Little Girl’s Yellow Flower Top (An Ode to Anthropologie)

I have been working towards finals, family coming into town, and the move; but when I feel too overwhelmed I tend to take a break with sewing, so although it’s probably not the *ideal* use of my time, it sure makes me feel better!

Project Run and Play is in week 4 and this week we are supposed to pick a color as out inspiration, and I found a really beautiful Anthropologie shirt,

I LOVE the colors of this top, but because of the theme, I decided to combine the look of the Anthro shirt (done in my own way) with the idea of a single color. Since I am trying to de-stash I looked around what I had, and I found a remnant I had of a lovely yellow and cream cotton lawn, so I decided to go with yellow as my inspiration.

Here is Emmie’s new top……

I totally did use an iron on it before I gave it to her, but she had it in her room for 2 days before the field trip and it apparently got crumpled in the process!

If you want to make your own here’s what I did (no pattern needed)

To start I cut 3 strips of fabric 8.5″ wide, and 2 strips 6.5 inches wide. (all of these pictures are not great representations of the color since they were taken inside at night, and I even adjusted some of them so you could see the details better.) I used the full width for the wide strips, and cut the 6.5″ strips to the width of her body plus 4″.

I took the 3, 8.5″ strips and I sewed a rolled hem into the bottom with my rolled hem foot.

I used a rayon embroidery thread for this step because I wanted the thread to be dye-able, but I only used it because this is not a seam that will have any tension on it. I just LOVE the tiny little hem this foot gives you, there is no way you could roll this by hand!

After rolling the bottom of all three pieces, I loosely rolled them together with the hems even at the bottom.

I mixed up a small amount of dye using a lemon yellow color I already had, and I saddened it a tiny bit with a touch of purple (if you want to brown a color down you add it’s compliment.) I mixed some salt with the dye powder into a little bit of hot water, (the dye I have needs to be activated with soda ash, but if you used RIT dye you don’t need to add that, but I wanted to add that I did use it in case anyone can find this type of dye, I didn’t want to omit that step!) After adding the activated dye to my plastic container, I stood the hemmed edge of my fabric into the container on edge.

After 5 minutes I added a little more dye, and did that every 5 minutes until I  was about 2 inches up through the fabric. I put my fabric in dry, you could add it wet if you wanted it to wick up more.

After letting the fabric sit for the correct amount of time, I washed and dried the fabric.

Next I cut 2, 4.5″ strips. and made them the same length as the 6.5″ strips. I measured the width of Emmie’s chest from the front, and cut the strips down so that there was a curved front section that was taller in the front and dipped just before her armpits. I did this portion by eye, so I am afraid I am not sure of the measurement of how far down I cut it. Instead of putting the center front of the band to the center of the strips I off set it to the side so that the seam would end up on the side rather then the center back.
I put the right sides together and sewed the top seam all the way along, inserting loops of bias cut strips (that I sewed into a 1/4″ tube and then turned to the right side.) at the side fronts where straps would normally go. If you look at the Anthropologie top, the front is straight, and the loops are bigger than mine – the reason I made this choice is because I wanted there to be more frontal coverage on Emmie’s top, because she doesn’t have a bust to hold up the front like you would as a woman in the original top (and I didn’t want it to be too low on her.) Because the front was higher I shortened the loops so that they didn’t go up onto her shoulders, so you could still see the strap detail.

I sewed the bodice portion into a tube and then added the bottom tiered ruffle portion of the top (which was made without pictures, sorry! I just gathered the hemmed strips and then attached them to the 6.5″ strips, the layering was basically 8.5″ strip sewn to the top and the bottom of 1, 6.5″ strip, then another 6.5″ strip sewn to the bottom of the other 6.5″ strip with the 8.5″ strip sandwiched in-between so that the seam is on the inside. Then for tier 3 I sewed the last 8.5″ strip to the bottom of the second 6.5″ strip….. whew, does that make sense to anyone?)

