Tank Top

Breezy Tank Tops

Do you know what you want in a tank top? Recently I was browsing online shops to find some tank tops, but I realised I didn’t really know my preference. What kind of neckline? How much ease? How long should it be? Normal or racer back? Besides not knowing what I wanted, I figured they’d probably not fit me that well, and I really should be sewing my own tops. So I started drafting a tank top for myself to discover my preferences and create a perfect tank top.

In RTW I’ve always worn tops that were a bit too short because I’m tall. Fitted ones always end up bunched up around my waist because my hips are a larger size than my bust and waist. It seems such a simple garment, but even here you can have fit issues. I started with my sloper, eliminated the dart by rotating it to the waist and I drafted a racer back. I wanted it fitted in the bust and loose around the hips but still with some waist definition. The first version came out very much wearable, but not perfect yet.

Tank Top
Tank Top

For the second version I lowered the neckline and deepened the racer back. It’s a bit on the short side because I didn’t have enough fabric. I added a pocket for fun, although an IG post confirmed my suspicion of it being a bit of a boob-eyepatch, so next time it should be a bit smaller and higher. I don’t mind, I was happy I even got it on right without shifting on this very lightweight jersey. Both tops have a slight high low hem because I like that curve on the front.

Tank Top
Tank Top

I sewed both tops mostly on my serger, except for the hems. I bound the edges of the neck and armholes with strips of jersey on the cross grain, using my sew-and-stretch method. All on the serger, which is a bit trickier than a regular machine. When I’m using fabric scraps and the pattern is an experiment I tend to be a bit bolder in my sewing and it usually works out fine. Also, I made no attempt at stripe matching. I turned the hems under twice and sewed with a straight stitch. If the seam doesn’t need to stretch, there’s no need for a stretch stitch, even when working with a stretch fabric.

Tank Top

I think I’ll scoop out the racer back some more, and I might lower the neckline and the armholes a bit. I’m going to wear them for a bit before I cut into that nice linen jersey for the final version. What I really like is that the hem is wide enough to swing around. Tanks have always been tight around my hips, but these make for really breezy tops. They’re made out of scraps so they don’t count for my 5 garments pledge but it’s nice to have two new tops made with such little material.

What do you look for in a tank top? Have you found or made your perfect pattern yet?

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  1. I have a lot of racer back and flowy tanks on my pinterest board but have not really evaluated what I need as far as tanks go.

  2. I love that first tank top! The fabric is great! I wish I could find nice knits like that locally.
    As for what I want in a tank top, I’m undecided. I’m on a bit of a woven top kick lately, I think that a floaty tank top made from a lightweight woven cotton or viscose fabric might be lovely in summer. (If summer ever arrives.) I always used to wear close-fitting knit tank tops, but I’m starting to think that they aren’t really my style any more. I played around with drafting my ideal tank top pattern last year—but as you say, for a simple little garment like that, it is surprising how easily it can be wrong both fit-wise and style-wise. So I’m still not quite sure what I really want! (:

    1. Hi Jana! Yes woven tops are great too. At the moment I have quite a lot of those as you can imagine ;). With a basic tank sloper you can experiment all you want!

  3. This is exactly the thing with rtw vs sewing – even when you’d be happy to buy, it still doesn’t make sense! I haven’t found my perfect tank yet but recently realised I also want it this kind of shape, fitted-ish at the bust and flowy/curve skimming below. I’m going to experiment with the tiny pocket tank and see where that gets me – grainline patterns are usually a good place to start :-) Though I’m now quite in awe and jealous of your ability to draft your own! These look great, especially for first scrappy attempts!

    1. Thanks Jo! Sometimes I think ‘ah what the hell, I’ll just buy it’ and then I start looking and I am always disappointed. Sewing makes you spoiled like that! I actually have the tiny pocket tank too, but it’s drafted for a woven and it’s a bit too floaty at the hem for me. I do want some waist definition. Although that’s all easy to fix – maybe go down a size for stretch fabrics and curve in the sides. But that makes it just as much work as drafting my own :)

  4. Love ’em! I was wearing a very similar style tank today (under a sweater, bc it’s not THAT warm yet!) which is a much-modified Renfrew that I made years ago. Now I”m in my pjs, which is a mission maxi racerback tank dress! My ideal tank skims the hips, fits snugger at the bust, has a scoop neck, and covers bra straps!

    1. Ah so you know what you want! Yes the bra straps coverage is a point, I like racerback but I don’t like that you have to mind your bra straps.

  5. They look great, I love the grid fabric. I like my tanks tight with a scoop front and back. I had a favourite RTW tank I bought many of and the last one I bought I traced a pattern off it before I stretched it out of shape, and have been making my own ever since! Very satisfying.

    1. Tracing an RTW is a great idea. I think I’ll make a tight sloper too, with scooped front and back. They’re great as under layer.

  6. I hardly ever wear tanks at this age because the RTW ones aren’t cut for middle-aged bodies, but now you’ve got me thinking that if I monkey with the fit they could work on me again.

    1. I don’t know how you are able to do without them! It could certainly work if you’d want to make time for fitting. But at least you won’t have to fit sleeves.

    1. Hahaha well that isn’t really the point Carmen :) Come on you can do it, you’ll have it done in no time!

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