Category Archives: 2007/2-01 Jersey TANK

Interlock #3

Not sure this pattern is going to work for me. I wanted a basic knit, sleeveless top that I could vary neckline, hem and armscye details and finishes  but fit is not going too well. Maybe the issue is the cotton interlock fabric I’m using.  This being the last of my remnants and the 3rd attempt at fitting the pattern (now made 5 times because I made no fitting attempt for the camisoles), I’m quite certain that cotton interlock has limited usefulness.

I decided to play just a little and added trim to the front. I used FOE and some decorative elastics all purchased from Walmart.  I was surprised to find both those smaller trims at Walmart which is also stocking some FOE. Caution on the Walmart FOE. Yes it does seem to be good or at least reasonable quality but the quantity is small.  That is a full roll.  A single roll would not be enough to cover an adult neckline and armscye. I stacked the narrow elastic on top of the FOE and stitched the round elastic to either side of the FOE.  Makes for an interesting trim. I used the standard zig zag stitch, not even the 3 stitch, to attach the elastics. Had problems keeping the FOE straight. It wanted to wander beneath the foot. Possibly I should have used Steam A Seam to pre-attach it and the roll elastic because I also had a hard time keeping the roll elastic butted up next to the edge of the FOE. Also a possibility, I should go foot shopping. Our machines are designed for all around general purpose sewing. Sometimes a special foot is needed to adapt them for special sewing, like uncooperative elastics.

For some reason I thought the elastics would not ravel.  Therefore, I didn’t Frey Chek the edges. Well I had stabilized the front of the top with sticky WSS before beginning the trimming. WSS shrinks and changes shape rather rapidly.  Just the humidity, even winter humidity, is absorbed and causes the WSS to change shape. Get it near a steam iron and drastic, immediate change take place.  Before modeling, I needed to remove it all and I put my top  through a standard wash/dry cycle.  That’s when I found out these particular elastics do indeed ravel.  This top probably isn’t going to last long in my wardrobe because the raveling is definitely unattractive.

I planned to tweak the fit a bit as I have been seeing swags running from back, under the arm and up to the front or maybe it’s from front to back. Either way, the personal  solution I’ve  found is increasing the shoulder slope.  Before cutting this interlock, I increased the tissue’s shoulder slope 1/4″ at the armscye edge. That meant that the underarm would be or should have been too high and not long enough. So I also lowered the armscye 1/4″.

I did the embellishment first, then stitched the shoulders together before applying the trim. I basted the side seams and looked in the mirror. Nope. 1/4″ did not take care of the swags. Basted the shoulders another 1/4″ lower making a total of a 1/2″ increased slope. No and curiously no real improvement either. Finally I basted the shoulders with a total 3/4″ slope. What that got me was a lump at the shoulder seam neck edge and all the side swags. a3/4″ slope not the solution.

According the Connie Crawford, er according to my limited understanding of Connie Crawford, when correcting these swag lines, you work at the shoulder seam as long as that makes a difference, then you work at the side seam. Since working the shoulder seam had made no discernible difference, I ripped out the basting at the shoulder and  started increasing the side seam. Didn’t help. Instead I now had big drag lines indicating insufficient bust ease.

My last thought was to change the armscye finish.  I had planned a simple 1:1 binding. I decided instead to use a 1/2″ self-ribbing. However, when finished the shoulder would be too wide.So I trimmed the shoulder length 1/2″.  I cut my ribbing 1.75″ wide and 80% the armscye length. On this garment that was 16″.  Applying the ribbing took a lot of stretching and made me wonder if I my 80% was enough. But it did confirm my reaction to Peggy Saggers recommendation of 75%.  I had immediately thought no way!  No way 75% was a good recommendation for all fabrics. Perhaps I have a wider definition of ‘ribbing’ which would be why my experience supports another formula i.e 80% instead of 75%.

The armscye finish did control most of the gaping but didn’t help with the swags; and surprisingly, this interlock fits way too tight when compared with the previous which admittedly was a little snug. At least you couldn’t count the rolls. It just goes to prove the same type fabric, even with the same stretch factor will not necessarily drape the same way on the body. As home dressmakers, we are always making originals even when using our TNT’s.

