Monthly Archives: August 2013

2/2013 #2

The ruffles intriqued me at first. It was interesting that the designer chose to use ruffles in a free form method. But at the same time, it didn’t read artistic to me. It read ” How do I end this?”

Nonetheless I like the basic shape of the pattern It reminds me of one of my favorite Louise Cutting pattern, The Pure And Simple Top.  The PNS was designed for woven, non-stretch  fabrics. Otto 2013/2-02 was designed for jersey knits. As such it does not have a stitched bust dart and has less ease.  It is shaped thought the shoulders and armscyes. After I made my usual 1″ BWL and then trued the sides using my french curve, I had more of a bubble shape than the slenderizing shape of the PNS.  After tracing, I compared the tissue with the Jersey Tank pattern which was drafted for 50% stretch fabrics.  There was more ease across the tummy area but by the time you get to the hip, the ease is about the same.

My fabric is a red jersey knit with which I planned to use blue accents.   This jersey has a stretch of 25% but can stretch to 50% when pulled firmly.  Personally, I don’t want my knits to stretch in that fashion while worn.  So I added 1″ seam allowances to the sides but my normal 1/4″ to the shoulder, neckline and armscye. After cutting out the fabric, I also deepened the neckline about 2″.

Next I added the CS ruffle embellishment after spending  some time with both serger and CS testing settings to produced an effect I liked. I had planned to bind the neckline and armscyes. After seeing the ruffles I could only imagine horrible things happening with the binder.  This jersey,while heavier than the Pintuck Tank, still wants to curl towards the knit side.  I decided against binding the neckline. I serged the shoulders together, then basted the sides for the first trial.

I’m not unhappy with the first fit. Before you think I”m out of my mind, let me say that I understood when I compared the Otto Tank to this Extended Shoulder T, that the difference in fabric stretch could cause me issues.  I cut the fabric with 1″ seams and so glad that I did.

I’m not unhappy, because I was expecting these results.  The pattern was checked against a 50% stretch pattern.  The actual fabric has only 25% stretch.  The fabric should be slightly too tight and it is. I do like it when what I think should happen does.

My first impression is too tight under the arms, across the tummy in front and the but! in back.  But as I looked closer at the bottom third, I was just not happy. I checked the magazine and then called in DH for a 2nd opinion.   Even in the magazine the garment has drag lines extending to the underarms.  While that’s the way it is drafted, I’m not sure that’s the look I want.  The bottom third is designed so that the hem will be lifted up around hip level and the fabric will stack up in folds from hem upwards.  But this just wasn’t a good look on me.  Even DH disliked it.

I finished the neckline and armscyes with 1-3/4 binding, folded in-half and serged to the garment sections.  Then I stitched the side seams 1/4″ wider than basted. (Seams were based on the original stitching line)  Finally I trimmed 3.5″ from the bottom of the garment and hemmed it 1″. And the final fit:

I”m happy to note that my tummy is not clearly outlined. There are still some issues with in the back which I think are,, interesting.  The sides clearly curve in an outward arc.  I’m not surprised at the excess flapping around in the middle of my back, it is the horizontal drag lines just above the hem I think are odd.  I traced the hip a full size larger than my own and then added another 1/2″ when sewing. To me there is clearly enough ease across my hips. I can measure it.  I think I’m chalking that up to fabric and continuing onward.  I don’t think the bubble shape is flattering for me.  I’ve already altered the tissue to reflect the new length and added side seam allowance.  But I think I want to reshape the side seams to be more along the shape of the PNS.  This is not really bad, IMO.  The frill in front is much more interesting that I thought it would be after I stitched all the rows of gathers.  Finishing made a huge difference.   I wouldn’t call this pattern a TNT.  More of a work in progress.

Round 3: Otto Tank

I’m not entirely satisfied with the fit of Otto 2/2007 Style 1 (the tank top)  I’m working with knits possessing 50% stretch and most dissatisfied with the bubble at the front armscyes

For the 2nd version (above), I added 3/4″ ease to the back side seams; 1/2″ to the front side seams and then trimmed a 1″ wedge from the front side seam between armscye and waist. I transferred these changes to the tissue at the completion of the 2nd version.

I carefully looked at the pics of Version 2 on me. I decided the armscye needed to be reshaped.  It was changed in the fitting process. Using a french curve I  trimmed a crescent shape no deeper than 1/2″ from the front and added about the same to the back armscye.

My fabric this time is an interlock, mostly cotton.  I haven’t given it the burn test.  It has resided in the remnants for a long time.  I know I used it for something because I see the cut out shapes.  But I can’t remember for what or when.  It is a bright, blinding orange,  however, the perfect weight IMO.  I wear this knit all 4 seasons.  During Dog Days, like now, it makes excellent tank tops. Its cotton content wicks any moisture helping to keep me cool. Spring and Fall, it’s perfect in quarter-sleeve T-shirts.  A little more coverage is perfect for days that start cool and warm to reasonable levels. In winter, it makes perfect long sleeve tops.  In the bitter cold, layer the long sleeve over a tank top and be toasty.

