DIY, Sewing

DIY // Adding Side Panels and Width to a Crop Top


I’m an incredibly lazy shopper. I don’t like loitering around pointlessly in malls looking at clothes I can’t afford, I hate queuing for the changing room, and I feel stressed when making others wait for me when I shop in a group. (Yet I feel stressed making decisions without a second opinion!!! Anyone else have this infuriating problem?) It’s not surprising that I do most of my shopping online instead – ASOS, Zalora, blogshops – my own virtual shopping heaven from the comfort of my bed.

The one bad (and pretty major) thing about buying clothes that you haven’t tried on is that all too often the fit is a little off. As a result of this I have a whole cupboard full of clothing that I’ve been meaning to refashion or resize. In particular is this ADORABLE little gold and white striped crop top from A for Arcade which I scored on sale:


I envisioned it paired with pencil skirts and denim high waisted skinnies, but was disappointed when I received my order and found it way too small around the waist – I couldn’t even button it up! (it’s telling that it fit round my bust but not my waist #workouttime #smallbustwoes )

I looked around for an online tutorial on how to add width to crop tops but came up empty, so I did a bit of freestyle fiddling and this was the result:


Pretty good for a beginner attempt I think! Keep on reading to see how I did it-


Materials and tools needed:

A crop top to resize

Unpicker & Scissors

Fabric for the side panels and matching thread (I used white bamboo knit, it’s slightly lighter than double knit but a whole lot more stable than jersey)

Sewing machine

Pinking shears (or an overlocker if you have one!)



1. Pick apart the side seams of the crop top.


2. Cut a piece of fabric as tall as the height of your crop top plus seam allowances (I used 1 inch) and as wide as you estimate you will need to extend one side by. (I estimated the width needed and just snipped off the excess after!)

3. With right sides together, sew the fabric to your crop top along the side seam. Because I was using a knit, I used a tight zig-zag stitch.

4. Hem the top of your fabric to match the height of your crop top.

5. Put on the crop top and facing a mirror (or enlisting the help of a significant other / sewing buddy) pin out the excess fabric along the side seam. Do the same on the other side.

Because my crop top had darts in the front already, this was a matter of just pinching out the excess along the contour of my body and pinning it.

At this point, take off the crop top and check that it looks like this:


Also check that the side panels on either side are roughly equal (mine are off by about a cm but it’s not very noticeable!)


6. Stitch up the side seams right sides together, using a zig-zag stitch if you’re using a stretchy fabric.

7. Hem the bottom of the side panel to match the rest of the bottom hem of the crop top.



8. Finish the seams any way you like – I pinked mine because I figured the knit wouldn’t fray much.

9. And don’t forget to press your seams! Mine looked awful till I did.

Voila! You’re done! Your formerly too-small-to-breathe-in crop top now fits perfectly.

And you guys I’m so in love with mine. I’m already planning all the outfits I can wear it with! (Sadly there is a dearth of high-waisted fitted skirts in my closet – I will have to rectify that ASAP!)




Anybody else have suggestions on how to resize too-tight tops? (ooh checkout my alliteration)

Pattern Hack, Sewing

Pattern Hacking // By Hand London Sabrina Dress Crop Top

Sabrina Crop Top wide

Given my choice of career that has me spending 9 hours a day behind a desk in a (rather formal) office, you would think that my closet included more business-friendly attire – it doesn’t. My dress rack is full of prints and lace, skirts that toe the line between casual and business and t-shirts. Lots and lots of t-shirts.

Enter the Sabrina Dress. By Hand London’s new offering is a modest, princess seam dress targeted at beginners that (hallelujah!) is of a completely work appropriate length and style. My wearable muslin is also mighty comfortable but I have yet to experience what an actual make will be like.

