – not suggesting you are that shaped! But you can leave the top part the same, and then angle out slightly from the underarms down to the hem to give more room through the middle and bottom. That way you can increase the fabric at the bottom and still hopefully get a good drape without it being too tight. You may have to play with it a little to see how much you want to increase by. Do send a photo of the finished top – I’d love to see it.

      • Around the Island says:

        Thanks so much for replying so quickly – I’ll definitely be giving this a try after my next trip down to the garment district for fabric (here in Israel it’s all concentrated in one single neighborhood in Tel Aviv – fantastic once you’re there, but a bit of a hassle to get to).

  34. Beechbaby says:

    This pattern is not only flattering but simple to make. Your instructions, unlike some other websites I’ve visited, are incredibly clear to follow. I think that the whole project took me about 1-1/2 hours to finish. The top is also very flattering to wear!

    • Deby Coles says:

      That’s great to hear. Thank you for making up the top and for taking the time to leave a comment. I’m really glad that you liked it and that it worked out well for you.

  35. Amber B. says:

    I have been searching so long for something VERY similar to this. I have an ON shirt that I loved the design of but is too small, so I thought hey I’ll draft my own pattern for it. Good Grief! It proved to be a nightmare for me. While I got a muslin made up and pinned to my ‘duct tape dress form’ I quickly side tabled it due to frustration. lol Thank you thank you so much for your wonderful patterns and hard work.

    • Deby Coles says:

      Thank you for dropping in to leave a comment. Yes, I quickly learned that trying to draft your own sewing pattern isn’t as easy as it might be. A lot of work goes into my patterns, and I know they aren’t all perfect or necessarily the height of fashion, but they seem popular. I try to find inspiration in popular styles that are flattering on a wide range of ages and body shapes. I’m glad you found this one useful and I hope it will be a good starting point for you to make that favorite shirt. Deb

  36. Jenny says:

    Hmm… need to figure this out on an 18″ scale… would be perfect for the doll I’m working on clothes for!

    • Deby Coles says:

      Well, that’s something I’ve not considered before..you might have trouble with all the gathers on such a small scale, you would have to use a really thin and soft fabric or it would be too stiff I think. Good luck with it.

  37. para says:

    Hi and thanks for all the info. While I’m interested in making this beautiful top, I would like to know what you would think to change the straps to a “same material” but different color or print. I’m thinking it might look cheap. What do you think. This would be my first time using the computer to print out a pattern. Thanks for all your help.

    • Deby Coles says:

      I suppose it would depend on the print or colors your were using. If you had a print for the main fabric and then used a corresponding solid color or a black for the straps and the front and back part, I think it would look really striking. But I’ve made some glaring fabric choice mistakes in my time. I find it one of the hardest things to match a fabric to a pattern. Sometimes just taking a picture of your self with the fabric draped over your shoulders can be enough to tell you if your choice is right or wrong for you. Good luck with it!

  38. Rose Webster says:

    Thanks for sharing this cute pattern. Could you give us some idea as to the width of fabric and yardage to buy for the size used in the pattern? Thanks.

    • Deby Coles says:

      My fabric was 58 inches wide and I had one yard to work with. It should fit easily Rose. But if you need to match pattern or stripes etc, you may need more. Please do lay out all the pattern pieces before cutting, just to make sure – it was a while ago now since I made it.

  39. Debbie Andrews says:

    I can’t believe I haven’t seen this tutorial before now. I have a ton of t-shirts that I can convert to this pattern. Spring is taking way too long here in NW Florida, I can hardly wait to get started on these. Thanks Deb…(0;

    Have a terrific week!

    Debbie…(0;
    <

  40. Jewell Gardner says:

    Deb,I just got this shirt done…I love it..it’s just a little tight around arms and bust..so next time I will try to make it bigger..I just love it.Thank you so much for sharing.and for Free…..

  41. Victoria says:

    Adore the blue striped material you chose! So excited to try some of your patterns especially this one

What do you think?