Category Archives: 1012 Madagascar

Inspired by Loes Hinse 1012 Madagascar Tank

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.


A Comparison Loes Hinse Rochelle with Madagascar

It’s not De Je Vu, I’ve posted this information on SG before.

I’m a real fan of Loes Hinse patterns and style. I think she creates basic garments that are wonderful wardrobe builders. The patterns are pricey, but I use them multiple times. My only failures have been pants. Her pants draft just doesn’t work for me.OTOH her tops are the cornerstone of my closet.  Recently there was some question as to whether it was worth while to purchase the Rochelle (1011) because it looked so similar to the Madagascar (1012). At first glance, it looks like Loes had added sleeves to the Madagascar and sold it as a separate pattern. Not true. Let me show you:


I’ve traced the Madagascar on canary tracing paper. The Rochelle is on purple tissue. I’ve already fit the Madagascar so the back waist length has been shortened 1″, I’ve trimmed 1/8″ from the side and shoulder seams because I like to serge these. My default serger seam is 1/4″.  I also, regrettably, straightened the center front because I’m not chesty and I wanted to lay the CF on the fold. By default both patterns have shaping at all 4 seams: center front, center back and both side seams.

From this view-point, the patterns do look a lot alike. The Rochelle looks longer and may be 1/4″ taller at the shoulder. However the extra tissue at the bottom is because the Canary already has the 1″BWL.  I notice additional ease under the arms at bust and waist. There may be extra ease across the upper torso but I think it’s from the new armscye and wider shoulder. The Madagascar looks more like a raglan sleeve line.  It is not.

Madagascar Armscye

I’ve overlapped the front at back at the shoulder (by the amount of the seam allowance).  The armscye curves up into a peak but is not the same shape as a raglin sleeve would be.

Inserting the Rochelle sleeve would be difficult

I think that takes care of the thought that the Rochelle is a sleeved Madagascar.  The Madagascar sleeve cap is at least 1.5″ taller. Additionally, the curved underarm areas do not match from seam to notch. Both are longer than the Madagascar underarm.  I could make it fit, but do I want to?

Owning both patterns is an individual choice. Having made the comparison, I’m glad I do.



Madagascar V2

Rather stunned, I re-read the fabric recommendations:

Suggested Fabrics – View A & B: All drapey wovens, knits, velvets, and laces.”

I’m sorry but there is some obvious gap between the recommended size, fabric and my body. You’d think I would have been more cautious after the Ascona fiasco. Recalling the LH tops I’ve tried to fit this year, you’d think I would have at least allowed some fit insurance, but I didn’t.  Now, I looked at the blouse on me and thought “it’s drafted for knits not wovens”.  So I pulled out a jersey fabric and cut without any changes to the tissue.


Now were cookin’ with gas!  This slips easily over-head and drops into place. It even has too much ease in places. I evaluated fit and decided to increase the side seams under the arms 1″ tapering to zero at the waist. I also curved the center back in just a little more (1/4″) because it gives me a more shapely backside.  I finished the neck and armscyes with FOE. I did not trim the neckline or armscyes and that may have been a mistake. Certainly the underarm is higher and tighter than I expected

Oddly I couldn’t tell this until the garment was done.  I’m thinking had I turned 3/8″ to the inside and top stitched, it would have been fine. But this is OK.  No underwear exposure that’s for sure.

Working on that mass of fabric in the midback, I left a little side vent (2″) and added weights to the back hem

I know someone is going to look at the back views and ask “does she know about sway back”?  The reason I don’t immediately apply the sway back solution is shown in the side view.  The back hem is higher than the front. It does that when a) there isn’t enough length in back b) the hip has insufficient ease.  Every time I think I’m going to need a swayback alteration, I add 1/2″ ease to the back. The back drops into place taking with it all the mess in the center of the back and the  hem self-levels. I’m working with the weights because the shape of my butt creates a condition often called “Velcro Butt” in which the fabric tends to hang up on the back high hip. The more nap a fabric has, the more likely it is to cling up there instead of dropping into place.

