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Refashioned Boston Street running top

11 June 2013, 14:40

One practical aspect of being a sewing runner (or a running sewist) is that I can take all those oversized race tee shirts that seem to accumulate and refashion the nice technical fabric into something more suitable. Oftentimes I just trim down the front and back based on my knit sloper (like I did with my Paris race tee), but this time around I thought I’d change things up and use a Burda pattern instead of my usual sloper, since one presented itself nicely in the form of the “scuba set” in the June 2013 Burda magazine (or you can purchase as a pdf here).

I started by pulling out a pile of race tees I wasn’t 100% happy with (though in reality I only did two of these four)…

This particular shirt was always destined to be refashioned – I visited tons of running shops when I was in Baltimore in April, but my favourite was a small, very friendly shop run by a very enthusiastic runner, Boston Street Running (Baltimorians, it’s down by the big Safeway in Canton). I ended up chatting to him for ages about nutrition, races, running fashion, and he despaired that he only had one of their shirts left, and it was XXL with a printing mistake, as he really wanted to give me one!

I assured him I’d refashion it down, and send him photos of me wearing it in front of Tower Bridge…

One thing I really like about this pattern is that there are no side seams – it uses side panels instead!

I actually refashioned this one in parallel with the BTG race shirt in the pile (which you’ll see later this week), so the black bits here are from the excess of that original top. Even so, I had to piece the side panels so the mesh areas are in the centre of the sides to make it look more intentional (I altered the tech drawing above so you can see my extra seaming).

I brought out my coverstitch binder again to finish off the neck and arm edges – it’s a fraught process but it really does give the best finish by far, especially when you can use self-fabric and matching thread like I did here!

I think if I used this pattern again in future, I’d scoop out the underarm and lower the neckline a bit, as both are a bit higher than I’m used to in my running gear, but neither bothered me when I was out on my test run!

I used the back of the original shirt as the front here, but the print was so high up that I had to use contrast fabric on the shoulders so the logo wouldn’t get cut off. Likewise, in the back I had to do a bunch of piecing in the lower back, and bits of the text got chopped up all over, which I really like!

One thing to note is that this pattern doesn’t have much ease. This is fine if you’re making the scuba/running/cycling view and expect it to be tight-fitting, but the pattern pieces are also shared for the teeshirt view and the dress with curved waist band, where the lack of ease might come as a surprise!

I was a bit dismayed when I first looked over these photos and saw that I look a bit pudgy here. I thought about reshooting this but then I thought “nah, screw it, my body just ran a marathon and it enjoyed the three weeks of healing and rest (and cake)”. This is what my running body looks like sometimes. (And also, the cleaning lady at my office just asked me if I’d lost weight recently, so I’m just going to chalk these photos up to a tighter waistband, a bit of extra cake, and me not sucking my gut in!)

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  1. I was thinking about making this top but was waiting for someone to give it a trial sew up first! Super helpful. Love the color :)

    Norma    Jun 11, 03:29 PM    #
  2. I think it looks great, I’m glad you didn’t reshoot it, photos like these are what normal people look like and we shouldn’t be so afraid of showing our little lumps and bumps.

    Joanna Ratcliffe    Jun 11, 05:55 PM    #
  3. Melissa, the new version of that t-shirt looks beautiful! Great refashioning job, and also thank you for the tips about the pattern!

    — Olga    Jun 11, 06:02 PM    #
  4. Great use of the shirt. I thought about using the pattern too for a gym top. Good to see your version.

    Sigrid    Jun 11, 06:35 PM    #
  5. That pattern is in the sewing queue for me too. Best refashion for a race t-shirt I have ever seen!

    Elle C    Jun 11, 07:20 PM    #
  6. Great remake on the shirt. Looks t riffic! The lumps look good too. Why should we hide something that 99% of us have. It’s normal!

    — Rebecca Howard    Jun 11, 10:27 PM    #
  7. Great refashion.

    I liked this feature in Burda. I was thinking about downloading the t-shirt pattern. Can you tell me if there is any shaping in the princess seams, or if they are just design lines?

    Katherine Howison    Jun 11, 10:57 PM    #
  8. Yessss!! I am so glad you made this top up! I will be following suit soon. Good points on lowering the sleeve opening and the alteration ideas. What fabrics are here in your shirt? P.S. I got my CamelBak and am ready to run in the heat of the summer :) Thanks again for that info!

    kathy    Jun 12, 12:20 AM    #
  9. Absolutely great shirt! Fab idea to use the boxy shaped race T’s for this pattern, it’s super! It’s on my list too as soon as I get my copy.

    Steph A    Jun 12, 03:33 AM    #
  10. I love your refashioned top and I’m impressed with anyone who can run amarathon. I love your last paragraph, in fact before I got to that I thought about your photos and that I liked them for showing the real you.

    Helena    Jun 12, 06:13 AM    #
  11. Great use of those tshirts that are just too significant to discard- looks fantastic- very creative and fantastic sewing skills – as always. Me too, I enjoyed your cake eating comments, you are right to not worry, that body took you around 26 miles and is a mega machine and you look amazing !

    Scruffy badger    Jun 12, 06:24 AM    #
  12. Katherine – Excellent question! I had a look this morning, and there’s definitely shaping there. The side seams are curved on the front & back edges, but those edges on the side pieces are very close to straight.

    melissa    Jun 12, 10:25 AM    #
  13. You look great. And besides, you run marathons so you can do whatever the hell you like! Amazing.

    ZoSews    Jun 12, 11:18 AM    #
  14. Suuuuper cute. I saw this place on a ride two weeks ago.

    — Renee    Jun 12, 02:51 PM    #
  15. Hi, Melissa. I love this website. Love the exercise tops with stretch bindings. Where do you get the binding attachment for your machine and how exactly is it used?

    — Diane in London    Jul 12, 10:27 PM    #

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