Monthly Archives: August 2014

Tanking the Otto Tank Top

My desire to have more of a “tank” top coincided when my desire to reduce the number of Under 2’s in my stash. So I pulled out a lovely knit purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics intending to pursue altering the pattern  into a tank. The fabric is a crinkle cotton. I think the crinkle has been stabilized by a line of elastic sewn to the reverse side.  It’s an interesting fabric that was easy to work with as well.

So at my age, you don’t go bra-less.  If you do, people see your nip ples around knee level.  Bad bra? Nip ples appear around the belly button.  I keep the girls where they belong by regularly buying and wearing new bras (although I do mess up from time to time.) That means that even a tank pattern, needs to be bra-friendly. I rotary cut a copy of the existing pattern from fresh tracing paper to work with. I think the neckline width is pretty good so I measured 1.5″ from the shoulder point and made a mark. Using my curved ruler, I drew the armscye from the new point back down to the curve of the underarm.  I did not lower the underarm.  Sheesh, it took 2 versions to get it bra-friendly.  I’m not ruining it now.

For me, the wonderful thing about TNT’s is that I can put my time into embellishments.  So this Tank version isn’t quite a TNT, but it’s close enough that I felt like having a little fun.  I went through my collection of graphics and found an interesting feather.  I wish I could give credit for this but I saved the file with only date and time.  There were 4 in the pic.  I cropped to 1 feather and then imported into my Cameo Silhouette Studio program.  I converted it to a cutting file, resized, repeated, mirrored and arranged.  I spent at least an hour developing a design I wanted to use.

Silver stars and nails were added just before sewing was complete.

Then because it became a large design (12X18″) I moved the Cameo from its shelf in the computer room to the kitchen table.  Previously I’ve ironed two layers of freezer paper together and put that into the Cameo for cutting on its shelf.  That does work but not perfectly.  There will be bubbles (no matter how hard I try to press evenly) between the two layers. When the Cameo cuts, the bubbles won’t cut cleanly.  That won’t do for this design. It has to cut very well because it has lots of small dots and dashes and paisleys and stuff-that-needs-to-be-cut. On the shelf, the work receives minimal support. This would be fine if I could also use the mat.  The length of mat needed, will not feed smoothly through during cutting. It bounces when it reaches the wall.  At the table, this isn’t an issue.  Since I was using the table, I could also use a mat and I only needed 1 layer of freezer paper.

But at the table I couldn’t connect the computer to the Cameo.  I had the learning experience of transferring my design to SD card complicated by the fact my computer is not accessing its built-in SD-reader. I must use a USB adapter. The first USB adapter I tried was broken. How the heck do these things break? It would show up in File Explorer but then the computer couldn’t do a file copy.  Eventually I changed readers. Another problem solved. Another appears.  I haven’t previously  transferred files to the Cameo using the SD card.  I’d read about it — and forgotten the instructions. So I diddled at the Cameo for 15 minutes before I was able to figure out the menu selections I needed to load the file. Another problem solved  …

and another appears.  The cameo wouldn’t cut the freezer paper. 3 sheets of freezer paper later and I know to set the blade to a depth of 2.5. I learned that after running back to the computer changing software settings ; downloading the file; and cutting at the Cameo several times. I think I’ve got the procedure down, now.  I love technology. To be truthful, I love this kind of plinking around convincing devices  to do what I want.

Down to the sewing room with my stencil.  I spread out my fabric and placed my altered pattern on top.  I chalked the outline of my pattern pieces upon the fabric then cut out around the intended front allowing a good 4″ margin all around.  I trimmed the  stencil, still leaving a nice margin and sprayed the shiny side with stencil glue before carefully placing the stencil on the upper bodice.  I smoothed it into place; dug out my white textile paint and a dabber.  Painting took less then 5 minutes. Sheesh, all that work for 5 minutes of daubing up and down with a teaspoon of white paint.  After clean up at the sink (I love acrylic paints) I removed the stencil from the fabric.  Last time I stenciled, I left the stencil on while the paint dried. I also had a bit of a problem placing my stencil that time. I had sprayed it twice with glue after having tried to iron it into place.  I still have bits of freezer paper on that project.  Not wanting to repeat that experience, I carefully pulled the stencil away now before the paint was thoroughly dry.  The design was beautiful.  But a little flat looking. I had glitter handy. Not something I buy regularly. This came with some purchases made during the last Nebraska Junk Jaunt. I sprinkled glitter lightly over the paint. Then left all to dry.

The next day, I placed my pattern back on the fabric and cut the pieces for my new tank top.  I taped the neckline back and front, the shoulder and the armscyes.  Usually I tape the front neckline and back shoulders. But this was all so skinny I was afraid it would stretch if allowed to dangle without support.  Before beginning construction, I cut strips 1.75, 1.5 and 1.25″ strips from the fabric. Using white Stretchy Max I roll hemmed one side. Then I serged shoulders together and finished the hems, armscyes and neckline using the type A, Up and over binding.

There is no real change it the fit. It’s all design details and whatever the fabric does.

Fit is fine, I’d say I can make the neckline wider and maybe the shoulder a little more exposed. But you know, I think It’s a great summer style.


