tank

A Foxglove Tank in Indonesia

Sewing time has been at an absolute premium lately. We’re getting used to some big work and family changes at home, all positive and exciting, but it has meant that the sewing machine has not been getting much love 😦 Having said that, nothing was going to get in the way of me sewing up a Foxglove tank to wear on our recent family holiday.

Foxglove 2

IMG_9358

The Foxglove Tank is the latest pattern release from Lauren of Selvage Designs. I’ve previously sewn her Soleil Dress pattern for my daughter and was super happy to hear she has started designing for women too – hurrah!!

Foxglove 3

The Foxglove is a super quick and fun project. I whipped this tank up the night before we flew to Indonesia, when I should have been packing. I trusted that the pattern would live up to my previous experience of sewing one of Lauren’s patterns, and I’m happy to report that it has. Her attention to detail is excellent and the instructions will walk you through the pattern step by step. Lauren advises that the pattern is designed for a 5’6″ woman and gives clear lengthening/shortening lines on the pattern to take the guesswork out of making these changes. As I’m closer to 5’10”, I added approx. 5cms to the length of the front pattern piece. The tank has a hi-low hem, so the hem on mine has a much more subtle change in length than the original pattern (because I didn’t add length to the back). Adding length is the only change I made to the pattern.

Foxglove 4

The fabric is a super thin mystery knit with not much stretch. It wasn’t too difficult to sew with, except for the hem. The print on the knit kept causing the sewing machine to eat the fabric and so due to my time constraints, I decided to leave the hem raw.

This was my first attempt at the Foxglove and even thought the fit feels great, I can see some creasing at the bust in these pics. So I think I’ll add a little width next time. I’m loving that this pattern can be used for both knit and woven fabrics and Lauren gives 8 different options for ways to make up the pattern including different seam finishes. Given the number of options included and how comfortable this tank is to wear, I can see this tank becoming a wardrobe staple come summer.

Foxglove 1

You can find Lauren’s pattern shop here and if you’re interesting in seeing some more Foxgloves, I’m really loving these versions from Monica, Heidi and Teresa.

And now we’re home, the Foxglove will be back in the closet for the next few months. Back to some cooler weather sewing!

Advertisements

A Plantain Tank

Have you guys been seeing all the great versions of the Plantain top popping up lately? The Plantain is the latest pattern from the French indie sewing pattern company Deer and Doe. The best news is that it’s a free pattern – hurrah!!

Image

Image

It’s a cute top for knit or sweatshirt fleece with options for long-sleeves and short-sleeves and a funky elbow patch. I cut short sleeves out of my fabric intending to make the short sleeve version, however when I tried the tee on to check the size, I loved it without any sleeves at all. Given it is the middle of summer here in Australia, a tank version will get plenty of wear.

This top was really simple to sew. The instructions are great – very clear and with plenty of tips if you’re new to sewing knits. I used my measurements to determine that I should cut a size 38 in the bust and grade out to a size 42 at the waist and hips. I only used my sewing machine to sew this top – mainly because of laziness (there was red thread on my overlocker/serger and I couldn’t be bothered to change it….). I used my double needle on the bottom hem and tried a new technique for finishing which came from this great tutorial from Abby @ Things for Boys. The double needle does not like backstitching and I was finding that my double needle sewing was coming unstitched on clothes I’ve made previously. Abby suggests that once the seam is finished, pull the top thread through to the back side and tie both threads together to secure. A simple tip that will hopefully improve the longevity of my sewing.

Image

To create the colour-blocked back piece, I slashed the pattern across the back and added seam allowance to both pieces. Then to add interest, I added a floral knit pocket at the front (I used the pocket piece from my Wiksten tank pattern). The green and pink knit fabric is Premium Japanese Knit from my local Spotlight and it a lovely mid-weight – light but not too light that it becomes a nightmare to sew. The floral fabric is leftover from Miss A’s Little Betty top.

Image

I LOVE the fit of this top – fitted in the right places and flowing where people who’ve had two babies might like it to be 😉 I’m planning to sew more of these tops, I think I’ll try a curved hem at the back of the next version.

Looking for some more Plantain inspiration? I love this version in sweatshirt fleece by Shino of Nutta!, this 3/4 sleeve version by Anna of Paunnet and this long sleeve version by April of Modern Handmade.

As for the lovely patterns at Deer and Doe, I’m eyeing off the Aubepine dress next. I think it would be gorgeous with leggings and boots when the weather cools down in this part of the world.

So, have you given the Plantain top a go yet?

My 2 cents on the Wiksten Tank

You’ve got to love a good staple pattern, especially one that looks good and is speedy to sew. Staple patterns are a bit scarce in the independent pattern market, making good ones like gold. This is the Wiksten Tank by Jenny Gordy which has been seen all over the sewing blogosphere.

Image

This is my third iteration of this pattern as I had a couple of misses at getting the fit right (yep, that’s what muslins are for). I firstly sewed up a size small, as my measurements suggested, which was way too loose at the neckline and a bit rude when I leaned forwards (which I discovered while playing mini golf with the kids, ooops not a good look!). Next I sewed an extra small but this pulls tight across my bust. 3rd time lucky, I traced a small but used the extra small sizing around the neckline – much better!

Next time I will also try using Rae’s tip of tilting the pattern to take out any gaping at the neckline (you can read about it here). Thanks to Abbey of Sew Charleston for noting this in her recent Wiksten Maxi Dress post, which is where I read about it.

Image

Image

I do find the sizing a little unusual. Given that I’m rarely a size small in anything, I wonder if those who normally wear small sizes are sized out of this pattern? It is tempting to want to take the sides of the tank in a bit, but given there are no closures on the tank, it needs a bit of room to be able to get it on and off. The gingham fabric is an el cheapo that I found on clearance for $2/m.

So my conclusion is that this is a great pattern once you get the fit right. When the sewing experts tell you that it’s good practice to make a muslin, they are serious (note to self). Once the fit is sorted it’s a lovely quick pattern to sew up, with very neat french seams for a super professional look.

Belted? I wouldn’t normally wear it this way, but I was inspired by this post by Larissa (how great do all these tanks look?!?) and I’m looking for any excuse to wear my new turquoise belt!

Image

Image

Things started to go a little wonky here as the 5yo photographer’s arms were getting tired, bless him! Great job buddy x

On another note: are you following this season of Project Run and Play? It’s an online sewing contest for sewing children’s clothes. The first weeks dress remixes are amazing! I’m putting my support behind fellow Victorian Suz of Sewpony, check out her beautiful Cloudehill Dress. There are only a few hours left to vote for the first weeks challenge (you can vote here and it only takes a few seconds), get to it!!