I have a favorite shirt I bought a long time ago, that has a crochet applique on the back, and I've always wanted to copy it. I've searched the internet high and low for a good tutorial on how to sew them, but I came up empty.
When I saw the gorgeous appliques over at the Fab Clique, I decided now was the time to gather my confidence and give it a try. It turned out to be far easier than I expected, and in case you're like me and love the look but fear the sewing, I've put together a short tutorial for you!
I chose the Lacy Slope Tank by GreenStyle, because I love the hi/low hem option (all the better to keep my rear covered in leggings, my dear), and the fit of Greenstyle patterns are always spot on for me. The Lacy Slope has a nice loose (but not too loose) fit, which is just about the only thing I can tolerate when its summer here and the temperature heads north of 100 degrees. I also liked the scoop of the neckline, since its nursing friendly without being scandalously low.
The fabric I'm using is a beautifully soft rayon spandex from the Fab Clique. Sometimes rayon spandex can be a challenge to work with, but this was actually fairly cooperative, and my coverstitch must of have been in a good mood, because it chain stitched bindings with ease. You could also use a regular sewing machine to attach and topstitch the bindings here- no special equipment necessary! If you are using a sewing machine, just be sure to use a stretch stitch when sewing the binding.
To start, I sewed the shoulder seams of the top, but NOT the side seams. I then did a double fold binding around the neck and armholes (which are open at this point), using my serger to attach the binding and a chainstitch to secure it from the right side. This type of edge finishing had the benefit of not adding a lot of space to the side and neck seams, unlike a traditional banded neck or armhole. For the binding, I used a 2 inch strip, folded it in half wrong sides together, and serged it onto the right side. Then, I folded it over to the back, and topstitched from the right side. When you're done, it will look like this (the neck isn't done in this pic, but it was bound the same way):
From the top:
Showing the underside of the binding:
I then marked the center back of the top all the way down with pins, so I could center the applique accurately, and laid the applique on top of the tank to check its position.
Once I had it in the right spot, I used Washaway WonderTape to hold the applique down. I attached the applique with a straight stitch on my sewing machine, being careful to go slow and not to bunch the fabric. This particular applique was attached at the shoulders and then down around the back. I did NOT stitch at the top of the applique- this was left loose to form the back neck of the tank.
After sewing the applique down around the shoulder and bottom edges, I cut away the fabric from the back. You could leave a 1/2" border here and go around it with your serger, but I found I preferred the simpler method of just cutting it away and leaving a narrower border so it wouldn't show through on the right side.
From the underside:
From the right side (I cut away a little more after this picture was taken):
Once you've cut away the excess fabric, you can sew up your side seams and hem your top! If you still have some wonder tape in there, you can throw it in the wash and it will disappear!
And....voila! A beautiful new tank top to wear all summer long!
Want to make your own Lacy Slope Applique Tank? Head over and grab the pattern- and make sure to share your creations on the Greenstyle Creations Facebook Group! The possibilities are endless- you could add appliques to the side seams, the sleeves (if doing the sleeved version available here), the shoulders, or the front neck! I've put together a Pinterest board here for more inspiration!