Camisole top from Japanese pattern book ‘everyday tops’

by Stephanie on 18 October 2010

in Finished things,Making clothes,Sewing

My version of the cami from pattern 20 of 'everyday tops'

This is the final piece I made to take on holiday. I wanted something cool to wear under short-sleeved blouses so made this top out of light-weight woven cotton. The top fitted really badly but I ended up wearing it a lot anyway.

Pattern details

Name: Pattern 20 from the ‘every day tops’ Japanese pattern book (ISBN 978-4-579-11043-8)
Description: Camisole with thin shoulder straps and bra-style top
Sizing: Japanese sizes 7, 9, 11 and 13 – I traced the pattern half-way between sizes 9 and 11

Finished camisole top in Japanese pattern book 'everyday tops'


I’m not sure what fabric the pattern suggested (as all written in Japanese), but I used closely-woven, light-weight cotton. The pattern requires 70cm of 113cm-wide fabric.

Pattern alterations made

The original pattern had a lace trim along the top of the camisole which I didn’t include. Other than that, I made no changes to the pattern as I thought I’d see how it came out.

Tracing, seam allowances and cutting layout

I traced the pattern pieces from the pattern sheet included with the book, and added seam allowances as marked on the layout diagram.

Tracing pattern pieces from sheet onto tracing paper weighed down by a can of black-eye bean

Pattern pieces:

  • Front (cut 1 on fold)
  • Back (cut 1 on fold)
  • Bra (cut 2)
  • 3cm-wide bias strips (cut 2)

Tracings of pattern pieces with markings and seam allowances added

The seam allowance varied:

  • 2cm at the top and bottom of the back, 2cm at the bottom of the front
  • 0cm along the side edge of the bra top
  • 1cm everywhere else

This is my sketch of the layout for cutting with the seam allowances marked:

Sketch of how to lay out pattern pieces on fabric with details of seam allowances

And the layout on fabric:

Pattern pieces laid out on cotton fabric ready to cut

Instructions for making up

Rather than trying to translate the Japanese instructions, I worked out how to construct the cami from the diagrams and wrote myself some new instructions in English.

Instructions for pattern 20 from the Japanese book 'everyday tops'

  1. Hem long straight edges of bra pieces by folding in 5mm then another 5mm. Stitch.
  2. Turn the long strips of fabric into bias binding by folding the edges to the centre and pressing – the binding will be about 7mm wide.
  3. Pin bias binding over curved edge of bra piece. Stitch in place and keep stitching along to make the strap. Repeat.
  4. Sew loose, wide stitches along bottom edges of the bra pieces (between marks) and gather.
  5. Stitch bra pieces together within seam allowance, matching width of front piece.
  6. Stitch bra top to front piece (1cm seam allowance) and finish seam using zigzag stitch.
  7. Hem top of back piece – fold in 1cm then another 1cm. Top stitch.
  8. Stitch front and back pieces together at sides (1cm seam allowance) and finish seams using zigzag stitch.
  9. Hem bottom of garment – fold in 1cm then another 1cm. Top stitch.
  10. Check length of straps, tuck ends under and sew in place at top of back.

The camisole was fairly easy to sew as there are no fastenings. The most fiddly bit was making the narrow straps and attaching them to the bra top.

The finished camisole

I like the look of the finished camisole and it is very like the picture on the pattern. Unfortunately it doesn’t fit me well at all – there will be no pictures of me modelling this top! The top is pretty tight round the chest (though just about OK) but fits very badly over the bust. It gapes revealingly at the front and at the armholes. I think I’m just the wrong shape for this… oh well…

I might have another go at making a camisole in this style again, but would need to widen the pattern slightly and change the shape of the bra top to take some of the fabric out at the sides. I think I’d also make it a bit less plunging – I can definitely see the point of the lace trim now.

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