Easy lace panel no pattern top tutorial

It is the season for socialising!

Much as I love working on something elaborate, the reality of the Christmas season is life is super hectic, trying to squeeze in shopping, school plays as well as extra socialising. As I am keen to stick to making all my clothes, anything new has to be super easy and quick to make.

I came up with the idea for this no pattern top using viscose/elastane jersey and matching lace (of which there are several colours in stock online at www.bobbinsnbuttons.co.uk ). Its quite an understated style which can be glammed up or toned down making it not only quick and easy but a super versatile addition to your wardrobe.

This tutorial shows how to make the top to fit your size.


Viscose/elastane jersey (or drapey knit fabric ) 60cm x 160cm wide

Lace 30cm x 150cm wide

The amount of fabric may vary depending on the size you make and the width of fabric used. In this example I have made a size 14 top and these are the quantities I used.

I used an overlocker to make this top, therefore added 1cm seam allowance. You could make it with French seams or standard seams, you may want to add 1.5cm seam allowance if sewing French seams.

How to make:

1. Take your measurements, you need bust and waist and a length you would like to the top to finish, measured from side neck to hem. Whichever is the larger of waist and bust add 10cm (this is the garment ease). If you are making a smaller size such as 8-10 you may want to add a little less and for larger sizes 18+ add a bit more. Add a further 4cm for seam allowances (giving you a 1cm seam allowance).

Fold a large piece of paper in half. Draw a rectangle from the centre fold measuring quarter of your final measurement from the folded edge. The length should be the length you would like the top to finish.

Draw in some lines where you would like lace panels. I chose to have lace at the top and a small lace panel near the hem. You can add as many or few as you like. In this example my upper panel measured 16cm from the shoulder edge, followed by 35cm jersey, 4cm lace and 10cm jersey.

When you think about the placement of where a lace panel will sit think about your bra line and which bits of body will be exposed through the lace. Draw the lines at right angles to the folded edge. Cut these lines. You will need to add a seam allowance to either side of each panel, you can either redraw the panels adding the seam allowance or mark it direct to the fabric.

2. For the neck shape measure a point from the centre fold of the upper panel 14cm across and 8cm down. Draw a curve to join these two points, you can use a plate or a pattern ruler if you have one. Draw a second line 2cm down from the top edge and draw a curve to the same point at 14cm. The lower line will be the front neck edge and the higher the back neck. The shape can be varied as you like. You can cut the pattern down the centre fold to make the two pattern pieces, you might want to make a note on the pattern piece to place the pattern to fold of the fabric.

For the neckband carefully measure the half neck edge ( front and back) deducting 2cm for the seam allowance at the shoulder seam. In this case my half neck edge measured 31cm. Draw a rectangle 4.5cm x 28cm. The length needs to be approximately 3cm less than the neck edge for stretching on. This measurement may vary a little depending on how much stretch your jersey fabric has. For less stretch reduce band by less. The width is twice the depth of the neckband plus 2 x seam allowance.



1 x upper front on fold

1 x upper back on fold

2 x lower panel


2 x middle panel

2 x lower panel

1 x neckband on fold

3. Join the panels. With right sides together join the upper front panel to one of the middle panels. Join the lower edge of the middle panel to one edge of one of the lower lace panels and the lower jersey panel to this. Do the same for the back panels.

4. Make the neckband, with right sides together join the short ends of the neck band. Using the seam as a halfway mark make a tiny nick at the other side on both edges (marking half). Bring these two marks together and make a tiny nick at the quarters.

5. With right sides together join the shoulder seams. Starting at the back neck near a shoulder seam but not on it place a pin and gently pull the neck edge straight to find the halfway mark. Place another pin at the point. Bring these two points together, again gently pulling the neck edge straight placing pins to mark the quarters.

6. Adding the neckband – Fold the neckband in half lengthways. Starting at the back neck match the neck band seam to the pin at the slightly off set shoulder seam, pin. Bring the next nick to the next pin until all pins are matched to appropriate nick on neckband. The neckband is smaller than the neck edge and needs to be stretched evenly between these points as you sew. Be careful to keep all three raw edges together as you sew.

7. Join the side seams. To keep the edges neat I overlocked the whole length of the side seam (singley). Most knit fabrics don’t fray to much so you can leave this unfinished if you like. With right sides together fold at the shoulder seam so that the front and back match at the hem and panels are aligned. Measure from the shoulder seam down the side seam and place a pin horizontally at 21 cm. Do the same on the other side. Stitch from this point to hem using a shallow zig zag stitch, reinforce the stitching at the start and finish of this seam by back stitching.

This distance will vary depending on size, as a loose guide reduce by 1cm each size smaller and increase by 1cm each size up. The best way to check is tack the side seams up and try on.

8. Turn a narrow single hem, I overlocked the edge before turning. Pin the hem, placing the pins vertically to help manage the stretch. Stitch the hem close to the overlocked edge using a medium zig zag stitch. It’s important to not stretch the hem when you sew.

9. Press the side seams open and stitch around the armhole opening with the same size zig zag stitch as the hem.

Easy peasy top complete. I wore mine with another newbie. I have been developing a ladies slim fit jogger which I hope to publish over the next few months as a paper pattern. The idea behind this jogger style is another versatile style that can be made casual or dressy. I think its almost there now. I did a quick pattern hack for this pair. Made in black stretch velvet with matt sweatshirt fabric panels down the side. Pop on some heals and a dangly earrings and hey presto dinner outfit sorted!

As always I love to hear your feedback and hear how you get on if you make the top. I would also love to know what you think about a slim fit jogger pattern too. Happy sewing.

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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...


  1. Chantal Lapointe on December 29, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    Thank you for the tutorial. I have a yard of stretch lace leftover and this just might be the perfect project to use it. I would love to see a post about your slim joggers.

    • Julia Claridge on December 30, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      Ooh great let me know how you get on if you make one. Slim fit joggers are likely to be part of my new pattern range….coming soon 🙂

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