Titania Tunic Workout Top Hack: From Dressy Tunic To Workout Ready

Whenever I make a cute top, I can’t help but think about how I could make it into a cute workout top!  The Stitch Upon A Time Titania Top & Tunic was the perfect base for a workout top hack.  Since dresses are a year round staple for me, it’s also going to end up as a dress once I add 8 or 9 inches to the tunic length.  The tunic itself turned out quite cute.  I like the flowy body, especially in this silky soft circular knit.  It has the perfect drape for this pattern.  Can you imagine the twirl in a dress length?

Titania frontTitania side.jpg

Can you see my elastic error in these photos?  Instead of following the elastic length cut chart for the armscye, I thought the elastic should be more taught.  Making it 2 inches shorter than recommended gave me puckering and a bit of rolling at the armpits.  I should know by now to trust Jennifer of Stitch Upon A Time’s design and testing and use the recommended length!  The neckband was easy to sew, and despite being a higher neckline than I normally wear, the rounded shape doesn’t cut into my neck or shoulders.  Using the built in shelf bra means not having to worry about wearing a strapless bra, or trying to find a bra with straps that don’t show.  The stylish tunic would look great with skinny jeans or fitted pants like the Goldilegs Jeans, and of course with a slim skirt or shorts.

Hacking the shelf bra pieces into a workout top is easier than you think.  Cut two bra fronts out of Supplex.  Rather than cutting the back out on the fold of the fabric, I folded my pattern piece under 5/8″ from the center back, and cut out two left back and two right back pieces.  You’ll also cut a bra front and a right and left back out of powernet or techsheen for support.  For design purposes, I wanted the bra back to have a 2″ strip of powernet down the center, with a little opening between the bra top and the tank body.  I used my favorite tank pattern to make the bodice.  If you don’t have a tank pattern, trace any well fitting tank in your closet.  Don’t forget to add seam allowances!

The trickiest part of this workout top is the V-cutout on the center front.  Lay your clear ruler on an angle, starting 1″ from center front at the top, and down 5-1/2″.  Do the same thing to the second bra front piece, then trim the 3/8″ seam allowance off the second triangle cutout opening.  The trimmed version will become your front lining piece.

Titania cut triTitania triangle cutout

Lay the triangle you cut out of the bra front on your powernet.  Add 3/4″ width to each of the long sides of the triangle as seam allowances.  This gives you the front triangle insert.  Cut a rectangular piece of powernet 2-3/4″ wide, by 2″ shorter than the length of your bra back at center back.  This gives you the back insert.

Baste your powernet/techsheen bra front and backs to the wrong side of your bra lining front and back pieces.  You will treat them as one layer from this point on.  Right sides facing, sew one long side of your triangle insert to the cutout section of your bra front, using a 3/8″ seam allowance.  Snip the center front of the bra down to, but not through the stitching line.  And here’s where I’m going to make it easy to get a perfect V.  With your bra top right side up on a flat surface, fold the seam allowance of the unstitched side of the opening under 3/8″.  Apply Washaway Wonder Tape to the seam allowance.  Making sure that your powernet insert triangle is laying smooth and flat, peel off the backing paper and press the folded under edge of your opening onto the powernet.  You can baste that side into place, or just trust the Wonder Tape to do it’s job.  (Although I am a big believer in basting, I trusted the Wonder Tape and it held fine until I was ready to topstitch all my layers.)

Right sides together, and lined up at the top edge, sew the rectangular powernet insert to one side of the bra back.  Line the insert up with the top of other side of the bra back and stitch, using 3/8″ seam allowances.

Titania back net

Sew the front and back bra pieces together at the side seams.  Sew the lining front and back bra pieces together at the side seams.  Note: the pattern calls for 1/2″ seam allowances, so be sure to use this seam allowance on the side seams, even though I use 3/8″ seam allowances on the rest of this hack.  Fold the center back edges of the bra lining under 3/8″ and baste.

Titania wrap back

With the bra right side out, and the lining wrong side out, place the bra lining over the bra.  Line up the neck and arm openings, and pin in place.  With right sides together,  stitch along the armscyes and add the elastic in the seam allowances as per the pattern tutorial.  Stitch the front and back necklines leaving openings at the shoulders to add straps.  Cut two pieces of bra strapping 6″ long.  Slide a strap down inside each shoulder opening at the back, and with the end of the strap flush with the opening, stitch the straps in place.  You may want to go over the stitch line twice to ensure that the straps are secure.  Turn the bra right side out.  Ensuring that the triangle insert and cutout opening are properly aligned, top stitch around the triangle.

