Make a Workout Tank from a T-shirt

While I love dressing up and making cute outfits for special occasions, most of my laundry ends up being workout clothes. In these summer months, it's hard to want to wear T-shirts instead of tank tops and lately I feel like I've been running low on tanks. I like to wear them to yoga and when I’m running. Also, I’m not a big fan of running in t-shirts because I’d much rather have a racerback tan than a farmers tan (because I’m vain), plus tanks are so much more breezy! These hot days have been killing me and I just don’t have enough tanks (without doing laundry every other day) for yoga and running right now. Rather than go out and spend money (which I would love to do ), I figured I’d get by with some tanks made from tees!

A few years ago I did the Enchanted 10k in Disney World with my hubby and sister, and hubby never wears the princess-y workout top we got with the race, so I decided to make it into a running tank!

First I grabbed a tank I liked the shape of, and got cutting. I liked using my rotary cutter, because I could leave the shirts flat on my cutting mat, but scissors will work just fine, too. Also, try the shirt on a lot while you’re making cuts. You might find that fewer steps result in a shape you really like!

  1. Lay your T-shirt down flat, and lie your tank on top of it. Either mark where you’re going to cut with a pencil or tailor’s chalk, or just use your rotary cutter and cut off the sleeves and neck. (You could leave the neck, but I prefer a lower cut for a workout tank.) You might be done! See what you think of this shape.
  2. Take your cut up T-shirt, and fold it in half the awkward way - so you can see your side seams. This helps you keep your cuts consistent/symmetrical on the right and left sides. At this point, I made the neckline lower and the racerback more pronounced. You could also make your armholes larger and lower in case you want a bit of breeze on your abdomen.
  3. Keep trying on your shirt and repeating step 2 until you’re happy. You can err on the side of caution and make lots of minor adjustments - you can always cut away more fabric, but you can’t put it back!
  4. Optional - stitch up the arm holes and neck hole. Using a binding stitch, you can quickly go around each hole to keep the fabric from fraying. However, most t-shirt fabric doesn’t really fray much, so you can skip this step as long as you don’t mind how it looks. If you really want to go crazy, you could always create a neckband or use some stretchy bias tape and give your tank a more finished look. This of course takes more time, makes you take out your sewing machine, and just might not be necessary for a quick tank you’re just going to sweat in.
  5. A fun touch would be to accentuate the racerback shape by tying a bow around the fabric at your back - I did this to wear to a 5k fun-run with a friend.

Keep in mind that this won’t fit you snugly like other tanks you might already own. I think some of the charm in a garment like this has to do with it’s roughness, and the fact that your sports bra will probably be showing a little. Plus, you’re mostly just going to be sweating in it. No one will care if it’s perfectly tailored to your body.

Happy Sweating!

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A Quick Renaissance Festival Outfit Refresh - Flower Crown:

On a bit of a whim, we decided to go to the Renaissance Festival in June. I ended up re-purposing fabric from a skirt I had made, but I decided I also needed a flower crown. Because, who doesn’t?

So I went off to Joann’s and got floral wire, floral tape, and a few different fake flower bunches (which happened to be on a crazy sale!), and for under $10 I was able to put together something I am really proud of.

I loosely followed Lauren Conrad’s tutorial on her blog, and I also used some hot glue, since I was using fake flowers with stiff plastic stems. I decided to just do the back half of the crown, because I liked that picture from her blog the best. I didn’t really want to figure out how to keep a half circle on my head, though, so I made a full circle. And I suppose I could wear it with the flowers in front, too!

Wrapping the floral tape around the entire circle before adding flowers was a bit tough because I couldn’t think of the right way to keep the tape from getting tangled. I ended up twirling the hoop rather than moving the tape roll around, and I think that’ll be my strategy for next time, too. Ripping smaller pieces off for attaching the flowers worked nicely.

It probably could have stayed on my head all by itself, but I decided to secure it with a few bobby pins. And I still have enough flowers to make another, or to replace any flowers that might fall off (it is my first attempt, after all) or get damaged.

If you’re looking for a good afternoon project (I did this while waiting on hold for hours), or for something to wear to any number of festivals (music, Renaissance, conventions), this one is very accessible to all skill levels, and can be totally customized based on your needs - you could use fall foliage, feathers, beads/gems, pom poms... Now I just want to make more!

Feeding my favorites at the festival. And this is probably the best shot of the back of my head so you can see the detail 

A Quick Renaissance Festival outfit refresh - Culottes

Over the years I’ve accumulated a handful of pieces to wear to the Renaissance Festival. I’ve got my jingly gypsy skirt/wrap, a red peasant top, a mask, a wand full of glitter (thanks to my hubby surprising me one time), a multi-purpose piece that can be worn as a hair accessory or a choker…I’m probably missing a couple, but you get the idea.

A few years ago when I first started sewing, I bought some purple crushed velvet and made a very simple circle skirt. Since I made it, my sewing skill level has improved, and I’ve lost weight. So I decided to redo this skirt entirely - it literally was just one big piece of fabric, turned into a donut shape, so I just ripped out all the seams, took out the elastic waist, and decided to use the Tania Culotte Pattern from Megan Nielsen to breathe life into this giant piece of fabric.

