This is one of those projects that takes for-ever. Not to be confused with just forever- but for-EVER! I have been working on it here & there for almost 2 months. Its a project that would only take a couple hours total (minus the dying part) but I suppose it’s the fact that I had a newborn & a toddler this summer that set me back on ‘production’ time. (like how I made it sound like I produce things? Big & important sounding……..or not.)
How to turn a shelf bra tank into a nursing tank
OR I could call the first part of this tutorial ‘how to replace the straps on your favorite tank top’
Ok here we go.
If you know me in real life you know I have a slight addiction to shelf bra tanks. I have pretty much worn one everyday for nearly 10 years now. Love. Them. Well when I was pregnant with Little Man I bought a couple of Old Navy’s maternity ones (the length is perfect for non-pregnant ladies to by the way). Well apparently after wearing them for 3 years the straps had had enough and started coming apart.
Not wanting to get rid of them just because the straps were falling apart I figured I could replace the straps. But before replacing the straps I decided to dye the top pink. Why? Because I had dye & I could. Hehehe
Then I cut the straps off the tank top
(sorry for the blurry photos I had to take these with my phone)
Here is where you can skip ahead to the strap replacement part if you aren’t making a nursing tank.
So then I cut apart the neckline on the front only of the tank top.
Ok if you skipped ahead here’s where you want to jump back in.
To make a cute little strap to replace the ones we removed you will need a strip of fabric that is 4 times as wide as you want your strap. So if you wanted a 1/2 inch wide strap you need your fabric to be 2 inches wide. The length is from the front of the tank top over your shoulder and to the back of the tank top plus a little extra for seam allowance. You will need two pieces that are these sizes.
This is the strap material right side down.
Fold it in half lengthwise and iron.
Open it up. Then take each long edge and fold/iron it to meet in the center.
Next fold it in half again and iron.
This is the finished width of your strap. Sew along the edge using a small seam allowance.
If you are not making a nursing tank then attach the straps to the outside of the tank top where you cut off the original straps folding both sort ends under and sewing a square with an X in the center. Add a button as decoration if you’d like. You are done!
If you are making a nursing tank top then you need to attach the straps to the back of the tank tucking the short end under and using the square with an X in center method. Then also attach it to the front but only on the fabric that is closer to your body (in other words not the fabric that is the outside of the tank top.)
Next take some of these:
And hand sew (I know-yuck!) the eye part to your new strap on the front and the hook part to the outside fabric.
You can see in that picture that I sewed some of the extra strap fabric to the front of the tank top- I did this to add some structure before sewing on the hook since the fabric was pretty flimsy. When you see the final product you will see how it looks like a continuation of the strap.
After that all you need to do is try on your tank top, unhook both sides so the front flap falls down and mark where you will need to cut your nursing openings. Then cut a slit in a shape like two facing parenthesis: () on each side.
If your tank top is a jersey material like mine you won’t need to hem the raw edges because it won’t fray. If it isn’t jersey then go ahead and hem all raw edges.
Then you are all done! Wear it alone in the summer, under a cute shrug in the fall/spring and even under a sweater in the winter (just pull up the sweater to nurse.) You can remove the hooks and sew the front flap back to the back flap and have a regular tank top again when you are done nursing too!
mouse over image to see before and after: