Neela Sari top – Fashion with Fabrics shell top hack

GBSB book Shell top hack

Hi guys, hope you’re ready for more Fashion with Fabrics (GBSB 3 book) projects! My love for this fab book is no secret, and here is another reason: the hacks! for each project there are suggested hacks (or modifications), but I managed to come up with another one. This is inspired by my fellow Bee Neela (who also blogs at Sew Fusion) and also the fabric was a very kind gift from the same lovely friend Nee. That is why I’ve named this one in her honour!

So, back to the original pattern… This is an easy one, the shell top. CL (Hardie, the book’s author) has already proposed one hack, with buttons down the back, which is great. Here’s her version on her blog, The Thrifty Stitcher.GBSB book Shell top

But I wanted to make use of the sari’s wonderful embellished border, so I decided to make it into an asymmetric back top (see Nee’s fab lace version and tutorial here).

Sari top 1

The construction was pretty easy. I cut out a size 10, my usual size. The front is straightforward, with two bust darts. For the back, I attached the border so that the right side of the border was showing. I then topstitched the outer edge to hold it from flapping. I overlapped the neckline so that they create the opening and asymmetric effect, then basted in place.

Sari top back

Then it was pretty straight forward to assemble the blouse as per the instructions (shoulders, side seams). I used bias binding for armholes and neckline instead of the facings, because of the different back neckline.  I didn’t have access to my overlocked when I was working on this top and I had to make sure I finish it nicely without it. So I used French seams on the shoulder and side seams and a narrow hem on the bottom, as the front is curved.

Sari top Wrong side

I have to make a quick mention for the bias binding, as I ended up doing it twice. First time round, I used some self made binding that I had in my stash, of a fairly matching colour. However, it didn’t come out too nice. So I figured it must be the binding’s fault and I ordered some satin one, plus the colour was much closer. So I unpicked the first one and took the opportunity to slightly enlarge the armholes, as they felt a bit tight. And the second time around the top stitching came out great, I was quite pleased with it. To make sure it all worked out nice and neat, I wanted to double check on my binding method and found this really good tutorial, which I recommend. I learnt a new thing, as I  didn’t used to understitch the binding before, but worked out great to keep it all nice and on the inside.

Sari top bias

So, quite a lot of wins on this simple top:

– I stash-busted and used a lovely fabric that has quite a lot of sentimental value

– I experimented with a nice new feature that I am looking forward to using again

– I improved my bias binding technique

Sari top 2

I can’t wait to try more projects from the GBSB 3 book! Have you sewn anything out of it yet?

Happy sewing!



  1. Hey! Love your hack!
    I use the same technique to binding edges with bias tape! I get the best finish with this one! Better than with facings so I tend to skip the facings and use bias to finish my garments now!
    As you ,now so far I made 3 garments out of the last book #gbsb and quite a few are on the pipe line! My favourite of the 3 books released.


  2. LOVE it! It’s beautiful!
    The fabric looks divine and your pattern hack is really clever.
    Your bias looks great also, great link by the way! In case you feel like making your own binding again, you can try making yourself a bias maker, it’s fun and fast! (
    Now I have to get my hands on this GBSB book! I’ve been wanting to make the Walkaway dress since I saw it on the telly! 😉


  3. Gorgeous colour, and great use of fabric detail. Looks great on you. I think it’s a winner!! I’m working my way through the book: I have a slouchy cardi, two pairs of casual trousers and two girls’ sundresses on the way. I really want to tackle the drapey knit dress, but not sure about choice of fabric. It’s a great book!


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