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  • Writer's pictureSew Retro

The Sukie and Sally Sun Tops.

Updated: May 4, 2020

The Sukie and Sally Sun tops are fun , flirty and stylish with a fabulous retro feel. A dream to make, and easy to wear with jeans, shorts or a skirt, this simple make will soon be a wardrobe staple. With no fastenings, bust darts and simple construction this is the perfect beginners make. If you have not used shirring elastic or made a casing for elastic it is a new skill to learn too. Sukie has a shirring elastic back, and an elasticated panel for the front. Sally has a shirred back and front. As always with patterns and tutorials from Sew Retro, you can make it your own, change the butterfly shoulder strap to a single or double spaghetti strap tied in a double bow at the shoulder,or a fitted spaghetti strap ....... extend the top into a swishy midi dress, maybe add a ruffle hem, the options are endless.



Materials and Equipment.

I found the perfect fabric for this project at Sew Essential, the Gingham poly cotton makes cutting out a breeze as you can follow the lines, the weight of this fabric is ideal to hold the butterfly straps.

Other fabric suggestions - lightweight woven cotton or cotton mixes, such as tana lawn and cotton poplin.

1 x 1 10 cm of fabric (SIZES 8 -10)

1 X 130 cm of fabric (sizes 12 - 14 - 16)

SIZE 8 10 12 14 16

Cut 1 x 40 (42) (44) (46) (48)cm x 6mm of elastic for the top

Cut 1 x 35 (37) (39( (41) (43)cm x 6mm of elastic for under the bust

Cut 4 x33 (35) (37) (39) (41) cm x 6mm of elastic for the shoulder stra

I x spool of shirring elastic

Matching thread or contrast thread, pins, tape measure, chalk , ruler and scissors.

Tips for beginners

Seam allowance 1 cm this is the distance between the edge of the fabric and the stitch line. You will find a series of parallel lines engraved on the needle plate of your sewing machine pick the one marked with the measurement you need and keep the edge of the fabric to this guide

RS = right side of fabric WS = wrong side of fabric.

Sukie Top with a panel front and shirring Back

Cutting Instructions for the Front and Back Sukie Cut the back and front measuring in from the selvedge edge insuring you are cutting your pieces of fabric on the straight of grain. The sleeve is cut on the straight of gain.

Size 8 front - Cut 1 x 45cm x 40 cm - Back - Cut 1 x 69cm x 40 cm

Size 10 front - -Cut 1 x 47.5cm x 40cm - Back - Cut 1 x 71.5cm x 40cm

Size 12 front - Cut 1 x 50 cm x 42xm - Back - Cut 1 x 74cm x 42 cm

Size 14 front - Cut 1 x 52.5 cm x 43 - Back - Cut 1 x 76.5cm x 43 xm

Size 16 Front - Cut 1 x 56 cm x 44cm - Back - Cut 1 x 80 cm x 44cm

Cutting Instructions for Sally Top with a shirring front and Back

Size 8 front and back - cut 2 x 69 cm x 40cm

Size 10 front and back - cut 2 x 71.5cm x 40 cm

Size 12 front and back - cut 2 x 74 cm x 42 cm

Size 14 front and back - cut 2 x 76.5cm x 43cm

Size 16 front and back - cut 2 x 80cm x 44cm

Use the same sleeve pattern for both Sukie and Sally CUT 2

Suki and sally Sun Tops
Download PDF • 8.70MB


Sukie - scroll down for the instructions to make Sally

1. Overlock or zig zag all 4 edges on the back and the front.

Leave the back to one side.

2. Front

Fold the top edge of the front over as shown for 1.5 cm, pin and press.

3. Measure down from the folded edge for 12.5cm, for sizes 8 and 10 (13 cm for size 12 ) (14 cm for size 14) (15 cm for size 16) chalk or pin a line from one side seam to the other side seam.

4. Fold it on the chalked or pinned line and press.

5. Return to your flat surface, and pin 0.5cm from the pressed line. Hold in place with pins.

6. Using matching or contrast thread machine stitch the first (top) folded over seam.

Machine stitch the middle folded seam, using a 0.5cm seam allowance. shown below is the stitched folded seam.

7. Attach the 40cm(42)(44)(46)(48) length of elastic on to a safety pin, push the safety pin and elastic into the top seam as shown.

