DIY Braided Strap Tank Top

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a DIY tutorial on this blog. The last one was how to revamp a pair of plain Jane high heels into something a little more fabulous. This time, I’ll show you how to make an item from your t-shirt surplus a little cuter and much more suitable for hot summer days. (In Ohio, that’s all we’ve had lately.) If you’re anything like me, you have drawers full of “free” t-shirts from college or high school. I’m pretty sure that t-shirts were the currency of the realm during my undergrad, getting a new shirt for every major event in which I participated. Many of those t-shirts are being transformed into a quilt as a sort of souvenir for my years at YSU. I’d be further along in the project, but I didn’t realize how tedious it was to iron on interfacing to the backs of each of the quilt squares. I went through half of them and quit to start on a new craft project. It will be finished this summer, though, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

I also have a lot of t-shirts that I’ve picked up along the way from different things. Concerts, travel, or even a random wandering through Goodwill… I’ve found some pretty cool shirts. I really only wear t-shirts to work out, but lately, it’s been too hot to wear a t-shirt with sleeves, and it gets annoying to have to push them up every twenty steps or so. Sometimes, I like the graphic on the shirt, but wish I could wear it under a cardigan (the basic staple of my wardrobe) without the bulk of sleeves. Taking those t-shirts and making them into cute tank tops easily takes care of both of those problems.

This step-by-step tutorial should take about an hour or less, with very little sewing involved. You’ll want to use a baggy shirt in your size or a shirt one size larger than what you normally wear.

Step 1.

Lay the shirt out on a flat surface. Cut the sleeves off just outside of the seam. Measure about 2 inches down from the bottom of the collar, and make a small mark. Starting at the sides of the collar, cut down to the mark in a “V” shape through both sides of the t-shirt.

Step 2.

On the front of the t-shirt, use the bottom of the “V” as a guide. Draw a horizontal line straight across the bottom of the “V” from sleeve to sleeve. Flip the shirt over and cut each shoulder section into thirds. Stop when you reach the same level as the bottom of the “V” on this side (the back) of the shirt.

Step 3.

Pull on each of the strips to stretch it out. The edges will roll in a bit, but that’s ok. Braid one set of three strips and sew the strips together at the end to secure them. Repeat on the other side. At this point, I stretched the braids out a bit too, just to keep the length.

Step 4.

To do this step, I put on a tank top I already like and put this shirt on over that one so I could find where I like the straps to fall. On me, that’s about 10-11 inches apart. Pin the straps where you want them to be. Sew one strap securely onto the inside of the t-shirt towards the top. Repeat on the other side. It should look fairly tank-top-y by now.

Step 5.

Using scrap material from the “V”s you cut out or from the sleeves, cut a strip about an inch and a half wide by four inches long. Wrap this strip tightly around the area where you connected the strap to the t-shirt to cover it and make it look a bit neater. Sew the strip to itself on the back of the braid so it’s on the inside of the tank top and not easily visible. Do the same thing on the other braid. You’re done!

This is my sister, Carmen. Thanks, Carmen!

The top may roll a bit, and you can feel free to fold it over and hem it, but it’s not necessary. That’s the great thing about t-shirt material. The tank top does a cool drape-fold type thing in the back where the braids start.

Give this refashion a try and let me know how it goes for you! I’d love to see a picture of your refashion!

Reach for the Stars…Er, the Planets

When I was in grade school, I wanted to be an astronaut. This was followed by a brief desire to be be an aerospace engineer who designed the next space shuttle, which was quickly replaced by a desire to be President of the United States. Needless to say, none of those dreams lasted. I don’t like heights, I’m terrible at math, and being president of College Democrats in college left me so burnt out that I could have screamed.

But, regardless of the fact that my dreams of outer space have waned, I still love the stars.

I mentioned earlier this week that we’ve had some amazing weather in Ohio — it’s been in the low 70s for several days and I’ve been living in my flip flops. Because of this, I haven’t been running from my car to the house because of the cold at night, and I’ve actually had the time to turn my eyes to the sky and take in the stars.

Believe me, I’m no expert on the night sky — I usually rely on my Dad to point constellations and planets out to me. But, over the last couple nights, I’ve noticed something. There are two extremely bright stars located very close to one another in the Western sky. With the rudimentary knowledge that I have, I figured at least one was probably a planet, but which one I didn’t know.

Source: National Geographic online.

After a little Googling, I found my answer:

It’s not one, but two planets!

This week, Jupiter and Venus reached their peak for the year in proximity to each other in the night sky. In the photograph above, taken in France several days ago, Jupiter (on the right) and Venus (on the left) were virtually directly across from one another in the sky.

As of tonight, March 16th, the planets have begun to drift away from one another, but they are still very close together and very bright — particularly Venus which is often the brightest object in the sky.

This is roughly what they looked like tonight:

This photograph, taken by Greg Abbott and appearing on The Guardian website, shows Jupiter on the left and Venus on the right. This is roughly what the two planets looked like in the sky tonight, March 16th.

 

Jupiter and Venus are visible for about 4 hours following sunset. If you are having trouble locating them, look for the brightest object in the sky — Venus. It’s hard to miss. Venus is so bright that it looks like the headlight of a car shining at you from space.

According to Earthsky.org, March 2012 is one of the best months ever to view the five planets (Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, and Mercury) which are visible to the naked eye.

Next Sunday, March 25th, the Moon will enter into Venus and Jupiter’s dance:

Picture located at Earthsky.org

Take some time this week, look up at the night sky. Consider the immense universe we live in and the beauty it contains.

Plus,  it’ll be awhile until this sight comes around so brilliantly again. Although Venus and Jupiter come close to one another in our sky roughly ever 13 months, next year when they appear in May 2013, they’ll only remain visible for 1 hour before setting below the horizon.