We have a ton of really helpful sewalong blog posts planned for the Tropo Camisole. But I’m jumping right in with a pattern hack. Why? Because I’m wearing this finished camisole today so it felt fitting! If you live somewhere where it’s hard to get fold-over elastic (FOE) or if you have very sensitive skin that doesn’t tolerate FOE or if you’re just wanting to further increase what you can do with your Tropo Camisole pattern, this is a great hack for you.
To start you’ll need ribbing or even just a length of any lightweight, stretchy knit. I happened to have 1 3/4″ wide strips of baby rib already, but you can cut strips yourself. It’s up to you how wide you want the strips to be – I suggest reading through all of the tutorial first as it talks you through a few different considerations you’ll need to make in regards to width. In short, your strip should be just a bit wider than 3 x the width of your ribbing application seam allowance.
Assemble your Tropo Camisole to the point at which you would add your FOE. Slightly stretching the ribbing, sew it right sides together against the right sides of the Front and Back necklines of the camisole. Just like with FOE, you’ll want to practice sewing a sample of ribbing to your fabric. You want the ribbing to be taught enough that it doesn’t cause the neckline to stretch out and ripple but you don’t want it to be pulled so tight that it gathers the neckline fabric.
You can use whatever seam allowance you want to apply the ribbing. The width of your seam allowance (plus a small turn of the cloth) is the width of ribbing that will show along the neckline on your finished camisole. I used a scant 1/2″ seam allowance because I wanted to emphasize the contrast. Note that your seam allowance must be less than 1/3 the width of your ribbing (you’ll see why in the next two steps).
Fold the ribbing up and over to the back and topstitch along the seam to secure the binding in place. Remember that you’ll need to use a stretch stitch (like you did in constructing the camisole).
From the inside, you can trim off the excess of your ribbing.
Now it’s time to sew the arm straps. This is where you’ll have to do some experimenting with length. Since rib knits can vary greatly in their stretchiness you may find that you need a length similar to that suggested in the pattern for FOE or you may find you need something completely different. Pin (or baste), try on, modify, re-pin (or baste), and try it on some more for the perfect length.
Sew the ends of your ribbing together so you have a circular length of ribbing. Then sew the the ribbing to the underarm, right sides together.
You’re going to top stitch the ribbing along the underarm in the same seam that you sew the strap. This is why you need your ribbing to be just over 3 x the width of your seam allowance. Fold the ribbing up and down to the wrong side (like you did along the neckline) and pin it in place. Help the strap ribbing to fold into thirds like the underarm ribbing.
Pin the ribbing along the length of the strap.
Sew along the seam at the underarm and continue the stitching along the strap, making sure that you’re stitching through all three layers of fabric on the strap. Trim the excess fabric from the ribbing at the underarm like you did for the necklines. Start playing Every Day Dress Up!