One of the things I absolutely LOVE about the Olive Jumpsuit is that there seem to be an endless number of ways in which you can hack it to fill in any gaps in your wardrobe! And one of my all time favorite hacks has got to be transforming the bodice of the Olive into an easy, breezy tank top, a staple that can easily be dressed up or down depending on what jobs you need it for in your wardrobe.
For me, I typically utilize my Olive tanks for outdoor garden work at the height of summer. They keep me breezy in the warm summer air and I can easily bend and move without fearing my entire front side being on display in the front garden (as has happened with other tanks I have worn- eeep!)
Let's get started!
For this particular hack, we will only need a few pattern pieces to work with. Those pieces include:
- Front Bodice
- Back Bodice
Once you have these pattern pieces at the ready we can get started with the adjustments! We will only be adjusting the Front + Back Bodice pieces as well as creating some facing pieces for this project.
Picking a Size
First things first -- if you are using the Olive Jumpsuit or Dress for this hack, you may find that sizing down is helpful. The original pattern was designed to comfortably slide on and over over your hips, so there is a LOT of ease in the bust and waist to accommodate that particular action.
With a tank top, though, you don't need quite so much ease. With your bust measurement in hand, take a look at the finished garment measurements of this pattern and choose the size that is roughly 3" (7,6 cm) larger than your actual bust measurement. This extra 3" (7,6 cm) is the wearing ease of your garment which helps to make it more comfortable to wear. To find out more about wearing ease, check out this blog post by @winmichele.
For example, my bust measurement is 35" (89 cm), so I would opt to make a size B in the Olive which measures out to be 38.75" (98 cm), which is a little over 3" (7,6 cm) larger than my original bust measurement.
Adjusting the Length
To start, make sure that your tank is the right length. The Olive was designed to hit right at your natural waist, but to me, this is a bit too high for a tank top. I personally love having my tanks hit me right at the hip bone. To figure out how much length is needed to hit your hip bone (or wherever else you might want your tank to hit!) begin by measuring yourself from your apex point to your ideal hem length.
Take this measurement and add 1" (2,5 cm) for your hem allowance. Starting at the apex of the pattern, measure down to this new measurement.
Draw a new line that runs parallel to the original hem.
Connect your new hem to your center front and side seam lines, making sure each intersects at a 90 degree angle (for a more "swingy" top, your side seams can connect at a slightly acute angle.)
Once your front bodice piece is squared away, you will need to adjust your back bodice piece. Add the same length you added to the front bodice (along the side seam from old hem to new hem) to the back bodice as well. Connect the Center Back seam of your back bodice to the side seam, making sure the CB and waist are meeting at a 90 degree angle.
The last adjustment we need to make on our pattern pieces isn't really an adjustment, it's actually creating a new set of pattern pieces. In the original Olive Jumpsuit, you had to cut a lining for your bodice, which helped to finish the neckline and underarm seams. Adding a lining to a tank is a bit much, though, and can create a lot of unnecessary bulk which is never fun in a tank top meant to keep you cool in the summer!
So instead, we are going to draft a pair of Facings for our tank. That way we can finish off the neckline and underarm seams cleanly without adding extra fabric to the entire tank - a total win-win!
To draft your facings, make a copy of your new front and back bodice pieces. Set your original pieces aside.
For your two front bodice pieces, begin by marking a line approximately 3" (7,6 cm) down from the underarm.
Then mark a second line approximately 3" (7,6 cm) down from the Center Front neckline.
Connect these two points. You may need to draw a slight curve between the two. You just want to make sure that where the line intersects the CF seam and the SS is at a 90 degree angle. Cut along this line and discard the bottom half of your bodice. What remains is your new Front Facing!
Repeat these same steps with your Back Bodice using the same measurements as you did with your Front Bodice.
Cut along this line and discard the bottom half of your bodice. What remains is your new Back Facing!
Awesome! You now have all of the pieces necessary to create your tank! Go ahead and cut out your fabric using these pieces and then we can get to sewing!
Sewing Your Tank
Sewing up this project is pretty simple, with very few changes in the normal instructions (aside from the whole adding the top to pants part!). In fact, you can follow the instructions from page 25- 27! Once you hit the last step on page 27, instead of pressing your seams open and leaving them unfinished, you will finish your seams and then press them to the back.
Repeat all the same steps with your facings. Before moving on in your instruction booklet, you will need to finish the bottom edge of your facing pieces. You can do this by serging, adding a zig-zag stitch, hemming, or attaching bias binding along the bottom edge of your facings. So many options to play with!
Next, follow the steps from page 28-30, stopping after you have pressed your bodice's neckline and underarms.
To finish up your tank, simply hem the bottom edge! Press it up 1/2" (1,3 cm) then again 1/2" (1,3 cm). Sew along the upper pressed edge.
Et Voila! You have officially completed your Olive Tank! Now you can tackle those warm, summer days knowing that you will be kept cool and breezy in your latest make :)