Sewing Pattern Hack: Open Back Union St Tee

Open Back Union Square


Written by Vanessa of East & Eden Design

The Union St. Tee pattern knows no bounds. When a pattern is designed so well, the possibilities for adaptations are endless. The designer, Adrianna Appl of Hey June, has created a gem of a pattern. The fit and construction are top notch. With a few simple changes, you can achieve a completely different look based on the same great fit. Today I'm going to show you how to add romance to the Union St. Tee by opening up the neckline and adding a cut out in the back.


Adapting the Pattern

Step 1: We will start by adapting the paper pattern pieces. Piece together and cut out the Scoop Front and Back pattern pieces in your size.

*** I chose a size small with the hips graded out to a medium. If you are doing a larger or smaller size, you may want to increase or decrease the measurements that I give in the tutorial.***

When cutting out the necklines, reserve your scrap as it will help us to trace the altered curve of the neckline that we create. This will make more sense in Step 4.


Step 2: I wanted a more formal, feminine neckline to compliment the open back. I decided to widen and drop the neckline a bit. To achieve the look, measure 2 1/4" down from the center of the neckline on the Scoop Front piece. Make a mark.

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Step 3: To widen the neckline, measure 1/2" out from the scoop neckline on the shoulder. Make another mark.

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Step 4: Now we are going to make use of the scraps from cutting the neckline. Line up the cut curve from the scrap on the mark you made on the shoulder.


Trace a few inches, starting at your mark and following the curve of the scrap down. Next, line up the center of the scoop curve from your scrap on the mark you made 2 1/4" down. Begin tracing up to match the shoulder line you just drew. When connecting the two lines, you may have to smooth out your curve a bit. When doing this hack for the first time, I traced in pencil so I could adapt the line if needed.


Step 5: Now we need to adapt the shoulder of the back piece so the shoulder of the front and back are the same width when we go to sew.


Measure 1/2" from the inside of the neckline on the back piece. Mark.


Line up your scrap neckline piece with the new mark. Draw a new curve using the scrap as a guide.


Step 6: Now we will mark the cut out on the back pattern piece. Start by marking a 1/2" down on the middle of the back piece. This is the top of the cut out.


Next, measure down 7 1/2" down from the middle of the back neckline. This is the bottom of our cut out.

*** Once again, these are the measurements I used for a size small. You may need to adapt the measurements if you are a different size.***


Now we will mark the sides of the cut out. Measure down 4" from the center neckline and 3" in from the arm. Mark.


Now connect the top and bottom dots to the side dot. You will end up with a triangle.


Using your straight lines as a guide, draw curved lines. Your curves should look like a half of an oval.


Finally, mark a 1/2" in at the top of the neckline. Draw a line down to the top of the cut out.


Your back pattern piece adaptation is finished.


Step 7: Cut your pattern pieces along the lines you created and then cut them out of your fabric.


Step 8: Cut your desired sleeve from the pattern. I used the 3/4 sleeve. You will also need two 2 1/4" wide pieces of knit for binding with the stretch running the long way. I cut them the width of the fabric and cut them down to size later.


Time to sew ... Yay!

Step 9: Fold both binding pieces in half, wrong sides together along the short edge.


Press well.


Step 10: Pin/clip one of your folded binding strips around your back cut out to the wrong side of your shirt back, matching raw edges. Stretch the binding slightly as you go.


Serge/sew with a 1/4" seam allowance.


Press your seam allowance up toward the binding. The seam allowance should be on the right side of the back piece.


Step 11: Fold the binding over the seam allowance, making sure the seam allowance stays pressed toward the middle of the cut out. Press and pin.


Topstitch the binding down with a 1/8" seam allowance.


Trim off the extra binding length.


Your seam allowance should now be totally enclosed in the binding.


Step 12: Match the shoulder seams of the front and back piece, right sides together and serge/sew. Press the seam allowance forward.

Step 13: Find the midpoint on your second piece of binding and pin it to the midpoint of the scoop neckline, raw sides together on the wrong side of the front shirt piece. Continue pinning around the neckline and out over the bound cut out back.


Starting all the way at the end of your binding strip, serge/sew with a 1/4" seam allowance until you get to the other end of this binding strip.


Go slow when sewing over the back cut out binding. Make sure you catch the back binding's entire width in the seam.

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Step 14: Press the seam allowance toward the binding, just as we did with the back cut out. Starting at the end of the binding again, fold the folded edge of the binding over the seam allowance from the previous step. Close by stitching with a 1/8" seam allowance.


Go slowly, holding the folded seam allowance down and flipping the folded edge of the binding over.


Voila! Your binding is done. Follow the Union St. Tee pattern from this point forward to attach sleeves and hem.


Isn't it amazing how a few small adaptations to a pattern can give you a completely different look?!? Basic tee turned romantic top. Love it. Do you want to make one too? Pick up your own copy of the Union St. Tee pattern.


We would love to see your adapted Union St. Tees. Tag us on instagram @upcraftclub and @eastandeden with the hashtag #unionsttee to share your creations.

September 11, 2015 by UpCraft Club
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Phyllis said:

very nice, thanks for sharing

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