How to Sew a Linen Top Without Pattern

I absolutely love linen and in this post, I am showing you how easy it is to sew a versatile linen tank top without using a pattern.

If you’ve been following me you may know that I love linen and try to make as much from this fabric as I can. I have been wanting to make a linen tank top for a while but didn’t have a pattern. So I made it without one!

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Why linen

I have a longer post about why I love linen and how to take care of it.

Linen is a great fabric for the summer as it is cooling and has this casual rustic elegance. It wears really well and is more stain-resistant than other fabrics all the while being a very eco-friendly choice.

It would be safe to say that it is my favorite fabric. I am almost (but only almost) embarrassed to say that I collect linen fabrics. I have one that I bought almost a year ago in a cute little store. Actually, that fabric was a tablecloth but looked so perfect for this top that I had in mind. Here is a similar linen fabric by the yard.

In my opinion, tablecloths are a great choice. I made my popular cross-over linen apron from an Ikea tablecloth!

linen fabrics

Why sew a tank top

In the heat of the summer, I like to wear tank tops to stay as cool as I can. My idea was to create a top that wouldn’t be too tight. Then I could wear a t-shirt underneath which might look a bit more dressed up – or add some warmth for the not-so-hot days.

During the cooler fall, I could even wear a long-sleeved shirt underneath.

I wanted something that was down to my mid-thigh but you can make this top any length you want.

Also sewing a sleeveless top is so much easier than adding sleeves. My kind of sewing project … well, sometimes anyway.

You see, this top would be very versatile which is exactly what I was looking for.

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How to sew the linen top

The back piece

I started by finding another sleeveless top that I had.

Folding it in half, I placed it on top of my linen fabric which was also folded in half. It can be helpful to pin your existing top in place so that nothing shifts. Here, I like to be very generous with the length of the top. It’s always easier to make it shorter later!

At this point, you can either just go ahead and cut the fabric WITH ½ inch seam allowance. OR, you take some chalk or pencil and draw the outline of your existing top onto the fabric. You will still need to add your seam allowance.

using top as pattern

Whenever I have a very nice fabric and I am making a new pattern, I hesitate to start cutting. I always need to overcome that and just trust the process.

Now, cut out the back piece of your top. Repeat this step for the front piece but don’t worry about the neck scoop quite yet.

cutting fabric

The front piece

Oftentimes, I use multiple tops that I own to create the pattern I want. You might have a top with a particularly nice neck scoop. This would be the moment to use that.

Place the top you’re wanting to copy the neckline from on top of your front piece and do your best to trace the outline of it on your fabric.

copy back piece to fabric

Alternatively, if you own a styling ruler you could use that to create the neckline.

Again, cut that WITH the ½ inch seam allowance.

create neck scoop

Finishing your linen top

For this post, I am assuming that you know how to sew a basic top. I like to serge or add a zigzag stitch to keep the cut sides from fraying. Then you sew the sides and the straps. Last, hem the neck and bottom.

Making a test top

If you have an expensive fabric or one that would be hard to replace, I recommend making a “test top”. You could use some leftover fabric that you have or use some cheap muslin. I had another piece of linen fabric (of course … ) and made a tank top from that before I cut into my really nice linen fabric. The upside of that? I now have two very nice linen tops!

blue linen top
wearing linen top

Check out this article if you’re looking for FREE patterns!

Let me know all your comments and questions below!

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How to sew a linen top without pattern


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  3. Thanks for this simple tutorial! I have a small bit of leftover linen I’ve been trying to figure out how to use, and I think this would be the perfect thing to make!

  4. This looks so nice! I’m not much of a sewer, but I love linen and would love to try making this top.

  5. I LOVE my apron and almost live in it! Now I want a tank top – or two….. and another apron and I’m making one for my friend too. I used an old sheet to make my trial apron. It’s perfect for doing the garden or painting walls so it won’t go to waste either. Thank you for the inspiration!

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