Otto Tank

I felt that I had made a major change to fit with the first iteration of this pattern, otto 2/2207 #1.  I transferred the change to the pattern, a 1/2″ tuck in the armscye both front and back.  Then I fused non-woven interfacing to the backs of both pieces.  I chose my fabric, a rayon knit with  horizontal stripes., I decided to make full patterns instead of half.  I can waste a lot of time trying to fold fabric in half and align for stripes or plaids. I decided several years ago when faced with either of these types of fabrics, just to make a full pattern.  It makes it so easy align designs.

Typically I can place the armscye points across from each other on the same stripe and be safe.  After cutting the fabrics I also cut 3/4″ width-wise stripes.; carefully trimming to highlight the narrow dark stripe.


I scooped the neckline and trimmed 1/4″ from the shoulder.  I’m still not sure the Pattern Cutting  Made Easy book is right about the ease, but I do know that necklines will gape if I don’t do something to stop it.  I immediately taped the front neckline and the back shoulders.  I curved the hem and finished it with the easy up and over binding (like a type A binder produces) along the hem. I serged the binding to the backside then folded it and over and stitched it in place on the front side.  I left a 1/8″ raw edge which I’m hoping will curl into place. and be lovely.  I used the same finish on the neckline and armscyes after the shoulder seams were serged.



Fit wise, I have no serious complaints.  The armscyes are a little loose right now which I’m attributing to all the handling.




Although from the side, it’s obvious I’m becoming more like Humpty Dumpty with every passing year.


That was an old bra.  Maybe I should throw it away.


I like this, as is but it doesn’t say tank top to me.  I expect a narrower shoulder and deeper front and back neckline as well as a little more shaping. Additional shaping is going to be hard to achieve. Let’s face, all Humpty Dumpties are basically round or convex across the middle instead of indented. I’ll be keeping this pattern, cause I like it too but I plan to copy it and make refines that will say TANK TOP.

Sleeveless Otto 5/2014 #5

The Woven T gone sleeveless Version 2, is I, think a success!

No more bra-peepage and the garment is still comfortable to wear.  This is a light weight cotton/poly. It has some body but not nearly as stiff as yesterdays.  I made a slight V neck and instead of facings finished all with bias tape.

In retrospect, a facing would have been faster. Oh bias tape works. I even have beautifully stitched, multiple lines of top stitching.

I love the crispness added by edge stitching. I really should do this more often. It does impart a professional finish as well as nailing the bias tape into place.

Picture of the back didn’t turn out — I moved. You’ll have to accept my word for it. The back hangs instead of bunching. Fabric. It’s all in the fabric. I am considering shifting just a bit of ease from front to back hip and perhaps adding a wedge which will lengthen the front. I’m surprised that the diagonal side lines exist.  I thought they indicated a bust dart was needed. My bust dart is both in the right place and the right width.  I think the diagonals are saying more room in the rear please.

I stitched this together at high speed. Did not take time for a single fitting. I did make a new template which raises the armscye 1/2″ instead of the 1/4″ of the first version. Also the V neck has less depth than the scoop neck of yesterday. So it was not necessary to trim 1/4″ from the shoulder and stabilizing was limited to stay stitching the V of the neck.

I have to confess that sometimes this is the kind of sewing I like best. I picked a pretty fabric, cut it out and stitched together within 2 hours. No fitting, all machine stitching and finishing contribute greatly to reducing the amount of time involved.

I’m ready to whip up my next TNT: the Otto Tank Top 2/2007 #1.

Woven T Going Sleeveless

Usually I try to fit basic garments T, shell, sleeveless shell, trousers and then fit them for both woven and knit fabrics. It takes at least 2 attempts for each and makes it a long process when I have to refit basics. This time I decided to take Otto’s Woven T 2/2014 #5 and using Pattern Cutting Made Easy convert it to a sleeveless, woven top.

Actually the book starts with a sleeveless, close-fitting block  and converts to sleeves. So I was working backwards.  Using my already traced pattern, I created a template with a raised armscye of 1/4″.  I also felt like there was too much ease across the entire front. I trimmed a scant 1/8″ from the CF. Because I scooped the front neck, I also trimmed a 1/4″ wedge from the shoulder.  The book explains that additional ease is often incorporated in the upper bodice which is not needed with a lower neckline.  I’m not sure about that. I also know that when you scoop you start introducing more bias edges into your work. Bias will stretch.  Before sewing a single stitch, I stabilized the front neck with fusible tape.

I selected a 100% cotton homespun with a neat geometric design. I didn’t have a full yard and needed to make adjustments in order to use it.  I added a center back seam and instead of laying all my pieces in the same direction, I placed them head to head. That way there was plenty of width at each cut edge for the bottom of the garment while the shoulders shared the space.  I did make an effort to match stripes.  This is a wavy pattern and my matching came out really good.

Here’s an interesting point The fabrics I’ve used previously with this pattern were softer, had less body.  This fabric is firmer but not really stiff. Nonetheless, it wants to bunch in the mid-back. The other fabrics did not or at least, not noticeably.

Armscyes and neckline were finished with bias tape.  It’s a finish I love despite the fact that it often makes these edges lie a bit differently. In the back photo, my neckline is practically standing up.

I stitched bust darts and shoulders together than basted the sides and tried on my garment. I could tell then that the armscye was still just a 1/4″ too low. My bra was peeking out. It’s not that noticeable in the pic because I don’t wear white bras only shades of tan.  Still I don’t like my bra showing and will need to repeat this exercise.