Well maybe a little more than inspired.
I’m still tweaking my sleeveless knit sloper into my perception of the perfect Tank Top. I also need kind of a plain black tank top for summer. But I didn’t want to make exactly the same tank as before. My solution is to hunt around the internet and find easy variations.
I stumbled on the FlutterBye on Fabricmarfabrics.com through a link at SG . For the life of me, I can’t find the page again. I downloaded the Free PDF and grabbed the pic so I don’t have to open the PDF to remember what the garment looks like. So Apologies to HP for not providing proper acknowledgement. I think their donation of PDF patterns is incredibly generous and feel guilty that I can’t provide a link. When I find it again, I will up date this post.
I don’t want to go through the experience of fitting yet another tank pattern. I have one that fits nicely. I probably could draft my own flounces as well. But when a good designer publishes a pattern, they’ve made a lot of choices and already tested them. They’ve already considered proportions and a hundred details that make the difference between a professionally designed garment and a hacked pattern by someone else, like me. I thought I didn’t need the major tank top pieces but did need the flounces. It made printing and assembling quick and relatively painless as the two pieces I needed were on 4 pages and that’s all I printed.
Remember I wanted a tweak? I raised the underarm 1/2″ on my tank pattern. I’m actually working towards a tank that finishes with FOE at the neckline and armscyes. The same dimensions also work for any simple binding. Any finish that folds to the inside will need 1/4″ added for a seam allowance. For a larger ribbing like 1″, I will need to trim the armscye evenly. My point is, the prepared-for-FOE-finish style is easily adaptable to several finishes and will still result in My Perfect Tank. Hence tweak at underarm because the underarm I used with Silhouettes Flutter Sleeves is a little too low for my liking. Of course, YMMV and you should do what makes you happy. So I raised the underarm for my preference and then copied the pattern.
I measured the width of HP’s flounce (4 3/4″) and trimmed 4 1/2″ (allowing 1/4″ SA) from the bottom of both front and back of my copied tank. I used my Curve Runner to measure the new ‘hem’ edge of my pattern and again to measure the upper curve of HP’s hem flounce. These are the two edges which will meet during stitching. I figured they should be close in size maybe the flounce might be a little shorter. To my surprise, one of the flounces (there are multiples, one for each size of the Flutterbye pattern) matched!
Then I walked seams. I’ve learned my lesson. I not only copied this pattern but altered both ends of the side seam. Shockingly, I was spot on!
Another surprise developed with my fabric selection. Tank tops are notorious for needing scant amounts of fabric. I save many of my remnants exactly for this purpose. In my stash was a black, glittered, velvet-flocked slinky 1 yard long. Perfect, I thought. The surprise? In my mind Slinky is always a very stretchy material. I’ve had slinky garments with jewel necklines that stretched nearly to the waist by end-of-day. OK the experiences also taught me to truly value taping necklines and armscyes. I now test the stretch of every knit. I want to at least start with something reasonable. This slinky barely stretched to the middle of the “moderate” zone. Didn’t even come close to the “stretchy” zone. I’m thinking the velvet-flocking and glitter might have some stabilizing effect. Maybe?
I laid out my pattern and realized even with the tank pieces being 4.5″ shorter, it was still going to be a challenge to get all the pieces I needed. I cut the back. Still concerned about the stretch factor, I cut the front about 3″ higher and in sort of a square. I planned to trim the front neckline further into shape after I could let the fabric hang from my shoulders. The hem flounce should be cut twice and on the fold. I cut one on the fold but could not arrange the second. I finally cut it with a 1/4″ SA. I have 3 seams in my flounce instead of the 2 drafted by HP. I don’t think it is noticeable at all.
I taped the shoulder seams and back neckline. A well-known sewing personality says only the back neckline needs to be stabilized. It’s usually the front neckline that I’ve been able to stretch badly and that what I prefer to tape. But my front neckline is still to be determined. Could taping now create problems later? I accepted ‘expert opinion’ and taped shoulders and back neckline before serging center back and shoulder seams. I stitched the right shoulder 1/8″ deeper than the left to accommodate my personal asymmetry; then basted the side seams with water-soluble thread.
I slipped it on and pranced around downstairs. OK, no prancing. I was also doing laundry. I figured doing some chores would subject the tank to normal, body-movement and heat so I could see if the fabric was going to stretch. After about an hour I checked the mirror. I loved the neckline. The shoulders had stayed in the right place, right size but the armscyes seemed to still be too deep. I know this is an issue with each knit fabric. I’m looking for a “happy medium”; a base that I can easily adapt. I opted to add narrow bindings. I have a fabulous ponte I know I bought for yoga pants. It was the perfect weight, stretch, color. I’ll probably never find it again because 1)Hancocks is closed. 2) Joanns doesn’t carry this quality. 3) I never know exactly what I’m buying on-line until it gets here. By then it’s usually to late to order more. Sigh, I rationalized that I can always find more ponte and cut a 1.5″ and 1.75″ strip. I like my neckline ribbings to be just a little wider than my armscyes. In my mind, it brings your eyes to my neckline and face. Although, there’s nothing wrong with my shoulders. I don’t think I even have brown spots up there. I bound the armscyes and necklines and top stitched using my cover stitch machine.
Then said EEEK! I had forgotten totally the neckline flounce. I wasn’t going to cut it until I knew what the finished neckline would measure. I suspected I would need to calculate my own length because the pattern piece is about 8″ long. Cut on the fold would practically circle my neckline. I was wanting that little fluff in front. Nope. Too late. Absolute was not, am not going to rip out top stitching -it would all have to go- and then serging of black serger thread on black fabric. NOT.DOING.IT. Rationalizing yet again, I told myself next year I could make a second flutterby and it would look different because I’d remember that dingleberry before it was too late.
I serged the hem flounces together and finished the bottom edge with a 3-thread flat hem using Maxilock Stretch:
In a way, I wish I’d kept my old serger. Along with buying the S21. The S21 is pretty easy to set up and switch around. Every new setting has several steps but the results are perfect. If I’d had the old serger too, I would keep it set up in a 3-thread configuration. I’d still change out threads depending upon the final look I desired. Threading is easy. My issue is getting all the settings reset. I always forget something and spend a few hours, days even weeks trying to figure out what is wrong. ….. if I could just figure out where to put a 2nd serger….I can stand a little imperfection…..
Fit? Good really good. Look at this underarm:
It’s right where I want it to be. I know it’s perfect because I added the ribbing which filled/raised the underarm 1/2″. But I’m not going to change the pattern. I tend to feel this is a fabric issue because the front neckline was cut 3″ higher than the Flutterbye but is just about the same depth
I hope those two pics stay side by side in your browser. When I look at them I see that the black neckline is almost as deep as than blue.
But isn’t that cute! I think my FlutterBye tank is adorable. I also think the contrasting binding, a last-minute decision, really adds to the final appearance. Peggy Sagers frequently mentions changing to a solid or contrast at the neckline to “stop the eye”. I don’t know if it’s actually ‘stopping’ the eye but I do know that’s a damn fine recommendation.
Umm usually I share a back view. I decided to try a new pose:
I don’t think it worked.