I like to wear camisoles in the summer. I find that they are great for layering. I've had one eye out for a pattern and when So, Zo kindly published this free "vest" pattern, i downloaded it right away.
i raided my local thrift store on Friday and picked up a bunch of knits to refashion. this was a large cotton t-shirt that i used for a muslin to test the fit and try out the pattern. i cut the UK size 12 grading up to a 14 at the waist and then back to a 12 at the hips. i used FOE elastic. i hadn't quite gotten the hang of how to stretch the elastic appropriately so it's bunchy in places and loose in others. i also found the armholes uncomfortably high (a common problem for me). i had a hard time with the triple zigzag on the straps. even when sewing slowly i found it a challenge. i'll probably only wear this one around the house but it was a decent first attempt.
on my second version, i wanted to add a built in bra. i bookmarked this tutorial awhile back and thought it might come in handy if i ever found a camisole pattern. i hate the look of exposed bra straps when wearing a skinny strap tank but going without a bra in public isn't appropriate either. i bought swim cups from sew sassy (i got the FOE and the 1" elastic for the bra band there as well). the only thing i had a hard time with was deciding how long to make the bra pieces. initially i made them too short and i had to stitch another 3 inches to get the right length. because i'm a card carrying member of the IBTC, i did not have to cut out the fabric from the cups since there was not a lot of curvature on the inside. i think it's more comfortable with the fashion fabric against my skin anyway.
this fabric is some cotton/bamboo from fabric.com that i had leftover from this skirt. i lowered the armholes by 1/2" and the fit was much better. i still had a hard time with the FOE elastic and the triple zigzag. i didn't stretch the elastic quite tightly enough so the tank gaps a little if i lean forward. i stared at a tank i'd bought from old navy awhile back and the light went off in my head. on the storebought tank, the straps were attached with a coverstitch machine. i decided to try using a twin needle instead of the zigzag.
on my third iteration, i got it pretty much right. i used another thrifted item, this time a men's turtleneck. on both refashioned tanks, i kept the original hem so that i wouldn't have to hem it myself. doing the built in bra the second time was much easier and went pretty smoothly. i didn't have any white FOE, so i used some decorative elastic from lace heaven instead. the elastic fits tightly against the body and the straps are the right length. the only thing that isn't perfect is that the thrifted fabric is a little stretched out to begin with so the top of the tank is slightly gathered in order to get a tight fit against the chest. using a twin needle on the straps was way easier and went a lot faster. i will definitely use this technique in the future.
i'm out of swim cups but i will probably order more soon. i want one of these in every color. it takes very little fabric and is something that i will wear constantly, even in the winter under sweaters. i also think you could recycle the cups and reuse them once the tank itself wears out. i highly recommend the pattern and the tutorial.