So love it or hate, Rihanna has had some serious style in the past few years that makes her stand out on even the most casual of days. I recently spotted a glitter backless crop top Rihanna wore in London to watch her brother spin some tunes (he’s a rapper who DJ’s), and I was all over it. I took to Mood for a yard of sequined/shell fabric (sans the disco ball glow), and immediately got to work….and I gotta say, after wearing this shirt for the very first time, it’s definitely a head turner.
SUPPLIES: Sequined/shell fabric (I got 1 yard at Mood Fabrics’ store in NYC, but you can buy online from Mood here), garment with sleeves you like, needle and thread, 1 hook and eye, pen, spray adhesive (you can grab at Mood too), tape measure, straight pins, scissors, sewing machine, and a pattern (I tweaked one, I got from this site).
1. Print out crop-top tank pattern from this site, lay it all out, and tape it together.
2. Cut out the pattern for the front and the back of the tank (you’ll add your sleeves later).
3. Double up the fabric, and lay out your form for the front and the back of the top along the fold.
4. Pin these 2 forms down to your fabric (pictured is the back of the top, I moved it in from the fold about a 1/4 inch to make room for the seam allowance on both sides of the open back that you’ll cut open later).
5. I wanted my neck a little higher in the back, so I used the scoop of a shirt I had and marked it with a pen.
6. Cut out the front and back.
7. Right sides facing together, pin your top together at the shoulders.
8. Next, place pieces on your machine and sew the shoulders together.
9. Get ready to create your darts — turn front over to the wrong side. Now, the one on the pattern is below the arm hole (the yellow arrow), but I tried the shirt on to test it out, and they looked better in the chest area (indicated by the red triangle).
10. Pin your darts and sew them (this is how mine looked — I marked them out again by the red triangle).
11. Right sides facing each other, pin the sides together and sew the right and left sides of the top together.
12. Turn shirt on the correct side, and place it face down. You see the neck hole? Mine was 9 inches across. I cut that number in half (4.5 inches), and placed a straight pin directly in the center. I then followed that up by placing pins along that line, all the way down to the bottom of the shirt.
13. Using those straight pins you just placed as a guide, cut the shirt in half (just the back panel).
14. I was having a bit of trouble getting sleeves exactly how I wanted, so I thought “why recreate the wheel,” and grabbed a dress from the closet, whose sleeves I liked and copied those.
15. Okay, this next part was a little tedious and I had sequins EVERYWHERE…but doing this next step REALLY made the garment look polished. I cut JUST THE SEQUINS in a row just a little over 1/4 inch on all the raw edges of the top (ie bottom of both sleeves, along the neck line, along the bottom of the shirt, and along the left and right sides of the open back flap). I do it this way, because if you just sew a regular hem, you’ll catch half of a sequin here and there and it will look jagged. So you remove them to make it look neat.
16. Here’s what one of the sleeves looks like laying flat with just the sequins removed along the bottom edge.
17.Take one of your sleeves and fold it in half, right sides facing. Pin it to about 2.5 inches in from the edge that will go unattached from the body of the shirt.
18. Sew the area of the sleeve you just pinned.
19. Turn the top onto the wrong side. Place one sleeve inside the top, but make sure the right side of the shirt is facing the right side of this sleeve — pin it in place.
20. Now sew the sleeve onto the top.
21. You’re almost done! Okay, so we can’t leave the un-sequined raw edges of the top unfinished. To hem them, now that the sequins are gone, it’s super easy. Lay the top down on some paper and smooth all the loose threads in the downward direction. Spray adhesive on to just the bottom edge of the shirt, trying to avoid the sequins themselves if you can. (Note: This captures the loose ends of the thread so they stop unraveling and the sequins won’t keep falling off).
22. Fold back all raw edges and hem these edges with straight pins.
23. I opted to hand stitch the hem in place on all raw edges (i.e. the neckline, sleeves, both back flaps, and the bottom of the shirt).
24. Last step, at the top of the back flap, hand stitch a hook and eye on either side as your closure. Congrats, you’re done! Wear your eye-catching top proudly!
Brandhyze Stanley is the chief voice of Frugal-nomics.com; a platform designed to share with women how to live and look fabulous on a dime. A DIY girl at heart—Brandhyze has been featured on The View, The Early Show, The Today Show, InStyle Magazine, Essence Magazine, and MTVStyle. A Wilhelmina Model for nearly a decade, with a Business Degree from Loyola University Chicago, Brandhyze is a Fashion & Style Writer and former Video Contributor for Newsday Westchester, and provides DIY content to the popular How-To Site, eHow. Brandhyze is a huge thrifter and a lover of all good deals, follow her on Twitter @MyFrugalnomics and on Facebook at Facebook.com/Frugalnomics.