Rae Top Written Directions


-Rae Top PDF Pattern

-1/2 yard of swimwear fabric

-1/4" swimwear elastic

-1" swimwear elastic

-Seam ripper

-Loop turner

-Regular polyester thread

-Overlock machine OR zig-zag stitch on a regular sewing machine

-Regular sewing machine (both machines are required due to a straight stitch being necessary)

*Click here to find direct links to the tools mentioned, including machine recommendations!

Step 1

Assemble your pattern by cutting out the pieces, taping them together, then cutting out the size you would like to make. If you decide to make any modifications like a full bust adjustment, now is the time to do so.

Step 2

Cut your pieces. If you want to make the top reversible, make sure to have two different swimwear fabrics to use. In total you’ll cut 2 of the pattern piece, one in each of your fabrics.  

When cutting, you typically want the vertical and/or horizontal axis of your pattern to be parallel with the grainline of the fabric. With 4-way stretch fabric, you can place your pattern parallel to either the long edge or short edge of your fabric.

1/4" seam allowance is included in the pattern so there is no need to leave extra unless you prefer to do so.

Step 3

You'll also need to cut your straps according to the measurements inside the pattern. Please refer to Page 6 to locate these measurements. You should have three straps in total, two shoulder straps and one back strap.

Again, cut parallel to the grainline to ensure you allow the fabric to stretch properly.

Step 4

Now that all of our pieces are cut, it's time to assemble!

Get your front pieces out and place them with right sides together.

Sew along the marked areas- the neckline, armholes, and bottom line.

We recommend using regular polyester thread and either a 3 or 4-thread overlock stitch. If you don't have an overlock machine, don't worry! You can use a zig zag stitch instead. More on that in this video.

During this step you'll also attach your 1/4" elastic to these same areas. This can be done using an elastic foot to sew and attach elastic in one step, but if you don't have one then you can break the process into two steps, first sewing the fabric together and then going back and attaching elastic.

Sewing elastic can be tricky and you might have some questions! To get all the information you need in one place, we recommend watching the elastic series on YouTube. It answers all sorts of questions, goes over how to sew elastic, and also demonstrates some troubleshooting in case you run into problems. You can watch that here: https://bit.ly/3xk2VIJ

Step 5

Now we're going to sew the straps. Fold them in half with right sides together, lengthwise. Then sew along the two raw edges to sew each of the straps in half. Do not attach elastic at this step!

Once you've sewn your straps, use your fingers or a loop turner and take each strap all the way out to the right side.

Step 6

Next we're going to get our 1" elastic out and trim it to the desired length. This length will be the same as the length of the straps, and again those measurements are provided on Page 6 of the pattern. You may choose to add an extra inch, as this gives you some wiggle room when inserting the elastic into the straps in the next step. You can always go back and trim!

Step 7

Now insert the 1" elastic into each of your straps. Again, the straps should be right side out.

Inserting this elastic can be tricky, so you may choose to use a loop turner or safety pin.

However, the most efficient method is demonstrated at 4:33 in this video. Note that with that method the straps are kept inside out.

Step 8

Once the elastic is in each of the straps, and optional step is to tack each end of the straps down. This helps keep everything in place, which will ultimately create a better looking and functioning result.

Because this is a tacking stitch and not one that needs to stretch, you can use a basting stitch, which is a long straight stitch. You can also use an overlock stitch if you prefer not to switch machines.

Step 9

The straps are all prepped and now it's time to insert them inside the top. Recall that our front piece is still inside out.

First, insert each of the shoulder straps into the shoulder strap openings at the top. Make sure the entire strap is tucked inside, then pin at each of the shoulder strap openings.

Then, take your back strap and insert it into both left and right openings. Pin as needed. Because this strap is shorter, you may need to scrunch the top slightly so you're able to access and sew down the back strap into both openings.

Once you have everything pinned, switch over to your machine and sew down all 4 of the strap openings. You may choose to use a tight straight stitch for this, then trim the excess. Alternatively, you can use an overlock stitch.

Step 10

By this step everything is encased inside the top, so it's time to take it to the right side. To do this, get out your seam ripper and rip a 1-2" hole somewhere along an existing seam. We recommend choosing a discrete place for this hole, like under the armpit or along the bottom line.

Through this hole, take the top all the way to the right side.

Step 11

The top is now completely right side out, and you'll notice the shoulder straps are hanging loose. Place them along the center of the back strap, and use a straight stitch to sew them down in place.

The pattern is designed so the shoulder straps are centered on the back strap, but feel free to play around with the placement to create your own design. Just be aware you may need to modify the strap lengths.

Step 12

The final step is finishing off the hole we seam ripped. You can do this a few different ways, (1) fold the raw edges inward and use a straight stitch to sew the hole closed or (2) hand stitch an invisible stitch for a completely invisible look. Both methods work well, but Method 1 tends to be quicker and more efficient.

That completes the Rae Top!

If you have questions about sewing or construction, our Facebook group is a fantastic resource for new and experienced sewers alike. You can join here: https://facebook.com/groups/edgewaterave

Thanks for following along with this tutorial, happy sewing!