I need to step back and reconsider, yet again, my fitting procedure. It’s unlikely that my figure is going to improve.  I’m not willing to change my diet. I’m not willing to endure the pain of extreme exercise. I’m at a good place in my life. Basically happy and not intent on making changes. No big goals. Just living every day to its fullest. I do know clearly how I would like my clothes to fig. I’m also reasonable. I don’t expect to look like any of the K@rd@si@ns. So for now, I’m taking a break not only from this pattern but from fitting in general. I’m going to work on my Spring 6PAC using the 25 patterns which satisfactorily  fit me. I’ll be returning to this type pattern, if not exactly this one, because I still want a basic knit, sleeveless top pattern in my TNT’s.

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Interlock 2

I’m tweaking the fit of Ottobre Design Style  #1, 2/2007.  I increased the shoulder slope 1/4″ accompanied by lowering the armscye 1/4″.  I used self fabric for neckline ribbing and for binding the armscyes.

Still have some issues. Including that the back and bust look too tight while at the same time, the underarm is not snug to my  body.

I think I’m going to concentrate on correcting the shoulder slope.  I’m using up my odd interlock cuts, mostly remnants from T shirt projects. They make fine camisoles for the winter and yes if this is the only thing clean on a hot day I will wear it in public.

I probably should have known 1/4″ was not enough. It simply hasn’t been enough with Connie Crawford, Loes Hinse and Burda patterns. Why did I think it would be enough for Otto?

I fired up the embroidery machine using an old free Bernina design.  I think this was supposed to be cut work.

I copied the single design and mirrored it making the much larger design above. Not until I broke 2 needles did I remember that someone had said they thought it contained an error. I finished the embroidery by skipping the last color and completing a couple of small satin stitch areas on the Dream.

Interlock version of Otto Tank

I used to love the Otto Tank (#01 in issue 2007/02).  It’s not quite what I envision when hearing the word ‘tank’ but it is a very good summer top.  It offers enough coverage so that underwear will not show yet  is skimpy enough for the occasional triple digit temperatures we get in South Dakota. I think refining this pattern now while it can be used as an undergarment is a good idea.

Although the pattern calls for rayon knit, I’m using a cotton interlock. I know the two fabrics will not act exactly the same. I’m hoping that the end result will be close enough that only minor tweaking is needed when I change fabrics. Truth is, I was looking for a test fabric and this white interlock is just the right amount and age. Ok, well aged. And, this fabric I will model where as the nylon knit previously used was far too revealing.  I cut the front and back on fold adding 2″ length at the hem. I also  cut three 1.75″ crosswise strips to be used as ribbing.

I decided to add an embroidery using my 2016 Spring colors. Just because it is boring to make the same garment over and over. Yet that’s what you need to do. Or I need to do. I need to know how the pattern will work with various fabrics and finishes especially after I tweak said pattern for my bodily flaws unique body shape.

This was really quick to sew together. I serged the armscyes and then basted in the neck binding. Once I was sure it was correct, I serged the neck and armscye bindings before serging the side seams. Pictures below were taken before I used a 3-thread serger stitch to finish the hem edge.

I had altered the pattern to achieve Zero ease i.e. the pattern measurements equal my own. I wasn’t delighted to see my rolls, but not particularly surprised. I was most curious about the shoulder slope as I’ve not made any correction. The shoulder straps are so narrow, I wasn’t sure how much or even if I should try to introduce a slope.

The side view tells me I really should. I should increase the shoulder slope and move the armscye  because I’m seeing multiple side-swags.

The other thing I’m seeing is that the armscye bindings make the shoulders too wide.  I need to either wrap the armscye thereby not adding any more width or trim the armscyes even deeper–deep enough to offset the width of the binding.  I do see that the front hem is doing its normal rising. Again something that I have made no effort to correct but will not.

So it’s not the perfect summer top but I can tell you when the temps get high enough, if this is the only thing clean, I will be wearing it in public. For now, it’s good enough to be a camisole.

