Going Sleeveless

Do you know, there was a time when I wouldn’t wear sleeveless tops…I thought I didn’t have “the arms” for a sleeveless top.   Seriously?!? 

I bet you know what I’m talking about.

Now I wear sleeveless tops with abandon. 

My arms did not get whipped into shape, if anything they are more “undeserving” than ever.  

But I no longer worry that they aren’t being viewed in their best, most flattering light.

For crying out loud, these arms do so much in a day and they are not to be hidden or worse yet, sad and sweating under some sleeves in the 90-degree heat.

There are always ladies in my classes who feel the same as I did…not interested in making or wearing anything sleeveless because their “arms aren’t what they used to be”.

I get it.  I do. 

But what if we liberated one another from the confines of hiding our body because it doesn’t fit a mold of what it should be or what is deemed attractive by our society…or our critical inner voice or someone in our lives who taught us to be really hard on ourselves as they were really hard on themselves. 

Let’s forgive it all and embrace who we are right now and wear the damn sleeveless top! 

If you want to. If you truly don’t like a cool breeze on your upper arm and it has nothing to do with an unworthy arm, then, by all means, DON’T wear the sleeveless top…but I’ll bet there’s something else in your life you’d like to wear but, alas, you don’t have the body for it.  You do.  Truly.   

Especially if you make it (or buy it) to fit your perfect body.  There’s nothing more flattering than clothes that fit.

Which leads me to my latest projects…all sleeveless!

Recently, in the Make-It-Your-Own Society (want on the wait list?), the month of June had us altering a t-shirt or dress pattern into a sleeveless top and as part of the how-to videos I made 4 sleeveless garments.   Such an awesome side benefit!

I thought it would be fun over the next few weeks, to share with you how I went about changing my favorite t-shirt pattern into each garment. a fitted tank top (see below) a sleeveless, cowl neck tunic (coming) a sleeveless swing dress with cutaway pockets (coming) a racerback tank top with a shelf bra (coming)    

I began with a simple fitted tank top.  I wanted rather slim straps and a larger scoop in the back. 

To make a t-shirt sleeveless
The armhole was originally drafted to be sewn into a sleeve and therefore had extra fabric at the bottom of the armhole to allow for movement…when making it sleeveless you no longer need that extra fabric…so I raise up the bottom of the armhole on the bodice about 3/8″ and move it in towards the bodice a 3/8″.   Doing this helps with gaping at the armhole. 

To make the fitted tank… I made the armhole adjustments mentioned above Redrew the neckline in the front and the back to be more of a wide scoop and slimmed down the shoulder strap Scooped out the armhole a bit more to create the strap and look I wanted

When I sewed the tank, I used a neck band for the neck opening and I used strips off the knit fabric as a binding for the armholes.

For the neckband I cut a band 1 1/2 inches wide by the length of my opening minus 10%. Sewed it into a loop and folded it in half lengthwise, right sides facing out. I then pinned the neckband into the tank top using 4 pins all equidistant apart. I sewed the neckband to the tank top with right sides facing and stretched the neckband a bit as I sewed to ensure it lays flat. I flipped the seam allowance in towards the wrong side of the bodice and topstitched it down with a stretch stitch. For the armhole binding, I cut a strip of jersey 3/4″ by the length of the arm opening. I sewed the armhole binding onto the armhole (right sides facing together) and then flipped it to the wrong side and topstitched it down with a zig-zag stitch And trimmed any extra binding fabric afterward.