Let’s talk results:

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Most of the armscye bubble has disappeared.   The armscye curve still looks a little high. To be truthful, I expect a tank top to expose a little more shoulder and neck.  I haven’t tried to change that because I wanted to work on fit, especially the armscye fit. The neck and armscyes were all bound using my CS binder so their width is not changed– this is the same as tissue.  My hem looks like it’s flaring slightly. I prepressed the hem and  chose to try the water soluble thread method  to see how it works with interlock fabric. I didn’t need to secure the entire hem edge, the interlock was not curling. While the WST was perfect with the duck cloth of the curtains, I think in this application stitching the WST at the SM slightly stretched the hem causing hem flare.

I think it is too wide across the back which is perplexing. I added to the armscye curve and the underarm but not the center back.  I’m pretty sure I needed that ease to cover up the back boobs. As with the front, I think I need to trim out the armscye and make the curve a little lower. I’m also perplexed at the wrinkles in the back. I’m now sure I have sufficient ease. The hem is even, not pulling up like it did in the last version.  Velcro but! is still a concern.  I think I need to start watching this area more carefully.  I’ve not had to adapt for swayback previously, but maybe my “maturing” body has changed here as well.

The side view shows that I am indeed having issues with velcro but!.  The hem flare is not so prominent either. I’m pleased that the side seam appears to be vertical and not leaning in either direction.

To this tank, I will take in the side seam right under the arm about 1/2″ (total 1″).  I think it’s as much a fabric issue as a draft issue.  Otherwise, I’m wearing this.  I like the Ribbon Weaving embellishment. It’s just enough to add interest without affecting the fit.

Sitting here, staring at the pictures, I’m not sure if I need make changes to the tissue.  I’m not skinny anymore. I like a fit that skims the curves, looking feminine but not revealing too much. If I remove ease, people will start counting the curves. Velcro but! is not a fit issue. I could do things to make the back more slippery but I won’t. I probably will just continue to yank down the backs of all my knits.  Yes I’m not 100% satisfied with the fit I”m seeing.

Return to the Otto Tank top

I have returned to fitting a knit tank top pattern.  I’m using Ottobre Design issue 2/2007 Style #1.  The suggested fabric was “jersey”.  I’m finding  fabric descriptions are often inadequate, especially when it comes to knits.  I need stretch factors.

At my last post,  I had fooled around with the pattern, adding some ease, but was thwarted by the differing amounts of stretch and a one-size-fits-all mentality.  I started this session by trying to merge the altered Otto Tank top with the MAF shell. I’ll not post pictures because the result was surprisingly, awful. A large dart bubble at the armscye, masses of wrinkles in the sway back area and several minor unattractive features had appeared.   I had not changed the shape of the Otto side seam or armscye. I had only moved the side seam over so there was as much ease in the tank top as  in the shell designed for woven fabrics.   My conclusion was, too much Franken patterning. I started over.

My fabric this time is a beefy jersey i.e. knit on one side purl on the other.  It is so beefy, I first thought it was an interlock knit.  It easily stretches 50%  and can be hard stretch to 75%.

Since the first tracing (of my sizes) worked pretty well with 100% stretch fabrics (rib knit),  I traced 2 sizes larger for this jersey.  Then just for insurance, I added 1/2″ to the side seams– right on the fabric.

This was a good move. I basted shoulder and side seams together than tried on my tank.  I found the  armscyes too long and the whole upper bodice floppy.  I took the side seams in between waist and armscye 1/2″. Tried on again. Made more adjustments. Repeat two more times.

My final adjustments were to trim a 2″ wedge between armscye and waist but only on the fronts.  The 1/2″ added was needed across the back, at the waist and hips. Almost every time, I’m finding that my back needs more ease than my front. I’ve read that others do the same thing.

It’s interesting that the garment feels comfortable but I can tell the back is still too small. See how the hem curves upward?  That’s a clear indication that there is not enough fabric across my rear. The fabric is traveling upward to provide more ease. Unfortunately, it then masses in the center of my back which many people would point to as a sway back issue. The key is the upward curve of the hem and of course my knowledge about my personal figure.


Unfortunately, I’m not one of those who maintained their teenage figure.  Although I haven’t grown as much in girth as most of my female relatives, I have still changed shape and acquired several pounds. This is a tank so I think the armscye could be OK.  It’s interesting to see that there are bust wrinkles pointing from side seam to bust point.  Most of the time the wrinkles originate from side-hip and travel upwards to bust point. I think the difference is this pattern is clearly designed with an unsewn bust dart. The front piece is longer than the back by 3/8″. Ease markings are indicated on the front side seams across from the bust point.

I’m still looking at the armscyes. Swear, they look too small in the back and too big in the front er, or vice versa but not the right size for me.

I do think of this as a wearable muslin for 50% stretch knits.  It was hard to remove 2″ from the front at the armscye and then stitch the front and back together.   For the next version I’ve added 3/4″ to the back side seam. I’m trying to decide whether to fill in the armscye or move some of the extra ease from the side seam to the center back. My quandary there is that it adds to the back neck, which I’m not sure that I want.   I trimmed a 1.75″ wedge from the front armscye and then added 1/2″ to the side seams.  I also added a 3/8″ wedge at the center front. It looks to me like the center front hem wants to arc upwards. I need either more tummy room or more bust room.   I’ve decided that for 50% knits I’d rather start with a bit too much ease. At least, I’m hoping it’s a bit too much.  Last, I’ve hunted through my remnants and found 2 more knits with 50-60% stretch (definitely less than 75%). Tank tops are quick to sew.  I’m just careful about the fit.