I went to yoga class the other day. Uxia taught us about opening our heart chakras.
The yoga teachers at Soul Tree Yoga in Lafayette are always wearing some neat tops. I often come away feeling inspired to sew.
Today my muscles are sore and the snow from yesterday’s storm is lingering in my garden. It’s the perfect day to sew up a couple cool tops for me to wear.
Here is what you need if you want to make some too.
A front, a back, a 2″ x 60″ band and a serger.
I used our bamboo jersey because it’s the best. It is washable, dryable, fast growing, low water, no pesticide naturally anti microbial fabric that resists pilling and has a soft hand with great drape and weight. Can you tell I’m a fan? It’s 60″ wide and $18/ yard and all of the tops you will see in this post were made from 1 length – for me that’s between 5/8th and 7/8th of a yard.
For the pattern I cut up a shirt I liked the fit of from Mud Coffee in New York once I had worn it out. I traced it onto paper and it has been my go to pattern for tank tops and t-shirts and dresses ever since.
First pin the shoulders and side seams right sides together.
Then serge those seems. The rule of thumb Costume Shop Maven Rita Sclavunos taught me all those years ago at Trinity College was that one should serge from in to out and from up to down. Thanks Rita.
It should look like this when you are done.
Now take your two inch band, fold in half and lay the raw edges down along the neck opening. You are estimating how long your neck and will be. This changes for me every time as I tweak my neckline for layering.
Now pick up the band at the spot where it overlaps itself. Eyeball what 80% of the length of the neck hole opening is and cut the band there.
Your neck line must be shorter than the neck hole opening.
Now serge the short ends of the band together to make your neck band loop.
Fold the band in half again and place the seam you just created at the center back of the shirt and pin.
Now fold the band in half so that you have the exact opposite point from the pin folded. Also fold the shirt so that you can see the center front line.
Now pin these two points together.
Continue finding the halfway point between these pins on both the band and the neck opening of the top and pin. Note: these will not be the shoulder seams.
Pin these points.
Repeat til you have 8 pins in your neckline.
Now serge your 3 raw edges together starting at the center back.
Tug the neckline gentle to stretch it flat to the band while you are serging.
When you get all the way around the neckline you can even out the angle caused from driving the serger onto the seam at the beginning.
Tie off your serger tails in a double knot close to the serging and press with steam iron.
Pressing will make a wobbly looking neck band much nicer.
Now repeat the neck band technique for both armholes.
If you have a coverstitch machine you probably don’t need this tutorial but now would be the time to turn up your hem with the cover stitch machine and top stitch the serging down around the neck and armholes. Below I used my cover stitch machine on this navy t-shirt.
If you don’t have a cover stitch you can twin needle stitch to fake it.
Or just serge the hem.. or even leave it raw.
This fabric won’t fray and I don’t think my yoga teachers will mind a raw edge.
Once you have these basic techniques down you can get fancy with the details.
Slash the back to show off your spine or a contrasting tank or sports bra underneath.
Make an overlapping shoulder peakaboo low back?
Add sleeves and serged on bottom band?
Use a cute print? This is for my 4 year old daughter. She is much more patient when I sew if I am making something for her 🤣
Now I hope you are inspired to make your own yoga tops. Get creative and show us what you come up with.