What are culottes? Well, I guess they’re a cross between shorts and a skirt, but the ones I’ve had in the past weren’t nearly as cute or skirt like. Literally no one knew this wasn’t a skirt until I told them, and I didn’t have to worry about major Marilyn Monroe moments. If it’s windy, it could fly up, potentially exposing the lower part of your bum (what do you call that crease below your butt cheek?), but because there’s a crotch, you won’t be completely exposed.

Yeah, people probably didn’t wear these exact things in the Renaissance period, but it is always flippin’ HOT at the festival, and the crushed velvet makes them feel Renaissance-y to me.

I bought the PDF from Megan Nielsen’s website, printed it out and taped it all together. It’s fairly straightforward and the box pleat that hides the fact that they’re shorts is super easy to follow.

Because the fabric was slightly stretchy and I decided to use a black knit jersey for the waistband, I saved myself a little time and didn’t have to insert a zipper. I didn’t use the pattern pieces for the waistband since my fabric was so stretchy. I just made sure that it was big enough to just stretch over my butt.

And I’m so, so happy with how they turned out. I was never worried I was exposed, I could sit down cross-legged on the grass and not worry about people seeing my underwear (though I did wear a matching purple just in case 😉). And I will definitely be making more Tania Culottes (I already made some Minnie Mouse ones for Disney!). They are so cute, and the pattern is super user-friendly.

My First Year of 10k's

I like that Disney gives out medals :)

I like that Disney gives out medals :)

All my life I told myself I wasn't a runner. I hated huffing and puffing, and I could NEVER run that 8 minute mile in middle school gym class, which earned me a B on the "assignment". Being a straight-A sort of girl, that really didn't do much to make me feel good about my ability to run.

A year and a half ago I had my third knee surgery, which was my second ACL repair on my left knee. A (at the time) 24-year-old really shouldn't already be getting her third knee surgery... My boyfriend helped me realize that if a pro athlete can get the same injury as me, and be playing pro sports again within months, why can't I run? I had always blamed the impact feeling bad on my knee, but if I keep up with my physical therapy, that really shouldn't be an issue!

I set my sights on the Bolder Boulder, one of the biggest 10k's, held right here in Boulder every Memorial Day. Five and half months after that surgery, I did the 10k. I did not run the whole thing - heck, I didn't even jog most of it. But I DID finish it, and I wasn't the slowest one.

A little while after that, I discovered that Disney World was adding a 10k to their Princess Half Marathon weekend. The half marathon was a bit much for me to swallow (and a bit out of our price range), but the 10k sounded perfect - not to mention that it took place in and around Epcot. If there is one thing you should know about me, it's that I am absolutely head-over-heels in love with everything Disney. So I signed my boyfriend, my sister and me up for it, and started to train so that I could jog a good portion of it.

After the race!

After the race!

Before the race!

Before the race!

Fast forward to last February (Presidents Day weekend). They have three races - a 5k, 10k and half-marathon - and an Expo that runs through the weekend at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. The Expo is where you pick up your badge and T-shirt, and anything else you may have ordered when signing up. My sister and I are pin collectors, so we each got an Enchanted 10k pin. There are also a bunch of shops where you can get extra RunDisney gear, cute running skirts and princess gear. New Balance even made special shoes for the occasion. It took a lot of will power not to let myself buy the shoes or anything else, because in reality we had already spent hundreds of dollars each to get down there and just do the race. I had decided to make the running skirts you see me and Maddie wearing, and (for now) hold off on new shoes (my closet is already full...) Next time I go, I will hopefully be ready for the half-marathon AND I'll be rich so I can buy all the shoes I want ;)

On race day we woke up super early and waited around for a while, but finally we started off, running along the streets, finally into Epcot, a little bit behind the scenes, and finished just outside the entrance to the park. Along the sidelines, characters were cheering us on and you could even stop for a photo op. I didn't run the whole way, and my pace was nowhere near where I hope it will be someday, but I DID make a personal best that day. Plus, I got to celebrate by being in Disney World with two people I love very much. Doesn't get much better than that.

In May, I did my third 10k. Unfortunately I was super sick (I had been coughing uncontrollably the whole week before), but I walked the whole thing sucking on Halls cough drops. I don't think I could have run it while sick unless I wanted to make myself even sicker. Before I got my cold, though, I had been regularly going for a jog a couple times a week and was super excited to hopefully make another personal best.

BB10k 2014 with my guy (left) and our friend Nate (right)

BB10k 2014 with my guy (left) and our friend Nate (right)

These may pale in comparison to other people's experiences and paces and achievements, but my experiences mean a lot to me. I also know that I still have a long way to go. I still sort of dislike running - it's harder on my body than biking or the elliptical - but I don't hate it the way I used to. It's something I can do with my dog or people I love. I can do it inside or outside, depending on the day. I can listen to audiobooks, podcasts or music of my own choosing. It's exciting to have such freedom in such a healthy activity.

I can tell you that these won't be my last 10k's, and I look forward to the mini milestones (and hopefully bigger ones) that I come to with each race.


*Note to MarathonFoto - I would possibly consider buying your pictures if they were more affordable or possibly if I could package together a few people's pictures. I will not be spending $70 a person to get a few pictures, because I cannot afford such frivolous things in my life at this time. I like what you do, but there were only about a half-dozen pictures of me and my boyfriend at each BB10k, spread over two runners, and that many pictures is not worth $140. There were just over 40 pictures from the Enchanted 10k, but $210 is a bit steep for me. I understand that this is the business model you've chosen, but for now, I will live with the watermarks on my face.