The Greenwood Tanks

Hullo everybody! I feel like I have been trying to write this post for days, and it just hasn't happened. Writer's block or laziness? I'm not sure. Life just seems to get in the way sometimes, and it seem that the blog gets sent to the back burner. But I have been finding lots of time to sew, and to fit so I have lots to share. I have been going further down the rabbit hole with fitting, and having some success in some things, not so much in others. But with every step, and every thing I try, I learn a little bit. Not just about sewing and fitting, but also about myself and my shape. I'll save my introspective findings for another post though. For now, let's get on with the Greenwood tanks I recently made.IMG_7062Have you seen this pattern yet? It's a great wardrobe staple from Straight Stitch Designs. I first spotted it on Meg's blog, and then my good friend Katie recommended it to me too, so I had to give it a shot. I'm not really one for tank tops on their own (I usually use them as a layering piece), but we've been spending a lot of time in BC this summer and it has been really hot. Heatwave anyone? Anyway, a simple tank really fits the bill to stay cool - well that and air-conditioning. The pugs and I could not live without it. And slurpees, let's not forget about slurpees. But I digress.... IMG_7063I quickly whipped up a size 12 tank based on my measurements, and discovered (of course) that it was too big in the shoulders and pretty much all over. It was okay across the chest, but it just didn't feel right. The straps kept sliding down - not cool. So I took your guys' advice from my post about my shingle dress, and decided to do some adjustments to make this tank fit right. I chose my bust size (an 8) based on my high bust measurement, and then I graded to a size 14 from the waist to the hip based on my waist and hip measurements (also I didn't want a super tight fit across the belly fit). Then I did an FBA of 1.25". But doing the FBA created a dart, and I really didn't want to have a dart so I used this tutorial by Maria Denmark to remove it. Sounds a bit tricky, but really it's easy. It just involves a lot of cutting and taping.

IMG_7064Then I did some alterations to the back piece. I should mention that I chose the scoop neck, scoop back version of this pattern, and it uses the same pattern piece for both the front and the back. But if you are like me and you need to do a bunch of alterations, you need separate back and front patten pieces, so trace/print two. Anyway, for the back I did a 1/4" high round back alteration, and I also did a 1/2" forward shoulder adjustment, both which I learned in the book Fit for Real People. Also, because I am short, I shortened it by 3 inches. Phew, seems like a lot of alterations for a knit tank doesn't it? But I'm pretty happy with the results. And now I have a solid TNT staple tank pattern. I used some black cotton jersey from Girl Charlee that I had in my stash for this version and I know it will get lots of wear. There still seems to be a bit of pooling in the back, but I'm not sure if it's just hung up on my bra, or what going on. Your guys' advice is always welcome there, but I'm not really losing sleep over it.

IMG_9863So that's what my two pattern pieces look like. Pretty cool right?

Before I made the Greenwood tank, I took a shot at the Aurora tank from the June issue of Seamwork. I did not like the construction of that tank at all, in fact I found it incredibly frustrating, and in the end I didn't really like the style on me. (What is up with these Seamwork patterns? They really seem to be hit and miss for me - anyone else tried them?) It looks so good on a lot of people, but I found the gathers a bit bulky and I think the instructions and the construction of it just left a bad taste in my mouth, so I just didn't want to like it. I did however like the curved hemline and the way it fell away slightly from the body. John agreed and said, "well why don't you just combine the two?". So that's what I did. And I made 4 more tanks just like that.


I may have gotten a little carried away and made them a bit too short, but I'm still quite happy with them anyway. See what you think:


Hello! Everybody needs a super bright tank top right?





IMG_7069See the back doesn't look nearly as bad here. Maybe it's still just a little bit too tight, and that's why my bra line is so obvious, or maybe I'm just being too picky now.


IMG_7056So I think that's enough photos of me for now, don't you? All of the striped fabrics came from Fabricville in Montreal (I'm not sure why Fabricville always seems to have a lot more and nicer knits than Fabricland in Calgary when they are the same company, but they do). I think they are all a cotton/rayon jersey blend, but I'm not 100% sure. They have great horizontal stretch, but not much vertical stretch. They worked perfectly for these tanks and I have a bit more left over for t-shirts too! That's another great thing about this tank: it doesn't require much fabric, especially when you're short like me.

