designing your own: cross top

One of the easiest pattern modifications or designs using pattern blocks or slopers is the kimono or cross top. And it's satisfying - so many cute ideas out there right now, and the cross top is a classic design that compliments beautiful fabric.

It also allows for some fun with contrasting colours :)

For the top I've made here I used jersey knit fabric but the theory works just as well with patterns designed for woven (non stretch) fabrics.

To get going, pull out your slopers or an unadorned commercial pattern that fits your child well. Normally before modifying a pattern I'd suggest removing the seam allowances but for this one it is not necessary. Some tissue, wax, or tracing paper, a pencil, and tape is also needed. If you happen to have a french curve square, it would also be handy, but not necessary.

So, here we are. Slopers:
The front bodice piece is the only piece to be modified for the cross top (sleeves and shoulder seams are not altered and should be sewn as per usual).

Trace out your front bodice twice. Place the two bodices side by side so they form a complete bodice front. Overlap just the top of the bodice pieces about 3/8" (still keep the bottom flush).

The overlap is so there is a slight pull across the chest and the crossed top does not gap open.

Tape the crossed bodices together.

Draw a sloped line from the the neckline, a bit off center, down across to about 1" under the sleeve. If you have a french curve, this is your moment to use it to make the slope as lovely as possible. If not, aim for a gentle curve and it'll be good too.
This little curve is the same as I've done in the photo at the top of this post. I aim for modesty with the girl, though if I was making it for myself I may do a bit of plunging with the curve. I would suggest you play with the paper for a bit and your adult model to find the best line to compliment the bosom ;)

All that is left to do is the cut away the smaller shoulder bit above the curve and your pattern modification is complete.(Or don't add seam allowances if you already have them.)

When sewing your cross top you can secure the two pieces together in the side seam, as I did (I also shortened the under piece of the cross to reduce the bulk). Or, add ties to the sides to keep it closed (nice with the woven material, and with younger children and babies where not having to pull a shirt on over the head is desirable. Or you can add a longer ties on both sides and make it into a wrap tee. Have fun!

This is a free tutorial and I encourage you to use the information in any way you need to (check the disclaimer at the bottom of the page). If it works for you, please consider supporting my etsy shop by purchasing a Little Print Design pattern or toss a dollar or two in my paypal to show appreciation and to encourage me to offer up even more quality patterns and tutorials.

Thank you!
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  1. I have been wondering how to make one of these Great post ~Thanks:-)

  2. CUTE!! I've got some pink knit that's been dying to become a cross top. Thanks!

  3. Great tutorial!! This is also one of my favorite modifications to make. I posted a link to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing Blog: http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-design-a-kids-cross-top/2009/05/13/

  4. Oh Vegbee.....
    I love your tutorials so much. I cant get enough. They inspire me to sew and love it cause you make it all so simple and clear. Thankyou so much.xx

  5. I JUST found your site from craft gossip and I will be back here many more times! I'm so excited to learn how to make all these fun things. I will be linking to many so I can keep track of what I LOVE and what I want to make. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and skill with the world. I am linking to this one!

  6. Great idea, and your tutorial is very clear and easy to follow.

  7. Whooooaa... Smootchie's on my Yahoo home page! Nice!

  8. Brynne,
    I don't use yahoo - how'd you do that?

  9. This is awesome, thanks so much for sharing! I'll be linking.

  10. I love this, as I do all your tutes- Thank you!
    I've put it up on our forum- Craftymamas, I hope that's ok.

  11. I love this! Just what I have been looking for, and not only do you once again help me with ideas. You make it look so easy. I didn't do much with sewing before I found your page, since patterns always made it too confusing for me. Now I check your blog all the time, and I get lots of compliments for the things I have made!! Thank you.

  12. Been checking out your site. Great tutes! Have to laugh, we have that same striped sleeper cap - that still fits bigger noggins!

  13. Wow! This is a great tutorial. Thank you for sharing.