 

Tank as Camisole

I’m eager to start using my Otto patterns again.  They too need to be refit because of my changed shoulder slope and of course the asymmetrical thingy.  I also still need camisoles. 5 is good but still short of my ideal 8. I chose to work with 2/2007 #1, a tank top  pattern for rayon jersey. Far to cold for me to be wearing tanks but I could work on the fit now if I wore the resulting garment as a camisole.

Fitting has become a much longer process. First I compare the given measurements of the body to mine and selected size 46. Otto provides a lot more measurements. Which is a relief, I knew without a doubt I needed to make a 1.75″ back waist length adjustment (BWL) instead of my standard 1″.   I then measured the pattern across the bust, waist and hips. To my surprise, this pattern has  negative ease .  From the pic in the magazine (above) I did not suspect negative ease! I rarely like to wear negative ease.  My ideal silhouette skims not hugs the curves. So I added 1/2″ at the pattern side to bring it up to ZERO ease and then 1/4″ all around for seam allowances.

I did not add embroidery or other embellishment. Well, outside the shell hemming on neckline, armscyes and hem.

I love the shell hem. It’s so easy.  I do serge the raw edges first which helps me turn the edge a consistent 1/4″

This is one of those garments I’m unlikely to ‘model’ for you. It is a nylon tricot knit. Standard fabric for slips and camisoles but kind of transparent.   I was really anxious about the fit and have already worn the cami. Nylon tricot has a more stretch than rayon jersey so I expected it to be comfortable. I did not expect the ease I experienced. I added ease to the pattern to bring the final garment up to ZERO ease.  On the pattern I trimmed 1/2″ off the front underarm and 1/4″ at CF. Both are wedge trims which taper to nothing a few inches down.  That’s all the changes I will make for a camisole.

For a tank top, I’ll need to consider a few other things.

  • I’m still not sure that the ease is correct.
  • I’m hoping that the depth of the armscye changes when using the recommended rayon jersey because it is far too deep for a wearable tank top. Maybe adding binding to fill in??
  • I want another 2″ length to wear in public. Maybe more if I’m altering the length of the straps.
  • I made no allowances for shoulder slope or length.  That will have to be addressed for a public garment.

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.

 

 

Back

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.

I can be fit (Otto 2/2007 Style 1)

See?

Tired of futzing with PP108, I returned to my faithful Ottobre Design Magazine.  I think Otto is not more popular because of its fabric selections. Whereas Burda photos in weird positions and dark colors, Otto chooses fabrics from the late 50’s.  They must have a warehouse someplace. Honestly, I look at the fabrics and think ugly, ugly, ugly.  Also while they use real people as models, why can’t Otto help with makeup and pose. That’s what those million dollar babe’s do. Yeah, they get paid $1mil because they need to pay for their entourage which includes makeup artists.  And it’s the photographers that say turn this way, give me that face yada yada. A good photographer gets good photographs because he/she/it stages the shoot and directs the model. I’m quite certain those Otto everyday-models, would look as great as the million dollar babes, if someone was in their corner directing their every move.  But I digress. My point is that Otto has excellent fitting patterns but it’s hard to tell from the photographs.

This is Otto issue 2/2007 Style 1 Tank Top.  In the magazine it looks more like a de facto tank top.  It look more like a sleeveless knit top on me because of tracing and fitting decisions.  Up to my using pattern 2/2014 #5, I had been getting excellent fit from Otto by tracing multiple sizes. I remeasured my self for that pattern and decided to trace a straight 46.  I measured the hip for 2/2007 #1 and decided that this pattern has negative ease. I like negative ease. Especially in rib knits.  The rib stretches over my bust making me appear to actually have both a bust and waist. However negative ease across the hips causes the garment to slowly work its way upward until all the lower coverage is bunched up around my waist. So I chose to trace a size 48. According to the measurements of the pattern, a 48 would give me 1.5″ ease in the hips and 2″ across the bust.

