Sometimes patterns just don’t work for me. No matter what the designer has done in their drafting, my body still needs at least 13 pattern adjustments and that’s just the issues I can’t live with. There are several other issues that I continue to ignore because, hey, I don’t look worse than anybody else out there. But I thought after 2 muslins and 8 hours of rip and stitch I had reached an understanding with Silhouette Patterns Tank #5. I thought that blue tank felt and looked pretty good on me. I was confident enough to use it again on a loosely woven silk. My silk is soft, but not smooth like satin. This is considered a lesser grade of silk maybe Tussah. I bought it in the remnants section of the soon to be history Hancocks Fabrics. It was marked ‘silk’ with the original and sale price. I thought it had a nice drape and hand. At 45″ wide and 32″ long there would be enough for a pillow, craft item or sleeveless top for me. Guess which I chose?
I wanted to punch it up. Add a little pizzazz to a plain garment. I’m so tired of plain garments made because I’m fighting with fit. Besides this is what I think is the fun part of sewing (the embellishments). So I chose to create a faux center panel. I machine embroidered three FSL medallions and appliqued them to the center front. At 2.5″ from each side of center, I added a 3/4″ wide trim. It looks like a center panel but has not been cut as a separate piece. Heavens, I didn’t want to cut this fabric into anymore parts. As suspected when purchased, it raveled like the dickens. At the time I cut the silk, I added 1/2″ to the side seams. I feared that the crinkled cotton added ease which a loosely woven silk would not. I taped the neckline and armscyes before serging the shoulder seam. Then finished neckline and armscyes with commercial bias tape. It’s one of my favorite finishes because it completely encloses the seam. Turned and top stitched it looks like a high-end RTW finish. I top stitched twice. Once at the edge and a second time 1/4″ away. I switched out my all-purpose thread for water-soluble before basting the side seams for the first try on.
Two more notes before examining the fit and reason for this pattern being gone. I wanted an updated look. Searched the internet and found this interesting tank, I think at HSN.com:
I knew I wasn’t making the overlapped boat neck or the sleeves. I wanted a tank top for late-spring and summer use. I was interested in the ruffle hem hem added which was at once romantic, current and nostalgic. Before cutting my fabric, I trimmed my pattern 8.” above the hem. After cutting the fabric, I cut 8.5″ strips to form the ruffle. Too bad I never got to use them. I’m sharing pics from 2 of the 4 fittings. The first totally shocked me:
I’m not sure if you can see, but the bust dart is crossing my apex. Also there seems to be a lot of dart. The hem is not level (hem of the blue tank was). There’s a horrible amount of ease (why did I think the crinkle added ease) and the ugly side diagonals are more prominent than ever.
It’s too late to work with the shoulders. No, I’m serious. They are taped, bound, serged and stitched 3 different times. I’m not ripping those out especially since I’m dealing with a loosely woven fabric. I’m more likely to ruin the fabric then fix the fitting issue. So I start working with side seams and the bust darts. I back the dart apex off 1.5″ and deepen the bust dart 1/4″. It’s not a humongous dart, perfect for a paper airplane. I take in the side sides 3 times for a total of 2.5″ and then reshape slightly because they have developed into a bubble instead of being hourglass-esque (is there such a thought?). After 2 more mirror fittings, I’m a little encouraged and hoping that the back at least doesn’t look so bad. I know my back is rounding. It’s one of those alterations I probably should make but am choosing to ignore. At no time has it ever been as noticeable than the fitting above.
Pics from Fit 4…
…are not encouraging. Had I not known the front has deep bust darts, I would have thought someone put this tank on backwards. I’m fairly sure I don’t have moles or skin tags or other ‘things’ right there but it sure looks like an A cup boob topped by a small n*pple with a few ugly drag lines below. From the side, I’m still experience some armscye gaping — one of those things I spent the most time correcting during the muslin state. At least the bust dart looks like it might be about the right length if only it pointed at my apex instead of above. Oh, and this is the 2nd side. I made sure to pull the shoulders forward and made them sit properly for this pic because I could tell in the previous side view they were wrong. Still displeased with the front view. My error making the center panel the incorrect width. There is a sweet spot with proportions and I didn’t hit it. But ignoring that, I’m seeing these truly disgusting drag lines going over to the side seams. I spent hours. Tweak after tweak. Rip and stitch. Rip and stitch. I swear they look about the same as the original muslin; like I hadn’t spent any fitting time at all.
I am NOT pleased. This should have been quick. Minor pattern alteration followed by cutting fabric with extra ease. Stitch and finish neckline and armscyes baste and check ease. followed by permanently stitching side seams and adding the ruffle at the hem. 4 hours max. Not counting the FSL because I had the machine running on that while I was working on something else. Excluding the FSL, this tank should not have required 4 fittings over 2 days and about 8 hours work. DH says I have no patience. I say enough is enough. I see no point in continuing to fight with this pattern. I’ve no intention of fitting a pattern that can be used only once or with only one specific fabric. I don’t have the resources (both time and money) to make 10 copies of a garment and choose the best. (That’s the RTW solution. Make multiple sample version, multiple sizes, multiple fabrics, multiple finishes then market the best.) Right now I’m putting this pattern away. I’m doing a pattern purge and this pattern may end up in the trash. (My Goodwill takes uncut patterns. I’ve cut the major pieces apart for ease in tracing and I toss facings because after all my alterations the facings have to be redrafted.)
I would prefer to have a tank top which to me is a deep scoop neckline (front and back). If it’s sewn in a knit, I do not expect bust darts or any darts at all. If it’s sewn with a non-stretch fabric, I expect side seam shaping and a horizontal bust dart. That’s my expectations. CLD’s HAF doesn’t quite meet my ideal. Happily I’ve found it works for both knit and woven fabrics. The neckline can be scooped. I run into problems when I try to scoop the armscyes as well. I tinker with the armscye dart and usually ruin the pattern. But while I’d rather not have a armscye dart, I much prefer that style to what I’m seeing above. I hereby anoint CLD HAF as my personal tank top pattern. I’ll toss #500 and push the HAF as far as possible. If that means armscye darts; so be it. At least I’ll have something like a tank top to wear.