Tank top with shelf bra

self-drafted tank top with shelf bra

Version 1:

Fabric: 100% Organic Cotton Jersey in white from Hart’s Fabrics

I actually made this one back in May, but I finally got around to making a second version with some changes, so I decided to finally post about them! I have no idea how drafting normally works, but I figured since knits are stretchy I could just wing it and adjust as needed.

I started out by measuring my bust, waist, and hip, and the distances between them and transferring the measurements to some tissue paper, using a french curve to join them. This basically gave me a zero-ease garment, which I thought would work, but I was way off. I had to take in the sides a lot, shorten the straps, and lower the armholes to get it to fit, but with some tweaking, eventually it worked out.

Once I got the outer part fitting the way I wanted, I transferred the changes to my pattern pieces and then traced out the top part to create the shelf, adding 2x my elastic width to the bottom. To the front shelf piece, I also added a curve below the line and extended the side by 1″ so I could make some gathers in the middle for shaping.

self-drafted tank top with shelf bra self-drafted tank top with shelf bra

I just gathered the middle with some thread to create an almost sweetheart neckline curve, which I really like.

self-drafted tank top with shelf bra self-drafted tank top with shelf bra

I used the same template for the front and back, but I don’t like how far apart the straps are on the back (probably because I had to take the sides in so much).

self-drafted tank top with shelf bra

I left the hem raw because the top was a little shorter than I intended, plus I like how the raw edge looks.

self-drafted tank top with shelf bra

Version 2:

Fabric: 100% Organic Cotton Jersey in turquoise from Hart’s Fabrics

IΒ  moved the back straps toward the center by 1″ and made a “V” shape for the back.

IMG_4708 (532x800)

Tank top with shelf bra

I also took a little out of the front arm curve, which I now see was too much. I added a third layer to the front shelf this time, with an opening at the straps to insert those foamy cup shaping things, but they’re really difficult to insert since the cotton jersey doesn’t allow them to slide. I think I’ll go back to my first version for all the front pieces and my second version for the back.

These tops have definitely been getting a lot of wear! They’re so soft and comfy, and they make great undershirts for fall/winter too πŸ™‚


12 thoughts on “Tank top with shelf bra

  1. Carolyn

    These tops are so cute! The gathering in the front really makes them special. I’m so impressed that you drafted these yourself! Great job!! : )

  2. Jess

    Hi, so sorry for the off topic comment but can you tell me the model of your Janome machine? I used to have one similar to yours, at least I think they are similar from the bits and pieces of pics of it shown here on the blog, I sewed for a couple of years with it but when I started to sew bags and wallets it kind of struggle with the thickness so I got a newer computerised model and donated the old one …
    I kind of miss my Janome because compared to the newer model, my old one has the best zipper foot, the new one comes with the bulky zipper foot. I have tried looking for a similar zipper foot but couldn’t find anything …
    Anyway, after I read your blog and saw the machine I kind of miss my old machine … Does yours sew okay with thicker fabrics?
    It was my first machine, my mum bought it 10 years or so ago and never used it. I used it to learn how to sew …

    So sorry again for the long OT comment …
    LOVE your blog btw …

    1. Chantal Post author

      No problem πŸ™‚ It’s an RX18S. I got it new a little over ten years ago, so it might be the same one you had. I just started sewing again this year, and the only thing I’ve made with thicker fabric was a pair of pants. It worked fine, but the fabric wasn’t extremely thick. I’m planning on making my first bag soon (Colette Cooper) so I guess I’ll find out soon! I do have problems with skipped stitches, but using better quality needles seems to help with that. It came with a good regular zipper foot, but not one for invisible zippers, which is what I mostly use. Glad you like the blog!

  3. Jess


    Yes that’s the one … RX18S …
    I did have problems with skipped stitches, and the thread bunching on the bottom which happened after I sewed something thick or used it for a long time.
    I didn’t use invisible zips back then, I used the regular zipper foot all the time … I didn’t realise the newer Janome models have weird bulky zipper foot that gets in the way when trying to sew close to the teeth but it was too late as I already donated my machine …

    Looking forward to seeing your Cooper bag!!!!

    1. Chantal Post author

      The bunching thread on the bottom – that happens to me too with every fabric. It’s so annoying! I guess every machine has its pros and cons. One day I’ll upgrade to a better machine, and I’ll make sure to keep my feet πŸ™‚


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s