Not the GBSB – Week 1 : a simple top


The contestants week 1 made tightfit trousers with invisible zip, cut up a perfectly decent denim shirt rendering it unrecognisable (and, incidentally, in most cases unwearable)  then made a summer dress.

Top that! Say I.

But I can’t. Can’t even match it. No. Instead I am going to host my very own mini GBSB with a contestant count of one where I make one very easy garment every week. Not even promising that the garments will go up in difficulty…

So,  I’ll start not at the but with a top.

Here’s one I made earlier –


The tricky ‘freestyle’ bit  is the Peter Pan collar that I added to a very simple sleeveless garment.

Now let’s start the –


Step 1 – It pays to be organised. Gather all ‘ingredients’ –
  • 1 top pattern
  • 1 metre of white material (cotton or polycotton)
  • white cotton thread
  • scissors (large and/or small)
  • pins (best kept in pincushion)
  • sewing machine
  • sewing needle (optional – just in case…)
  • iron/ironing board
  • music, podcast, radio programme, audio-book (top choice – Ella Fitzgerald – The Best of)

Step 2 – It pays to be organised. Set up the space –
  • Thread up sewing machine with white thread
  • set up iron and ironing board and give material a press
  • clear and clean your work surface (particularly if it’s where you usually eat…)

Step 3  – pin and cut out

  • Pin pattern to fabric.
  • Cut out as accurately as possible.

This pattern consists of 3 main pattern pieces – 1 front piece (cut on fold) and 2 back pieces.  EASY

There are also pieces for the armholes and the neck edge.  EASY

 As well as having the freestyle Peter Pan collar.  PAY ATTENTION (pin double-thickness material to the garment you’re copying and remember to add hem when cutting out)

IMG_3322[1] White cotton is very forgiving. You don’t have to worry which way to pin it or if you’ve cut the pieces out the wrong way. IMG_3321[1] IMG_3325[1]

Cutting out the Pan collar

Step 4 – machine sew


  • Sew darts  in front piece
  • sew 2 back pieces together leaving approximately 6cm open at top
  • sew together side seams
  • sew together shoulder seams

You have something that looks like a top

the top
the top

UNDERARMS (this is where it starts to get trickier so don’t rush)

  • sew underarm pieces together
  • ease underarm pieces into main sleeve opening of top – pin carefully then sew
  • cut notches into curved edges to help shape

Phew! Have a tea break!

breath deeply - think about the next bit
breath deeply – think about the next bit


  • Sew Peter Pan collar pieces together on outside edges
  • turn round the right way
  • press
  • pin neck edge and Peter Pan collar into place – then sew
  • cut notches into curved edges


FINISHING OFF – easy but don’t slack on this  – you’ve done the hard part

  • sew a loop for button at back / sew on  button
  • sew hems to neaten back opening
  • sew hem at bottom edges (I’ve added side vents)
  • overstitch 1 cm at lower part of arm opening as well as 1 cm at upper part ( this stops the arm lining from escaping and looking like scruffy wings)
  • overstitch the neck edge to the top edge to stop the neck edge from flapping out
  • IRON

Ta dah! A simple white top with a Peter Pan collar.

white topDSC02991

Now I’ve got to make two more…

More tea?


Call the Midwife or The Sound of Music?
Call the Midwife or The Sound of Music?

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