Tutorial: sailor top


It does seem a little premature to be making summer clothes in January, but oh well. I'm looking forward to warm weather, what can I say? Plus, I got this slightly bizarre dress the other day that I needed to do something with. It was floor length, blue plaid with blue spotty long sleeves and a spotty frilly bit at the end. Very strange indeed. I took off all the spotty bits and basically made it into a nice summery sleeveless dress. I'll post a picture next time. BUT ANYWAY, so I ended up with a bit of spotty fabric that I felt I needed to do something with, and I decided on a shirt. Possibly because I almost bought this Whistles blouse the other day, and thank god I didn't. This isn't as nice, but it didn't cost me anything and it only took me a couple of hours to make. Partly because I rushed it haha, but partly because it is just one of those minimal effort sewing projects. See, I could have just gone straight onto the tutorial, but I thought I would waste a minute of your life first. Anyway anyway anyway, on we go.


You will need...
I'm going to say about 1.5m of fabric just to be safe (maybe the .5 could be a different lining fabric instead? Up to you, but I'm doing it all in the same fabric), a sewing machine / needle and thread, tape measure and pins.

What you must do...
Cut two of the black outline (the back), and another two following the yellow line instead of a (the front). I like how it was only after making this fancy diagram that I realised my tape measure was back in Durham. So... I guess I will update with exact measurements later. But for now I will just try to give some general guidance. The shoulders (c) should sit towards the edge of your shoulders. The whole thing (for me) was meant to have a kind of oversized and cropped look. That being said, your armholes should still be small-ish. For now, use a shirt you already own for reference to how big to make them. Well, I mean, they don't have to be, but that's how I made mine hoho. Oh god I hope this isn't irritatingly vague. Just cut out the pieces in your general size haha, using an existing shirt as a reference.

Here are what mine looked like. Yep. Now, pin the front piece to the back piece, right sides together, and sew the shoulders (c above) and the sides (d) together. Do the same with the other front and back. By the way, you may have noticed that my pieces seem to be sewn together in the middle. This is because my fabric was all in one narrow strip and I had to make do hoho.

Cut two sleeves! Once again, I'll give you the measurements later, but you don't really need them. The curve is where you join the sleeve to the top, so when you fold it in half and hold it up to the armhole, it should be the same length. B just depends on how long you want your sleeves to be really.
Right sides together, fold the piece in half and sew along b. Might as well hem it now too.

Match up the seam on your sleeve (the b side you just sewed) to the side seam on the top (d above). Starting at this point, right sides together, sew the sleeve to the armhole. The middle of the curve on the sleeve should match up to the shoulder seam on the top. Do the same with the other sleeve and it should look like the picture above!

For the collar, cut two of the shape above. The size of it is up to you, it just has to match up with the neck opening on your shirt. So, basically the two upper corners of the triangle-shaped hole should be at the shoulder seams. The top side of the triangle should be the same length (and slightly curved) as a above. The other two sides match up with the 'triangle' kind of shape in the front. Right sides together, sew the two pieces together along the yellow dotted line. Turn inside out and iron. 

Now, I stupidly didn't take a photo of this part (I always forget to photograph particular steps in these tutorials), which is rather inconvenient considering this is the hardest part to explain. Basically, you want to sandwich the collar between the shirt and the lining. Match up the shoulder seams of both the shirt and the lining, with the right sides together.  The collar should sit between both layers of fabric, matching up the green dots above (so the corner of the 'triangle' should match up to the beginning of the shoulder seams). Probably easiest to start at the back (between the green dots). Sew along the back neck line, between all three pieces. Turn everything the right way round (the lining on the inside, collar sitting on top) to make sure everything is all in order. Turn everything inside out again and sew (again through all three pieces) from the green dot to the pink dot on both sides. Your collar should now be completely attached!
At this point you can now sew the armholes of both the lining and outer shirt together. Zig-zag or overlock everything, hem the bottom, and you are done.


  1. great easy fuss free tutorial! goshhh i dunno whether ths post comes in time , was dreading how to make sleeves as an armature of sewing and just decided i shud just get bk to my school work, now i know how how to make them perhaps i can squeeze some time for lil sewing projects hehehehehe x

  2. This is amazing! I am incrtedibly jealous of how well you sew! And how creative you are. I really want to try this out, thank you for a lovely tutorial

  3. Really cute!!!
    I also did a tutorial recently, repourposing 2 sweaters, maybe you want to check ıt out?

  4. This top looks great, might be making this soon

  5. This made me laugh a lot, I always forget halfway to keep taking photos when I'm making something I intend to make into a tutorial on my blog, and then I have to be like: now I know this skirt has suddenly morphed into a skirt with completely different fabric, but I forgot to take pictures of this part so you'll have to make do with these....
    You have awesome DIYs, still. :)
    Annika x
    The Pineneedle Collective

  6. Such a great idea ! Love your blog, I follow it NOW !
    If you have the time, please, see my little mini tiny blog :3

    Love xxx

  7. I tried it out! turned out SO good!!!
    Thank you so much. and pleaaaase keep doing tutorials!
    Love it!


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