Monday, January 24, 2011

Penny Pincher - Convert-a-tank

SO! If you are like Mama Christa and I and are a little paranoid about people seeing your flab when you lift your shirt to nurse your baby, this tutorial is for you! Yea yea yea, you can buy shelf-bra style tank tops, but that actually gets to being a lot of hardware if you want to wear an ACTUAL bra under it. Besides, if you are sporting big ta-tas like Mama Christa and I...a shelf bra simply doesn't cut it for public consumption most days. Usually I am stuck wearing the shelf-bra tank top AND a nursing when I nurse my baby I have to un-clasp TWO layers and get them reclasped to the right clips and not eachother. It's a big fuddle. Additionally, I find all that pressure on my boobs to be very uncomfortable, and I get hot easily, so I don't really dig it!

So I decided to destroy a couple of my stretchy, ribbed, maternity tank tops to create NON-SHELF-BRA nursing tanks. It's simple, straightforward, and cheap, which I like.

Select a tank top.I like these motherhood maternity ribbed tank tops because they are LONG...not to mention, they fall apart easily (pieces of crap) so if I mess it up, it's no skin off my neck since it was unraveling to begin with.OH, and they were handy when I got this bug up my butt. My tank top is pictured with an optional accessory: The Toddler, please use at your own risk.

Make any alterations, these tanks were a little too loose on me because they are maternity and because I lost 40lbs during this last pregnancy, so I simply did a stretch stitch down the sides
using the old surged seam as a guide, I took this tank
 in about an inch or so.
The altered tank top laid out for ya. Shown with The Toddler

For the alteration you'll then trim the excess off with a good pair of scissors. Don't worry about being right up agains the edge, if it frays, it will stop at the stitching and you can trim it later to keep strings from being everywhere.

 go ahead and give those strips to the toddler if you are using one for this project. 

Once you get the seams trimmed, try it on to see if it fits you the way you want it to. You'll wear this under other clothes so it should be comfortable but close-fitting. No need to add extra fluff. When doing a blog tutorial...edit out the old glory arms too...cuz it just doesn't look as good on you as it does on me! *facepalm*

Then, have optional accessory toddler help you to draw a line with chalk or fabric pencil to the SIDE of your breast. When I finished this tank I decided I should have done it more to the side than is depicted here. The idea is so that you can't see the goofy seems under a t-shirt...that would just look trashy like panty lines ok? So more towards your armpit, and probably 8 - 12" long, just eyeball what looks right to you. If you take a picture for a blog tutorial...make sur eyou actually crop your messy kitchen, bad hair, and self-picture scowl out ok? Not everyone pulls this off as well as I do...

For the slits I sewed the opening BEFORE I cut it. I sewed down one side of my line, then set the needle into the fabric, lifted the foot, and turned the tank top 180 degrees to go down the opposite side, leaving a very narrow gap between the two lines of stitching. I'm still using my stretch stitch here. 

Cut down between the stitch-lines, careful not to cut any of your thread!

Check's a nursing opening! Again...edit your old glory arms out for this kind of stuff...cuz yours are NOT as hot as mine ok?
Then you do the same on the other side. Like I said, go more towards the armpit seam than I did (this was the first one, gimme a break)

Now you can wear the tank under any ol' shirt, you can have any color (ribbed tanks are inexpensive, as are plain ol' jersey knit tanks. When you are nursing in public, your tummy is covered for your own comfort, you aren't sweating like a pig because you're wearing too many layers on your chest, you're not fuddling with all the clasps, and you can wear a nursing bra that actually supports your boobs.

I know this isn't revolutionary...but it seriously only took me 30 minutes, and I like this better than the shelf-tanks A LOT!


  1. Great idea Mama! I did something similar but this is much better! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Love it! I went the lazy way and just bought some "wife beaters" and cut them!

  3. I LOVE it! I'm going to convert some of mine tonight! I hate that I have to wear a nursing bra, and a shelf tank to feel comfortable with my shape, but then I'm messing with two sets of clips and whatever shirt I have on top. By the time I get it all untangled my Dylan is screaming and I can kiss discreet nursing goodbye...

  4. I was thinking I'd buy some wife beaters and do the same! I only have so many of these...and I prefer a white undershirt anyway if I'm layering. LOL...Aiden and I had fun doing this.

  5. ohh such a lovely post to make a tank top! Its really looking nice to wear
    cheap tank tops with colorful jackets and jeans during winter months!

  6. This idea is very nice. Thanks for the step by step tutorial. Well, I always like designer tops for my work outs and the Carbon38 tank tops are my favorite among all. Their designs are very unique and at very same time they are super comfortable for all kinds of work out sessions.