I made a diagram in paint showing what is happening under the ruffled layers, I hope it helps explain what I was trying to say!

Next I inserted elastic on the back half of the upper bodice, and then top stitched a few rows of stitching on it to even out the gathers. Next I tried it on Emmie in order to get the correct length, added the same sized 1/4″ bias strips to the shoulder straps, looping through the front loops, and then attached to the back in 2 places.

I decided to add a flower to Emmie’s shirt since her fabric isn’t as vibrant as the Anthropologie shirt, I made 10 pieces of fabric with a arched shape and sewed around the edge at around the 1/8″ line with right sides together making 5 petals.

After sewing I turned and pressed the 5 petals, and then gathered the bottom with my sewing machine and 2 rows of basting (I put all 5 petals on the same basting line so they gathered all together into a line.)

I turned the petals into a circle and pinned it to the top, I sewed around the circle attaching the flower to the top, and I sewed a line up and down the center of each petal to keep them from sagging or flipping around. (you can see the stitch lines on the petals better in a couple of photos.)

Next I pinned a circle of fabric to the flower, and sewed around the center of the flower (I actually sewed with the inside facing me so I could see the stitching that was previously put there from sewing the flower on, I sewed just on the outside of that line.)

Next I hand gathered the fabric while tucking the seam allowance in, and gathered the center into a yoyo.

I know it’s kind of hard to see in the above photo, it was actually hard to make out on the fabric, so I decided to do some dyeing so that the flower stood out more. I mixed the same yellow dye as I did before, and then I brushed it onto the edges of the petals and in the center. I sprinkled a little salt onto the center to see if it would wick up a little dye – I know it works with silk painting, so I wanted to see what it would do on something like this (I think the fabric was to busy to see if it did anything.)

After giving the dye some time to set, then I immersion dyed the whole shirt in a lighter yellow (I decided that it wasn’t yellow enough!)

So goodness, I can’t even tell if any of this makes sense or is helpful at all – I need to take pictures of how I sew tiers together at some point because A. I don’t think I explain it well, and B. I do it differently then I have seen most bloggers do, and I think it is easier and tidier – which is a good thing!

Here are a few more pictures of Emmie in her shirt at Jamestown today, we were there on a field trip! (Most of my pictures ended up being from behind since she was always busy doing something!) Emmie apparently didn’t care about the class memo to wear orange, she was determined to wear her new shirt!

I would like to make this top again with different fabric, I love this one, but I was only using a piece of fabric I had, and I think I would like more fullness in the ruffles, and more COLORS!

What do you think? Does it sort of match the spirit of the Anthro one, or did I deviate to far from the original? I would love to hear your thoughts on whether or not you can understand how I sewed the tiers together or not, I know I need to take step by step photos sometime, but that stage always seems to go by so quickly I forget to stop and take them!

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  6 comments for “Little Girl’s Yellow Flower Top (An Ode to Anthropologie)

  1. May 4, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    I really need to get out my rolled hem foot ~ I’ve never used it !

    • May 4, 2012 at 10:07 pm

      Oh! Totally do, you will love it (it takes a little playing with to get it right, you have to get a feel for how to feed the fabric through.)

      Bernina had a video on their site that changed how I felt about the foot, they showed sewing about an inch of stitching on the very edge of your fabric right at the start, then reversing your stitching back to the beginning, and then cutting off the threads with a couple of inches of tails – you use those thread tails to feed your fabric through the foot, and it is so much easier than trying to push the fabric through without the thread tails as little handles.

  2. May 5, 2012 at 12:15 am

    Beautiful! I love it! It looks so great on your daughter!

  3. Liz
    May 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I really love this top! And the dyeing makes it even more beautiful! Liz

  4. May 5, 2012 at 11:49 pm


  5. May 12, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Sorry about the late comment but I’m way behind in blog reading. I love this shirt. I don’t really think about dying fabric with print already on it, but you’ve given me so many ideas this morning! Thanks for the inspiration!

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