Transform a Tank Top!

Summer is drawing to a close (though it's still delightfully hot here in Atlanta), and you may be wondering how to squeeze a few more weeks out of your most-loved tank tops. Or, maybe you just want to change things up, or maybe you just don't love to show your upper arms. Honey, I've got you. 

Here's a simple way to add a sleeve to a racerback tank. The cut of a racerback means you can't just fit a regular sleeve onto it, but I have a sneaky way to draft a sleeve pattern. You just need an old T-shirt you don't mind cutting apart. You'll also need about a half yard of a soft knit (prewashed) to make your sleeves.

First, put your old T-shirt on your dress form, with the tank top over it. (If you don't have a dress form, bribe a friend to either be your model or draw on the shirts while they're on you!)

Next, trace along the edge of your racerback arm opening, all the way around the back and front. 

Add a seam allowance by drawing another line about 1/2 inch outside the first line. Then cut your shirt along that line. Note: You really only have to do this on one side; you'll just cut your second sleeve as a mirror to this one. 

Once you've cut your sleeve off your T-shirt, cut it open along the underarm seam. 

You now have your basic pattern!

I wanted to add a little peekaboo detail to my sleeve, so I cut a hole in my pattern piece. When I cut my sleeves, I also flared them out a bit past where the T-shirt pattern ended, to create a little bit of a bell sleeve. 

To make a facing for my peekaboo window, I just laid a scrap of the same knit I used for my sleeves right sides together with the sleeve piece and stitched around the circle. Then I clipped it around the interior of the circle, turned it, and gave it a press.

I top stitched around the edges of my circle, then I trimmed my facing fabric close to my top stitching. (This is why you can just use a scrap and don't need to specifically cut the facing before you sew it in place. Just as long as it's big enough to span the width of your peekaboo hole, you're good!)

Once my peekaboo was done, I stitched the side seams of my sleeve closed. And then I basted it in place to the interior of the shirt. From the outside, I machine stitched the sleeve to the shirt.

And that's THAT! I added sleeves to a Tatooine shirt that I bought a couple of sizes too big for a swingy, casual top I could wear over leggings or fitted trousers.

Here's a little more detail of how the sleeves look on the finished project:

And finally, the REAL reason I wanted to add the little sleeve windows: so I can show off my Greedo tattoo. All Star Wars, all the time. :)