I haven’t grown any taller and still need both my NSA and BWL. I added the BWL above the waist. But couldn’t figure out how to do the NSA.  The shoulder is already 2″ wide. Applying a 1″ NSA was going to just about do away with the shoulder. I didn’t want spaghetti straps or strapless. So, I worried about the effect of the NSA. Then I worried about having measured correctly.  I added 1/4″ SA to the shoulders and armscye. Increase the hem from 1″ to 1.25″ just because 1.25″ is my personal standard hem depth. Then added 1″ SA to the side seams. I cut the fabric;   basted shoulder and side seams at the planned stitching line….

and tried it on for fit.  My fabric is a rayon knit. So very thin and somewhat stretchy. (Like 25% stretch). I wasn’t sure what to expect and was pleasantly surprised at the first fitting. I had applied my BWL between bust and waist. That adjustment needed to be there. It brought the waist and hip shaping in alignment with my body. But I also need to shorten this pattern between shoulder and bust.  This happens frequently but not every time. It’s not a standard adjustment for me but something I do look for. I did notice when tracing multiple sizes that the shoulder to bust distance was shorter but not by this much.  Since the fabric was cut, I  increased the shoulder seam to 1.25″. Then I looked at the underarm. As expected there was a little too much ease across my bust which caused gaping at the side seam under the arm.  I increased the side seam 1/4″ but in a wedge, like a dart where the wide part is at the underarm and the point is 3″ down on the side seam. That’s it 2 adjustments. Both easy and one 1 very small.

I’m using an up and over binding. I’m pleased with the neckline. Ok with the armscyes. I usually stretch the binding around the curves just a titch. I think I stretched 2 titches instead of one. Still not bad. May even stretch out and hang beautifully during wear.

Today’s jersey knits are so thin, they have become difficult to sew.  I used my straight stitch foot and a spyder at the beginning of straight stitch seaming.  The serger handled this fabric beautifully without even changing the size 12 needles. (Which is a good thing because I can hardly find a size smaller in an ELX705 needle).  The CS wanted gather. Instead of adjusting settings, I cut 1.5″ strips of stabilizer and fed it beneath the hem. I used the heat-away stuff — just to try something different.

Well actually I’ve had this roll for a while and seldom use it.  I decided to use it just to get rid of it. I’m not entirely sold on this heat away stuff. In fact, this time I am displeased.  The sticky WSS I used on the last top held the fabric. Absolutely nailed it in place.  This heat-away would grab the fabric but still allow it to move.  Going over steams required careful navigation. That would have been OK except I spent an hour trying to melt away the stabilizer, instead it has melted into the fabric.

It’s possible that this garment is ruined. I’m wearing it today to check fit and see what happens when it goes through the laundry.  I may throw this cr@p in the trash.

But back to fit, which I’m excited to share. Two tiny adjustments and the front is near perfect.

I expect a little pulling at the armscyes or bust because that’s what happens to me if I buy RTW. There is none.

The back is not quite as good.  I think I may have shortened the shoulders too much. It looks to me like the armscye is cutting back under the arm too soon. I know there is sufficient ease. It’s the hemming causing the bunching. Before the hem, the back hung perfectly. Even with this light weight knit, the back just hung straight. I turned the iron up to max heat trying to melt the stabilizer. I think it may have shrunk the fabric. It certainly did make little puckers where the stabilizer melted and clings together. Well this was a good fabric to try this out. In person, I really don’t like the colors.  The light color is a greenish khaki (bad color for me). the green is a dark olive and the bright blue is not the best shade for me. When I wear the right shade of blue, my eyes practically pop out of my head.  All you can notice is my eyes because they become so brilliant.