Titania tri topstitch

Lining up the edges of the back and back lining so that they are even with the rectangle insert, top stitch along the edges.

Titania rect top

Now you can try on the bra, and adjust the length of the straps to fit.  You may end up cutting a couple of inches off, but you need long enough peices to work with!  Slide the ends of the straps down into the openings at the front shoulders, turn the top wrong sides out, and stitch the straps in place at the front shoulders.

Sew your tank front and back bodice pieces together.  Then slide the bra down inside the tank with right sides together, and matching center points on the front and back, stitch.  Using the measurement in the cut chart, wrap a piece of elastic around your underbust to check for fit.  I used 1-1/4″ wide sport elastic, rather than the recommended width.  Use whatever width of elastic that works for you, or that you happen to have on hand.  The elastic should fit snugly, but not uncomfortably.  Overlap the ends and stitch together.  Mark quarter points on your elastic, and at the seam allowance, and pin together at those 4 points.  Stretching the elastic to fit, zig zag it in place.  Turn the hem of your workout top under 3/4″ and use a zig zag, twin needle or coverstitch machine to finish.

Smile, and go for a walk or run, or hit the gym or yoga studio in your fun new workout top!

Titania workout frontTitania workout back

I bought all of my fabric, the Circular Knit, Supplex, Powernet, and Techsheen from Phee Fabrics, along with the clear elastic and bra strapping.  The consistently high quality makes and keeps me a repeat shopper!  This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may earn a small credit toward buying more fabulous Phee Fabric if you purchase through my links. ❤  As always, I only give my honest opinion because my posts represent me.

Mixing Metaphors….or fabric types…that works too!

This month for #PheeJuly,I made for you the Stitch Upon a Time Spoxxy Tank! I used Phee Fabrics Tricot in Pinkalicious nylon/spandex tricot and white stretch lace. It’s freaking awesome! (I made an XL graded out to a 2X in the hips)

My tips today are on working with two types of fabrics! This can be a daunting task. I’m here to let you know that, you’re right to be terrified….. just kidding! It’s actually easy! Very rarely does it require fear. Unlike dating in this day and age, sewing with multiple fabrics just takes a little prep.

First and foremost – GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER!!!

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As you can see, I have my printed pattern (obviously THIS is super important!), my 2 fabrics (prewashed), my tape, the directions to my pattern printed out (I’m old school and need it printed out – I lose my place if it is on the computer), and most importantly – my entertainment!!! For this project, I knew I was going to be working in two locations, my house and my mom’s house, so I chose a more portable activity than my usual binged television shows. I chose my absolute favorite podcast – Small Town Murder. Now, my boys, Jimmie and James, know how to keep me laughing and tell a murder story. If you have an irreverent, inappropriate sense of humor like me, I recommend checking it out. If you don’t, I never told you about it. Like my boys say (I lay claim like I know them personally…) if you don’t think true crime and comedy go together, it was nice knowing you.

Ok…the important stuff outta the way – This week I listened to “I Think I’ll Read It Again” about a murder in Alabama. Alabama murder in a trailer park and tricot sewing! Almost as amazing a swimsuit sewing and the Wire!! Now, a Small Town Murder episode lasts like an hour 45. I got everything but topstitching done before the episode was over. (I measure sewing time in episodes, so what?)

This was SUCH a quick sew. And a PERFECT pattern to mix fabrics with. The first thing to do when using two stretch fabrics, is make sure your highest level of stretch is going the same direction. This makes for a less wonky seam. That is TOTALLY a technical term.

If you are sewing a stretch fabric with a woven fabric, you can sew with or against the stretch. What I usually do is sew with the stretch with the grain and against the stretch against the grain. The grain “slides” more in my experience. Other seamstresses my do the opposite! If your woven is on the bias, that’s a whole other ball of wax and you may want to play with some scrap and see what moves best. If you’re using prints…..godspeed.

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The top dial is my stitch width. That means how wide the needle zigs out. The stitch length is the top knob. That means how tall that “Z” shape is.

