Clean-finish a sleeveless top 1 || loulou james creative studio

This is one of those sewing tricks that once I figured it out, became almost a favourite thing to do. It’s like magic the way it all comes together and works every. Time. Like the pros, I think. Plus it’s a good way to hide all the seams and any imperfections hidden inside.  No one needs to know you didn’t perfectly sew a seam, then sew over it, or trim a thread (totally guilty of both). This little tutorial will also help you if you’re stuck on how to finish the shoulders of the Reverie, Kimono, or Stargaze sleep sack.

Begin by sewing any darts, etc. into your front and back bodice pieces.  Press all your seams open and flat, darts to the centre front and back respectively, and lay down flat, right sides facing each other.  Carefully pin around the armholes and neck opening – you will sew along these edges, but leave a couple of inches unfinished down from the neckline – I like to double-pin so that I don’t forget (since I always do). You can see below that these open areas will be around the armhole. To make my side seams line up, I like to start there first when pinning and place a pin directly through the layers – this works every time for me.

Clean-finish a sleeveless top 2a || loulou james creative studio

Clean-finish a sleeveless top 2b|| loulou james creative studio

Once you have this all pinned, sew around (again, leaving a bit of the seam open around the armhole). Carefully clip around the curved seams. You’ll see that I used black thread (partly because I was sewing light onto dark, partly so it was visible – and partly because I was lazy).

Clean-finish a sleeveless top 3 || loulou james creative studio

Once it’s clipped like above, turn right side out and press the seams at the side seam and along the neck, stopping just short of the shoulder (you can use an iron or finger-press flat). The next part is where it can get a bit confusing, so bear with me here. Open the shoulder seams, as shown below:

Clean-finish a sleeveless top || loulou james creative studio 4

Next, bring together the edges, lining up the neckline seams, right sides together (lining to lining, face fabric to face fabric). Pin together, again placing a pin on the seam to line it up evenly – it will fan out a bit like the image below. Sew the shoulder seam together.

Clean-finish a sleeveless top 5|| loulou james creative studio

Clean-finish a sleeveless top 6 || loulou james creative studio

When the seam is stitched, you will have an opening along the armhole. Reach inside the shoulder from the back, and carefully pull the open part of the seam through.  You can see in this image where I reached in to pull through:

Clean-finish a sleeveless top 9 || loulou james creative studio

Pin together along the open armhole seam, lining up the shoulder seams, then sew the seam shut.

Clean-finish a sleeveless top 10|| loulou james creative studio

Clean-finish a sleeveless top  8 || loulou james creative studio

Clean-finish a sleeveless top 9|| loulou james creative studio

Clean-finish a sleeveless top 10 || loulou james creative studio

Clip the armhole seam allowances, turn right-side out, and pull the shoulder out from itself. Repeat with the other shoulder and then give everything a good press – it may be confusing the first time, but once you get the hang of it, it’s really easy to complete. Next time I’ll show you how I insert the zipper, clean-finished as well.