However, sway back is a good observation.  I’ve known for years that my back has slightly more curve than normal. As a teen, my mother had a doctor check me.  (His recommendation was “watch your posture”.)   With my upper back also rounding (due to age), I keep expecting to need a center back seam in all my tops so I can correct my tops for both issues. So far, my solution keeps being a little more ease across the hips.

The final fit:



While not perfect, this is wearable. Anticipating a future version,  I trimmed 1/2″ from the front side seam at the underarm. I need all the ease in back and maybe a little in front. I prefer a straight center front seam.  I like having the option to eliminate it and I don’t need the extra ease to cover my B cup.  So I lined up a ruler with CF neckline and CF hem and trimmed the 3/16″ curve that extended beyond the ruler.  I curved the CB inward 3/8″. The 1/4″ I made in fitting was not quite enough. Then I added 1/4″ to the side seams from hip to them — just a smidge — for fit insurance.

I marked the pattern “Knits Only”.  I don’t think even going up to the next size would have been enough ease for non-stretch fabrics. Not on my body.  I will make this pattern many times. I love the elegance of Loes Hinse patterns. They’re always well drafted and fit together with little fuss.  Until recently, I didn’t have fitting issues beyond my standard NSA and BWL. Once tweaked for some of my individual preferences (neckline depth, length to hem etc), they are wonderful TNT’s and I made dozens. I expect to use this pattern every time I want a knit tank top.  It is that fabulous.

Loes Hinse Madagascar Tank


This tank is comprised of only 2 pieces a front and a back. The directions have you finish using Loes standard  turn and stitch neckline and armscyes. I will use bias tape or FOE because I prefer a more finished edge.  Shaping is in the side seams, center  front and center back seams.  The center back seam is rounded for waist, hip and upper back. I’ve never purchased another pattern with obvious rounded back shaping. The side seam is curved for bust, waist and hip as is the center front seam. This has obviously been shaped for mature women; women with curves;  not preteens.  Another fit option is the side seam between hip and hem. There are two on the pattern. You can choose a slimmer fit or easily trace just a bit more. I think you could choose more ease for the front or for the back i.e. that you don’t have to choose an even amount of ease but can adapt for where you need the ease.

I checked the envelope for my recommended size. I chose by bust and then measured the pattern.  It is  easier for me to determine the bust location than determining hip.  Bust darts always fall in the right place for me. While there were no darts, the side and front bumps were good indicators.   I think there is 3″ of ease across the bust.  I make most my tank tops from knits and 3″ may be too much. But I’m going to start with this size. I did not check shoulder slope. There really isn’t much slope on a 2″ shoulder.  I did pull out my sloper (CC1201) and check over all ease and length.  The only alteration I made after tracing was my BLW.

From the site: “Suggested Fabrics – View A & B: All drapey wovens, knits, velvets, and laces.” I chose a lawn remnant from my stash. It isn’t really stiff or firm, but I can’t call it drapey either. It’s a nice light weight fabric without being transparent.  Definitely a good fabric for summer. I serged shoulder, center front and back seams at 1/4″; basted the  side seams at 3/8″  because the directions say that all the seams are 3/8″. Then I pulled it over my head; and immediately pulled it off. I ripped then stitched the side seams at the minimum like almost 1/4″ and pulled it on over my head a second time.  I ripped out the basted  side seam between hip and hem.  Finally it dropped over my hips. I was mindlessly struggling, trying to pinch in the armscye bust-darts that insisted upon forming:

when I stopped in my tracks. Something was really wrong. I thought I compared this with my blouse sloper which has plenty of ease because it’s expected to, you know, blouse. But this top did not have adequate ease. I mean I was sweating trying to pull the dang thing on and off. Reaching up to pinch the dart was painful.


Two pictures and this post looks too dang long already.  Oh well, come back tomorrow.