8. *Push the elastic to the other side and secure the elastic at the entry point with a pin, machine stitch over the elastic and fabric* to hold the elastic in place as shown. ** Leave the opposite seam and elastic unsecured but on the safety pin so you can adjust to fit at a later stage**.

9. Attach the 35cm(37cm)(39)(41)(43) length of elastic on to a safety pin and push the safety pin and elastic into the folded seam. Repeat from * to * fold this seam to the hem of the top. Repeat from ** to **.

10. Leave the front to one side.


the back and front for Sally are the same. Continue to follow from no 11 to no 27, noting instructions at 16 are for Sukie as Sally has a level hem, but still with the side split. Follow as for Sukie, but you will not have the stepped hem. Omit instructions at 26.

Shirring the back of the top for Sukie and the back and front for Sally

11.Pin the top edge of the back over as you did for the front for 1.5cm, pin and press.

Machine stitch into place.

12.Measure from the top seam that you have just sewn down for 13cm (14CM) (15CM) (16CM) 17CM) mark with a pin or chalk.

13. Prepare the sewing machine for the shirring section on the back of the top.

Select the straight stitch on your machine and change the stitch length to a longer setting around 3-4. When shirring, the fabric gathers between stitch links, so a longer stitch length creates more shirring whereas a shorter stitch length creates less.

Wind the bobbin by hand with the elastic thread. Some sewers like to stretch the elastic thread slightly when winding, (I do) while others insist that stretching should be avoided at all costs. The truth is that it all depends on your sewing machine and its tension.

Experiment with a few variations of winding and test on a scrap piece of fabric to find what works best for your machine. Either way, these variations in tension are exactly why you need to wind the bobbin by hand rather than by machine. If the bobbin is wound by machine, the tension disc will stretch the elastic thread too much. Fill an empty bobbin with shirring elastic.

Insert your bobbin into the sewing machine per usual. Thread the needle with all-purpose thread. Pull up the elastic thread. Leave a 2-3” tail of both all-purpose thread and elastic thread.

14. With the RS of the top facing you, (so that the shirring elastic is on the WS of the top) machine stitch the first row of shirring 1 cm from the top. Machine to the end and secure the stitching. Start the next row below the first row using the edge of the foot and the last row of stitching as a guide, until you have shirred 13cm (14)(15)(16)(17)

15. Cut all your loose threads.

16. Place the back on a flat surface with the RS facing you. Lay the front RS onto the back (WS front facing you) and pin the side seam with the secured elastic as shown, using as many pins as you need to keep it flat. Stop pinning 3 cm before the end of the front. Machine stitch using a 1 cm seam allowance, stopping at the final pin 3 cm from the front hem. PLEASE NOTE SALLY HAS A LEVEL HEM, with the side split, PLEASE FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS AS GIVEN .

17. Repeat on the remaining side check that your elastic is a good fit, if needed tighten the elastic.

18. Press the seam flat as shown. Turn the hem up for 1cm press and pin. Fold the open side seams back for 1 cm as shown and machine into place. Please note that Sally has a level hem.


19. Over lock or zig zag both long edges, repeat on the remaining side.

20. Turn the curved edge over for 0.5cm as shown, press, pin and machine stitch into place. Repeat on the remaining side.

21. Turn the straight edge over for 3.5cm (as shown) press and pin.

22. Flip your shoulder strap over and trim the overhang as shown.

23. Starting at the folded edge, as shown, machine a row of stitching as close as possible to the edge. Repeat making another row, 1cm from the first row, repeat again making the 3rd row 1 cm in from the 2nd row.

24. Insert the elastic into the channels you have just made. Two pieces of elastic per shoulder Secure the elastic at one end only. Neaten that edge with a zig zag stitch.

25. Try the top on, adjust the length of the elastic if necessary, pin the strap to the inside of the top (as shown) machine stitch into place. Stitching on the existing stitching line to avoid extra rows of stitching.

26. Optional finishing touch. With the front facing you, carefully press the elastic casing under the bust to the hem. Stitch the loose edge stretching the elastic and keeping the seam flat.

27. The strap may need any extra row of stitching close to the top seam as shown.

AWESOME you are finished making Sukie or Sally …………………………………………. give yourself a big pat on the back.

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