From Ties To A Strap, And A Little Ventilation
I literally cannot seem to stop myself when it comes to hacking patterns. I’ll buy a pattern because it’s a cute design, or has lots of options, and I may or may not make it as written. Then I’ll start thinking, “Maybe it would be fun to add…” or, “What if I changed that into…” There are some really talented .pdf pattern designers out there, and I am so impressed by them, because I don’t have the talent to design a pattern. They’ve done the hard work of figuring out fit and design. And I get to do the fun part of personalizing patterns to suit me, or fill a need in my wardrobe.
I bought the 5 Out Of 4 Patterns Escapade Top and Dress pattern months ago, and hadn’t gotten around to making it yet. I love all the options: bikini top; tankini style top, and dress. When I first bought the pattern, I think I planned to make the dress first. I love dresses. And since the Escapade has a built in bra, it’s an easy way to get dressed in the morning! But I usually go to yoga class 4 days a week, so a workout top was a bigger need than a dress. Which is what led to my experiment.
The Escapade is designed to have a drawstring style strap that can be tied halter style (handy if you are nursing or want to easily adjust the strap length), or tacked in place as straight or criss-crossed straps. Since I enjoy Ashtanga and Power Flow yoga classes, there is a lot of movement involved, and I do NOT want any movement or shifting of my straps! There is also a center front tie that gives separation, shaping, and lift to the bra front, but I didn’t want to feel the tie when we do upward bow or other floor work. So that’s what led me to my hacks.
I made my Escapade using Supplex and Powernet from Phee Fabrics. Supplex is hands down my favorite fabric for workout wear. It’s moisture wicking and antimicrobial, so you don’t feel all sweaty or get stinky clothes from your workout. High quality powernet is essential for good support when you’re making bras, so I always use it in the front and back of my workout bras.
I cut out all my pattern pieces except for the drawstring strap, since I made that by cutting two 1.5″ x 30″ strips of Supplex and one strip out of powernet. I sewed them with the Supplex right sides together and the powernet on top along the two long sides. I used a safety pin to turn the strap right side out, then pressed it flat.
I basted the powernet to the wrong side of the bra front and back lining pieces, then sewed the lining together at the side seams. I also sewed the bra front and back together at the side seams. I turned the bra right sides out, and slid the bra lining over it, right sides together. I pinned them together along the top edge, then sewed along the top edge leaving an inch in the center back, and an inch at the bra front top points open.
I used a strip of powernet 1.5″ x 4″ to make my center back strap loop. I folded it in half lengthwise, and sewed it with a 3/8″ seam allowance. I turned it right side out, made a loop, slid it inside the center back opening I had left in the bra, and stitched it in place. Then I sewed 1/4″ clear elastic in the seam allowance along the top of the bra using a zig zag stitch. I stretched it slightly from the side seam up to the bra front points. I also stretched it slightly along the center front from point to point.
Stitch one end of your strap in place at one of the bra front points, turn the bra right sides out, string the strap through the loop and try it on. Adjust the strap length to fit you comfortably, while still feeling supportive. Then turn it inside out again to stitch the strap at the appropriate length, and trim off the excess. I think I ended up cutting a couple of inches off of mine.
Because I didn’t want the center front tie, I just made a gathering stitch down the center front of the bra top, and stitched my gathers in place with a zig zag, followed by a stretch stitch to ensure that my gathers stayed in place even with the frequent wearing and washing my workout tops get.
To add interest and a little ventilation to the back of my top, I marked a spot 5.25″ down from the top of the center back bodice, and 2.5″ from the center back fold and cut this triangle off with my rotary cutter.
Then I cut a 6″ triangle out of my powernet. You can use the triangle you cut out of the bodice, (adding 3/4″ on the two sides to give yourself a seam allowance) as a pattern.
Stitch the powernet insert in place on the center back, taking your time when you get to the point, lifting your presser foot, and swiveling to continue the seam up the other side of the triangle. I’m not going to lie, my triangle shifted a bit while sewing, and I seam ripped and resewed the point more than once. Oh, the joys of perfectionism while sewing! Use lots of pins to hold things in place, take your time, and hopefully you won’t have to seam rip and resew like me. Press the seam allowance toward the Supplex so that it won’t show through the powernet, and topstitch in place.
You can follow the pattern tutorial at this point to finish up your top. I wore my top to Ashtanga yoga class yesterday, and appreciated the ventilated triangle in the middle of my back. It was a great, rather sweaty workout and I felt cute and comfortable.
I paired the top with my GreenStyle Super G’s, which have powernet side pocket panels, so my new Escapade top gave me a cute matching workout outfit.
Don’t be afraid to try a hack to make a great pattern suit your needs. I will definitely use this pattern again. I think I will try the dress version next. Maybe in circular knit, or tricot… Which do you think?
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