Sewing a 90s Cami Top

Sewing a Cami Top

It's time for the next Sew Essential vlog instalment and I thought it would be nice to share a video of me sewing one of my recent makes and one of my #makenine - a lovely simple 90s Simplicty 1366 cami top.



We'll fast forward through any boring bits such as the cutting out or pinning the pattern, but we've slowed the video down to real time for any tips or tricks that I think you might find interesting. I chose a nice simple cami top (Simplicity 1366 view C) and made it in our gorgeous Mystique satin backed crepe. This is a John Kaldor fabric, which comes in a range of colours and I chose the fuschia option to go with my Simplicity 2154 pencil skirt in John Kaldor Ohio fabric. As you would expect these fabrics are beautiful quality. I hope you enjoy watching, I'm going to start now by cutting the pattern out.

The next step is to pin my pattern pieces to the fabric and cut the fabric. I've pressed the pattern pieces with a hot, dry iron and have washed and pressed the fabric. I've folded the fabric with the selvedges together and I'm using my scissors to cut it out. Some people might choose to use a rotary cutter and cutting board for a slippery fabric such as this, but I've always been taught to use scissors and prefer this method. The fabric needs to be cut on the bias so I need to make sure straight of grain (marked on the pattern pieces) runs parallel with selvages and pattern pieces will be at an angle on the fabric. Off I go onto the next stage.

After I cut the fabric out I used an iron on interfacing on the facings and marked any dots on the fabric pieces with tailors tacks so I can see where to attach the straps etc. I set my sewing machine up with my walking foot, which I'm using because I'm working with a slippery fabric. The walking foot will feed the fabric through evenly rather than the two layers feeding through at different rates, which can happen with slippery or stretch fabrics. I've set my overlocker up for a three thread overlock and tested the differential feed on some scraps of fabric to make sure I was happy with the results. I'm going to stay stitch the neckline, sew the side seams and finish them using my overlocker and then I'm going to make the straps and will share a cool tip with you on making these.

So here is my great trick for making the straps on an overlocker. Set the machine up for a three thread overlock and run a long chain of stitches longer than the strap. Position the chain of stitches down the centre of the strap and fold the fabric right sides together lining up the raw edges. You want the chain of stitches to be running down the fold of the fabric and away from the raw edge of the fabric.

My pattern says to do a 3/8" seam so I'm lining it up with the relevant marking on my overlocker, then I'm going to lift the foot of my overlocker and position the fabric correctly using the marking I mentioned earlier. I'm going to take it nice and steady and keep repositioning the chain of stitches to make sure they are down the fold of the fabric and the raw edges of the fabric remain in line with 3/8" seam marker.

It is important to make sure the stitches stay in the centre of the fold - you don't want them to get caught in the stitching line because you won't be able to use them to turn the strap through later. So once you've sewn to the end of the strap the clever bit comes in - gently pull the chain of stitches and use a bamboo knitting needle or awl to start poking the fabric into the tunnel you've created at the other end of the strap. Make sure you pull the chain of stitches gently, if you pull too hard and break it you won't be able to use it to turn the strap through. Keep pulling the chain of stitches and poking the fabric through and eventually the strap will be turned through the correct way. Here is my finished strap for my cami top.

I now have two finished straps and need to attach these to my top using the markings I made with tailors tacks for positioning and line them up with the raw edges of the top. I'm going to baste them to the right side of the top at the front, stitch the side seams of the facings together, press them open and finish them.

The next step is to attach the facing to the top so I'm going to pin it in place matching the little dots, the notches and the side seams. Then I'll stitch a 5/8" seam around the neckline and armholes catching the straps at the front in my stitching line but I will leave a 3/4" gap at the back to insert the other ends of the straps later. Once I've stitched the facing in place I will need to trim the seam allowances down and clip any curved seams. I'll turn the facing to the inside then press it, insert the other ends of the straps into the gaps I left then turn the facing back to the outside and stitch the straps in place. Finally I'll trim the corner of the top at the back, press the facing away from the top and will understitch it for a professional finish. Now we're on to the last step which is nice and simple - the hem. I will sew a narrow hem as suggested by the pattern pressing the hem up 5/8" then pressing it up again to meet the fold then one last good press and the top should be ready to wear.

The top is looking good now, we're almost finished and are at the final stage which is sewing the hem. I originally said I would sew a narrow hem pressing the hem up 5/8" and then pressing it up again to meet the fold, but when I spoke to Angela we thought this method would be adding unnecessary bulk. Angela suggested an alternative, which was to three thread overlock the raw edge of the fabric, press it up and stitch it in place to give a nice narrow hem without the bulk so this is what i'm going to do.

I'm pleased to bring you the finished simplicity cami top. I'm really pleased with it and can't recommend this pattern highly enough, it was dead quick and simple to make and you could easily whip it up in an evening (it took me longer because filmed it every step of the way). I would really highly recommend it, it is a great wardrobe staple, I know I will be wearing it loads this spring and summer and it is right on trend with the current 90s trend.

One of my favourite features is the hem finish - I followed Angela's advice and rather than sewing a narrow hem by pressing the fabric up and up again I three thread overlocked the raw edge of the fabric, pressed it up and stitched it in place. I will show photos of the hem on the blog post and I'll put the link to blog below so you can follow it and read the relevant post when I add it, it is a nice delicate finish for a top like this.

The fabric is gorgeous with the satin on the wrong side, which feels lovely against my skin. It drapes and hangs nicely and is much better quality than anything I could get on the High Street for a similar or reasonable price. Next time I make it one thing I will watch out for is to make sure the straps are the same width all the way along. I think the straps are slightly wider at the back and this is because I veered off slightly at the end, but that's ok I can live with that!

I hope you enjoyed this video and please like and subscribe if you did so you can stay tuned. In my next vlog I'm very excited to be bringing you a fabric haul, we've done a lot of fabric shopping recently and I have some great things to share with you so stay tuned for that.

Have fun sewing!


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