So where am I going with this pattern?  I have several knit remnants (and a few I bought on purpose) that I want to make into tank tops.  Because of my fitting adjustments, this isn’t really a tank top, IMHO.  I’ll transfer the adjustments to the pattern. I’ll shorten the shoulder to bust length only 1/2″. Then I’ll  make one more just like this one without using the melt-away/heat-away stabilizer. That will tell me how the pattern with alterations really fits and how much the stabilizer really messed up. Then I’ll be adjusting the width of the shoulder and that whole armscye area, trying to develop a true tank top.  Each version will be quick to make. Time elapses between versions because  I like to wear a garment all-day, at least once before decided what adjustments need to be made. Sort of like denim jeans. You fit jeans for how they will feel after 3 hours of wear. Usually that means so tight you have to lay down on the bed to put them on in the morning. As the day goes along, the denim softens, stretches and the true shape/fit emerges.  It’s a phenomena that is most apparent in denim but occurs to a lesser degree with all fabrics.

For now, I’m just happy to have this pattern. I found something that fit with only minor tweaking in the fit stage. That’s what I want in a pattern.

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.

The Story of 3 Tank Tops —or— Why I need my camera for fitting.

When the “Dog Days of Summer” arrive, I live in tank tops, short shorts or less in the way of clothing. It’s a little early for Dog Days, but we’re already feeling the climbing temps and I suddenly became aware that I needed, truly needed to be sure my tank top pattern fit. It didn’t, of course. My rear which expanded unnoticed  last winter has guaranteed that few if any of my clothes and none of my patterns fit. I turned to Otto and quickly found a modest tank top pattern in issue  2/2007 Style #1.

Otto specifies a “single knit jersey” for the fabric.  Here’s one place that I think the Big 4 pattern companies are very right. Even amongst single knit jerseys, the amount of stretch can vary.  I do much better at choosing an equivalent fabric and producing a satisfactory garment, if the pattern specifies how much stretch is needed rather than the fabric structure.  I chose my fabric from the stack of knit remnants I have. I find that 2/3 and 3/4 yard of knit fabric is enough for tank tops. My first fabric is a 4×4 rib knit of 100% cotton in a dark periwinkle blue.  It has a 75% stretch ratio i.e. I measured 4″ and was able to stretch it to 7″. This is the last of a 4 yard cut purchased from Walmart eons ago. While I love the color, it has faded unevenly.  The inside is much better than the exterior but my real concern is that this fabric, even though a knit, doesn’t have a good recovery rate.  It tends to look worse for wear as the day goes along.

I also chose to use a crystal embellishment that’s been in the stash 3 or 4 years.

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Purchased from Hobby Lobby because it is pretty and on sale. Generally for such a small design, I prefer embroidery but I had this and decided now was the time.  Unfortunately the glue has deteriorated as it aged. I followed the instructions but had to use E6000 glue to secure several crystals. I’m hoping they all survive the first wash.  I do have equivalents to replace any that go missing, but I’d rather not.

For Otto patterns, I have been tracing 38 neck and shoulders, 40 armscye, 42 bust, 44 waist 46 hip. I decided to change that slightly because that’s a lot of size changes and I’m noticing that I need more ease across the back and possibly for the bust.  So this time I traced 40 neck, shoulders and armscye, 44 bust and waist; 46 hip.  I put away the master pattern, looked at the tissue and said “this is never going to be big enough”.  I rummaged in my closet and found a tank top in similar fabric. The tissues were larger than the existing tank top so I proceeded to cut fabric.

For many years I’ve been basting my ribbing into place, checking that it lays flat and then serging permanently.  Although basting is an extra step, I find that it’s the only way I can be sure to adapt for each fabric and produce a nice neckline and body hugging armscye. I’ve yet to work with my binders for the cover stitch machine but did decide to cover stitch plain instead of  serging.  So in the pic above, you’ll notice the extra lines of stitching. At the time I made the decision to CS those bindings I didn’t realize I would be fixing another issue. My serged bindings tend to curl towards the narrowest edge. After each trip though the washing  machine I need to spend time at the ironing board carefully steaming bindings back into place so they sit smoothly during wear.  Cover stitching nails them into the correct position — forever.

Once the bindings were in place, I serged the sides and then tried on the garment for the first time to check the fit. To my surprise I had way too much ease across the bust.  I took out 1.5″ at the armscye decreasing to nothing at the waist.   During wear it felt like I should have taken at least 1/4″ away at the waist and hip, but the fit pictures tell a different story.

