Pneuma Tank, or: it’s still summer, right?

So here’s the thing.

I know that it’s technically fall now. I know that all of you fellow northern-hemisphere types are eagerly drinking pumpkin lattes and chopping up butternut squash and pinning fall wardrobe inspiration.

But I’m never one to follow a crowd.

So here I am in Southern California, where October is our summer, enjoying our 75-90 degree weather and still making summer clothes. Yep. Because in addition to it being much more shorts-and-tanks weather in October here than it ever is in July, I am also taking a trip to Hawaii in the last week of the month. Which means, with apologies to my fall-leaning friends, I will be posting tank tops for a few more weeks. (And also bathing suits! I have completed two of a possible four suits for my trip, to be blogged after they have been photographed in suitable environs, i.e., not in my backyard.)

pneuma tank

Here then is the first of my seasonally unsuitable tops, the Papercut Pneuma Tank – which, to be fair, I did make in August, a slightly more reasonable month for tank-topping. I was going to visit a friend who was working at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah (a really good company, by the way – if you have theatre leanings and find yourself in the vicinity of southern Utah, check it out) and realized the likelihood of me going hiking on said trip was high, and I had no suitable wardrobe. My workout gear is exclusively of the bike variety, and padded shorts and a jersey are not ideal hiking wear. I had also been thinking about the Pneuma since I found this beautiful, soft, flowy, lululemon-type jersey at FIDM on the great LA meetup trip. So I printed the sucker out and got to work.

pneuma side

The one thing I knew I wanted to change was the depth of the armholes on the tank – I for some reason have been very against the kind of tanks that show side skin below the bra. Not sure why, but there it is. So I extended the side seams up 3 inches. This actually worked out really well. I cut a small in the bra and top of the tank, grading to a medium at the waist/hip of the outer tank.

pneuma mod

I do have some serious pooling in back above the butt, but I’m fairly sure you can’t do a swayback adjustment on a flowy tank top, so I guess that’s just going to have to be okay. (I also have some serious bike jersey tan lines… nothing to do about that either, I’m afraid.)

pneuma tank backI didn’t have the recommended bra strapping for the straps (curse my lack of foresight when I was in the giant elastic superstore in the LA fashion district), but I did have a ton of foldover elastic in a lovely shade of gray, so I folded it and stitched it shut and used it like strapping. Now, I don’t have literally any need for bust support (seriously), so this worked for me, but probably only for me. I also made the bra part out of regular ol’ cotton/lycra jersey, which, again, is plenty of support for me but basically everyone else would probably want their sports bra made from something a bit more springy.

I like the style of this tank quite a bit (I’m a sucker for strappy tops), although for a real workout tank I should have used a natural fabric – on my hike I found that the nice flowy fabric didn’t actually breathe at all. Such are the breaks with mystery yardage from super-discount stores. Still, I felt very stylish… Here I am at the end of the trail in Cedar Breaks (attempting a fake yoga pose, sorry. Boy, I am not a yogi). Those rock formations are amazing!

pneuma in action

By-the-by, I did not make these shorts – gasp! Having spent the little time I had before this trip making this tank, in desperation I ran to the REI and happened upon this pair of shorts on the sale rack. And they fit amazingly. They have basically the same fit as my Thurlow shorts, which is awesome. (The brand is Lole, which I had never heard of until I bought these shorts, but they seem to be an up-and-coming lulu-competitor.) I haven’t bought RTW in so long, it felt weird, like cheating. But also so easy and convenient… Now, I know that a great find like this almost never happens, which I why I started sewing in the first place. But I’ve been outright dismissive of buying RTW in the past couple years, and now I’m thinking of giving it another shot now and then, to fill holes in my wardrobe that I don’t have time to fill myself. On the other hand, as I’ve made some limited forays into shopping for clothes again, I’m reminded with every sizing chart I see that I don’t fit into a straight size anywhere. I’ve gotten so used to grading between sizes that I’m miffed when I remember that I’ll have to choose just one size to buy. So, sewing for the win, eh?

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9 comments
  1. Nice top! I really like this pattern, and I totally agree about not liking tops that go below the bra.. Makes me too uncomfortable!

  2. Love this! I totally eyed this pattern when it came out but decided to abstain because of…boobs. Dang boobs! And that view on your hike: glorious. Plus you have Hawaii coming up? Everything’s coming up Milhouse!

    • aleah said:

      Ha! You are awesome – “everything’s coming up Millhouse” is basically my husband’s catchphrase (he even has a t-shirt with that on it)! And yeah, boob size is a double-edged sword, right? The grass is always greener…

  3. Kristin said:

    Love the strap detail on that tank. I’d be hiking everyday for that view!

  4. Gail Hoff said:

    It is a happy day when I recieve your latest posts and projects. You are so talented and clever love your projects. I even made your messenger bag! From a long ago post. Good directions and great results. Thanks

  5. Diane said:

    Love this top. The skin below the bra turns me off too. Great pattern after the alteration. Utah has so many beautiful spots for hiking. Ahhhhh, Hawaii. Lucky you.

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