It feels flippant to even mention that I’m missing my yoga class and I’d much rather be trying out my new kit in the yoga studio than posing next to a collection of bins in our unsightly garden. Our lives have changed so much in the last week or so and sometimes it is a struggle adjusting. I hope you all are doing well and staying healthy and my thoughts are with everyone in our virtual sewing community and especially with those whose work means they are on the front-line.
In the new normality, between work and home-schooling, I’ve been trying to carve out some sewing time. It’s been tricky! Anyway, I still had a small amount of fabric left over from making my leggings. I decided to try the tank top from the same pattern, Simplicity 8424, as the leggings to use my remaining fabric.
First of all, I wasn’t very sure about what size to make. I picked the medium, based on bust measurement, but I wasn’t convinced that it would be the right size. In fact, I was reasonably sure that it would be too big, but I decided to err on the side of caution.
I made some changes to the top. First of all, I made the top a couple of inches longer. I’m not that happy with the idea of a cropped top, so this moved it away from that, so that it reaches my waistline. I used some knicker elastic for the top edges of the tank, stretching them a little (which isn’t mentioned in the pattern instructions), but I thought that this technique would produce a better fit.
The biggest modification concerned the shoulder and arm hole bindings. I have a great RTW tank top that I use all the time, and this has adjustable straps, just like a bra. Although, I don’t adjust the straps on my RTW top now, as I’ve set them up just as I like them, I know how hard it is to get straps the right length when you first try on a top. As the seam for the arm binding in this pattern are tucked under the arm, I knew it would be extremely hard to make any adjustment if I got this wrong. I therefore decided to create my own adjustable straps. I took apart an old bra and retrieved the findings. The steps I used are shown below. I didn’t take any photos as I went along (which I regret now), but I hope the instructions are useful all the same.
- Cut the binding 12 cm longer than the pattern piece (same width)
- With right sides together, pin the binding to the armhole edge. At the back of the top, extend the binding beyond the edge of the back piece by 4 cm
- Stitch the binding to the armhole edge.
- Trim the binding and the armhole edge. Press the armhole binding towards the front. Next, fold the armhole binding along its centre line lengthwise and then fold again, so that the folded edge lines up with the stitch line on the armhole. Pin in place and tack.
- Next, carefully stitch, with a long stitch, 2 mm from the fold edge to hold the binding in place and beyond the armhole, along the length of the shoulder straps.
- Thread the shoulder strap through the finding. First, thread through the upper then the lower hole and slide the finding along the length of the strap, until about 15cms is beyond the end of it.
- Next, on the back of the top, thread the overhanging binding through the ring and pin, then stitch in place.
- Next, thread the end of the shoulder strap, through the ring, now attached to the back of the top.
- Finally, thread the end of the shoulder strap through the upper then the lower hole of the finding. (You may have to loosen up the part of the strap you pulled through previously in order to pull the strap end over the middle bar). Stitch the end of the shoulder strap in place.
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This is the tank top from #simplicity8424 #s8424. I made the leggings a few weeks ago. I made some changes to it; lengthened it a little so that it reached to my waist (the pattern is for a cropped top) and make the shoulder straps adjustable, by re-using some findings from an old bra. Makes so much sense to have adjustable straps on a fitness top. #yogatop #fitnesswardrobe
I tried the top on, and decided it needed to be a bit tighter, so I nibbled away at the side seams progressively, to get a better fit. On reflection, the smaller size would have probably been a better fit. Looking at these photos, I still think it is too big at the front. There are lots of wrinkles, which is partly to do with the side gathers in the design, but even so it does look too roomy. Obviously next time I’ll go down a size.
All in all, it’s not a total success as a top, but I’m sure it will get worn for yoga. It isn’t a replacement for my old RTW top either, mostly because with the cross-over design it isn’t a very supportive top. I’m wearing the old faithful top underneath in these photos which works quite well.