The second half of the Cover-Me-Pretty Cami Tutorial (Part One Here)
7.Applying Binding to front neck edge.
With Sewing Machine: Set your machine to a wider zig-zag stitch now – 1/4 to 3/8in. wide, with, again, about 10 stitch per inch. With right side of fabric up, sandwich the front neck edge of the cami with the prepared short piece of binding. Starting at the left edge of the neck, sew a few stitches to tack things in place.
Now you must stretch the binding, but not the cami neck edge, as you top-stitch right along the edge of the binding. If you apply the binding without stretching it, you will have a wavy, stretched out neck edge. Stretching the binding allows the neck edge to retain it’s form after you’ve sewn it. If you stretch too much, you may end up with your neck edge puckering a bit into the binding, as you see in the bottom right shot of the above collage. Just go at it slowly, and adjust how much you tug on the binding until you get the desired effect.
Don’t let all this detail and instruction scare you – it’s really quite a simple technique and you will be tickled by how well it works! Make sure you are catching the underside of the binding in your zig-zag stitch – you shouldn’t have to worry about this, thanks to the ironing you did in step 6.
With Serger: Directions are the same as for sewing machine. You will be sewing directly over your serger-finished binding edge, as shown.
8. Applying rest of binding and straps.
For Sewing Machine: Take your long piece of binding and fold it in half to find the middle. Pin this middle to the middle of the back of your cami. Starting at the center back, you will sew first one side, then the other. As you reach the the front neck edge, continue zig-zag stitching the binding, but stop stretching it once you pass the neck edge. Continue down to the end of the binding – this is your strap.
Now flip your tank and do the other side, starting from the center of the back and working toward the other neck edge. You still want the right side of your fabric to face up – so you’ll be sewing this seam kinda left-handed style. Just take it slow, and don’t forget to stretch the binding as you go.
For Serger: Same as above. When you reach the end of the neck edge, you can fold the strap essentially in thirds so that the bottom serged edge is hidden under the top.
Don’t worry if your strap looks a little rough – remember this is a layering cami, and the straps will usually be hidden by the outer layers of your outfit, just as your bra strap should be!
9. Finishing Straps.
Now you get to try on your tank (if you haven’t already!☺) Pull it on and adjust it to where you want the neck edge, and to where the under-arm edge feels comfortable. Then pull your strap over your shoulder and pin it in place, snug enough so it won’t slip off your shoulder, but not so tight that it tugs the cami into your armpits. It is nice to have a friend help with this part, but it can be done solo with a mirror and a double-jointed elbow. ☺ Extra points if you can take a picture of yourself doing it!
With that same zig-zag stitch, tack your strap in place by stitching up and down a few times, right on top of the binding.
And – you’re done!
If you began with yardage, rather than a thrifted t-shirt, you can serge the bottom edge of your cami to finish the hem. Then put it on and have fun making new outfits and combinations!
This is my first sewing-with-stretch tutorial – I really hope I made it clear enough! If you have any questions or comments, be sure to contact me and I’ll do my best to answer them and amend the tutorial as needed.
If you are interested in sewing more custom-made clothing, or learning more about sewing with stretch, I highly recommend these two books –
This layering tank is one of my secret weapons in the effort to embrace beauty in the season of motherhood. For more inspiration and encouragement along with a good dose of humor, check out my book, Embracing Beauty: Practical Style for Every Shape and Season of Motherhood.
noele wimmer says
hi trina you said something about two books to learn about sewing with stretch but they didnt say what they were after your recomended sentance could you please tell us again what the two books were.? thank you noele
Hi, Noele! I mention both books with full reviews in this post detailing my journey learning to sew with knits – http://trinaholden.com/2010/06/stretching-journey/
Thanks for the great tutorial. I love how you gave us instructions for using our serger too! Any ideas on how to make it a nursing tank?? Thanks again.
Hey, Jamie! My best guess is to take a favorite nursing tank and use it as a pattern, following the construction principles of the basic tank. I don’t use nursing tanks, so I can’t help much more than that 🙂
Thank you so, so, SO MUCH!! It is impossible to find modest layering camis where I live and I worry about sizing when I buy online so this is perfect for me!
Hi, Krista! If you want a maternity tank then start with one as a pattern. If you don't have one lying around, just add a few inches in length and width to your favorite cami to make your pattern!
did you start with a maternity tank? or how do you adapt a normal one to be a maternity tank? love the tutorial!
Sewing Mama of Six says
dawn @ tractors & tire swings says
Thanks for such an awesome tutorial! I can't wait to try it!
I also have trouble finding decent camis due to a larger chest…will definitely try your tutorial.
hi.. just dropping by here… have a nice day! http://kantahanan.blogspot.com/
Those are beautiful. (And you look fabulous!)
Matt,Shell,and lil' Benjamin. says
I am sooooooooooo impressed… can I come spend a week and just learn under you ???
Great tutorial! Thanks! I will be attempting this after my current project of cloth diapers!
…thinking about the pile of t-shirts in my sewing room that are supposed to be turned into kids' clothing and diapers…yeah I think I can spare a shirt or two to try this out 🙂