Adding elastic to a waistline of a top is a simple way to add some waist definition. It gives a ‘tucked in’ look without actually having to to tuck anything in. With a return to higher waistlines I’ve been seeing more designer blouses with this treatment and thought I’d like to try it, too. It’s an easy way to update some of your handmade tops.
You can see how the blouson waist I sewed gives a totally different look to this Bento Tee in plum colored linen knit I found at The Confident Stitch. I once made a tutorial for a dolman sleeved tee with some similar linen knit I found down in the garment district and loved. The tee was ruined somehow, I can’t remember why, but I always wanted to try making another one. I was happy to find some linen knit again when browsing The Confident Stitch’s website.
Yesterday when I was out buying fabric for Gigi’s fist communion dress in LA, I found some silk Joie tops at one of my secret discount clothing spots. They were a tenth of the retail price so yes, I broke my shopping fast and actually bought a few in different colors. Because hey, gorgeous silk tops for twenty bucks? Yes! Most of the tops had small casings on the bottom with elastic inserted. I liked the effect this gave so decided to try it for my linen Bento tee. see below how the top looks tucked in but it really isn’t? My linen knit is a bit sheer, so I’ll wear a cami underneath.
Basically, you can either sew a casing for the elastic or just sew the elastic directly to the wrong side of the fabric with a zig zag stitch and then fold it over and sew it again to conceal the fabric. I would recommend sewing the elastic directly to the top so you can control the gathering. I made a casing, but will do it the other way next time. I also stitched at the bottom where the hem fold is to keep the elastic from twisting around. I used 1/4 inch elastic. Here is a great video tutorial for how to sew on elastic by Jalie. I cut the elastic about two inches bigger than my waist.
I won’t lie, linen knit is a bit tricky to sew with, and I would advise using a serger with a differential feed of 1.5 and also a coverstitch or double needle instead of a regular machine for topstitching and hemming . I was rushing and used my regular machine to topstitch down my neckline so it’s a little stretched out.
If you would like to make your own self drafted linen dolman tee you can check out my tutorial here. It’s very easy!
If you just want to use a pattern here is a link to the Bento tee.
To find linen knit in a variety of colors go here.