Mesh running top update!

So, a few posts ago I mentioned that I was planning to sew a mesh running top modeled after the awesome mesh top from Oiselle, which, alas I can’t afford on my current grad stipend 😦

It took a few hours of time over the last couple weeks, but the top is now done!


Here’s a brief look at what went into the final product:

First, I rode my bike over to our local Jo-Ann fabrics.  There was some pretty stellar selection of Power Mesh.  If by ‘stellar’, you mean ‘so gaudy it makes my eyes wince.’  I decided that I wasn’t quite up to running in sequins (although you’d be oh-so visible to cars!) and went with a simple white mesh.


I used one of my favorite running tanks for the pattern by tracing it out on cheap newsprint paper and then patterning the mesh pieces off of that.

Lining up the selvage…


Laying out the pattern…Image

Adding seam allowances (3/4 in)Image

And cutting out the pattern pieces.

I simplified my life somewhat by making my tank pieces identical on the front and back, rather than doing a scoop neck front and racer back.Image

Once the parts were cut out, I did a lot of pinning and basting – the mesh is extremely stretchy so the alignment is tricky.

The (almost) final result?

A decent tank.


The fit is a little more low-cut in the neck than I’d been aiming for, but I like the way the fabric drapes overall.  After seeing how transparent the single layer of mesh is, I’d probably double up next time (at least in the front).  My solution for this particular top is to add some dye, which will hopefully increase the opacity a bit.

Since I don’t have any fabric dye, I’m using acrylic paint.

First step – pick a color!


Next step – dilute about 1 – 1.5 TB of paint in 2 – 3 C water.  Mix thoroughly unless you like paint blobs on your fabric…


Last – dip the top into the paint-dye!


I let the tank sit in the dye for about 10 minutes and ended up with this color:



I like it much better with the color – lend a bit more opacity and some cool color-combining layer effects with the bright sports bra underneath.

Total cost – $27 for fabric (although that turned out to be enough for 3 tank-tops), $4 for paint (again, enough for multiple tops).  So about $11 for the one tank top.  Not high-end, but it’ll do quite well for the price (and the fun in making it) 🙂


Time to do some sewing!

I’ve been seeing some neat singlets at the running store lately – they are made of a stretchy mesh material which would be perfect for the summer heat.  They are a little sheer, but more coverage than a sports bra.  Here’s one of my favorites from Oiselle:  Isn’t it lovely and breezy looking?  Although I’m generally comfortable in a sports bra, I’m sometimes a little self conscious prancing about half naked, especially if I’m running on campus where I’m liable to bump into some of my students or some of the faculty that I’m working for/taking courses from.  The mesh would be perfect – cool enough to avoid unnecessary roasting, but enough cover to feel prim and proper ha ha 😉

Unfortunately, each of the tops that I’ve seen are about $50 – $60.  That’s a bit on the pricey side considering my stipend level.  Rather than purchasing the tanks, I think I might buy a couple yards of fabric (definitely less than $50!) and sew some custom-made running tops for myself before the summer ends 🙂

Here’s a few sketches of what I’m envisioning: 






Might make the back cut-outs with a contrasting mesh underneath rather than bare, or do some layering with some a larger weave of the same mesh color for texture.  

Now I’ve just got to get over to Joanne’s and see what my options are for fabric…

To bun or not to bun…

I was browsing the Oiselle catalogue this morning ( and came across this lovely ad for buns (aka bum-huggers/racing briefs):


My first thought was “Ooh, I need those!”  My second thought was “Huh, would I actually feel comfortable wearing buns in a road race?”  This thought kind of surprised me, because when I was running in college I LOVED the buns.  They were the least heat-trapping/restrictive, didn’t ride up like boy-shorts, revealed my *super cool* tan lines beautifully, and gave the amusing impression that I had totally forgotten shorts and was racing in my underwear.  What could be better?

Here’s a lovely demo of my buns obsession – yep, I’m the only person on our team wearing the things (ours were not nearly as cute as the Oiselle ones):


But now, with no team to make me look (and feel) legit in a “serious runner” uniform, race times several minutes slower than my college PR’s, and a few extra pounds cushioning my thighs, I don’t know if I could pull off the buns look.

Any other ladies like wearing buns/bum-huggers/racing briefs (and do any of you wear them for racing when it’s not part of a team uniform)?  What would you think if you saw a recreational runner wearing them on the starting line of your local 5k/10k/marathon?