I just realized that I didn't get any photos of the skinny striped one I made, it's made from a remnant I got from Marcy Tilton's website, and it's super comfy, but not the easiest to photograph. Those mircostripes always look a bit funny on a computer screen.

Hope you all are having a lovely summer, and for all my fellow Canucks out there, Happy Canada Day!!

Vogue 8904 - The Shingle Dress

Ola friends! Has it really been 2 weeks since my last post?? Crazy! I don't really have any good excuses for you other than I am a huge procrastinator and my blog always seems to get pushed to the bottom of the list. But not to worry, I am still sewing my little heart out and I have lots of projects to share. So let's start with something a little different shall we. IMG_6893Many moons ago, when I didn't sew but was still a clothes addict, I came across the Column dress at Anthropologie. I remember thinking that it was super interesting looking, and one of the sales girls told me that everyone who tried it on, loved it, and that it seemed to be universally flattering on every shape. Needless to say, I never got the courage to try it on, but it stayed on my radar. When I saw Marcy Tilton's Vogue pattern (8904)  for the same style of dress, I decided to buy it. And it sat in my stash for months.

IMG_6903Then I spotted Meg's version and it got added to my queue. I was still a bit apprehensive to make it as it seemed like it would be a lot of work with all those shingles, but I couldn't stop thinking about it. I don't have a ton of experience with the Big 4 patterns, and I find choosing the correct size tricky. This pattern is designed to be quite body hugging and I was a bit nervous about just how tight it might be, so I chose my size based on the size chart. I planned this to be a wearable muslin so I wasn't overly concerned, and because it's a knit, I figured it would be better too big than too small because I could always slim it down. I traced a size 16 for the shoulders and bust and graded out to an 18. I also went with the shorter version (but I left off the sleeves) as I am short and this seemed like it might be a bit tricky to shorten due to the shingles.

IMG_6911I ended up shaving about an inch off each side seam after it was made up - which means I took a whopping 4 inches off the circumference. It might be slightly tighter than I would have liked, but in the case of a knit body hugging dress, tighter is better than looser, I think. Next time I will probably go down to a 14 or even a 12. Which brings me to a question: how do you choose the right size? I have a bit of weird shape because of my belly (so my waist measurement is always in a bigger size than my bust and hip), and I never seem to get it right, so any advice you dear readers might have would be greatly appreciated. Maybe I'm not pulling the tape measure tight enough? What's the secret? I seem to do better with Indie Patterns, although my latest Papercut Jacket was way too big too. Someday I'll get it right.

IMG_6908The fabric I used for this dress is from Girl Charlee, and it super soft and wonderful to wear. The under dress (that the shingles are attached to) is a plain navy cotton spandex, and the stripes are a cotton jersey. It's actually a bit heavier than you might guess, but it's super soft and comfy - talk about secret pyjamas!

IMG_6909This is probably my main complaint with the dress - I obviously need some sort of sway back alteration to get rid of that pooling at the back. It's okay if I straighten it and stand still, but when I move it looks pretty bad. I'm not entirely sure how to go about doing that alteration because of the shingles, but I think I should be able to just pinch out the excess, and it will probably improve if I get my size right too.

IMG_6905I really love how the stripes look with this pattern, and it think that it works out to be quite flattering. I think it would still look cool in a solid colour, but I think that might make it a bit dressy, and I like to stick with the casual. The construction is really quite simple and straightforward, and because it's made with a knit nothing is hemmed, you just leave the edges raw on all the shingles. I did end up shortening this by about 2 inches, but that is to be expected - I am vertically challenged after all.

IMG_6918I imagine wearing this dress with runners (I love my pink ones, but I think it would be super cute with white converse too) and a denim jacket on cooler days, but it could easily be dressed up with heels. I think it's quite versatile. This is definitely a different style for me, and I feel a bit out of my comfort zone when I wear it, but I do plan on wearing this version and I do want to make it again. It's nice to have something a little different.

Do you ever venture out of your comfort zone with sewing? Would you wear such a body hugging dress? I curious to know what you guys think.