about me

Party Top Tutorial.

6 piece bustier top
Hi there stitchers,
It’s been a while since my last post, but all for good reasons. I have been hard at work setting up my studio!!!! It has been quite difficult working from home; as a devout sewist you will identify with my plight; fabric everywhere, pins all over the house and the sewing equipment’s over spilling their allocated boundaries, oh and not forgetting a patient husband smiling his encouragement through gritted teeth lol. The move out of home was due and very welcomed.

Ok so Christmas is nearly here and I must warn you, I am one of those people who get very merry. I absolutely LOVE Christmas much to the annoyance of everyone around me. With this in mind (the fact that Christmas is around the corner), I decided to do a workshop for a Christmas party dress, there were a few options but the winner was the velvet wrap dress I made on the sewing bee. So before I move on to today’s tutorial, here is a quick breakdown; there are 2 dates available, one in October and one in November, the workshops are 2 days long, both days starting at 10am and finishing at 4pm for more information on what you will need and to book a place, click https://www.kazoova.com/activity/544/ Spaces are selling fast so get in there!!!

Right!! The top I’m showing you how to make today is super sexy and you can embellish it however you choose, I have gone with a black lace and red theme for added va va voom.

You will need:
• Fabric (something stiff 60” by 60” wide)
• Zip
• Steam Iron
• Scissors
• Chalk
• Ruler
Measurements needed (please work in inches):
• Bust
• Underbust
• Waist
• Shoulder to Overbust
• Shoulder to Underbust
• Shoulder to Waist
• Shoulder to Hem

You will need to do some maths, label these measurements as:
• Shoulder to hem – Shoulder to underbust = Blouse length
• 9 inches – Shoulder to overbust = Bust line
• Shoulder to underbust – shoulder to overbust = Underbust line
• Shoulder to waist – shoulder to overbust = Waist line
These are all vertical measurements (our vertical measurements are used as reference marks along which we mark our horizontal measurements)
1. Fold your fabric in half, right side facing in, and press (TIP: always press after every fold). From the top edge measure and mark the blouse length+1.5”, mark in intervals to enable you to draw a straight line across the fabric, cut along this line and set the longer piece of fabric aside.


Fold 1″ of the open edge in towards the folded edge and press; these two opposite ends are now your centre front and centre back, the top is your top seam and the bottom, your hem.

2. Bring the centre front over to line up with the centre back and press

3. From your centre front and back fold, along the top seam measure and mark 4.5”. From the top seam (working vertically) mark the waist line. From the centre front and back fold, along the waist line, mark 4”, along the hem, from the centre folds, mark 6”.


Join these marks with a straight line and cut along the line

4. Take the fabric you put aside, fold it in half again so that you have four layers of fabric. You will now use your centre front panel as a template to cut out your 4 side panels. Lay your centre on the folded fabric and cut around the cut edges only.


Flip the centre front panel so that it mirrors the cut you just made, pull it one inch towards the edge you just cut and cut around the cut edge again,


(these 4 panels you just cut will be slightly smaller than the unfolded centre panel. It will now look like this:


5. Sew one of the side panels to each side of the centre panels, press only the sewn seams (do not press out the centre front or back folds.


Now you have one front piece made up of 3 panels and 2 back seams made up of 4 panels. Back in their centre folds, lay your front piece on top of the back piece.

6. from the centre folds from the top seam, measure down 2-4″ and mark (this is for the sweetheart dip so make it as low or as high as you like). from that mark, draw a line that slopes up towards the joining panels at the top seam. From the top seam measure down the bust line (this is a reference mark) along this mark, divide your bust measurement by 4 + 2″ and mark, from the mark you just made draw a straight line 2″ long towards the centre fold. Connect the end of this line and the panel joining along the top seam with a diagonal line, it should now look like this along the top


7. With the head of your tape lined up with your top seam, mark your underbust line and your waist line; these are reference marks (remember the maths you did earlier, this is what I am referring to)
8. You will now mark your horizontal measurements along these vertical marks you just made, always remember that you are measuring from the centre folds. Quarter your, underbust and waist measurements, add 2 inches to each of these and mark this along the corresponding reference mark, join these marks with straight lines and from the waist mark slant your line to the corner of the hem. Cut around your lines through all layer (but when cutting along the sweetheart line, only cut the front layer)


* notice I have drawn a different neckline for the back. I have made it much lower, you can also make it straight along the bustline in the back.


