We are SO excited about this month’s Stella, Women’s Stella, and Dolly Stella sew-a-long! If you’ve sewn up a Stella before, you know it’s jam-packed with options; a v-back, keyhole back, off shoulder option, and a full back option. One of the questions we see frequently is how to hack the Stella pattern to be sleeveless. If you sew it up in lightweight, athletic fabrics, it can be such a fun and trendy workout top; for those of you that prefer sleeveless workout tops, we’ve got a sleeveless hack just for you!
Before we get started on the sleeveless hack, check out the existing options, and helpful tips below:
Despite being a “sweater”, Stella is still perfect for spring and summer in lighter weight fabrics. You can also check out our existing hacks, or you can check out the sleeveless hack at the end of the post.
Before we get started, there is a ton of helpful beginner information between the M4M and P4P blogs, in case you are new to knits, or new to PDF patterns in general:
- New to PDF patterns? Check out our helpful tips here
- New to sewing with knits? Brittany has some great info here
- Need an FBA? Check out the P4P blog for tips on how to accomplish that
- Not quite sure how to measure yourself accurately? Don’t worry; check out the post here!
- Having issues printing? Most issues can be resolved by using our FAQs/troubleshooting tips
- Not in our official SAL group yet? Join here 🙂
Our first day is all about prep! First, be sure to measure yourself (or the person that you are sewing for) accurately. An accurate measurement is very important for all of our patterns in order to get the intended fit. Stella is intended to be semi-fitted; of course, you can always size up or down based on your personal fit preference. Do keep in mind that fabric choice will also affect fit.
After you’ve measured, you’ll want to choose a medium-weight knit fabric with at least 40% horizontal stretch, and some vertical stretch. Some of our favorite fabrics for Stella are French terry, sweater knits, stretch velvet, jersey, bamboo, double brushed poly, etc. For the bands, you will want a fabric with good recovery, such as DBP or cotton spandex. You can use fabrics like rayon spandex, but be aware that those fabrics have a tendency to “grow” throughout the day. Some of the Stella options do use quite a bit of fabric, so be sure to check the fabric requirement charts for each.
Next, go ahead and print your pattern! Be sure to print a test page and measure your 1″ square before you print the whole pattern. Once you’ve got your pattern pieces printed and assembled, go ahead and cut out your fabric so you are all ready for day 2. Ready to sew along with Stephanie??
Sleeveless Stella Hack
To create a sleeveless Stella, you can mash with nearly any tank pattern. We will be adjusting the armscye. I’m going to mash with Mya, but you can use lots of other patterns as well.
First, print and assemble your Stella and Mya pieces. For Mya, you will ONLY need the front and back bodice pieces. When you cut your Mya pieces out, be sure to cut on the tank cut lines. On our patterns that include both sleeved and sleeveless cut lines, the sleeveless lines are the fainter, inner lines, while the sleeved cut lines are the darker, outer lines.
Trace the armscye from Mya onto the Stella pattern piece, for both front and back pieces.
Sew your bodice pieces together at the shoulder seams AND side seams.
Next, you will need to calculate bands to finish the arm holes. You could also do binding, but since the waist and neck are finished with bands, I opted to use bands for the armholes as well.
Measure the armhole, then calculate 85% of the measurement. For this version that I made for my daughter, my measurement was 16.5″. I calculated 85% of 16.5″, which gave me 14.025″. I added 1″ for seam allowance, bringing me to 15.025″, which I rounded down to 15″ even. I cut my two bands at 2″ x 15″. Remember that your stretch will go with the width.
NOTE: For some athletic fabrics, you may need to adjust the band width slightly to accommodate for stretch.
Quarter your armhole, and your arm bands. Pin or clip to mark the quarter points. Match up quarter points and clip together. Serge or stitch the band to the armhole, using 1/2″ seam allowance. Secure your serger tail, press, and done!
That’s it! Enjoy your new sleeveless Stella top! I can’t wait to get modeled photos of this one that I made for my daughter; we’re gearing up for a HOT summer, so this hack will make sure we get the most mileage out of our Stella patterns. Now I just need to make some more for myself!
If you have questions about printing, putting your pattern together, or cutting your fabric, you are always welcome to post in our SAL group so we can help you! Be sure to check in each day during the SAL, and look for daily posts to enter our giveaways. Stephanie will be back to sew with you tomorrow. We can’t wait to see what you create this week.
DAY 1: PRINTING/CUTTING/ASSEMBLING YOUR PATTERN & CUTTING FABRIC
DAY 2: HEM KEYHOLE & SEW SHOULDER SEAMS
DAY 3: SIDE SEAMS & SLEEVES
DAY 4: NECKBAND
DAY 5: CUFFS & WAISTBAND
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