Willow Top Written Directions

The Willow Top is a best seller and very popular choice for those who like criss-cross backs and cute peek-a-boo details.

If you prefer video instructions, click on the image below to watch the video tutorial.


-Willow Top PDF Pattern

-1/2 yard of swimwear fabric

-Swimwear elastic (recommended for the best fit)

-Seam ripper

-Loop turner OR safety pin for turning straps

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

-Regular sewing machine

You will need both a regular sewing machine as well as an overlock machine for this tutorial. If you don't have an overlock machine, you can use a zig zag stitch on a regular sewing machine. Make sure you at least have a regular sewing machine, because we will be using a straight stitch in this tutorial.

Step 1

Assemble your pattern by cutting out the pieces, taping them together, then cutting out the size you would like to make.

Step 2

Cut your pieces. Cut two in each pattern piece- 2 for the left bust, 2 for the right bust. You will also cut your 4 strap pieces according to the measurements provided in the pattern.

Step 3

Match each of your bust pieces with right sides together. Pin and then sew along the marked areas. Attach your swimwear elastic to these same areas EXCEPT for the bottom line.

While you sew, leave about 1/4" open at both sides of the bottom edge on the bust pieces. Later on, this will be used as a strap channel.

After this step, the unsewn areas should be the strap channels along the bottom edge, the strap opening for the shoulder strap, the strap opening for the inner strap, and the outer edge, which will later be made into another strap channel.

Step 4

Fold the straps with right sides together lengthwise, and pin and sew the raw edges together. Attach elastic.

Then, use a loop turner to take each strap to the right side.

Step 5

Insert each strap inside of each strap opening on the bust pieces, while the bust pieces are still inside out. Pin and then sew to secure the straps in place.

Step 6

Take one bust piece and insert the shortest strap inside of the inner edge, which has been left unsewn. Place one strap at the top of the opening, one at the bottom, and one spaced equally in the middle. Sew down to secure all three straps inside.

Then, through the open outer edge of the bust piece, take the entire piece to the right side.

Step 7

With the second bust piece still inside out, insert the other inside. Make sure right sides are together and the strap is not twisted. Line up the straps inside the remaining inner strap opening, then pin and sew. This will attach the left and right bust together.

Step 8

Through the open outer edge, take everything to the right side once more.

Step 9

Tuck in the raw edges of both the outer edges, then flip them inward toward the right side about 1/2" to 1". Use a straight stitch on a regular sewing machine to top stitch each edge down, which will create the strap channels.

Step 10

Next, measure 1/4" above the bottom line of both bust pieces. Use a straight stitch to sew these two lines. This completes the strap ch

Step 11

Thread your remaining strap through each of the strap channels. Then, flip each edge inward and top stitch them down to create a loop, which will be used as a strap channel too.

This part can be difficult to sew on a domestic sewing machine. You may find it helpful to start sewing from the middle of the strap instead of at the end in order to prevent the machine from "eating" the fabric. Additionally, if you leave extra allowance and stretch the strap while sewing, you may be able to have more control guiding it through the machine.

Step 12

Thread your shoulder straps through each of the strap channels in a criss-cross pattern. Then, adjust the ties to your desired strap length.

That completes the Willow 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