Sewing Adventures In The Attic’s Zoe Top/Dress – How to add a central panel

Simple Sew Blogger Hack, Tips & Tricks 0 Comments

How to Add a Central Panel to Zoe Top and Dress

I thought I would be fun to share with you how I made my Zoe top special by adding a central panel in the centre front seam. You can use this to add a panel in your top,  dress in the back or front. It all depends on what you fancy.

I got my pattern from the first issue of Sew Now magazine  that was launched in October 2016. I you can no longer purchase the magazine you can buy the pattern from Simple Sew PatternsThe Zoe dress and top.  I used fabric I already had in my stash (navy linen and yellow cotton), which I purchased from Abakhan.


I wanted for mine to add a bit of court into my centre from seam.  To make this top I used the pattern and  about 1m of main fabric and some scrap fabric for the sleeve cuffs, central  panel and facings. (You don’t need to do the same, it was just a personal preference for me). Basically you need enough scrap fabric to make the central panel. I suggest you use a similar weight fabric for your panel as your main fabric.

To make the panel you will need tools as in the picture:


STEP1: Start by measuring your centre front seam. Mine was about 21” (53.5cm). This is because I decided to lengthen the top by 2” (5cm).

zoe3-measure-centre-front-seamSTEP2: Decide how wide you want to make your central panel.  Remember you need to include your seam allowances on each side which are 1.5cm. To that I added 0.5 cm so my piece will be 4cm wide and 53.5 cm long.  

The next steps you can do directly on your scrap fabric or you can make yourself a paper pattern. When working on the scrap fabric also remember to work on the straight of grain.

STEP3: Draw a rectangle with your measurements. For me this was 4cm x 53.5 cm. Cut that in paper or draw it on your fabric.



STEP4: Pin your paper pattern on the fabric and  cut your fabric piece.


Now you are ready to start making your top/dress.


STEP5:  Before pin the band to the centre once of the front pieces, right sides together, mark the centre of the piece by folding the stripe of fabric lengthwise. Stitch it in place, using a 1cm seam allowance.


STEP6: Pin the other side and repeat.


STEP7: Press seams toward the side seams.


I prefer to finish my seams once they are sewn up. So if you want to finish the raw edges now is the time. You  can use an overlocker, zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine. Or just leave them as they are.


STEP8: Mark on your seam allowance of your main fabric (1.5cm) a line of 5cm. This will be the line you will stitch through both layers. Basically you are making a pleat on the centre front. Just try to make sure the fabric of the scrap fabric is out the way, so you do not catch it in the seam.  


Match the mark you made on the inserted piece with the centre of the seam you just made, this will created a little pleat.

STEP9:  Press the pleat in place . To make it a bit more crisp, I prefer to add some topstitching. However you do not need to do this if you do not want to.


If you fancy using see through fabric, I suggest you add a couple of stitches to keep the newly inserted fabric in place in your bust area so you do not show too much skin.

zoe15-front-panel-detailNow that you finished the front panel you can continue with the rest of the construction as per your instructions.

Hope you found this helpful and are inspired to further customise your Zoe Dress and Tops. And, don’t forget  to share your Zoe tops and dresses with us on Twitter : @ssewpaterns FaceBook: Simple Sew Patterns @simplesewpatterns Instagram: @simplesewpatterns. We love seeing your versions of our patterns.

Happy Sewing!


Sewing Adventures in the Attick

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