Sleeveless Jersey Turtleneck Tops
Project by Anna at Lets Get Sewing
After making some longer more involved projects recently I wanted to do some quick easy sewing, which for me always comes in the form of t-shirts. They're great projects for when I don't have a lot of sewing time and I always get a lot of wear out of them. I also really like using t-shirt sewing patterns as a starting point for pattern hacks, giving me the opportunity to recreate RTW tops that I've seen and liked.
I've had a sleeveless turtleneck top in mind for a while and thought that the Tilly and the Buttons Freya top would be the perfect pattern to hack. It's a pattern that I make over and over again and I love that every time I make it the final product is different. I really like the contrast between the high neck and the fact that there aren't any sleeves on this top.
The sign of a successful sewing project has got to be that you immediately want to make another one! I went for a black top and white one, simple and versatile. They're the kind of tops that I can wear with any trousers meaning that I'll wear them a lot. I used Craft Cotton Co classic cotton jersey fabric to make both of these tops, it's been one of my favourite fabrics to make t-shirts out of for a long time now and continues to serve. It's tempting to get carried away with patterned fabrics and whilst I do like sewing with those I know that I'll get the most wear out of plain ones.
The main change I made to the pattern was to alter the shape of the armhole. When making a pattern sleeveless, just removing the sleeve would leave a strange overhang of fabric over the shoulder, so the shoulder seam needs to be made narrower. As well as shortening the shoulder seam I changed the shape of the armhole by giving it a slight inward curve. Getting the right shape involved a fair bit of trial and error, my final technique was to try the top on and mark the shape that I wanted with pins - not the most professional way to do it but it worked!
The armhole would usually be caught up in the sleeve seam so I needed a way to finish it off. I really don't like turning jersey under and simply hemming it, so I chose to add the equivalent of a neckband around the armholes. I cut a strip of fabric that was 1.5" wide and sewed it right sides together to the armhole. Bias binding would be a good alternative, but probably wouldn't have worked on this top as I needed the band to pull the fabric in.
The cotton jersey worked perfectly on the armhole, drawing the fabric in so that there isn't any gaping which was my main concern. It probably wouldn't have worked with a jersey that didn't have as much stretch as I did cut the band quite a bit shorter than the length of the armhole and stretched it as I sewed (the same way you would sew a neckband on). Thanks to the band the armhole fits really well which I'm very pleased about.
As with the armhole, I was initially stuck on how to finish the hem. Jersey hems have to be at least 1" deep so that they don't roll but I didn't want to make the top any shorter. The solution to this was to use bias binding, something I might not have thought of if I hadn't had a roll of ready-made white jersey bias lying around. I sewed the bias around the hem, only losing 1/4" of length, before turning it up and stitching the top down. I then made some bias binding for the black top out of the same fabric. It worked really well and I'll definitely be using it as a technique to finish jersey tops again.
This was such a nice project to work on because it turned out so well! It sometimes takes me a while to get used to wearing my makes but these tops are simple and understated, so they're easy to wear. It's always a gamble to hack a pattern but I find that taking the time to try it on during the sewing process makes a big difference.
I'm sure I'll be getting a lot of wear out of these wardrobe staples and I'm very pleased with how the hack turned out. I think it will be a good one to alter slightly too, removing the turtleneck and making it longer so that it can be worn tucked in are definitely future sewing plans of mine.
To see more from Anna, visit her on Instagram @letsgetsewing1
Made by Anna for The Craft Cotton Company 2021