9. Follow the darting steps in my Shirt Challenge Post (http://chinelobally.com/2014/02/26/the-shirt-challenge-my-giant-bow-boob-tube-tutorial/)

When you have sewn your darts. Place your pieces on fabric folded in the same was in the centre. Use your pieces as templates to create facings for your top.


Interface your facing pieces and sew them to the matching section of your top.


Turn your facings out, top stitch the seam excess to the facing and press


Insert your zip into the back (I have use an invisible zip)


Lay the front of the top on top of the back matching the centre waist lines. you will now pin the sine seams ready for sewing, ensure that the pieces are completely flat at waist and bust level, this will mean that the side seams to match up but this is fine.

divide your bust measurement by 4 and mark this along the bust line from the centre of the top, like the picture below. so this for the underbust and waist also


Join your marks with a line, this will be the line you sew along.


Copy this seam allowance to the other side and sew your top together


Here is my finished product!!! I have embellished the neckline with some trimmings from scraps of black guipure lace I had left over from another project

As always I would really love to see your attempt at this. Please send me any questions you may have and I will endeavour to reply as soon as I can

lots of love




Welcome To My Blog

welcome to my blog pic

Hello Everyone,

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. This first post is just to tell you a little bit about myself and my journey into sewing.

I have never written a blog, this is my first time so apologies in advance for any strange acts :). Ok back to the matter, my name is Chinelo Bally, I am 20 something, I was born in Nigeria but I have lived in the England since I was 8 years old so the two cultural backgrounds have played a major role in shaping my sense of style and who I am today, as my belief in God has also done. I am a Media and Creative Industries graduate from the University of East London, I loved my time there mainly because of the diversity of students and staff background, it really gave the learning experience a richness and I have made friends  from all walks of life. I am the second of four children (one sister;who steals all my clothes-more on her in the future, and two brothers). I got married to the most wonderful man (most of the times) 4.5 years ago, no kiddies yet. He is my biggest fan and my worst critic, forever pushing me to do better, thank you baby xxx. With the great encouragement from him and my fabulous family and friends over the past two years, I have been able to acquire and grow my sewing skills and pursue my dream of being a fashion designer and owning my own clothing brand; the launch of which will be announced on this blog. So here is my little thank you to all the ladies in my life who wore, with pride (I think *covers face*), the garments I made for them in the very beginnings of my sewing journey, even though the fits were hardly spot on, you offered me your different shaped bodies as my mannequins so I could learn how to cut and sew for all body shapes and I am truly grateful.

Right! how I got into sewing. I have always been quite passionate about fashion, I love clothes and I love to look good. before learning how to make my own clothes I always found it very hard to find tops that I loved, you know the kinds that you look at and think WOW! I would try on a top in a shop and think, if only this was like this or if only this bit had that on it it would be perfect so after many years of thinking like that, I would buy two tops, cut them up and take it to the tailor to create what I actually wanted, I’d do sketches of tops and dresses that I wanted, get some fabric and take it to my tailor. Everyone would always ask me where I got my clothes from; this planted the seeds of getting into designing and creating my own clothes. Determined to learn how to sew, I got my first sewing machine from a second hand store in Grays, Essex. This old Singer sat idol in my house for three months after my first attempt at (clueless) freehand cutting of a top failed woefully.  I decided that I wanted to learn to sew, but not the conventional way; no offence to all the people out there who use patterns for their sewing projects, but I really found them quite restrictive, and I wanted everything i made to be totally original to me, plus I knew that my tailor never used pattern and on the odd occasions that I caught her whilst she was cutting, I found the craft immensely fascinating, on that note I called her up and begged her to teach me and she was happy to let me come and watch her work. The spark was lit and I have fallen in love with dressmaking ever since. I have made my entire wardrobe (bar jeans, vest tops and jumpers) for the past two years, I have turned my passion into a business, making bespoke clothes for several customers who love my style.

This blog aims to teach you guys who share my passion of sewing, a completely unique way of dressmaking; freehand cutting. hopefully you will learn how to cut without using a pattern and make clothes for yourself that hardly ever need an extensive fitting out process, because it should just fit once it is made.

I’m sure that if you are reading this blog,  you must have an interest in sewing and making clothes for yourself and maybe even others, so in that sense we are like minded. I really want you guys to get involved, I would really appreciate all your comments and suggestions as I upload step-by-step projects. I would love to know what you will like to see me make, your suggestions on making the blog better and more beneficial to you and I will also appreciate your criticism (be kind 🙂 pls).

I hope you enjoy my blog and become a faithful viewer

Have a blessed day