The second thing to do when using two types of fabric is to choose your stitch. As I am using a stretch fabrics, I need a stretch friendly stitch. My machine does nothave a stretch stitch. I use a zig zag stitch. These are the settings I place my machine at. I use these specific settings because I have used them before and these work best for me.

I like to run a few test stitches on a scrap piece of fabric if I am using a new variety or a new combination. A little prep work works wonders.

Just as I got around to doing my test stitches, I was learning all about how Irvington, Alabama is NOT somewhere I want to live…. And the demographics of small town is one of my favorite things to learn about. #YesIAMAHugeDork #ButILoveSewing&MurderStories

Now I know that mixing fabrics and sewing with weird new fabric types sometimes makes your sewing machine act possessed by demons. It’s not, I promise. Well, I’m pretty sure it’s not. So put away the holy water and get out the tape and tissue paper. No we are not wrapping it up and sending it to your nan. These are the simplest ways to deal with asshole fabrics!

The tape – scotch brand tape works best (the purple one actually I prefer for this, but the green one works too!) goes on the underside of your sewing machine foot. It makes the fabric slide through! It also works if you ever sew with vinyl. The tissue paper goes under the fabric. This makes the fabric go over the feed dogs (those jagged teeth that walk your fabric through the needle plate) nice and smooth. You tear the paper away, easy peasy! These two simple tools make life a little easier when using wonky fabrics, especially if one if sticking worse than the other.

Now the next step is preparing to sew. We’re meeting our murderer on the podcast now. Apparently his mom and dad were too closely related, so he was adopted by his aunt and uncle…..cliche? #ThanksMomAndDadForNOTMovingToAlabama #CaliforniaForever

I have 2 ways I pin. Zero pins or a million pins. I don’t know why, but that’s how I roll. Tricot is an a million and a half pin game. It’s slippery and the ends roll like a Stone. This pattern also has a gather at the base of the yoke, so a pin my gathers like they are gonna

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run away. This is not required. This is straight up a crazy Alyssa thing. I often use clips for piecing, but for gathers like this, I get pin crazy.

The lace also has a gathering stitch. I use a textbook straight stitch opened up as wide as my machine goes. No extra special tip there. It works! Why reinvent the wheel?

Now for piecing the straps together at the shoulders – This is a stress point. I double stitch that seam. I prefer to double stitch stress points, especially in a knit!!!!!!!! These are places that stitches pop, fabric tears, and embarrassment happens. This is shoulder straps, crotch gussets, etc. 20180729_22482820180729_224734

When I piece together the body pieces, I use just one stitch. I used the pink thread. I felt that it was unnecessary to use a white bobbin. You can barely see the thread.

I of course, pin like it is going out of style.

BTW – I have just learned from Small Town Murder that crack makes a drunk person less drunk. At least I think that’s what I just learned…. less drunk seeming….but annoying as hell….Yeh….nope. Always a nope for crack. And Meth.

Moving on.

Bands. Bands seem WAY scarier than they are. B20180730_221827Basically it works like this. Quarter, pin, quarter, stretch, sew. Just take your time. See I took my time, then realized my waist band was inside out. Was I going to unpick? Nope – design choice!!!!

This is something I learned from what I refer to as “the goddess of the needle”. If you read my Phee Swim blog, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

If not – I worked in professional theatre for, like, half of forever. I worked with some AMAZING seamstresses and learned some amazing things. Sometimes those were conventional, handy sewing things. Sometimes they were spectacular life things. For example – things don’t go your way, its not a fuck up, it’s a design choice!! Both in life and sewing! So this is a design choice. Also – if you ever trip while walking in pretty much any setting, blame it on the choreography  Call it a dance break. Life is better with some theatre in it!!  So just as the really gnarly murdery stuff was happening, I was finishing up with making the bands. I started stitching them on and all the crazy legal stuff went down. I won’t spoil it for you

My bands are not perfect. I admit it. They should have been a smidgeon shorter. But this shirt is bomb. This pattern is truly the best for this fabric. The drape and the stretch are amazing. Now for some super dorky finished project pictures. Pardon the hair – I was at the nursing home/rehab facility with my dad most of the day, and I have to fend off the old dudes (I’m kidding, obviously the old guys prefer blondes. It’s the toddlers that like redheads!)

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Horrible face photo, But AWESOME example of the fabric combo!

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I hope you enjoyed my ramblings! If you have any questions about this blog or other ramblings, drop me a line at thirteenstardesigns@gmail.com