Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The One Where I Outsmarted Myself

I recently made a couple of tops using the new Pony Tank pattern from Chalk and Notch.  It's a simple tank, but it took me two muslins and a not-quite-right "wearable muslin" before I finally figured out ... that I didn't need so many adjustments after all.

After sewing a variety of different knit top patterns, I am at the point where I automatically cut a smaller size in the shoulder and then grade out to my full bust measurement under the armscye.  I did the same on this tank, but I shouldn't have.

I made two muslins using a rayon jersey that turned out to have really crummy recovery.  The size 8 (which matches my high bust) shoulder didn't cover my bra straps.  I was worried that the size 16 (which matches my full bust, and to which I graded at the bottom of the armscye) would gape in the neckline, so I just widened the size 8 strap a little and added some fabric in the armpit for this version. I kept the depth of the size 8 armscye, since i found on my muslins that the size 16 definitely let my bra band hang out.  I also botched a forward shoulder adjustment on this version, causing the front of the top to ride up.  I actually still like it quite a bit.  The fabric is an ITY knit from Joann's, and I love the print.

After that, I took a deep breath and retraced a straight size 16.  I did a 3/8" forward shoulder adjustment and raised the armscye to the depth of the size 8 again.  And what do you know, it was perfect!  I was shocked - I am never a straight size in the shoulders and bust, even in knit tops!  It's perfect.  I love the length, the fitted top and the swingy bottom.  I find that a lot of swingy top patterns start their swing too far up the bust, causing a tent effect, but this pattern is nicely shaped all the way through the bust which makes it both comfortable and flattering.

I spent quite a bit of time thinking about pattern placement and cutting the fabric (a rayon/lycra jersey from Joann's).  Unfortunately, I didn't take into account how the rayon would stretch vertically from the weight of the fabric, and I ended up with bust medallions despite my best efforts.  Worse than that, they are crooked bust medallions.  I know this would bother a lot of people, but I've been wearing the top anyway and no one else seems to have noticed.

I only have one quibble with the pattern.  It is flared from the waist through the hem, but the hem allowance flares away from the shirt even more.  This means that there is too much ease in the hem allowance, causing the hem to flutter if you stretch it to fit.  I think the hem allowance should angle inward so that when you fold it up, it is the same width as the top.  This is an easy enough fix for future sews, though.

I also made the linen pants I am wearing in the photo; I'll be blogging those later on.  I made all three items to wear together, so I guess this is a microcapsule.  And I'm hoping to make a couple more of these tanks before we head to the beach in August.  Thanks for reading and see you next time!


  1. These tops look great. I've been thinking about buying this pattern so I'm glad to hear your views of the draft. I usually do the same as you and go a lot smaller in the shoulders. This pattern may even be worth it if I don't have to worry about that. I love the fabric that you've used, and I probably wouldn't have noticed the mismatched medallions unless you pointed it out.

  2. Ha! I didn't notice the medallions until you pointed them out...then I had to scroll back up and now I don't not see them....

  3. Oooooh, both tops are cute but I have to agree, the second one is perfect! It skims so nicely over your figure and has the perfect amount of swing. I love it with those pants, too! Can't wait to hear more!

  4. They both look great but the second one fits so nicely! It really is the perfect blend of fitted and swingy. I got the pattern when it was free to newsletter subscribers and I'm hoping to make it soon. Thanks for the info about the hem. I'll be sure to modify my pattern before sewing.

  5. That's a very cute top, and they all look good on you. I like the flaring at the bottom.


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