Saturday, 27 January 2018

Pneuma Tank for Yoga and More!

I fully intended on posting about something else this week but then I finished this project a couple of days ago and I was too excited not to share it immediately. This is the Pneuma Tank from Papercut Patterns and is one of those garments that I can't believe I waited so long to make. I've already got the pieces cut out for another which speaks to its success in my wardrobe. I made a couple of little additions/changes to the pattern which I didn't have all that much faith in actually working so when it turned out better than I expected I could not have been more delighted!

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank in Liberty Swim and Viscose Jersey

I've had this pattern in my stash for a LONG time. I really like the contemporary vibe and creative design ideas of Papercut Patterns and love the unique style of this for workout wear. But until recently the majority of the exercise clothing I've needed has been for running and I just didn't think this would be supportive enough and those lovely straps wouldn't work with an additional sports bra underneath. So the pattern has languished on my 'will make one day' list. Then I went on a yoga retreat for the first few days of January and developed a bit of an addiction (for anyone getting into yoga I highly recommend Yoga with Adriene on YouTube if you fancy doing it at home). My sports wardrobe needed expanding and the Pneuma Tank certainly fit the bill.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank in Liberty Swim and Viscose Jersey

I added this pattern to my #2018makenine challenge (which means with one pattern ticked off the list I'm already doing better than last year!) and received a couple of really helpful comments about making this tank more supportive for running and that it could be a good thing to do for less high impact sports like yoga too. Helen pointed me in the direction of this great tutorial on La Petite Josette on how to add support and also a lining. The one thing I wasn't sure about with the pattern is that the tank edges are all simply turned under and stitched once you've added the elastic and the raw ends of the straps are left visible inside so I really liked the idea of having a lining. Josette also adds cups to hers but I decided just an extra layer of tough power mesh combined with the lining would be enough as I wasn't after adding any shape. The tutorial is really clear with lots of photographs and achieves a lovely clean finish. However, it is just for making the bra variation of the pattern and as I wanted to include the tank overlay I had to figure out a combination of the original instructions and tutorial that would work!

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank in Liberty Swim and Viscose Jersey

Part of me was convinced that lining the bra top with the tank attached, plus attaching elastic around the raw edges and getting those straps to end up all in the right place and not twisted might have been physically impossible. But I did it! I had to really concentrate and take it slow, doing a lot of pinning and basting and turning things right side out as far as possible to check what was going on. You definitely need to be in a determined state of mind to figure this thing out and I was listening to the Love to Sew podcast at the time which makes me feel like I can do anything! When I turned it right side out and put it on for the first time I really felt like I could! It was one of those euphoric sewing moments when things turn out better than you expected and you absolutely LOVE the thing you've just sewn.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank in Liberty Swim and Viscose Jersey

It is a little tricky to explain how I put it together and thats why I want to make another so quickly while the memory is fresh! I first basted the power mesh pieces to the shell of the bra and sewed the side seams of that, then the side seams of the lining and assembled the exterior tank too. When I had all the pieces ready to put together I laid the shell and lining of the bra right sides together with the tank sandwiched in between. First I wanted to sew the front neckline including attaching the straps so I sandwiched those in there too and sewed right across the neckline and straps leaving the armholes open for now. Then I attached 1cm elastic to the seam allowance of the neckline I'd just sewn. Now things started to get really confusing! I put the top on and pinned the straps in place at the back. I removed the top and wove the straps through each other as per the design, re-pinned and basted them in place against the shell along. Now I wanted to sew the armholes and across the back top edge in one fell swoop. I fiddled around and got everything sandwiched and pinned together again in a method that I hoped meant everything would turn right side out without tangling. I sewed the seam and again attached my 1cm elastic inside the seam allowance. I turned it right sides out (and breathed a sigh of relief!) then attached the 2.5cm elastic to the wrong side of the bottom edge of the bra before turning it in once to the inside. With some careful manoeuvring of the tank out of the way I topstitched around all the edges to secure and finish. Sounds simple right?!

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank in Liberty Swim and Viscose Jersey

I'm really delighted with the finish and pleased that I pushed myself to line it. Although as the tank and straps are stretched into shape on the body its really tricky to get photos of flat to show you the lining! You'll have to take my word for it. I followed the pattern instructions and used a zig zag stitch for my topstitching throughout. I'd usually always prefer to use a twin needle as it looks so much more professional in my opinion but as I mentioned previously I've been having some trouble with my twin needle stitches popping recently so thought I'd try the zig zag out as this is such a close fitting bra that really needs to stretch. I don't actually mind the look of the zig zag at all on this, perhaps because its sportswear? On everyday knit clothing I think it can be a bit of a homemade give-away. I did carefully think through the colour of my thread at each stage which helps to keep things looking professional; I sewed the topstitching on the tank with white in the needle and the black in the bobbin so it would look good on both sides. I treated both the shell and lining as one when attaching the wide elastic around the hem of the bra and actually quite like how the band of print looks inside one the raw edge had been overlocked.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank in Liberty Swim and Viscose Jersey