I could possibly be seeing fabric issues. After all the fabric must be 15 plus years just in my stash — no telling how old it was when Walmart got a hold of it for resale.  From the pic, my tank top now looks too tight under the arms as well as snug across the tummy and back with a surprising excess of ease at the hem. The hem was cover stitched and IRL does not look stretched. OK, IRL, my mirror, none of these issues are visible which is why I wish I had looked at the above pics before proceeding to the next version.

Version 2 is an ITY knit with about 25% stretch.  It easily stretched from 4 to 5″ and I could have pulled it tightly to stretch it even more. There was only 2/3 yard in the remnant.  The fabric was purchased from Fabricmart.com about 2 years ago and made into a long sleeve top which works nicely in my winter clothes.  It’s a busy print with a number of circles.  I worked hard trying to avoid the bull’s-eye effect from falling on the boobs or roundest parts of my rear. Once I tried the garment on, I realized I had failed and had probably been doomed from the beginning.  Oh the circles didn’t fall on my boobs, but one particularly large design fell right on my tummy –another place I prefer not to highlight.

I had changed the pattern only slightly. I trimmed 1/4″ from beneath the armscye. I couldn’t be sure until I tried on the garment but I did think that I had the right stretch factor and that the garment would fit perfectly. Wrong again.

As soon as I saw that motif falling directly on my tummy, I knew I wouldn’t keep the garment. It was finished in the same manner -sans crystal embellishment — as the first, folded and placed immediately into the Good Will box.  It’s lovely but between the awkward design placement and the tight fit, I can’t wear this. I was astonished at the tight fit. I really thought there was way too much ease with the previous fabric and that this fabric being the correct stretch and the pattern traced with more generous ease, would fit perfectly.

Did you notice the side views?  My arms are up in the air which should be distorting the hems but they have remained fairly level.  That’s because Otto chose to draft with an eased front dart.  The front pattern side seam is longer than the back side seam.  Knits easily stretch to accomodate this difference. The end result is a garment that could be constructed in a hour by using the serger and cover stitch machines. Errrr, if I wasn’t fighting the ease issue.

I’m more likely to use fabric with 20-30 percent stretch, So for the 3rd iteration, I added the 1/4″ trimmed at the armscye for version 2, plus 5/8″ at the hip on both front and back pattern pieces. My 3rd version is constructed from a polyester or nylon, single jersey knit.  It has a good 25% stretch and again could be stretched further.  I don’t like to pull tightly to calculate stretch unless I’m making leggings. I prefer for my garments to skim my curves.  A fabric stretched tightly will fit tightly. At least that’s my experience. While the first fabric was deep stash and the 2nd a recent addition to the remnants pile, the 3rd fabric was purchased especially for tank tops this year.  It’s another Fabricmart fabric in beautiful red-orange hues. Perfect coloring for me. Unfortunately fit is yet again a defeating issue.

The first tank top was worn and sent to the laundry.  The 2nd tried on and finished. This was tried on, finished and worn for about 3 minutes. It is far too tight under the arms. The armscye is too small as well as being too tight and the back pictures just makes me sigh.   It too is going into the Good Will box.

Sigh, but I’m coming closer to my goal.  My goal is a basic tank top pattern which can be adapted to fit by increasing the side seams.  I am troubled that the 75% stretch garment also fit nicely in the armscyes and felt too large while clearly in the pictures not having sufficient ease.

I’ve placed the pattern on hold temporarily. I’ve been contemplating another pattern and a 3rd project both of which have gelled in my mind and need working on before they un-gell. For this pattern I’m going to mark the existing tissue for 75% stretch fabrics and trim away the ease just added for version 3.  I will then trace the tissue and add 1/2″ length to the armscye back and front, 1/2″ ease on the back pattern piece and 1/4″ ease to the front pattern piece.  That adds a total of 1.5″ ease and is probably more of a size 56 than a size 46. Besides wanting to be able to easily fit the pattern for various stretch factors,  I’ve noticed that I like more ease than the European companies add. I won’t be bragging about the larger sizing you understand, only about being able to easily fit the garment.