Ready for Racerbacks !

So, who's enjoying summer ? ? ? It's been obscenely hot all week with no rain here :( And that's been affecting my wrist and joints. So I want it to rain already !! Which is not something I usually want.

Summer for me, though, often means doing things I don't do in the school year. And here's one: wear horribly bright tropical printed racer back bras.

  I bet these will last into the year and become a staple as they are just so great.  Here's how I made them.

Materials Needed: A tight tank top style bra or swimsuit pattern. I used M6759, which is going out of print, but any tank top style bra/camisole would work.

1. To start, trace your pattern onto paper.  Here it would be a good idea to make the pattern as is to address any fit issues that may arise. I had to make mine (originally a size 8) narrower in the chest and back.  I also should have lowered the armholes, but I didn't and so they were reworked in the racer back portion.

2. Figure out what size elastic you will be using around the neck and armholes.

3. Multiply that by 4 and add half an inch to that. For me, it's 3/8" x 4 = 1.5" + .5" = 2".  That's the minimum width your shoulder straps can be for ease in sewing.  If you are confident in your skills, you can reduce the .5" to .25", but I decided to play it safe.

4. Okay ! Now you can start redrawing the bra.  For the front straps, all I did was narrow them, taking the excess from the side.  This means they will sit closer to the neck and be more racer-like.

The original is in wax paper, the racer back white. Not much difference here !

Other changes I made to the front: I lowered the armholes by a little bit for personal comfort.
The new laid over the old. See the new strap width and placement.

Now for the back.  First I lowered the armholes here, to be consistent.  Next I moved the straps closer to the center by a lot. Probably an inch or more, and I still could have done more.

A lot of difference here. Notice the smooth curve of the back armhole.  It's not very pronounced but you could make it a lot narrower.

Now I raised the center back a lot. I tried to keep it's shape fairly circular, because you don't want to sew elastic onto steep curves. Also remember to make the center back neckline perpendicular to the edge so that you don't unfold your fabric and get points.

You can just barely see on the bottom where the original is really low cut through the back while the racer back is nice and high. Also look how far the straps moved towards the center back neckline, which is a straight line almost.

Then you redraw the back armhole line.  You can draw it as narrow as you like, but remember to keep it at or over your minimum strap width (2").  Also keep this curve fairly circular and not sharp.

And there you have a new racer back pattern !

Note: The bra on the left is made of rayon spandex from JoAnn's lined with black milliskin from Spandex World.  The one on the right is made of Spoonflower's sport lycra. The design is by user micklyn. It is the small scale version of her tropical print.

Does summer make anyone else veer towards the bright tropics in summer, or is it just me ? Do you have any other good hacks for a tank bra ? Tell me if so !