How to Sew a Crop Top // Pattern + Tutorial


I recently started working from home and one week into the new cool lifestyle I realized my wardrobe was about 97% corporate formal. I don't particularly love shopping, so I've been cycling through the same clothes about every four days. Frankly, it's gotten a little sad.

Now that the wedding is over, I'm determined to create an amazing new 'I still feel good about myself' wardrobe. While I'm still trying to figure out exactly what my casual style will be, I've mapped out several items I'm going to start with on this mission. 

So what was my first project?

Meet the lace swing crop top. I'm in love with it. I finished it five days ago and I've worn it twice already.

It's so comfortable. It's cute. It's cool...even with sleeves. And it's not a tshirt. 

The best part is I didn't have to create a new pattern for this-- I just used my swing dress pattern with a small twist (or small triangle hehe). 

Keys to Success

  • Use a dressmakers shears! Especially if you decide to use lace since it can be difficult to cut accurately.  
  • Take the time to pin or mark your pattern with a fabric pen or chalk. Lace has a tendency to slip making it difficult to follow a pattern that's just laid on top of the fabric.
  • Pin your pattern pieces together before you sew them.  Lace, especially stretchy lace, can be difficult to work with and pinning everything together makes a world of difference.
  • If you use lace, use a ballpoint needle. 
  • Iron your seams as you sew them.  Even with lace, your seams will look much more professionally done if you iron them.
  • Use a pinking shears to cut as close to your seams as possible after you've sewn them. 
  • Be sure to use a serger or zigzag stitch to finish the seams.

Modify the pattern 

(download the shift dress pattern here)

  • Measure the length of your torso and the length from your neck to mid-bum // Cut both the front and back pieces to be the length of your back measurement (we'll wait to cut the crop until all the pieces are sewn together).
  • Cut to triangles based on your measurements and how flowy you want your piece to be (I used the size four shift dress pattern and the measurements below are what I used).
  • Measure the length you want your sleeves to be // adjust the pattern accordingly. For reference, mine are 11 inches after being sewn.

Sewing Instructions

  1. Align and pin the facing of both the front and back piece.
    • Pin, pin, and pin the facing some more before you sew anything. Since the neck is curved pinning well will be very helpful.
    • Sew the facing on and remove the pins as you go.
    • Flip it inside and iron it.
  2. Sew the finishing seam on the facing on both the front and back pieces. 
  3. Pin the front and back pieces together at the shoulder. Only after it's pinned should you sew it together.
  4. Pin the sleeves into the arm hole (the illustration shows just one side of it, but in real life you should pin the entire sleeve in before sewing).
    • Sew the sleeves in and remove the pins as you go.
    • Iron the sleeve seams.
    • Finish the sleeve hem as you wish.
  5. Pin together the sleeves, about 1 inch of the front and back pieces, and the triangles on the front side ensuring everything is aligned.
    • Start at the bottom of the arm hold when you start sewing. You'll sew the sleeves together and come back to sew the length of the top and triangles (this will help everything stay aligned). Remove the pins as you sew.
    • Iron the seams.
  6. Pin together the back piece and triangles.
    • Sew the triangle and back pieces together.
    • Iron the seams.

Cutting the Crop 

  1. Lay the top out flat and using a fabric pen or chalk mark your measurement on the front and back pieces (refer back to the measurement pictures if needed)
  2. Fold the top sideways (look at the picture with the triangle measurement above). Mark a round line using the measurement marks you just made to make sure it aligns properly. 
  3. Pin the hem up based on the round line you just mark. Try the top on to ensure the length is correct // adjust the mark until the length is correct.
  4. Cut along the round line leaving about 1 inch for the hem.
  5. Pin the hem and finish by sewing it.  

I hope this tutorial was helpful for you! Please let me know if you have any questions below.