Sewing Tutorials


Hi y’all! Today I’m so excited to share a mind boggling awesome tutorial from my babes at By Hand London for Sewing Indie Month. I’m sorry if my gushiness about this company borders on the obscene; I can’t help it. I don’t just love what they do; I love who they are.  Their designs speak to me on a deep “I never knew I wanted that but now I can’t imagine a world without it” level. Their evolution and growth as a company, from indie start-up designers into their exciting new role as digital fabric printers is just…inspirational. So I’m happy to let Elisalex hijack my blog today. She basically threw my patterns into a blender and made a tropical margarita and I am LOVING it!

Aloha Closet Cases! First and foremost, I have to express what a deep and monumental pleasure it is to be gracing Heather-Lou’s pages, pages of which – and I know I also speak for the other BHL gals, Charlotte and Victoria – I have been a devout follower of since what feels like the beginning of sewing time. I’ll even go as far as to say that Heather-Lou is the stuff girl crushes are made of.

(editors note: I’m sorry if anyone is barfing right now. This is what happens when potential BFFs IRL are separated by oceans. It’s gushy and blushy.)

Those of you familiar with us at By Hand London will know just how much we enjoy a good pattern hacking sesh. Dreaming up infinite possibilities from one given design is probably what fascinates us most about sewing. So, to celebrate Sewing Indie Month, and to welcome in the Summer (hurry up Summer!), we have for you a tropical Closet Case pattern hack that’ll have you running for the first flight to Mexico – The Miss Nettie Bombshell two-piece!

Nettie Bombshell hack from By Hand London Nettie Bombshell hack from By Hand London


  • The Nettie Bodysuit pattern – assembled and traced
  • The Bombshell pattern – View C assembled and traced
  • 1.5m of swimsuit lycra
  • 4m clear swimsuit elastic
  • All the necessary swimsuit sewing accoutrements – sewing machine, fabric scissors, ballpoint machine needle, thread, pins etc

What we’re dealing with here is essentially a super simple, yet mega effective pattern alteration. We are going to make the Nettie Bodysuit into a crop-top. For this tutorial, I’ve teamed my Nettie crop-top with a pair of matching Bombshell bikini briefs, resulting in the absolute epitome of chic Summerwear – forget dresses that take you from the office to after-work drinks, I’m talking outfits that take you from pool to party!

Nettie Bombshell hack from By Hand London


To begin with, we need to alter the Nettie pattern. Take your front bodice piece and simply cut along the line indicating the bra shelf. This will result in a crop-top that sits right below your bust, and gives as much support as a crop-top can offer. If you don’t need the support, and would like a longer line crop-top, simply cut an inch or two below that bra shelf line.

Nettie Bombshell hack from By Hand London

Next, we need to cut the bodice back piece to match the front. Place the pattern pieces together and match the side seams, marking the point where the bodice front now ends.


Using a ruler, mark out the line you’ll need to cut to crop your bodice back piece. Make sure that this line is perfectly parallel to the “lengthen/shorten” line.


Cut. Remember to transfer any pattern annotations that have been cut away – where to place on fold; size etc.

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Go about the usual making of your Nettie as per Heather-Lou’s instructions, stopping after you have inserted the sleeves and are ready to close the side seams. Before we close the side seams, we need to apply some of that lovely clear swimsuit elastic to the newly cropped hemline.


Can’t see it?? Neither can we… I guess that’s the beauty of it. Here she is up close:


Cut two lengths of elastic, each one about a centimeter shorter that the hemlines of the bodice front and bodice back. Pin the elastic to the right sides of your hem, evenly distributing the-ever-so slight fullness of the fabric.

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Stitch the elastic into place, stretching it gently to fit, with a wide zigzag stitch.

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Close your side seams, hem your sleeves and finally hem your top by turning the hem in once and stitch with a wide broken zigzag. The clear elastic will now be directly against your skin, keeping your top – and the ladies – securely in place!

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Last thing to do is make up your Bombshell bikini briefs (View C) as per the pattern instructions.

And now, off to Mexico! *Checks bank balance* Or maybe not. Local pool perhaps…? Hmmmm. Well, it’s as I always say, you can never, ever be overdressed. Ciao for now…


Thanks Elisalex! I was planning on making some crop tops anyway but now it’s jumped to the top of my queue! Also, can I please live in your closet??