DIY Mesh Running Tank

Even though I believe that when it’s hot, there’s nothing wrong with baring your belly, sometimes you just want a little coverage without adding warmth. Or when you’re at the gym, it’s somehow socially unacceptable to work out in an uncovered sports bra (yet fine to wear a bikini to the pool), so a tank top is the obvious choice, but no matter how tiny, they still get drenched in sweat.

So I decided to make one out of athletic mesh.  You know, that old school mesh fabric used on all kinds of sports jerseys.  It’s the original breathable technical fabric using the most basic technology–holes.

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First, I grabbed a tank top that fit me well to make a pattern out of parchment paper, then traced around the old tank onto the paper about a half and inch larger to allow for seams.  You only need to trace half of the front and half of the back since you will cut on folded fabric (you want symmetrical sides). Then cut out your paper.

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Then pin one half of your template to your folded fabric and cut out your piece.

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I left the bottom edge of the pattern raw because I figured out the length of my tank later and added inches freehand.

Once you have the front and back pieces cut out, make sure the shoulder seams line up and are the same width.  Trim if necessary, then sew the seams together using a zig zag stitch.  Then pin and sew the side seams together.  As far as I could tell, there is no right side or wrong side to this kind of mesh so you don’t have to worry about that.

To finish the raw edges, I simply folded over the edges and did a basic 3/8 inch hem, still using the zig zag stitch.

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I considered making some bias tape or using some kind of binding for the edges, but I got lazy.  I think the hem worked just fine, but a smooth binding would probably be a touch more comfortable against the skin.

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All in all, this tank took less than 30 minutes to make.  I wore it this morning on my easy run and then to the gym for strength class.  I love how you can see the color of my sports bra peeking through, but at first glance it looks like a regular tank.

I’d like to make a flowy-er version next.  This fabric has little to no stretch so even though your skin breathes through the holes, it might be nice allow a full breeze in.

Another idea is to use this fabric over a pair of booty shorts to make a mesh running skirt.  Yeah, it sounds a little weird reading that, but I think I can make it work.  Stay tuned.

DIY Running Belt

I have a hard time spending money on things that I can make easily myself. Making my own running belt is one of the easiest sewing and most satisfying sewing project I’ve done so far.

I almost always carry my phone with me when I run but finding a great way to bring it with me was a challenge. I started out with an armbelt, but those are awkward, ugly, and uncomfortable, especially as phones get bigger.  Then I switched to a Fuel Belt and while that worked, it was also bulky and bouncy. So I decided to sew my own, loosely based off of the stretchy Fitbelt.

There are no buckles on this type of belt.  It’s simply a length of stretchy fabric folded in half to create a pocket, then sewn into a loop that you step into.  Your phone, gels, and whatever else you need to carry gets tucked inside and it all stays put with zero bounce since it’s stretched tight across your waist or hips. So simple!

The fabric needs to be twice as wide as the width of your phone after allowing for hemming the two long ends. The length of the fabric should be a little smaller than the measurement of where you want to put it.  It needs to be nice and snug to keep everything from bouncing.

After cutting your fabric, hem the two long ends.  I like a nice thick hem of one inch.  Then fold the fabric in half long ways and sew the two short ends together, creating a loop.  Step into it and try it on, tucking your phone inside.  If it bounces, sew it to make the loop a little smaller.  Once you are happy with the fit, that’s it!

I personally like the black belt since it just disappears and you can barely tell I have a belt on.  But I’ve also gotten some fun new fabrics lately that would work too.  Would a leopard-print running belt be too much?

Sewing Your Own Running Gear

My dining room table looks like this.

A local fabric shop was going out of business and I decided to stock up on a few yards of fabric with the intention of making running shorts, tops,  and swimsuits myself.  I consider myself an intermediate seamstress, but I like to play around and get creative.

Today I finished up my first pair of running shorts!  It was definitely a hack job with lots of trying on and resewing, but I think they turned out pretty well.  I took them for a test run today and they did the job.

Once I get more proficient at it, I’ll post a tutorial.  Today’s shorts are basic black, but I’ve got a pretty blue floral and a bold leopard print that I think will be really fun.  I tried to take a decent picture of my butt in the new shorts, but I’m not that flexible or talented with a camera (yet!).

Next on the sewing list is a new tank.  Summer is nearly here and I could definitely use a few more.  Hopefully it will be a little simpler than the shorts, but we’ll see.  I got a few yards of black mesh as well with the idea to do a mesh back on a few for maximum airflow.  Really looking forward to this project, especially since I have not really been loving what I’ve seen in stores lately.

Tomorrow is the Earth Fare 5K. I haven’t done much speed work since before Boston so the idea is to use this race as my baseline for the summer.  It’s flat and fast and should have some good competition.  Already feeling a bit nervous, but excited-nervous!

Have a wonderful weekend!