If you guys are anything like me I sew for my boys way too infrequently. My boys are rough and tough and like to play in the dirt, so most of the time they run around in play clothes. They get excited about things that I make them, but I also have to be selective with what I make to match their activities. I recently hacked the road trip racerback and blue ribbon patterns to create some fun summer tops for my boys that we both love!!!! In addition, they are super simple hacks and there is a tutorial for each of them to follow!
When looking at the original road trip racer back pattern, I realized that there were only a few things that needed to change. Obviously, the bodice needed to be extended to top length and the skirt needed to be eliminated completely. Secondly, the outer shoulder needed to be a wider and the curve of the racer back needed to be wider as well.
To achieve this, I measured my child and found what size he was according to the road trip racer back size chart. My son was a size 5 width, according to his chest, so to achieve a looser look I sized up two sizes and chose the size 7 bodice width. According to the height chart he was a 6, so I sized up one size and also chose size 7 for his height. It may not be necessary to size up in length, but I wanted the top to fit more like a loose summer tank, so I sized up in height to give him more room under his armpit as well.
I then printed my size 7 bodice and assembled the pattern pieces. Before cutting the pattern out, I decreased the curve on the back piece of the racer back to give it a more masculine look. You can see in the picture below where I drew my new curve. I brought it out about 1/4" from the original.
I measured my child from the top of his shoulder, to the desired length of the top, to determine how much length I needed to add to the bodice piece. When doing this step don’t forget to add on length for the hem allowance. I simply taped on another piece of paper to my bodice piece so I wouldn’t forget to add the length when I cut. My pattern piece now looked like this. Repeat this step for the front bodice piece as well.
The last thing I needed to address was widening the outer shoulder. This was a very simple adjustment. I placed my pattern piece on the fold of the knit fabric and then slid the pattern piece away from the fold about 1/4", therefore bringing the outer shoulder out a little further and adding just a little more ease to the shirt.
At this point, I proceeded to cut and you only need two pieces; the front and back of the shirt. It’s important, when cutting, to remember to pull both the front and back pattern piece away from the fold 1/4", so the shoulders still match up.
Continue with the directions as written in the pattern. Place the front and back shirt pieces right sides together and sew at the shoulders and side seams. Although it is isn’t necessary for knit, use a zig zag stitch on the seam or serger for a more professional look.
Because the shirt was altered I used a custom calculation to determine the width of my arm and neck binding, instead of the measurements given in the original pattern. I used a string to measure the circumference of the armhole and neck openings. I then multiplied these numbers by 80 percent to determine the width of my binding. The calculation looks like this:
Arm/neck circumference x .8 =
This is the width I needed to cut. I chose to cut the length of my arm and neck binding at 2.5”. This is a little bigger than the original measurement in the pattern but I thought a wider neckband gave it a more masculine look. And in all honestly, is also easier to work with. Attach the binding according to the original directions.
To hem the shirt, I used adhesive hem tape. This is not required however. You can simply turn the bottom of the shirt up 1/2” wrong sides together and topstitch.
For one of my other sons, I used the blue ribbon winner pattern. It is done the exact same way as the racerback, but with fewer steps. I wanted the shirt to have a looser fit and a wider outer shoulder. I measured my son to see where he fell in the measurement chart. I sized up two sizes in width and one in height. I printed the pattern and measured my son to see how much length I needed to add to the bodice pattern piece. When I cut the fabric, I simply slid the pattern pieces away from the fold 1/4" to bring the outer out a little wider. I also recommend cutting the armscye a 1/2" lower to give it more room under the arm. Continue the same as the directions above for the racerback. Calculate your bindings, hem and done!