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Chiffon Vented Top Tutorial

Chiffon Vented Top Tutorial by the Crafty Cupboard

I promised I would show you the steps to make your own vented back t-shirt from the Skipper Top, so here it is! A Chiffon Vented Top  Tutorial! Don’t let the chiffon part scare you, it really is quite easy to work with if you use the right steps.

Pattern Hack

I hacked the Skipper Top by Sew Much Ado to make this shirt, but you can use any knit pattern that you want, really, as long as it doesn’t have a zipper or buttons down the back in order to put the shirt on. To hack your pattern, grab your back piece and mark on it where you’d like your chiffon to start. I wanted to leave my sleeves alone, so I opted to have the chiffon start just below the armpit and curve up toward the center (that thin center line you see in pen up there). Then, mark a 1/2″ seam allowance on either side of the line you drew- the top is where the chiffon pattern piece will line up, and the bottom line is where you’ll cut (or trace) the original pattern to.

Adding Chiffon

I placed my pattern piece {with the seam allowance lines drawn on it) on top of some paper, I use freezer paper to make my patterns but you can tape printer paper to make a big piece, and I drew a new pattern piece for my chiffon using the original pattern as a reference. Instead of stopping at the center fold line, I extended the chiffon piece so the center would overlap by a few inches. I followed the side seam exactly, and also began the bottom of the chiffon piece where the pattern hem was. I can make hem adjustments to the knit later. I curved my chiffon piece, but you can go straight across or go down to a more drastic, lower curve.

Vented Back Pattern Hack by the Crafty Cupboard

Once you have your chiffon pattern piece drawn, it is time to cut your fabric with your new pattern pieces! For the chiffon, you can spray starch your chiffon to keep it a little stiff while you are working with it if that helps you. Cut only one or two layers at a time, and you’ll need four layers.

Trim Seam Allowance

When your chiffon is cut, sew two chiffon layers together just along that center curve area and bottom edge with a micro tex needle, or one of the smallest needles, with a very small stitch length (I set mine to 2). Use a 1/4″ seam allowance, and when you are done, trim your seam allowance to about 1/8″.  The top and side of the pieces should remain unsewn at this point. Gently press with your iron on a lower heat setting.

Vented Back Pattern Hack by the Crafty Cupboard

Next, turn your piece inside out, and press the seam with your iron again to get it to lay nice and pretty. You’ll want to enclose your raw edges by sewing 1/4″ again around that curved edge and bottom.

French Seam

At this point, you can leave your side and top, or you can baste the layers together. I basted the first shirt I made, and left the second.

Align Chiffon

It is a good idea to baste the top, at least, so you keep the chiffon layers overlapping correctly. Trust me :)

Pin to Knit Top

Pin the top of your chiffon to the bottom of your t-shirt back piece you cut from your knit, and pin more generously than you normally would. This helps the chiffon from sliding around too much. I should have pinned a little more here, one of my chiffon pieces shifted just a hair (also because I didn’t baste the top!) and it threw off my hem… which I didn’t notice until later. Boo!

Top Stitch

Sew your pieces together using a 1/2″ seam allowance. FINISH YOUR EDGE. I used a serger, but you can do a tighter zig-zag stitch and then trim close to the stitching if you don’t have a serger. Press with your iron so the seam allowance points toward the knit, and then top-stitch to keep the seam allowance in place.

Hem Adjustment

At this point, I sewed the Skipper Top together per the instructions, but before I sewed the side seams together, I wanted to check my hem to make sure the front lined up with the back.  I decided to do a 1/2″ hem, so I trimmed the excess fabric, then went ahead and hemmed that front piece. Just to clarify that picture, I added a little extra to the bottom of my front cut piece to allow for any hem adjustments later. Anyway, then I just had to sew the side seams together and finish the seams, making sure the hems still lined up!

Finished Shirt
Done, and done. 

Vented Shirt Hack Tutorial

See where my chiffon hem went wonky? It is exaggerated because of how it is hanging, and when she is wearing it you can’t tell at all, but I see it!  Lesson learned: baste, pin well. 

Anyway, I hope you attempt the hack! It doesn’t take long at all, and once you’ve drawn your pattern piece, you can crank out multiples in no time. The hardest part for me was finding good quality chiffon… I only found a baby pink at my nearest fabric store, so it might be time to stock up on fun colors from somewhere online.

Happy Monday!!

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