The Last HAF Tank

Well maybe the last HAF for this year.  I traced my pattern and made 2 significant changes.  The first was to trim the neckline for 1″ ribbing and the armscyes for 1/2″ ribbing.  I marked these clearly on the pattern.  I also lowered the under arm by 1/2″.  Just dropped in straight down like scooping out a crotch.  I wanted to make one more change.  I really wanted to take a wedge out of the center back as if doing a  sway back alteration. But I resisted.  I know that making many changes, leads to making many more. Whereas making one change will sometimes cause all the other problems to just disappear. What do you think:


Let me tell you more.  First off, this is a heavy interlock knit.  I’m sure I purchased it intending to make grey knit shorts.  However at some point I whacked a big rectangle out of it, leaving an odd shaped piece that didn’t contain enough fabric for shorts.  I don’t spend my time regretting this.  I made up my mind a long time ago if what I had on hand was what I wanted for the current project, I would use it now and not hold out for some future possible use.  So this fabric which was destined for shorts, ended up as a tank top.  It’s beefy nature fortunately doesn’t make it too hot.  However you can see that it acts more like a woven fabric than the cotton T shirt knits used in the previous versions.  I did have issues with the ribbing.  Usually 70 to 80% of the length of the opening (neck or arm) is the right amount.  I cut at 80%, after basting and ripping, I cut to 70%; repeat until I’m at 50% for the neckline.  The neckline lays just fine.  The armscye’s were an entirely different matter.  I realized that the fabric really doesn’t have good recovery.  I cut the armscye ribbing to one 60% ,  basted, ripped and measured. It was now 70%.  I kept trimming 2″ off the ribbing until it would stretch and fit the armscye.  Then cut the next ribbing the same length as the finished first armscye. I had to stretch hard, to make it work and I noticed that the ribbing is an uneven width. Of course I noticed that after serging completely. I’m afraid, I’m going to end up removing the armscye ribbing replacing it with something else.  So I didn’t rip it now.  But during the first wear I could tell that it sticks out Judy Jetson style instead of hugging my body the way the neckband does.  It’s the same fabric in both places. But the neckband was cut 2.5″ wide and the armscyes are 1.5″ wide.


Before we leave the back though, I do want to note that when wearing it feels too big.  I can measure the back is at least 2″ to big across the hem, tapering up to the waist. In the picture the back looks to big from hem to shoulder.  I’m tempted to trim some ease from the side seam, but have decided not to make any changes based on this version, because the fabric is too unreliable.


I could not resist embroidering the front.  I chose a bright embroidery from the Jacobean Vases collection at Designs by S.I.C.K.. I deleted her vase and flower centers.  I replaced the flower centers with crystals.  I used to be a subscriber and downloaded absolutely everything.  However when my embroidery files number hit 80,000 I started being a little more selective.  Now at 110,000 files, I’m reluctant to buy or download anything.  Which is just as well. I love many of her designs.  I don’t know where the artwork comes from, but DBS has loads of nice designs.  I’m not as wild about her digitizing.  I suspect she has an embroidery machine that automatically clips jumps.  Mine does not.  I therefore spend lots of time either clipping jumps or editing before stitching.


Now the front is not sitting squarely on my body during photo taking and that accounts for some of the weirdness of the garment.  Do see that the neckline ribbing hugs, while the armscye ribbing sticks out. If the ribbing would hug my body, I don’t believe that the upper chest would look too large. Conversely, I can tell you it is perfectly comfortable across the bust, even though the drag lines would have you thinking extra ease in that area.  Or you might think, too much ease from under the bust to the hem.  Well the excess is really from the back being too large.   When the fabric is smoothed across my front so that the side seams are perpendicular and bisecting my side, the front is fine. It’s the back which then buckles with too much ease.


I have no plans on fixing these issues.  My plan is to wear as long as it doesn’t get too badly stained.  It is a tank top intended to be worn on hot days when comfort is utmost in my mind.  I can assure you that even though this fabric is not very stable, it is very comfortable.  It readily absorbs perspiration which keeps me cool


I’ve made at least 5 knit tank tops now.  I haven’t blogged about all of them.  I worked with my old reliable Kwik Sew 3497 and with Louise Cuttings My Hearts A Flutter shell.  I’ve come to realize that the issues with my tank tops are actually issues with the nature of knit fabrics.  I’m convinced the only way to a perfect fitting knit tank top will be achieved by 1 of 2 methods

  1. Treat it like jeans. That is baste everything together including ribbings and hems; tweak the fit; make the final stitching
  2. Buy 2 to 3 times the amount of fabric called for and make 2 to 3 copies in the same fabric same color tweaking the fit with each new copy.


I think no matter what knit is used, the fabric from the next bolt, next color will act just slightly differently and will need just a bit of tweaking.  Interesting it is only knit, sleeveless tops that cause me this angst.  I’m much more accepting of the varying fit of  sleeved knit tops.  I believe my issue is modesty.  I do not like to flash my bra or b oobs and require a closer fit through the chest for sleeveless tops.  Only the HAF in woven fabrics gives me exactly what I like every time.  I could be lazy and simply never make another sleeveless knit top.  However, they are comfortable during the summer.  I’ve decided to be more forgiving of the fit.


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