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DIY Caged Bustier Top Using a Bra- Inspired by Triangl

In this DIY, I will be showing you how to make this caged bustier top. I used a floral fabric and white bias binding but you can use whatever colours, prints and patterns that you want. The tutorial may be a little confusing at certain points as I was making it up as I went along, but I will try to explain it the best I can! Note: This is quite a long tutorial with a lot of steps so make sure you have the time to complete it :)

Things you will need:                                                                          
-Fabric & Lining (optional); I had around a metre and a half of each
-An old bra 
-A zip (you can also use a different fastening of your choice)
-Bias binding (around 3 metres)
-Fabric shears
-Chalk or a pencil- I used tailors chalk and chalk pens
-Tape measure or ruler
-A Sewing machine (this can be done by hand using a needle and thread but it will take a very long time!)
-Fabric glue- I used a glue gun, however, fabric glue would be better

Step 1:
Fold your lining in half and place the bra on the fold. Using your chalk/pencil, start drawing around the top of the bra, stopping when you reach the cup. When you get to the cup, fold the side of the bra over so that you can draw around the cup.

Step 2:
You should now have markings like the first picture in the collage. Next, place your ruler/tape measure on the cup part of the markings you made and measure how long you want your top to be- I wanted mine 5 inches long. Mark around a cm under the length you want your top to be (this is for the seam allowance). Then, using your ruler/tape measure, from the point you marked, draw a line all the way across so that it is in line with the top markings you made. I added around 5" to both of these lines as my bra is stretchy and my fabric is non stretch- if I didn't do this, the top would be too small. Once you have done this, draw a vertical line so that you join up the shape so there are no gaps. Draw a seam allowance of 1cm around the whole shape like I did in the fourth picture. 

Step 3:
Cut out the shape you made along your seam allowance line. You should have something that looks like the shape in the top picture. Pin the lining onto your fabric and cut around it. You should now have two identical pieces that look similar to the picture at the bottom- don't worry that the shape looks unusual, the final garment will look much nicer!

Step 4: 
Place some of the leftover lining fabric over one of the bra cups as shown in the first picture. Start to pin around the top half and sides of the fabric. You will notice that there is a lot of fabric left over at the bottom that can't be pinned neatly- this will be used to form a bust dart. Push one side of the fabric under and fold the other side over as shown in the bottom images. Pin this in place- you now have a rough bust dart. 

Step 5: 
Turn the bra over and draw around the cup- remember to move the side of the bra out of the way so that you draw only around the cup. Then, take of the pins and lay the lining fabric flat so that you have an outline similar to the second picture- you will notice that the line doesn't join up (this is a good thing). Mark the centre point using your chalk/pencil and from that point, draw a line to the left side where the line ends and then repeat on the right side. You should now have a triangle shape similar to the fourth picture. 

Step 6: 
Cut around this shape leaving a 1cm seam allowance- DO NOT cut up through the triangle part, cut around the whole shape so that you have something similar to the first picture. You will need one more of these in the lining fabric and two in the normal fabric- pin this shape onto some more of the lining and cut around it, then repeat twice on the normal fabric. Once you have cut out all four pieces, draw on the same size darts as you marked on the first piece. Fold the cut out cups so that the dart lines are joining on the inside and pin diagonally across the line like I have done in the third picture- to check that you have done this right, open the cup so that the pins are inside and you should have something that looks like the fourth image. 

Step 7: 
Using the pins to guide you, sew along the diagonal line of your dart, removing the pins as you go. Once you have sewn the darts, press the darts towards the inside of the cup using an iron (this is optional- it won't make much of a difference). You should now have four pieces that look similar to the fourth picture. 

Step 8:
Starting with the lining or the fabric (your choice), place the cup onto the cup part of the shape that you originally cut out (I drew around the cup so that it is easier to see with the fabric that I used). Make sure that the dart is at the centre of this point. Pin the cup all the way around the outline of the shape- don't worry if it overhangs on each side. To check that you have done this right, turn it over and it should look something like the third image. If so, pin the second cup in place. 

Step 9: 
Turn the cup back inside out so that both of the right sides of the fabric are touching. Now it's time to sew the cups on. Sew around the cups leaving 1cm around the outside (this is the seam allowance that you originally drew). Sew these on slowly keeping the fabric underneath as flat as you can as you go around the cup- this will reduce puckering (wrinkles). Your seam allowance should look similar to the second picture once it has been sewed. Turn the cups back the right way round and your top should look like the third image. Repeat on the lining fabric so that you have two identical pieces. 

Step 10:
Once your cups are sewn onto both the lining and fabric, you are ready to sew some 1 inch waist darts. Using one of the cups on the lining, draw a vertical line from the cup dart to the bottom of the top- repeat this on the other side. You should have two lines as shown in the first picture. Next, on one of the lines, use the tape measure/ruler and place the 0.5 inches mark on the line at the bottom of the fabric. Mark either side of the tape measure/ruler on 0 and 1 inch. Using the top point of the line you drew originally, draw a line from the top to the 0 inches mark. Then, using the same top point, draw a line from the top to the 1 inch mark. You should now have a triangle shape. Repeat on the other side so that you have two darts marked as shown in the fourth picture. Repeat these steps onto your normal fabric.

