New-ish pattern: zero waste tie front top

The tie front top is one of the most popular patterns in Zero Waste Sewing. It was the first pattern I made for the book; I made all the patterns just over 3 years ago now.

The pattern in the book only comes in 5 sizes, to fit a 34″/86cm bust to a 42″/106cm. However, I’m now more confident with grading zero waste patterns to bigger sizes, so I’ve revisited this pattern and re-issued it as a digital pattern in 20 sizes, to fit from a 32″/81cm bust to a 70″/178cm.

The pattern is in my shop now – please enjoy 25% off for the next month.

zero waste tie front top sketch

The body, sleeves and tie all hang on the bias. The top pulls on over the head with no fastenings required, and the only notion needed is sewing thread.

The pattern is drawn straight onto the fabric from measurements in the instructions, so there are no pattern pieces to print out (apart from a back neck template – see the end of this post).

Here’s the cutting layout. The top is cut from a perfect square of fabric – the tie is cut first, then the other pieces are cut from the two big triangles either side.

zw tie front cutting layout

It only took 3 years for me to twig that I could use a bigger square for bigger sizes! Duh! I wasn’t sure if the “formula” would grade up successfully but it did.

Here’s a gallery of tops, all made in different fabrics….

The original from the book, in white striped dobby cotton (or poly cotton?).
zw tie front top in hot pink lawn
In hot pink lawn, worn by my neighbour Jennie. A very easy fabric to make this top with.
zw tie front top in turquoise shantung
My fab sister in a turquoise version. The fabric was originally a curtain from the op shop. It appeared to be one of those indestructible 1960s synthetic fabrics, yet it had such a vibrancy that at one point I wondered if it was silk shantung (it wasn’t, but the photo really doesn’t do the colour justice).
This fabric is crisper with more structure than the others here.
zw tie front top in lyocell/linen
The top also looks very lovely in fluid fabrics, such as this lyocell/linen blend. It IS harder to cut and sew with fluid fabrics rather than stable ones, so feel free to choose a fabric according to your sewing comfort level.
This photo shows how the sleeve length gets shorter as the shoulder length gets longer.
zw tie front top seated pose
Here’s a seated pose – bookshop owner Nigelle-ann felt so comfortable that after the photo shoot she wore the top for the rest of the day.
zw tie front top worn by Liz Haywood
Me, wearing mine. The fabric is Japanese cotton from Spotlight. I wore it for the book launch.

Here’s a bit more about how I originally designed this top.

For this new pdf version, I made two very small changes to the pattern. In case you’ve bought the book, they are:

  1. I made the front neckline 2cm higher (page 17, Step 10).
  2. I made a template for the back neck piece to make it easier to shape it (page 19, Step 5). Below is a pdf of the template – click on the double chevrons at the top right to download.



  1. Terri Gardner on November 15, 2021 at 1:31 am

    Thank you for including the updates. The template will come in very handy!

    • lizhaywood on November 15, 2021 at 4:19 pm

      You’re welcome Terri 🙂

  2. Balkees Jones on January 16, 2022 at 3:53 am

    Thanks for the template, I bought the book & wondered how to grade the size up to mine.

    • lizhaywood on January 16, 2022 at 1:17 pm

      Cheers Balkees, and thanks for getting my book 🙂

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