Sewing with leftover fabric: sleeveless top

What do you make when you have leftover fabric? As I mentioned I’m trying to reduce my fabric stash and while I figure out a way to avoid leftovers for new projects, I still have fabric that I’d like to use up leftover from older projects. This month I focused on using up a couple of remnants to make sleeveless tops. My idea was to try some designs that would have been more interesting than simple tank tops. My plan worked out (barely :D) and I was able to make two tops for spring-summer.

Polka dot blouse

Polka dot blouse inspiration

I had some viscose navy polka dot fabric (32” long plus one long edge, by 58” wide), that I thought could work well as a sleeveless pussybow blouse. I used the free Onella pattern from Mood fabrics, finishing the sleeve edge with bias binding.

This was my first time using Mood’s free pattern, so I did some research before cutting and I found Billie’s youtube channel very helpful. She made several version of this blouse, and also hacked it into a dress. Following her recommendation I sized down quite a bit. The pattern put me in a size 8 (bust), 12 (waist and hips), but I actually made a size 4/6 and it fits perfectly and comfortably.

I made a couple of changes to the pattern. First I cut the front pieces on the fold, removing the button placket. I simply didn’t have enough fabric to add the button placket (see picture below), and honestly it gets hidden by the bow anyway. The wide V neck allows to put it on without issues. Second, I removed the sleeves closing the armhole with bias binding. I also slightly reduced the width of the bow piece (3/8” each size).

I’m happy that I managed to use up all the fabric that I had and the result is a fancy version of a tank top, here worn with my red Tatjana trousers.

Denim shirt

The second remnant that I had was some 8 oz denim leftover from a dungaree that I made last autumn (pictures on my Instagram). I only had 2/3 yard (56” wide), and I decided to make a sleeveless shirt using the Saraste top from the book Breaking the pattern (Named patterns).

Denim Saraste top inspiration

This top has princess seams, an A line shape and ruffles. I knew that I wanted to narrow the overall width of the top, since my denim was quite structured, so I used some pattern pieces from the Saraste shirt which has a more fitted look. I also cut just one layer of fabric for the ruffles and finished the raw edge with the rolled hem option on my serger. Based on my measures I made a size 3 and it fitted nicely. After having finished it I decided to take out another 3/4″ on each side, and I could probably take out a little bit more below the waist.

If you have the book for reference I cut out pieces: 7A x2, 7B x2, 7F on the fold, 7N x4 (I traced only half of the width, and reduced the width of the ruffles further by 5/8”), 7G x2 changing the side edge (connected to piece 7B) by copying the one of piece 7E (see picture below), 7L x 1.

By doing these edits I was barely able to fit the shirt on my fabric, cutting 7Nx2 against the grain. I finished the armholes and the hem of the shirt with bias binding, and I used the same cotton for the inner collar piece.

And here’s the result! I’m pleasantly surprised by it. It’s my first top with so many ruffles, and I used this project as a test to see if I’d have liked the fit. Here I’m wearing it with white skinny jeans (Dawn Jeans, Megan Nielsen).


These were supposed to be low cost projects, $0 considering that the fabric was from leftovers, so this estimate is just an indication:

  • polka dot top: pattern free, fabric $12 (that’s the cost of one yard, with one yard the neck tie would be shorter)
  • denim top: pattern free if you have the book, fabric $7 (if you can buy 2/3 yard), buttons from my grandma’s stash.

3 thoughts on “Sewing with leftover fabric: sleeveless top

  1. Love both of these tops! Especially how you’ve altered the patterns to suit your fabric and the yardage. I have a Burda pattern that’s a go-to if I have under a metre, but I love getting new ideas for those stubborn remnants!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’m trying to find new ideas for such small yardage. My go-to until now was the Calcium camisole (Ivanne S), but I was a little bit bored by only having that option in mind. It’s actually quite fun to find alternative ways of puzzling patterns!

      Liked by 1 person

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