The Sia Top Hack by @celsews

Sewing a lined garment seemed so intimidating to me before starting this project, but with clear instructions and some clever thinking it was such a fun process. Those daunting projects always turn out to be the most rewarding for me in the end, because everytime I start one I learn that I am capable of so much more than my insecurities lead me to believe. And you learn so many new techniques on the way!

Once you’ve chosen which fabric you want to use as your main fabric, you have to decide on a lining fabric. It might not be as important as the main fabric. But just because it sits on the inside and no one will see it when you’re wearing the top, doesn’t mean it can’t spark a whole lot of joy seeing it every time you take it out of your closet. I chose this light pink viscose that I had left over from another project. I thought it went really well with the lighter flowers on the main fabric and it makes me happy everytime I wear this top. (which is really often)

The Lined Sia Top

There are not many alterations in cutting your fabric. . You’ll need to cut the following pattern pieces.

  • 1 – Front Bodice cut 2 in shell fabric
  • 2 – Back Bodice cut 2 in shell fabric and 2 in lining fabric
  • 3 – Front waistband cut 1 in shell fabric and 1 lining fabric
  • 4 – Back waistband cut 2 in shell fabric, 2 in lining fabric and 2 in fusing fabric/material
  • 13 – Sleeve cut 2 in shell fabric
  • 16 – Front bodice lining cut 2 in lining fabric

For the back waistband you’ll want to cut one of the shell pieces and one of the lining pieces 2cm longer. This is where the waistband will overlap on the back to add closure. For the waistband I used the main fabric as a lining, because I didn’t want to take the risk of the lining fabric peeking underneath it while finished, and breaking up the dress illusion when combined with the skirt. I lengthened the sleeve for it to be a full sleeve all the way to my wrist. Adding the waist ties and sleeve pillow is optional! So feel free to personalize it to your style completely.


The first step is to sew and press the darts and pleats as instructed in the pattern, both on the shell and lining fabric. If you are choosing to use a gathered bustline. Add two gathering stitches to the front bodice pieces of the shell but don’t gather them yet! To make a gathering stitch, put your stitch length to the longest setting and don’t backstitch at the beginning and end.

Sew and press the shoulder and side seam of the shell front bodice pieces back bodice pieces together and press. Repeat for the lining fabric.

Grab your invisible zipper! Turn the zipper upside down to measure and mark how far you will sew down your center back seam. You’ll want to make sure you lay down your zipper so that there is 1cm of fabric left from where your zipper closes. That centimeter of fabric will be in the seam allowance of the waistband. You will sew your two shell back bodice pieces right sides together from the top till the mark and press it open. Don’t forget that the seam allowance is 1.5cm for the CB seam.

Next up is attaching the shell fabric to the lining fabric right sides together along the neckline. Because we’ve already sewn the back bodice pieces together at the top, you should be able to go all around the neckline. Snip the curves on the inside of the fabric, and understitch the seam allowance towards the lining. Isn’t understitching so satisfying and rewarding? It’s one of the reasons I love adding linings or facings to garments. And I’m always a little sad when it’s over.

We’re coming to the part some people might dread… the invisible zipper. I was definitely a little frightened before I started, but I was surprised as to how quickly it came together! So, you got this!  Start by inserting the invisible zipper to the shell fabric, like you would install it normally, getting as close to the zipper teeth as possible. Don’t forget that we’re putting it in upside down, otherwise you’ll face an unpleasant surprise later! Getting as close to the zipper teeth as possible. We’ll add the lining to the invisible zipper, like demonstrated in the instructions. If you’re struggling with this part, I would really recommend checking out Taree’s video tutorial for the lined dress.

Next we’ll be basting the shell and lining together at the armholes and waistline. If you chose to do a gathered bust adjustment, this is where we will start gathering the bust of the front bodice shell to fit the lining of the front bodice. Pull on the bobbin threads of the two basting stitches that we made in the first step until the shell front bodice matches the width of the front bodice lining. Baste together the bodice at the waistline, making sure the side seams of the shell and lining match. If you are new to lining pieces like me, don’t beat yourself up if they don’t match up perfectly! Mine didn’t and the final garment still turned out great.

