Breton Tops – Free sewing patterns


Red or blue striped cotton fabric, 1.3m x 150cm wideContrasting cotton fabric for cuffs, 50cmLightweight fusible interfacingContrasting bias binding, 4cm wideContrasting zipMatching threadButtons: four blue, or two metallic

Dimensions List

Sizes 8-10, 12-14Front tunic: cut one on foldBack tunic: cut one pairSleeve: cut one pairCuff facings: cut one pairin contrast fabricPocket flaps (for short sleeved tunic): cut two from contrast fabric and two from interfacingPocket (for three quarter length sleeved tunic): cut oneContrast hem panels: cut a strip 17cm x the circumference of the hem1.5cm seam allowances are used throughout except on pocket and pocket flaps where a 1cm seam allowance is used.

Stitch a tunic top

1 Download the pattern pieces, print and piece together, then use to cut the pieces from fabric. Mark the dots at the points of the darts on the front piece; match the notches at the ends of the darts, pin, then stitch. Press the resulting flaps towards the top of the piece.

2 Match the shoulder seams, pin, then stitch together. Overlock or zigzag stitch the shoulders seam allowance together, press up towards the back. To bind the neckline you can use either shop bought binding or make your own (see below). Slot the finished, folded binding over the cut curved edge of the neckline, then edge stitch in place.

3 To attach the breast pocket for the three quarter length sleeved tunic, slot a length of folded bias binding over the top of the pocket and stitch in place. Fold and press 1cm along the three remaining edges. Pin the pocket to the top of the tunic using the dots on the pattern piece as a guide and edge stitch in place. Neaten each of the side seams by either overlocking or zigzag stitching. Match the edges together and stitch.

4 To make the pocket flaps for the short sleeved top, first line the pieces with interfacing. Fold the fabric in half and stitch along the length and both ends leaving a gap. Clip the corners and turn to the right side, tease out the corners and press. Neaten the raw edges by overlocking or zigzag stitching. Sew the flaps to the front of the top at the points marked on the pattern, fold over and press. Attach two contrasting buttons at either end of the pocket, sewing through all layers.

5 Neaten the edges of the underarm sleeve seams, pin, then stitch them together. Press the seams open. Match, pin and stitch together the two shorter ends of the cuff facing. Line up the seams of the cuff facing and the underarm seams, pin, then stitch around the base of the sleeve. Fold up and press in 1cm around the top of the cuff facing. Pin to the sleeve, then edge stitch in place.

6 For the three quarter length sleeved tunic, sew a 20cm length of bias binding together, then fold in half and stitch to make an arrow head. Sandwich the ends between the sleeve and the sleeve facing and stitch in place. Turn the cuff of the sleeve up twice and sew a button to the corresponding point of the arrow head of the binding to secure the cuff in place.

7 Work a row of gathering stitches around the head of the sleeve starting from the front notch and finishing at the back notches. Pull the threads up slightly, then place the sleeve into the armhole of the tunic. Match the side seams and the underarm seam of the sleeve together; and the notch in the centre of the sleeve to the shoulder seam, then adjust the gathers to fit the armhole of the tunic. When you are happy, pin, then machine stitch in place. Neaten the seam by overlocking or zigzag stitching.

8 Neaten the edges of the back seam by overlocking or zigzag stitching. Measure the zip and mark this point on the back seam allowance. With the right sides of the fabric together, pin, then stitch as far as the zip notch. Press the seam open, also pressing the seam allowance within the opening of the zip. Position the zip over the opening onto the right side of the fabric. Pin in place, folding the top over to the wrong side of the centre top of the neck and folding the ends under. Sew in place, stitching on the fabric edge of the zip.

9 Neaten the base of the hem of the short sleeved tunic by overlocking or zigzag stitching. Fold back the base of the 3cm hem, then machine blind hem or hand hem in place. To attach the contrast fabric to the hem of the three quarter length sleeved tunic, stitch the two narrow ends of the contrast strip together and press the seam open, then fold and press in half lenthways. Match the seam of the tube to the centre back seam, then pin to the base of the tunic with the right sides facing. Stitch around the hem, neatening the seam by overlocking or zigzag stitching. Press the seam allowance up into the tunic.

Make your own bias binding

1 The bias of a piece of fabric is a 45° angle from the selvage of the material. For this project the strips need to be 4cm wide and as long as the fabric will allow. You may need to join the bias strips to make enough to attach to the length of the neckline – do this by laying and stitching the two ends at right angles to each other, making sure that the right sides of the fabric are facing each other. When the bias is opened the strip will continue in one line. Pass the bias strip through a bias binding folder, pressing the folds in as you pull the folder along the strip. Carefully fold and press the binding in half again lengthways.