We established our love for split back tops back in 2013 when we released our Lakeside Pajama set, but for some reason we’ve never transferred that design detail over to any of our other patterns until now!
This is a fairly simple pattern modification that slightly alters the shape of the final garment, the A-line shape will be exaggerated, while adding a design detail that catches the eye. The split is low enough to keep all undergarments hidden, but the breezy design keeps the shirt away from your skin which feels delightful when the weather is humid or you’re craving a comfortable garment that looks more pulled together than a sweatshirt or knit tee.
Please note you’ll likely need more fabric than the pattern instructions indicate as you’ll be cutting two back pieces. If you need help estimating how much fabric you need you can check out our Tips & Tricks: Estimating Yardage post.
Also, we finish the hem with a bias facing in this tutorial so you will need to purchase or make your own bias tape if you choose to finish your hem similarly. If you’re interested in making your own bias tape we have a tutorial that covers all of the steps which you can find here: How To: Make Your Own Bias Tape. Let’s get started!
Begin by tracing out your back pattern piece in full.
Starting about an 1″ (2.54 cm) below the armscye notches draw a curved line down to the opposite bottom corner. You can draw this line higher or lower to suit your preference. You’ll want to keep in mind that the the point where your curved line crosses over the the center back is where the pieces of your split back top will eventually overlap.
If you plan on wearing this top with high waisted jeans or skirts an higher curve and overlap point may suit you, but keep in mind more of your lower back will be exposed if you choose to wear it with regular waisted jeans or skirts.
Trim the pattern piece to remove the point below the curved line. This is your new pattern piece for your split back top. Cut two out of your fabric. Make sure to mirror the piece so that you have a left and right back piece. Cut out the rest of the pattern pieces according to the instructions.
Overlap your two back pieces so that the shoulders, neckline, and armscyes align. Baste together at the neckline at 1/4″ (0.635 cm), and also baste along the armscye from the shoulder down stopping about 1″ (2.54 cm) before the hem of your back piece. Then follow the pattern instructions through step 6 to begin assembling your Scout Tee.
After sewing your side, shoulder, and neckline you’ll now finish the hem of the entire garment using a bias facing. It’s the same exact method you used to finish your neckline, but instead of working in a circle you’ll be working from one edge of your back pieces around the front of the garment to the other back edge.
Start by pinning your bias tape to the right side of the hem of the entire garment. Follow the pattern instructions from step 3 through step 6 to apply the bias binding to your hem; the pattern instructions will say neckline, but read as hem.
Once your hem is finished, pick up the instructions at step 8 and finish your garment accordingly!
Do you like the look of split back tops? Let us know what you think about this modification below!