Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Sewing tutorial: Sew a 90 minute beach cover up

(Warning: Lengthy post with many photos follows)

Ditch the t-shirt this summer in favor of a bit of glamour with this oversized beach cover-up.

The inspiration for this cover up came from a Neiman Marcus mailing. When I saw this black polyester caftan my first thought was “oh, how cute” followed by “I can sew that for a lot less than $120!

You can too. Why spend big bucks when you can sew one that's unique to you in 90 minutes or less?

  • One size fits most.
  • The length of the cover up is approximately 36".
  • The width of the cover up is approximately 78" at the bust and 58" at the hem.
  • Pattern can easily be made larger or smaller.
  • 2 yards fabric. Choose a lightweight fabric that drapes well. This sample was sewn using a lightweight semi-sheer knit with a hint of sparkle sprinkled throughout. (From a Fabric Mart Fabrics mystery bundle.)
  • 1/2 yard stay-tape
  • thread
  • Ruler
  • Chalk or marking pencil
The pattern:
You can draw the pattern on paper or directly onto your fabric.

  • If you draw directly onto the fabric, make sure your fabric is folded in half before you begin.
  • Using a ruler, draw two rectangles that measure 36” (long) by 20” (wide)
  • Along the top edge, measure 3” from the fold and make a mark.
  • Along the bottom edge, measure 15” from the fold and make a mark.
  • Along the right edge, measure 12” from the top edge and make a mark. This will be the armhole opening.
  • Draw a diagonal line connecting the 15” mark along the bottom to the 12” mark along the side.
  • On the front pattern piece, measure 8” from the top edge along the center front fold and make amark.
  • Draw a diagonal line connecting the 8” mark along the center front edge to the 3” mark along the top edge. This is the front v-neckline.
  • On the back pattern piece, measure 1-1/2” along the center back edge to the 3” mark along the top edge. This is the back neckline.
Prepare to sew the cover up
  • Seam allowances are 1/2”.
  • Cut out the front and back pieces. Remember both pieces are on the fold of the fabric.
  • Cut one piece of fabric 1-1/2” by 30”. This is for the neck binding.
  • Cut 2 pieces of stay tape each 7” long. You’ll use this to secure the gathers at the shoulder seams.
Sew the cover up
Shoulder Seams
  • Gather each shoulder edge beginning and ending 1” from each edge.
  • Pull up gathers to measure 7”. Secure in place by sewing stay tape over the gathers.
  • You can easily make your shoulder seams longer if you want them to fall lower on your upper arm. Instead of pulling the gathers to 7" try 10" or 12".

    • Sew left shoulder seam together.
    • Sew right shoulder seam together, ending 2” before the neck edge. You’ll finish the shoulderseam after you add the neck binding.
    Binding the neckline
    • Stay stitch the center front point of the cover up. Clip to point.
    • Beginning at right shoulder, pin binding to neck edge right sides together. Sew together.
    • Fold binding to the wrong side, encasing the raw edge. Pin in place.
    • With right side up, stitch in the ditch to secure binding in place.
    • Trim excess binding fabric on inside of neck edge
    • To get a nice point in the binding, fold the binding with right sides together at the center front.
    • Stitch a small vertical seam from the point on the cover up to the top of the binding.
    • Finish sewing right shoulder seam.
    Side seams and armholes
    • Right sides together, sew the side seams ending at the mark you made 12” below the shoulder edge.
    • Hem the armhole opening.
    • Hem the bottom edge.

    Enjoy wearing your new cover-up at the beach!

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  1. This looks like so much fun to sew.

  2. The coverup has great style. Thanks for sharing the instructions. Your post is so timely. I have a spring break vacation to a tropical climate coming up soon, and my old coverup is looking shabby.

  3. Great tutorial. Posted an award for you on my blog.

  4. Awesome tute! Thank you for sharing. I will be returning to this post when I make one later on.

  5. Oh! This is wonderful! Thank you so much for visting my blog and for adding this tutorial for Make & Tell Monday. It's so nice to meet you!


  6. Clever! I will be bookmarking this :)

  7. Great tutorial! If the pictures of me on our last beach vacation are any indication of what my body looks like hanging out in a bathing suit, I definitely need to make one of these before our next trip. I posted a link to your tutorial on the Craft Gossip Sewing Blog: http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-90-minute-swimsuit-coverup/2009/03/06/

  8. Janice6:28 PM

    I have been looking for a pattern for a few weeks now. I have some fabric and I am going on a beach vacation on July 2. I am going to make this on the weekend. I think it would look great with a belt or cinched at the waist too. Thank you so much for sharing.

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. Thank you for sharing the process of making this pattern.



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