It’s time to attach the waistband. Start by sewing the waistband fronts and backs together right sides together, for both the shell and facing. Add the interfaced shell waistband to the bodice first. Check to see if all the gathers/pleats at the bust sit nicely and then you can sew on the lining. The bodice will be sandwiched between shell and lining waistband. While adding the lining waistband to the bodice we will also finish up the back of the waistband where they meet. We’ve cut the back waistband pieces a little longer, so it gives us some room to do so. 

Let’s take a step back and look how beautiful your top is starting to look! And I’m pleased to tell you, the hardest part is over.

To finish sewing the waistband, fold in the fabric at the bottom of the waistband evenly by 1cm. I did this while pressing it, so it stayed nicely in place. This way I could also make sure that the shell of the waistband overlapped the lining of the waistband by just 1mm maybe, so the lining won’t peak out when we topstitch. When pressed and pinned, sew along the bottom of the waistline!

Set in the sleeve using step 18, 19 and 20 in the instruction booklet.

We are off to the finishing touches here. To the back of the waistband where the two ends meet, add your closing of choice. I added some hook and bar closures, because I had them in my stash, but I would have loved to add some fabric covered buttons for instance.

I closed up 3cm of the deep V by hand to make it a bit more modest.

Your top is done! Hooray. You can stop here and enjoy the beautiful top you’ve just created or you can create a dress illusion by making the skirt I made with it.

The Skirt

This skirt is a little time consuming but definitely not hard to make. Using the awesome Rectangle Ruffle Skirt tutorial Daisy Braid from DIY Daisy provided. I changed the dimensions a bit. For the upper tier of the skirt I cut two rectangles with a 90cm (35.5 inch) width by 60cm (23.5 inch) length. Cut one of these in half lengthwise to install the zipper. For the lower tier I cut 2 rectangles with a 140cm (55 inch) width and a 30cm (12 inch) length.

I also added a waistband to the skirt. To cut out your waistband take your waist measurement. Add 3cm (1.2 inch) and this will be the length of your waistband. I cut mine 15cm (6 inch) wide, because in the finished garment I wanted it to be 6.5cm wide. It will be folded in half and have 1cm seam allowance on either side. I used fusible interfacing on one half to make the waistband feel a little sturdier.

I made a little sketch to show the measurements I used. The notches I’ve drawn will make it easier to evenly distribute the gathers when sewing the layers together. 

Sew the side seams of the upper tear right sides together. Finish and press to the back. Overlock the back pieces separately. Set your stitch length to the longest setting and make two gathering stitches along the top of the tear. Make sure not to back stitch. Ruffle the fabric evenly to attach it on the waistband. The chalk markings we made will make it a lot easier to distribute them evenly, by matching the marks on the top tier to the marks on the waistband. Pin in place and sew the waistband right sides together with the top tier 1cm seam allowance.

Press the waistband up and then press the top of the waistband in by 1cm. Fold the waistband in half making sure that this enclosed seam will just cover the stitch we made to sew the waistband and top tier together. Press. The place where you can see the press line is where you’ll want your zipper to end. Insert the invisible zipper. Then close the waistband by stitching in the ditch from the outside of the skirt and sewing along the zipper at the back of the waistband. Finish sewing the rest of the center back seam.

Sew the two second tier pieces together at the side seam right sides together. Finish the seams and press to the back. Hem this entire tier by folding the fabric in twice and stitching it. My hem is 1cm. 

The only thing left to do is to ruffle up the second tier. In the same way we did with the first tier. By making two rows of gathering stitches, and matching the marks with the marks on the first tier. Sew together and finish them together. Press upwards and your skirt is finished! 

I love wearing this skirt and top combined, but they work so wonderfully as separates in my wardrobe as well. I’m mostly a pants kinda girl, so especially the top I love combining with different trousers for a more casual but dressy everyday look. Happy fall sewing everyone!

A little end note from Taree… Thanks Marcella for sharing your beautiful hack. Below are some other Sia Top hacks to inspire you…

By Amanda @hackknitsew
By Marcella @celsews

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