I was introduced to Loes Hinse patterns 12-13 years ago by members of Stitchers Guild. Spendy, but so worth it. I think my Loes patterns started me on my Indy pattern adventures. The Madagascar Tee is one of Loes later patterns . It still relies upon the correct fabric for fit and good looks (Loes must be the Master Of Knits) but Madagascar is much more shapely than her other patterns I’ve used.
Sadly, I’ve been unable to fit many of my Indies or the Big 4 in the last 2 years. My first break through was with Silhouette Patterns (and that after several failures). Actually my break through was the result of suggestions by another member of SG, who shared her short cut of choosing size by the shoulder which fitted her and adding sufficient ease at the sides. After multiple successes with SP, I have the courage to work with LH patterns again and especially because I have a fitted basic. A reliable, TNT to help me check size and fit.
I pulled out my block (or basis) which happens to be Silhouette Patterns 195 and traced a copy of the front and back onto aisle runner fabric. (I used the version in which I rotated the dart to the armscye). Then I folded out LH1012, smoothed it lightly with a warm iron and slipped the heavy paper underneath my aisle runner. I lined up the grainlines and CB or CF. After carefully comparing, I traced the XL above the bust and the XXL below. Folding away the 1012 paper pattern, I stared at the lines before me, Brown for SP195 and Green for LH1012. No pics, because they were a mess but let me tell you why I was surprised. I recalled a much more shapely CF. One that really dipped in at the waist. It dipped but only by the width of the felt tip pen. Neither was the side front as curvy as I recalled. The back seemed to contain all the shaping but the two patterns were not that different. When choosing which line to use as my pattern perimeter, I opted to use the 1012 lines when there was little to no difference. There were small difference in the waist shaping which I smoothed out just a bit. Biggest difference was the back neck. LH1012 extended another 1/2″ beyond my block (SP195) For the back neck, I chose my 195 line because I know it works. Absolutely the biggest difference was the length of the bodice from shoulder to underarm. I chose the length shoulder and armscye of 195 but I traced the neckline of 1012 which made it much deeper and maybe not like Loes originals.
I cut my fabric, an ITY with a spectacular print but not my colors. I pulled this one from the muslin pile where it was placed upon arrival. “Muslin” is my solution for fabrics I’m not sure why I bought. I could not have been seeing the correct colors in the pic. Entirely possible as you will also notice that the FOE finishes are in a matching pink. That pink was not a in a group but rather “selected” for purchase (from Ebay) after looking over multiple colors. Again, I believe color was off on the picture because I avoid that pink. I need a peachier pink. Blue pinks tend to make me look like I’ve had one too many. At 6AM in the morning and all day long. Anyway, cut the fabric serge finish all edges; serge CF and CB seams. All the rest are basted together with water-soluble thread.
First try on was not a success (only finished garment pics are shared in this post). The first try on had some good things. Sufficient ease and length; neckline depth acceptable and desired. I really didn’t like Loes higher, choking neckline. But the back and sides displayed wrinkles as if I had not made either round back or asymmetrical shoulder alteration. Which were included in the block. That’s what a block is for. It contains all the little and big tweaks a person needs to ensure their garments fit. I
I knew it was too late for the RBA, so prepared to add the asymmetrical shoulder adjustment when I realized I had applied the ASA to the wrong shoulder. I had made the left shoulder shorter instead of the right. I removed the previous stitching and nailed everything down correctly.
Well almost. I measured both neckline and armscyes for FOE length. All had become stretched somehow during the serge finishing That’s rather unusual for an ITY. I’m not sure if this is a wonky fabric or if my placing the pattern pieces on the bias created the issue. I was hoping for a more dramatic meeting of the directional brush strokes. Didn’t happen. The stretch out openings did. I overdid trying to snug the neckline and armscyes. Knew it as soon as I finished each. I should have finished with 1/2″ extra. I add extra length to give me handles and smooth starts/endings. I finished with double and triple the amount I should have. I don’t like this top. Oh I like the pattern and, having fixed the ASA, I like the fit. But I don’t like the colors and I’m disappointed that I could not manipulate the brush strokes into something more interesting. Point being, I saw no point in ripping out the FOE. I plan to wear it once to fully check the fit; launder and donate. In the near future, someone who likes those colors is getting a practically new tank top!
Over all, I made a lot of small changes. Enough I think that Loes would disavow the resulting pattern pieces. I therefore titled this post “Inspired by…” and would now note to anyone reading that LH1012 may fit you differently although I think you can look forward to the same easy sewing. I would recommend that you buy the pattern; make a mock-up; and decide for yourself. Loes drafting is beyond criticism. For years and years I made beautiful LH garments by shortening the pattern to my diminutive figure. I am pleased to be able to incorporate some of her styling and sewing techniques into my wardrobe again. With a little care, I am sure you can do the same with the Madagascar Tank.