Breastfeeding Sewing – Victory Tank Hank… pull down method

Hey everyone,

 

Hope you are all well, and enjoying the start of the summer holidays.

 

I am back this week with another breastfeeding hack on the Victory Tank Pattern (from Chalk and Notch). The first hack was all about pulling up the top layer of the tank, to reveal a lining layer with breast access. This works really well and I have loved wearing it over the past few weeks. But this method means you can’t tuck the top into high waisted trousers/skirts, or even tuck the top into your jeans. So that got me thinking, how could I adapt this hack to make the top layer pull down to access the breasts, and therefore open up the styling options of the top.

 

So after lots of thinking I come up with a two layer version of the tank top, where the main and lining layers are not attached around the neckline. There are poppers which give the access, and an optional band detail to cover up the poppers to help disguise that this is a breastfeeding top.

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For this top I used some gorgeous Lady McElroy cotton from Sister Mintaka. It holds its structure well, so the neckline doesn’t gape with the two layers not being attached, and is generally very comfy and nice to wear. Plus it features giant Monstera leaves, and if you follow me on Instagram you will know I am totally in to owning house plants at the moment, including my own monstera.

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So, for this hack you will just need:

 

This top uses the same hacks for the lining layer as my previous Victory Tank hack, but I will go through all the instructions again (sorry for those who have read the other one).

 

Right, let’s get to the hacking…

(all seam allowances are 1cm, even with hacked pieces, as this is what Chalk and Notch allow in their patterns).

 

 

  1. Cut out all your paper pattern pieces. We will be hacking only the lining, so put everything else to the side.
  2. We want to draw a line which is parallel to the grainline through the bust point. So, measure from the bust point for your size straight across to the grainline (which is drawn on to the pattern piece). Note this. Mark this distance all the way down the grainline. Join these points so that you have a line going from the shoulder all the way down to the hem.

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  1. Cut down this line in order to make two pattern pieces. We need to add a 1cm seam allowance to both pieces along this new cut line. Tape some paper to the pattern piece and extend the pattern by 1cm.
  2. Cut out your pattern using your chosen fabric. You will now have a main front and back, a lining back, a lining “front middle” (on the fold) and you will need TWO “front sides” (the lining piece with the darts).
  3. Sew the darts for both the lining and main.
  4. Overlock the edges of the pattern pieces (or finish using your preferred method – zig zag stitch or cut using pinking shear scissors)

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  1. Pin the side-lining pieces to the centre lining with right sides together. Sew the lining pieces together using a 1cm seam allowance. For me I sewed from the shoulders down by 6 ½ inches, and from the hem up by 9 inches. This leaves you with a section unsewn of approximately 9 ½ inches, which is your breast access.

While you are pinning (pre-sewing), I would suggest laying the fabric across yourself and seeing if these amounts work for you.

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  1. Hem the lining, by folding up the bottom of the tank by 0.6cm, wrong sides together. Baste. Fold up again by 1cm and sew.
  2. Pin the shoulders seams of the lining with the back bodice, right sides together. Sew and finish with your preferred method.

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  1. Using bias binding, bind the neckline and arm hole (note the side seams should still be open). There is a great tutorial here if you are new to sewing with bias binding.

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  1. We will now sew using the front main. Shorten the straps by 2.5 inches. This allows for the access point and poppers to be in easy reach while you wear the tank.
  2. Using bias binding, finish the neckline and arm holes.
  3. Lay the front lining down, right side facing up. Place the main front on top of the lining, also right side facing up. Line up the end of the darts, and pin in place.
  4. Place the back bodice over the front, right side facing down. Pin the side seams, with the arm hole and bottom lining up for the back main and front main (note that the lining is shorter so will be lower at the arm hole, and also shorter at the bottom). Sew in place.

Your top should now look like this…

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  1. Hem/finish the main front at the shoulders, by folding the shoulders over by 1cm, wrong sides together, press and then fold over by 1cm again. Sew in place.
  2. Add the “male” sides of the poppers on to the shoulders of the main bodice.

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  1. I now suggest trying the top on to determine where the counterparts of the poppers should go on the lining. This will be different based on your upper chest etc. Make sure the bodice is flat and smooth and then mark where the poppers should go.
  2. Add the female parts of the poppers to the lining, where you have marked them.
  3. Hem your bodice main all the way round, and voila! Your top should look like mine below, and is now complete with breastfeeding access!

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Your top is now complete, but if you do want to hide the poppers I will show you how. This is to disguise the breastfeeding function even more.

 

  1. Cut out two rectangles of fabric – 3 inches (length) by 2.5 inches (width).

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  1. Fold in half, lengthwise, with right sides together. Sew with a 1cm seam allowance along the long seam and one of the ends, and trim the seam allowance. Leave one end open.

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  1. Turn the rectangles, so they are right sides out.
  2. Pin the open end to the back of the lining of the tank, so the end of the band is in between the two poppers. Like in the picture below…

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  1. Wrap the band round the front of the lining bodice, and bring the band end all the way round to then meet the end you have sewn down. Pin, and then hand sew in place (make sure you are only catching the back of the fabric, and now the band at the front). Measure how much of the band is showing from the front of the bodice, so that you can match the other side, so that one isn’t thicker than the other.

 

 

Your top will now have its poppers nicely hidden…

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I hope you like my latest hack, and please do share if you make a top using this method. I would absolutely love to see them.

 

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See you next time for another hack,

Love, Abigail x

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