Step 11:
Sew the darts the same way as you did for the cups. You should now have two waist darts on each piece as shown in the first image. Now, turn your lining and fabric over and cut little slits all the way around the seams of your cups. Once you have done this, push them downwards (towards the direction of my finger) and top stitch along the right side (nice side) of the lining fabric. It should look like the fourth image once topstitched. Repeat this on the normal fabric. 

Step 12: 
Once you have top-stitched on both pieces, lay the normal fabric on top of the lining fabric so that the cups fit into each other. Join these together by pinning all the way around the tops leaving a small gap for straps around where I have put the two arrows in the second picture- remember to do this on both sides. Wrap the top around you if you are unsure where the strap holes should go and measure where you want them. If you don't want straps, you don't have to do this. You also don't need to pin the cups together at this point. Once you have pinned the lining and fabric together, sew all the way around the outside leaving a 1cm seam allowance and stop at either side of the top where I have put the arrows in the third picture. Once you have done this, turn the top inside out and your fabric and lining should be stitched together as shown in the fourth image.

Step 13: 
Cut around your bra so that you have the two cups. You don't need to add the cups, however, it helps with the final steps as you need a structured top when applying the binding. Place the cups in between the lining and the fabric and pin in place around the bottom of the cups. You can just about see the yellow and purple pin I used on half of the cup.

Step 14: 
Now it's time to make some straps. I wanted mine to be 15 inches long so I drew a 17 inch line on the lining, leaving an inch either side to secure the straps in the top. I also wanted them an inch wide so I drew a 17 x 1 inch rectangle. Cut out your rectangle/strap leaving a 1cm seam allowance. You now need 3 more straps- cut out one more in the lining and two in the fabric. Take one lining piece and one fabric piece and place the right sides together. Repeat with the other lining and fabric piece. Pin around the straps leaving one of the top ends open- this will be used to turn your straps inside out (well, the right way round). 

Step 15: 
Sew around the straps leaving a 1cm seam allowance and leaving a gap at the top. Turn the straps inside out- you should now have two pieces similar to the first image. Topstitch all the way around the straps- this will close the gap and make the straps much flatter like the second picture. Place the straps at the front of the top between the lining and fabric and pin in place- fold the lining and fabric inwards so that when you sew, you will have a nice, neat finish. Place the other side of the straps in the holes that you left for the straps and pin in place. Topstich around the whole perimeter of the top- this will secure the straps in place and make the garment flatter like when we topstitched the straps. 

Step 16: 
Your top should now look like the left picture. Because we added extra length to the sides of the top right at the start, it may be a little too big. Wrap the top around your body- if it fits, leave it as it is, if it is too big, cut off how much you need to, fold the raw edge in twice and sew a hem like I did in the second picture. Folding the edge in twice will give you a much nicer finish. If you like how your top looks, you don't need to add the binding to make the 'caged' effect. You can skip to the step where I attach the zip. 

Step 17:
Get your bias binding and measure how much you will need for the bottom edge by laying it across the bottom of the top. Cut this out and pin in place- I put one edge of the bias binding at the back and fold it over to the front so it is wrapped around the edge. Place the binding on the top edge of the top and pin in place- stop at the straps, you can go back and add a piece of binding on top when you secure it. When you get to the end of the cup/centre of the top, cut the binding and start a new piece at the beginning of the next cup.

Step 18:
Pin all of your binding in place where you want it on the top. It will look something like the top picture. Now, its time to secure the binding. I started sewing the bias binding on originally, but my machine was struggling to go through the layers and needle holes were left in the binding. I then decided to glue the binding on which gave a much much nicer finish and was a lot easier. I used a glue gun for this as I had no fabric glue, but fabric glue would have been much better. If you don't have bias binding, you can use a plain cotton trim or something similar- it will give the same effect. Once you have glued on all of your bias binding, your bustier should look something like the bottom picture. Remember to go back and glue some binding onto the gaps you left at the straps!

Step 19:
It is now time to add a zip. You can place the zip inside of the top so that only the actual zip is showing, but I liked how the zip looked on the outside. I don't have a zipper foot for my sewing machine so I attached the zip by hand. Don't worry if the zip is too long- fold the zip over and secure it like I did in the second and third pictures.

That's it, you're finished!

Pair with some high waisted jeans for a simple yet stylish look.

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  1. Omg, this is great! I can't believe you haven't had any comments yet, it's and amazing project and I definitely gonna try it.

  2. Love this! I want to try this and attach a tulle skirt to the bottom. I am just a beginner at sewing, but wanted to ask if you had any suggestions or help you could give me before I start? Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you :) This was so long ago so I don't really remember exactly how I did it but if you want to attach a skirt, don't hem the bottom of the top, make the skirt to how you want it and then attach the skirt to the top! Make sure you attach it so that the right sides of the fabric on the top and the skirt are facing eacother and sew the skirt upside down so when it falls down, there will be no raw edges on either of the pieces if you get what i mean. That's a really good idea though, it will look nice x

    2. Hello! What did you exactly add 5" to after you made your desired length? I'm new to this

  3. Thank you,I'm like this project.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. What fabric did you use? C:

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  9. This looks so cute. Definitely trying it

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