Not having sewn a huge amount of activewear I resorted to my stash for fabric as I felt there was a chance of this quite ambitious project being a complete disaster first time around. A great thing about the pattern is that all the pattern pieces are small making this a great stash busting project! The tank is made from a piece of viscose jersey I had left over from some pattern testing. I bought it from Maggie's market stall in Lewisham and something light and drapey like this is ideal for that top layer. You don't want anything too bulky as it is gathered up where it joins the straps. The thick power mesh and black lining are both leftovers from this sports outfit I made with fabric from Mood Fabrics years ago. I was also going to use a scrap of the hot pink performance spandex for the shell of the bra as I thought some colour would look good underneath the black jersey. Then I spotted on Instagram that someone (I forget who now sorry!) had made some activewear with Liberty swim lycra and I remembered I had ordered a really fun print from The Fabric Store a couple of months back which I was saving to be another Beverley Bikini. I'd ordered a metre so I quickly laid out the bikini pattern pieces to see if I could squeeze my bra out too. I'm so happy I could as I absolutely love the effect of that modern print peeking out from underneath the black tank.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank in Liberty Swim and Viscose Jersey

I've been eyeing up the Liberty Swim range of fabrics for ages but living in the UK don't really need a huge amount of swimwear. I don't know why it didn't occur to me that it would be great for sportswear! Now I've got my hands on some I can tell you it is really sturdy with great recovery and a lovely matt finish. It is a good thickness and doesn't go sheer or loose density of colour when stretched. It is quite a tight supportive lycra and is a great way to get some bold, colourful prints into your sports wardrobe. I'll definitely be ordering more for further activewear projects. O and my bra strapping I got from MacCulloch & Wallis. You need to make sure it has a decent amount of stretch in it in order to get the top on and off which can be a confusing procedure!

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank in Liberty Swim and Viscose Jersey

I did have some trouble with skipped stitches when I started sewing and it took me a while to figure out the best way to handle this combination of fabrics. I presumed that a fairly fine stretch needle would be best with the lycra but was totally wrong! I went through different sizes, tried microtex and universal before discovering that a size 90 ball-point was the only thing that worked. This came as a surprise as ball-point is usually best suited to a jersey when it pushes between the loops of the knit and a lycra needs something to pierce it. I'm assuming that the thickness of all those layers and my dense power mesh meant quite a thick needle was necessary too. I also sometimes find that the Gutermann Sew All threads don't cope particularly well with lycras and some tightly woven silks but changing the thread made no difference this time around. After I had found the right needle it was smooth sailing sewing wise as the fabrics are very easy to handle and work well together.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank in Liberty Swim and Viscose Jersey

The addition of the power mesh and lining has made it so much more supportive than I expected it to be. I even feel like I could run in it very comfortably which I didn't think was a possibility with this design. I think the feeling of support also has something to do with the fit though. I cut the size XS as I usually do with Papercut patterns (my measurements are pretty much spot on that size) and the bra is actually a little small. The band under the bust is fine and through the back but I could do with a little more room in the cup. It feeling a little small is probably down to my addition of tough power mesh and lining as single layer of lycra would have a lot more give and room in it. I think if I was going for less support this is the right size but if going for more structure next time I might try up a size for a bit more boob room! Having said that I like the tight, supportive feeling. I didn't think I'd ever want to but perhaps this has opened the door to making my own sports bras! I might try out adding cups next time.

8 comments:

  1. This turned out great! I love the fabric you used. I've contemplated getting this pattern myself but was concerned about all the straps and literally trying to weave through it every time I put it on! This looks so cute on you. Thank you also for adding the link to the yoga videos; I've been looking for something like that a while now. I prefer to exercise at home (I'm 50), so this is great. I have the Papercuts pattern for the leggings that I want to try soon. If they turn out, I may take the pattern plunge and buy this cute top to wear with them.

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    1. Thanks Shirley, I do sometimes end up in a bit of a tangle when I put it on but its not too bad! I love the design so it is well worth it. You'll have to let me know what the leggings turn out like, maybe I should make a matching Papercut set!
      I highly recommend Adriene, she's got hundreds of videos on there and I really like her instruction and how easy it is to do at home. I'd give one of her 30 day programmes a go. I'm almost at the end of True and loving it

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  2. Wow! Great job, you look like a pro!

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    1. Thanks Rachael, I look less like a pro once I start doing the yoga haha!

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  3. I love it!! That print is so lovely, and the lining looks so good. I made one a few years back... and the insides don't look like that. The bra top also turned out a bit too small for me as well, so I've run in it even with just a single layer! I think I need to make this one again, and will probably refer to your instructions at that time!

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    1. I've heard from a few people now that they found the bra top a little small, will definitely size up next time!
      Lining is a little confusing but definitely possible if you take it slow!
      I'm in love with the Liberty print!

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  4. I'm so glad it worked out! I made mine a few years ago now and it's still going strong. I wear it for cross training and a bit of light running and it's pretty supportive. I made the bra a bit bigger though as I had the same issue.

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    1. Good to hear that it should last well. I think for short runs this will be fine for me, will give it a try when the weather warms up!
      Thanks so much for pointing me to the tutorial, would never have figured it out without those clear photos and instructions

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!