As you all may or may not know, I love midriff tops. I'm well aware that it isn't a look that all feel comfortable wearing, however it's one that I've always been a big fan of, because I love high-waisted bottoms. As I have been trawling through many of the latest Spring Summer designer collections, a traditional bandeau/bustier midriff trend has been seen through quite a few collections, most notably Dolce & Gabbana, Yves Saint Laurent and Prada. It's a mixture of traditional busty 1940's styles and strappy 1970's looks and I'm loving them all.

Yves Saint Laurent

Dolce & Gabbana

While I love the small straight styles, the Prada bandeau's in particular are super cute because of the puffy style and today I am going to show you all how to make one, as they're easy and a bit of a different spin on the style.

What you'll need

- Enough fabric for your measurements - I bought a silk dupion fabric, which was $39.95 a metre, but I purchased 30cm, which was definitely enough for me. I chose this fabric because it's quite stiff.
- 2m of elastic
- Invisible thread (or same colour as fabric)
- Scissors
- Pins
- Tape measure

How to do it
1. Measure around the widest part of your bust. I added an extra 10cm to this to leave enough fabric to make the bandeau puffy (but not OVERLY puffy) then cut any extra off. Then measure the fabric lengthways, as it is harder to do this when the elastic has been sewn in. I measured my bandeau for about 18 - 20cm in length, which leaves about 3 - 4cm for when you come to fold the elastic later.
2. Get your elastic and pull it from one end of the fabric to the other, holding it as taut as possible (I didn't do this at the beginning and had to unpick and resew it again because I hadn't pulled it tight enough, so there wasn't enough stretch). Cut the amount of elastic that is needed plus an extra centimetre at each end so you can hold onto it and stretch it while sewing it.
3. Starting from one end's edge, sew the elastic on and do a quick reverse stitch. Then start sewing the elastic all the way down to the end, holding it as taut as possible the entire time. This is to create as much elasticity as possible. Because I was doing such a long piece of elastic on fabric I did the stretching in sections - I'd stretch a bit out, sew it, then stretch the next bit out, sew it etc. When you reach the end finish it with another reverse stitch. You can trim the frays off, but it isn't necessary as we are folding them underneath.

Start at one end edge and make sure to be holding the elastic taut as you sew.
4. Fold the elastic under the fabric twice, keeping the fabric tight once more. This is really important, because if you don't the fabric won't end up with enough stretch in it. Starting this off is the hardest part which is why having a little extra elastic on the end makes stretching/sewing much easier - something to hold onto as the fabric is being fed through the machine. Sew it down, more to the bottom side of the stitch than the middle (see pic below). Once you've started sewing the elastic after the first few stitches, the easiest way to hold the fabric taut is to grab the back end that is being fed out. Keep folding the fabric under all the way to the end. Once again, I did this part in sections rather than trying to pin it. I would stretch the elastic, fold twice, then sew, stretch, fold, sew etc.
5. Repeat from steps 3 - 4 for the other side of the fabric.

This is how it should look when you have folded and sewn the elastic down

6. This next step is not necessary but if you have an overlocker you may want to sew the two length ends to neaten up the fraying edges. If you don't have an overlocker the bandeau can still work, so don't worry!

Having an overlocker isn't a necessity, but it makes edges neater.
7. Once you have overlocked the length edge, pin these two edges together and quickly stitch them (inside out of course). If you have measured your fabric properly, the edges should meet perfectly. Also, if you've held the elastic taut enough and measured enough fabric you should be able to stretch the fabric over your head/shoulders (mine is a bit of a squeeze, but fits perfectly once on).

Oh, and in addition I was considering putting an invisible zipper in to avoid ripping it in case it didn't fit over my head and shoulders. It's an option but I don't think it's a necessary one. I've never had a big bust so wouldn't know, but fitting a zipper in could be a better idea for fuller busted girls. If you do use an invisible zipper, the only step that would change would be 7, where you would sew in the zipper at this stage.

And voila!

A bit too long...
Fixed! Super cute, and easy.
Puffy love! Nice and bright for summer.
Cute, right? The end result for mine was a bit long so that's when I edited the instructions for the length to be cut to about 18cm. Lucky I had extra elastic left over. The key with this trend is to wear the bandeau's with high waisted items and no belly button showing. I think these can be worn as is with some gorgeous chunky jewels or it could be worn under a jacket with long pants for a seriously fun and smart style. Would love to see if anyone attempts these! I think I'm going to experiment with a few prints of these as well.

Love, The Bearded Lady

P.S. I'm sick today, so no facial shots. Always thinking of you guys. Also, I'm aware that my tights don't go but I was too excited to get my post up so apologies for the lack of styling effort xxx

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