Butterfly Top (Sewing Tutorial)

A detailed sewing tutorial and instructions on how to create a butterfly-style top.

butterfly top sewing tutorial

Y2K fashion is back with a bang, and those who like to keep up with the trends are looking out for those glittery clothes, spaghetti strap tops, low-rise jeans, and also butterfly tops; All of them are back in fashion, and everyone is a diva again.

So you can do your thing and make a cute butterfly top just right for a Y2K party.

The butterfly top was first introduced by Singer Mariah Carey some 20 years ago – and she looked fabulous in it, and it could be today because nowadays young celebrities like Olivia Rodrigo can be seen sporting them with elan.

The butterfly top is a halter neck tie bralette top with sphagetti straps fastening it at the neck and at the back. It is shaped like a butterfly and may or maynot feature the body of the butterfly. It is usually heavily embellished.

Sewing tutorial for Butterfly top

The butterfly top can be made in any fabric – but the more glittery the better you will look ready for the y2k vibe. It can be made in thin see-through fabrics with chiffon, shiny fabrics like satin, or rich-looking textured fabrics like brocade or embroidered velvet – it is your fancy and your party. Use whatever you want to wear but embellish with lots of beads and sequins.


Sewing tutorial for a Butterfly top

Step 1 

Draft the pattern

You can base your butterfly top on an old bra or use the free-size pattern given below. The pattern given is for a free size one which can be modified to suit your particular body size. You can increase or decrease the amount you take in as a dart according to the bust size.

You need an outer fabric and lining piece to make this top and some thin fabric for making the spaghetti straps. Cut out 22 inches wide and 11 inches tall fabric pieces from the outer fabric and the lining.

Fold these fabrics by the middle and mark the following pattern. Change the pattern according to your aesthetic sense, personal preference, sense of modesty, etc.


butterfly top pattern

Step 2

Mark the darts and sew them on either side. Do this for the outer fabric and the lining

sew butterfly top

Step 3

Make the spaghetti straps – you need six straps for this butterfly top. 2 for the neckties and 4 for the back ties. 

These thin straps can be cords you can buy ready-made at shops, or you can make fabric tubes. Follow the tutorial for fabric tubes here. 

Basically, they are quite easy to make. Just cut out 6 fabric strips of 3/4 inch from very thin fabric (in matching color as the outer fabric) – do not use thick fabric or use it to your own frustration. I just cut them from the fabric by the crosswise direction. 

Fold each strip by the middle and sew a little less than 1/4 inch from the folded edge. Now use a thick needle (tapestry needle without a sharp edge) and thick Perle cotton or denim sewing thread. Attach it to one end of your fabric strip opening. It is better to taper trim the seam allowance of one end of the folded strip so that it will easily turn. 

fold fabric strip by the middle and sew along the middle

Use the needle and thread to ease the tube right side out slowly. 

use thick thread and dull needle to ease the fabric tube out

So you have the six fabric tubes. 

6 fabric tubes

Step 4

Keep the tubes aligned on the lining piece. Baste stitch them in all the correct places.

keep the straps on the lining

The red lines in the picture show the basting stitches.

Step 5

Keep the outer fabric right side down on your lining material.

keep the outer fabric rightside down
The outer fabric is kept on top of the lining, right side down

Pin in place

Now stitch all around the edge, leaving 2 inches somewhere (for turning)

Step 6

Bring it right side out through the unstitched hole.

bring the top rightside out

Sew the open hole closed with hand sewing stitches or machine stitching. You can top stitch along the whole edge of the top and in the process sew the hole closed. The top stitching reinforces the edge.

Step 7

Make the middle body of the butterfly.

My body looks completely unsymmetrical and more like an alien. I guess you can do better.

butterfly top

It is cut 8.5 inches long – you can make it longer or shorter. I made it bigger earlier and had to cut it shorter. 

Cut out this shape from layers of fabric – so that the body part will be thicker and stand independently. Keep them stacked – with the outer fabric right side down. Sew all around, leaving a hole for turning.

butterfly top

When the body is turned, hand sew the hole closed.

Step 8

Keep the body to the middle of the top and sew in place. 

butterfly top

Related post: Sewing tutorial for Butterfly sleeved top

butterfly sleeved top

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.
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