Pamela’s Pattern: Twin Set

From the name, I assumed this would be a pattern for a short sleeve sweater and cardigan.  A classic I wore as a young girl and don’t need to repeat in my dotage. I reconsidered when this pattern popped up again and again at SG as a summer, knit, tank top.  Such glowing reviews combined with my nearly worshipful attitude towards Pamela’s pant and T-shirt patterns suddenly made this a must have for me.   I ordered.  Waited a week for the pattern to arrive.  I read the instructions, of which Pamela is detailed. She explains the options and why you might want to use them.

Because of her instructions I measured my high bust and traced the size medium. I never measure and choose a pattern from  my high bust. I traced a medium then made a quick comparison of tissues with PP104 (the T shirt). I said “this will go over my head and pile up at the waist”.  It was obvious I was going to need more hip room, so I traced the large side seam.  I extended the large-size side seam up; and  the medium-size armscye out until the lines crossed.  I added my BWL but not the NSA.

I cut my first fabric. It was (yes WAS) a rayon knit from Fabricmart.  It felt a bit heavy upon arrival but became limp and slightly distorted when washed.  I loved the geometric print in black, pink and blue so I kept the fabric and choose to use it now. What a mistake. I struggled to align the obvious horizontal stripes. In retrospect, I should have made full pieces instead of struggling with the halves.  I taped the back shoulders and front neckline before serging the shoulder seams and basting the side seams.

What a mistake!  From time to time, I do have the problem of tank tops being too long in the armscye. But it’s rare. Which is why I read but didn’t follow Pam’s instructions for petiting the armscye . My issues with tank tops are usually gaping front necklines and excess, bust ease.  I tried to fold this front  in such a manner as to evenly remove one of the horizontal stripes.  I fussed adding 50 pins, and basted into place. A process which took 30 minutes for the front alone.  It was a mess.  At this point I thanked my lucky stars that I have more fabric in the stash. I tossed the incomplete garment into the trash and began Ver2.

In Ver 2 I opened the BWL I had taped into place just above the waist and folded out the 1″ Pam has indicated for petiting the armscye. I pressed the tissue flat and chose a a cotton knit. To tell the truth this fabric feels like it has a little poly content. I still have the Fabricmart tag which clearly states 100% cotton. But you know, you can just feel it with your hands and besides this light weight knit doesn’t wrinkle. 100% cotton?  Not likely. Fortunately, I prefer a little poly just for the very fact that it helps  cotton resist wrinkles.

I basted shoulder and sides seams after taping the shoulder and neckline. I’m a believer in fusible tape for these areas.  My experience is that investing a few minutes taping makes it easier to sew and the garment looks good for a lot longer.   In its basted state, I thought the garment needed to be taken in about 1/4″ under the arms (my too much bust ease issue that I frequently encounter) and the shoulder narrowed maybe 1/2″/

I serged the shoulder seams and finished the neckline with an up and over facing.  I used a rolled edge hem and wooly nylon along one edge to add a little oomph.  For the armscye, I folded a crosswise strip in half and rolled the folded edge with the same wooly nylon.  The photos are disappointing.  What is a fabulous, interesting print in person is just Meh in the photos. It is white, yellow and orange with a black feather design superimposed. In the pic, the fabric is grey with yellow and orange yucky patches (and I think I see a face just above the b utt crease):

Fit wise, the back is OK.  I did not stretch the armscye ribbing enough which developed Ghanis Khan shoulders.

My front facing should be laying flat. I can assure you I very-carefully pressed it flat. I think the issue is that there is too much ease across the chest and that the armscye is still too long. I noted in the basting stage that my bra was peeking above the armscye by about 1/2″ and that the shoulders were too wide, also 1/2″.  I chose this type binding for the armscye to fill in and cover up my bra. I trimmed the shoulder 1/2″ before attaching the armscye binding. There is a bubble in both front armscyes.  The bubble did not show up at the basting, first-fitting.  But it is a frequent problem for me and one of the reasons why I love the CLD HAF shell.  I had problems cover stitching the hem. It tunnelled. I was looking at the settings on the machine when I decided to cheat. I mean there’s only so much frustration I want to deal with. This thing was almost done and the hem @!##@s-up!  The fastest fix, which I did, is cutting 1.5″ strips of  adhesive-backed WSS and attaching it where the hemming line will be. Done and done. the cover stitch proceeded without any issues. But the WSS is still on the fabric adding stiffness and a little billowing along the hem. I think once washed, the Judi Jetson-esque hem will drape nicely.  It certainly does from the side.


I think the slight front rise and front drag lines are a result of the lifted arm.  I’m also pleased that the side seam appears to be vertical only a slight shift probably due to the lifted arm. What concerns me is the floppy armscye facing and that the back looks a size small. I know my tummy sticks out there but I’m pretty sure my b utt is as big as my tummy and therefore the fabric should hang evenly between front and back. Not in this pic. Again in the spirit of truth-telling, because that’s the only way I’m ever going to achieve perfect fit, I’ve been noticing this same issue in other tops and pants.  It is as if I need a size larger for my backside.  Fortunately, I’ve heard this is not an uncommon issue. Many women experience just the opposite i.e. they need a size larger in front.

Well it’s a learning experience.  I purchased several 1-yard  knits when Fabricmart put them on sale.  I knew the day was coming when I would want to fit a knit tank top. I paid $2 or $3 per yard so these are not a big financial loss. From the cost perspective alone, they could be considered muslins.

Onward upward…. to Version 3.  I’ve got a plan.



2 thoughts on “Pamela’s Pattern: Twin Set

  1. Just a thought: I’m wondering how it would look if you angled the shoulder from the neckline to the shoulder point. That would bring up the armhole a bit and might take out the gaping (or some of the gaping) at the armhole. Or it just could be the knit. I sewed a top today for DGD with some poly matte knit from FabricMart and it was a bear! I usually don’t use poly but she can wear it and it was the color she wanted. It’s done but the hem. Will load up the CS machine later and get that one on the “DONE” list and in the mail!


    1. Thanks Linda, good ideas but I tried both changing the angle at the shoulder and at the seam underarm side seam. Neither helped. After your comment, Veronica suggested lowering the armscye, which I hadn’t tried. In fact I was trying to bring the armscye up to cover my bra. Maybe I brought it up too high??


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