September 07, 2022
It’s time to start sewing up the Sylvie sewing pattern! Today the sew-along will focus on sewing up the sleeveless view of the Sylvie knit top with the round neckline. We’ll go through the construction and I’ll share my process sewing up my sleeveless Sylvie in this blue bamboo-cotton jersey.
If you haven’t got your Sylvie top yet, head HERE to snap her up! And check out part one of the sew-along here.
After your pieces are all cut out, transfer all pattern markings. I like to snip my notches and use either chalk or iron-off pen for the rest of the markings. Additionally, if your fabric is like mine, where it may be hard to tell which side is which, you can use chalk, washi tape or stickers to mark the wrong side of the fabric. I went for some whimsical butterflies. You can often tell the right side of most knits by the small rows of tiny V’s.
Next, I added thin strips of knit interfacing to the back shoulders. You can use non-stretch interfacing, or even light cotton tape for the shoulders depending on the weight of your fabric. This knit interfacing was perfect for my light weight, slinky jersey knit.
I also added strips to all of the edges that would get flipped and hemmed. For the shoulder edges, I cut the interfacing 1 cm (⅜ in) wide to match the hem allowance. I cut 2 cm (¾ in) wide strips to go around the bottom edge. This is optional, but I’ve found it to be really helpful for sewing a smooth hem.
While I’m here at my iron, I like to jump ahead of the instructions a little to prep my bands and hems. For the bands, simply fold the two armbands and the neckband in half lengthwise and give it a good press.
I always thank myself later for pre-pressing my hems up while everything is flat. It’s faster and easier than pressing in the round when everything is sewn up.
If you pre-pressed your hem, unfold it and line up the sides of the bodice at the top, bottom and waist notch. Pin and sew with the right sides together. Press the seam allowance towards the back on both sides.
Because my fabric liked to curl, I found my seam allowances were getting quite bulky. To save myself future annoyance and potential discomfort, I trimmed all the seam allowances to about 6 mm (¼ in). It’s likely not necessary on many fabrics (or if you’re using an overlocker), but I’m really glad I took that extra step because my top has washed and worn beautifully without the extra bulk of a curled-up seam allowance.
Next, grab your pressed and folded armbands. Working from the outside of the bodice, match the front and center notches, and pin in place. Depending on the stretch of your fabric, you may need to stretch the band to get it evenly distributed. Pin and stitch, sewing through all three layers.
Bringing the band upwards, turn the seam allowance to the inside and gently press.
Here my seam allowance was fighting to roll to the outside. To smooth it out, I topstitched the seam allowance and trimmed it down on the inside. For my finicky fabric this extra step made a huge difference to make it look cleaner and more polished, but it may not be necessary for all fabrics. I used a zigzag stitch, but a twin needle or coverstitch would work wonderfully as well.
If you pre-pressed the edge, unfold it. Pin the front and back yokes together at the shoulders with the right sides together. While we reinforced the shoulders with interfacing, I like to be extra careful to not stretch the shoulders by being mindful of directional sewing. I begin stitching at the outside of the shoulder and sew in towards the neckline, and repeat on the other side.
Press the seam toward the back and trim if necessary.
Open the yoke so it’s lying on the right side. Refold or press the outside edge in by 1 cm (⅜ in). Working from the outside, hem the edge using a zigzag stitch, twin needle or coverstitch.
Set your yoke aside for a moment and take your bodice. Press (or refold if you pre-pressed) the bottom edge by 2 cm (¾ in) towards the wrong side. Hem the edge with your preferred finishing stretch stitch.
If you haven’t already, fold the neckband lengthwise and press. Next open the fold and match the short edges with the right sides together. Stitch to create a loop and press the seam allowance open.
Working from the right side of the yoke, match the neckband seam to the right shoulder (as you’d wear it) as well as the notches at the center front, center back and left shoulder. Pin in place.
Depending on the stretch of your fabric, you may want to add more pins to make sure your neckband is evenly distributed. I’ve found I like using 8 pins for sewing a round neckline. Once my four main pins are placed, I find the midpoint of both the band and the neckline between each pin.
Once everything is pinned, sew through all three layers, gently stretching the neckband to fit the neckline. Ideally you’ll only stretch the neckband to fit and not pull too much on the garment itself. I like to sew with the neckband on top so I can better control the stretch of the neckband.
Once the neckband is inserted, turn the band up and the seam allowance to the inside. Gently press the seam allowance down toward the body of the garment. Optionally, you can topstitch seam allowance down. In my case it was really helpful to keep that seam allowance from rolling up. Just like on the armband, I used a zigzag stitch right under the seam.
I love when the last step in a pattern brings it all together. I feel like it’s extra triumphant finishing a project by seaming up two completed parts.
First off, if you haven’t already, draw your 1 cm seam allowance at the front V of the bodice. Then snip right into that center V but not all the way through that marked seam allowance.
Since sewing the front yoke with the V requires a little more care, I chose to tackle it first.
There are a couple ways to bring the yoke and bodice together. One way is to slip the bodice through the neck hole of the yoke with the bodice right side out and the yoke inside out - like how you’d attach a skirt and bodice together. From here you can stitch the back yoke and bodice together.
To break it down into smaller bits, I chose to lay the bodice face-up and begin pinning at the center Vs and work outward.
Starting at the center with the body face up and the yoke underneath, carefully stitch along the marked seam allowance about 5 cm (2 inches) on either side of the V. Pivot at the corner, being careful to keep your fabric layers flat. If you encounter any puckering, you most likely need to realign and clip in closer to the seam allowance. Once you’re satisfied with the center, stitch the rest of the seam on the side.
It’s worth noting that even if you’re primarily using an overlocker, this step is easiest on a sewing machine. If you prefer to do it on an overlocker, I found it best to make your clip extra wide and start at the center and stitch outward on both sides, rather than trying to pivot at the sharp corner. Don’t forget to weave in or tie off the ends at the center.
To stitch up the back, I turned everything inside out, matched the notches and stitched the bodice and yoke together with the right sides together.
Press the yoke seams down towards the hem. Optionally, you can secure the seam allowance by stitching in the ditch of the underarm band, or do a quick catch stitch by hand.
Give your Sylvie a final press and you’re done!
Ta-da! Here’s how mine turned out! I’ve paired it here with my Ella skirt, but I’ve found this sleeveless version to be a wardrobe staple that I reach for weekly!
Next time, we’ll be finishing up the Sylvie sew-along with a step by step stitch-up of the flutter sleeved Sylvie with the feature cowl neck. Hope you’ll tune in!
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