Whew! After five whole weeks without sewing, I’m finally back in the saddle. And I tried out a new tank top pattern!
Indiesew had a 20% coupon off tank tops, so I decided to buy one to test out my new printer (which I sold off my other electronics to afford). It’s wireless, y’all! And a laserjet, and it does double sided prints. Can you say heaven?
Oh, sorry. You don’t want to geek out over office supplies? Okay, back to sewing. :)
I looked at all the tanks and picked the Ella Top by Liola Patterns. Partly because it was cheap, partly because the design wasn’t ugly, but mostly because the samples were all cute. Check’em out! They’re really cute.
The PDF came together pretty easily, as it was only 15 pages. Things didn’t line up perfectly, but I’m not sure whether that was due to my new printer, or the pattern itself. I was underwhelmed by the lengthy pattern instructions. I guess they’re hand-holdy for total beginners, but for non-total beginners, I can save you some trouble: sew French seams throughout; do the bindings before closing up the seams; stitch said bindings to the inside of the garment; and make a 1/4″ double fold hem at the bottom.
The Ella Top goes up to a 39″/100cm bust, which is significantly smaller than I am! However, this is one time I was grateful for the measurements in centimeters, as I’d just measured myself in centimeters for another go at Lekala 5088. This was my first time making size adjustments in centimeters, and I must say — wayyyy easier than in inches. I’m not ready to go metric quite yet, but I’m no longer averse to working in tens.
Anyway, many, many adjustments were made. The first was a bust dart adjustment — widened and lowered. It took some fiddling and some referring to “How to Design Your Own Dress Patterns” by Adele Margolis (1959 edition), but I made it happen! I increased the dart uptake by 1.5-2″, and lowered it a bunch (I eyeballed this).
Then I went about making vertical slashes to insert width — an extra 26cm overall. I have no clue what that is in inches and I don’t care, because in centimeters it was an effortless 3cm at the slash near CB/CF and 3.5cm through the shoulder. Easy peasy!!! I also lengthened the guides for the armhole and neckline bias binding, and the back piping guide.
Finally, walking the side seam indicated I needed more length on the front pattern piece to compensate for the increased dart uptake, and I made the adjustment very roughly — just by making dots along the side seams. Maybe it’s increased comfort with enlarging and fitting patterns, but I find that not everything has to be measured with a ruler. After all, if it fits who cares what the number is?
After all those alterations, I made a muslin. I also made a muslin because my entire stash is packed up except for a few pieces of fashion fabric, so I had to dive into my bag of ‘muslin’ fabric to do any sewing. Side note: it was easy to put my stash in storage, but it’s hard living without it…when I get stressed or sad, touching all of my fabrics brings me back to center. Maybe that’s what having a pet is like?
Anyway, the muslin was some Hawaiian-ish print cotton lawn I bought some years ago. I’ve never sewn with it because the print is huge. Huge print + huge person = King Kong effect. Not quite the look I’m going for! I thought the giant print might not be so overwhelming in a tank top (as opposed to the maxi dress I originally planned), and the lawn was just right for this sort of pattern.
The Ella Top has great hanger appeal, but my adjustments ruined the finished garment a bit. The darts are way too low, I screwed up the neck binding and the neckline reshaping I did looks frumpy. There’s too much fabric at the small of my back but a smidge too little across my back hip. The armholes are an odd mess, that I may or may not have caused. But I love the depth of the back yoke, the overall length, and the shape of the hemline.
I think I’ll sew this again. Partly to fix the myriad nagging little issues present in this wearable-ish musling, and partly because I’ve got fabric in my stash that would be perfect for this. It’s a silver on black cotton sateen that drapes like silk. It’s been in my stash forever, waiting for the right project to do it justice! I’m debating whether to make the changes and try a second version, or whether to first try to make this version a little more palatable. At any rate, the Ella Top has the bones to be a great basic.