Since I launched the Appleton Dress I’ve had requests for an Appleton Top hack (and I’ve already seen some cropping up on Instagram!), so today I’m sharing how to transform your Appleton Dress into an Appleton Top. Wrap tops are so, so versatile when you’re putting together an outfit of separates and I think they always look a little more polished than a sweater or cardigan. Ever since I made this one I’ve been wearing it incessantly…
I love wearing my Appleton top with jeans – the mid-hip level suits me, though obviously you can adjust the hem length to whatever works for your figure best (for reference, I”m 5’6″).
Alternatively, if you tuck your top into a skirt or pants it gives the impression of a cropped length – without any accidental flashing of the tummy when you lean over! No bust flashing, no tummy flashing… Double bonus.
To add a little bit of interest to the top, I finished the sleeves with cuffs, instead of a regular hem. The mid-length sleeve plus a cuff, shown here, takes it to a “true” three quarter length, halfway down the forearm. This tutorial includes instructions for a cuff at any length (top tip: you can use the cuff technique on the Washington Dress too!).
This tutorial also includes a brand new shaped waist tie, which flares out at the bottom for a cute look- feel free to include the flair or not!
Let’s Hack the Appleton Into a Wrap Top!
Shorten the Front and Back Pieces
First things first—let’s make this dress a top! This part is pretty straightforward, and you can stop after this step if you wish.
For a hip-length top, draw a horizotonal line across the front piece (1 A, B or C) at the height of the hip notch and trim the pattern piece. Only use the upper part for cutting your top front.
You can cut higher or lower than the hip notch, depending on your body and your length preference—just make sure to note the level you marked, because you’ll want to do the same on the back- that’s next!
Repeat what you did for the front. Draw a horizontal line across the back piece (2) at the same height as the line on the front and trim the pattern piece. Only use the upper part for cutting your top back.
You could use these pattern pieces to create a top, following the rest of the instructions from the pattern. \ But to get my exact look, read on and create the shaped waist tie and cuffs!
Create the Shaped Waist Ties (optional)
The new waistband is not cut on the fold, like the original. The flared end requires us to create a 2-piece waistband, so we’ll cut a two-piece waistband for each side.
Start by creating a new waistband pattern that is a rectangle 2.5” x the length of the waist tie for your size.
Then, add the flared end. Mark a new end point for your wrap tie by extending it 2” longer and 1” wider. Connect the point to the original corner of the tie to the new end point.
Starting 23” from the end of your tie, begin to slope the line of the lower edge of the tie to meet the new lower point. Connect points—no need to add seam allowance here!
Next, sew the waist ties together.
- Cut 4 new waist tie patterns from fabric
- Pin 2 tie pieces together, right sides together. Sew around long sides and across angled ends, leaving short ends open
- Trim corners, turn right sides out, press.
- Repeat with second waist tie.
- Continue on following the pattern instructions to insert the ties and finish the top
Shorten Sleeves and Create Cuffs (optional)
The Appleton Dress comes with 3 sleeve length options, but you can customize this top with whatever sleeve length fits your fancy.
Determine your preferred sleeve length on the sleeve pattern, keeping in mind that the cuff will add about 2.5″.
Then add 3/8″ seam allowance for your new sleeve cutting line.
After you’ve determined your new sleeve length, trace and cut that pattern piece.
Next, draft your custom cuff!
Your cuff will be 5 3/4” x 85% the width of your sleeve at the stitching line.
Mark a line down the center of your pattern piece parallel to the long edge- this will be the cuff fold line.
Next, construct the cuffs.
Sew the cuff together at short ends, with right sides together. Trim the seam allowance to ¼” inch (6mm), and press open.
Fold lengthwise along fold line with wrong sides together and press. Baste along open edge if you think it will make things easier when applying the cuff to the sleeve- three layers can be a lot to deal with!
Now, apply the cuff to the sleeve.
Pin the cuff to the outside of sleeve (6), right sides together, with raw edges matching at sleeve opening.
Sew cuff to sleeve opening, then flip seam allowance to inside and press seam allowance towards sleeve. Repeat with the second sleeve!
And that’s that! You have a stylish, well-fitting wrap top!
We can’t wait to see your Appleton Top hacks!