***UPDATE*** I’ve hacked this pattern once again! Scroll to the bottom for my open-sided muscle tank.
I have been on the hunt for the perfect tank for a while. I get very attached to clothes and always realize one season too late that I MUST HAVE that one tank in every colour and they are all gone by the time I get around to buying more. This summer, I decided I would up my tank top game and find the perfect pattern that I could make over and over. Jeans and a tank are pretty much my summer uniform.
I looked at so many patterns, but eventually landed on the Adventure Tank by Fancy Tiger Crafts. I decided on this one for a few reasons: it had a basic racerback, slightly curved hem, and it came with a second, muscle tee pattern. Bonus! What unfolded over the next two weeks was a tour of every tank top I had ever loved because I realized the Adventure Tank was the perfect canvas for small hacks to make it look like I made four different tanks, because some people look down on wearing the same thing every day.
Hack #1: The Athletic tank
This was my muslin, but I am so glad it turned out. The fit was good right off the bat and I made no alterations. To make this version sportier, I added a pocket (it’s actually from the Closet Case Kalle)and I added an extra three inches to the longest parts of the hem, creating a deep curve that mimics my favourite (but falling apart) lululemon tanks.
Hack #2: The Swing Tank
Next up, I made two identical swing tanks that remind me of the black and white striped tank I scooted around in for two summers straight. I got it at Forever 21, so it obviously didn’t last long, but I love it for two reasons: the black and white pattern meant that it was easily dressed up or down, and it was super loose and breezy. My favourite part of this tank top was having the slightly longer back flap in the wind as I sped through the city on my bike. For this tank, I added two inches of width at the bottom to each piece (for a total of 8 inches all around) and then graded to the correct size at the armpit. Next, I chopped off the front curve to make it go straight across at the front (at the same length as the shortest part at the hip) and added 3 inches to the length at the back. I re-drew the curve to make it a little less extreme at the sides and voila! Hi-low swing tank! I also played with the arm and neckbands a bit. I found both a bit low, so I sewed them with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. This caused them to gape a bit, so I chopped off 2 inches length from all of the bands.
Hack #3: The Bushwacking Tank
Something about tank tops with button plackets make me thing of adventure movies where the sweaty heroine is running through the Amazon. Just me? This hack was meant to replace the Eddie Bauer tank my in-laws gifted me at Christmas one year and I loved until it had holes. Then I wore it as a sleep shirt until it had even bigger holes. And then I threw it out. For this hack, I returned to the original pattern, but added a button placket using the Melly Sews tutorial. In her tutorial, Melly makes her placket 1 inch wide, but I wanted something a little dantier, so I went with 3/4 inch. I made my placket 6 inches long, but I would definitely add 2 more inches in order to get a third button on. I’ve also seen plackets that extend halfway down the tank and I think they look pretty cool. I’m also dying to try this with snaps next time.
Hack #4: The Split Back Tank
This hack is not an hommage to a tank I have already owned, but one I have wanted to own for a while. I’ve been thinking about how to do a split back for a time, but didn’t know exactly how I wanted to execute it until I saw a coworker wearing a top like this last week. For this hack, I went back to my swing tank pattern. I added a seam to the centre back (basically, don’t cut on the fold and add 1/2 inch) which I only joined halfway down. Before doing anything else, serge the raw edges at the centre back seam, sew at 1/2 inch halfway down with a straight stitch. You don’t want to use any kind of a zig zag here or you won’t be able to press that seam open so crisply. You can get away with a straight stitch because your fabric doesn’t likely have much vertical stretch and. even if it does, the split back is going to relieve any pressure put on that seam from moving. I pressed in the seam allowance on both sides, sewed up one side, pivoted, sewed across the centre back seam, and sewed straight down the other side. Easy peasy.
Hack #5 The open-sided muscle tee. This is another easy hack, but it uses View B of this pattern. This view has a high neck and bound armholes that sit right on the edge of your shoulder. For this tank, I sized up one size to make it nice and roomy. I added two inches in length because I find this pattern kind of short. Lastly, I sliced off a good inch from the armscye at the shoulder and another two from the bottom of the armhole. I used my French curve to make the curve make sense and I finished the armholes by flipping under and hemming instead of binding with a band. I used a microknit which will automatically pull the armhole open and down, so if you are using a stabler knit, you may choose to make your armhole even bigger. That said, always start smaller than you think you want it and try it out before committing to a giant hole.
So there you go. Now you can transform one tank top pattern into FIVE different styles so you can pretend you don’t wear the same top every day 😉