Hello sewing friends! Did your sewing journey include a few detours where you bought all sorts of fabric you probably aren’t using today? Mine did! From delicious looking quilting cottons to heavy canvas fabric, my (two full) closets of fabric contain fabric that I’m just not using now, as I predominantly sew knits these days. My stash in particular has a number of gorgeous light weight chiffon, satin, and flowy crepe fabrics – which are even too thin if I did sew up a woven blouse (I just don’t have the patience to do that). Do you have lovely fabrics like this in your stash that you would LOVE to use?
If so, I have a great pattern hack for you – you can modify the Discoverer Tee pattern to use exactly these kinds of wovens for the front and back panel. Let me walk you through how to do this!
First, you will need to modify the bottom bodice piece of the pattern. Even though this part of the top is loose fitting, the pattern is drafted for knits. And if you are using a very lightweight (and maybe somewhat transparent) fabric, we want to create some good volume up front make the top work. This pattern using the same piece for the front and back bodice bottom, so that makes this easier. Take your piece and measure across the width at the very bottom of the piece (which is the widest part, not the top). Write this number down on your piece. (note for this tutorial I am using a fake bodice piece so although the below photo looks like your pattern piece, it’s just a mockup).
Next, divide this pattern piece into three vertical approximately equal sessions (it’s fine to eyeball it). Cut the pattern into three pieces, using those cut lines.
You will be creating a new pattern piece using these three pieces. Grab a large piece of paper (anything will do) but it needs to be wide enough to accommodate DOUBLE the original width of your pattern piece (mine was 11 inches so my paper needs to be at least 22 inches wide). Take your three pieces and spread them out evenly on top of the paper; we are doing a simple version of pattern “slash and spread” here. Tape or glue them down so they don’t move, and then cut out a new pattern piece, being sure to reshape the top edge so you can that curve along the top. You can see how I did it in the photo below.
Now you have your NEW pattern piece you will use for wovens! Since this piece is cut on the fold, you are going to end up with a pretty wide piece of fabric. For example, my original piece was 11 inches wide. Double that and the new piece is 22 inches wide. But remember, it is cut on the fold, so you will need a piece of fabric that is at least 44 inches wide to use with the new pattern piece.
Cut out your new front and back bodice. And then get ready to do some gathering (groans – I know! But it’s worth it). Sew one or two lines of gathering stitches across the top of the front and back bodice bottom. Now measure the width of the bottom of the front and back top yolk part of the pattern (the part at the top where you will attach your bodice bottom).
Gather the top of your bottom bodice piece until it is the same width as the bottom part of the yolk. Tie off your gathers to stop them from undoing and then make sure you are happy with how your gathers are distributed.
Attach the top of the bottom part of the bodice to the bottom of the top yolk part. Do this for the front and the back.
From here, assemble the rest of the pattern per the instructions. Because I used a willowy difficult to work with chiffon for mine, I skipped hemming and did a rolled hem on my serger. I also ADDED three inches to the length of my bottom bodice pieces because I wanted more of a tunic length top. I also did a binding instead of a neckband for a different look.
And that’s it! Now you can make a fun flowy top using those gorgeous wovens that have been sitting in your stash. You can experiment with different lengths too so you can achieve different looks to wear with leggings, jeans, etc. You could do different fabric from the front and the back to use up smaller cuts of fabric.
I hope you enjoyed this hack! Come see me on IG for LOTS of Ellie & Mac sews!