I did make up a muslin of this dress but sadly it was too long in the bodice and wide on the sides (I lopped it all off but am now wondering if I should have done an SBA instead…) so I made the necessary alterations to it and sadly, it looks nothing like the dress is supposed to look anymore. It is wearable though! And I absolutely love it. Still, I think I’ll wait for the Sabrina sew-along to start proper before I give the dress another go…

In the meantime, spurred on by the ongoing #PatternHackathon, I hacked myself a nifty Sabrina crop top instead!




I love the boat neck collar and that it’s not overly tight (though it does pull a little, I haven’t figured that bit out yet) plus this top gets major love for being completely work appropriate with a high-waisted pencil skirt! I also put in a slightly curved hemline to mimic the (inverse?) dip hem that’s been so popular on crop tops recently. Oh and I totally intended to put in that peek-a-boo slit at the back… or maybe the only zipper I had on hand was a couple of inches too short… you will never know 😉

I was so enamoured by the top when I first made it that I put it to the ultimate comfort test – taking my crazed dog for a walk. If I could walk my dog in that top and it didn’t fall apart, then I could do anything! Pigs could fly, spiders could tap dance!





I’m glad to say it passed the test. Naturally, we celebrated with cake and coffee.


I’m looking forward to making more of these beauties, maybe the next one in double knit? I’m pretty sure it will be a closet staple for quite some time to come. Have any of you guys tried the Sabrina dress pattern? Any tips on getting it to fit right?

Costumes, DIY

DIY // Disneyland Outfit – Minnie Mouse Costume

DIY Minnie_Fotor

Halloween is here again, so what better time to put out this DIY costume tutorial? We don’t have the practice of trick-or-treating on this side of the globe, but luckily I had this baby in my arsenal from my recent trip to Disneyland Paris! (Clearly being over the age of 12 has never stopped me from exploiting any excuse to whip up an embarrassing costume.)

Some of you guys MAY have seen this tutorial on an old blog of mine, but I thought I would take the chance to repost it with new photos for my inaugural post on JessSewFabulous.

Read on for my outfit details and more photos after the jump!


When brainstorming for my Disneyland Paris outfit, my concerns were: level of difficulty, suitability for running after characters and taking rides and not looking like an overzealous adult who refuses to acknowledge that a ballgown at the park just isn’t tasteful when you’re above the age of 5. I ended up with this:



A black crop top with a short elastic waistband circle skirt (using Dana’s tutorial) in a Minnie-esque polka dot print. I realise that the polka dots are a little too small to be considered “true Minnie” style, but I was hoping to make something that could be re-worn under more normal circumstances. I topped it off a pair of clip-on Mickey Mouse ears that I bought on a previous visit to Disneyland Tokyo and I was all set! Or so I thought…



What I didn’t plan for, was rain. And we had a LOT of it… 3 whole days of non-stop rain, to be precise. It was also cold – so cold that I actually bought an emergency pair of black leggings at Carrefour to tide me over the next 3 days. This was the result:


Black leggings, Minnie skirt and a trusty waterproof jacket. In a bid to amp up the Minnie-ness of my outfit, I included a Brigitte headscarf made using the same fabric as my circle skirt and the Tilly and the Buttons tutorial. I snapped the ears onto the headband and voila! A one of a kind Minnie headscarf that was functional and fashionable – it didn’t fall off even on the more violent rides.

And you guys, this get up may have been my best outfit choice of the YEAR.


I got SO MANY compliments from park staff and from actual characters themselves, including Minnie (via hand signals of course) and both Wendy and Peter Pan *squeals*. (Peter also opined that it looked rather like Smee’s and naturally, wanted to stab me in case I was a pirate. Luckily Wendy managed to disavow him of that notion)





I also added in a couple of tiny details, like this Disney Princess charm bracelet that I bought from Etsy and this portrait bracelet that E picked up at St George’s Market in Belfast.


If you’re a fellow disney fan and you’re visiting one of their parks soon, I highly highly recommend you take the time put together your own unique outfit. If you’re lucky you could get extended interaction time with the characters, plus the satisfaction of being called “Minnie” all day is pretty hard to beat.