Wiksten tank top – in knits

Hi! And where have the last 4 weeks gone…I think this is the longest I’ve gone with writing about something. Honestly, I was a little off-put by having so many wadders in January, and time slipped by with little sewing.

But I generally spring back. I’ve been busy.

First, I assessed my wardrobe and now have a lot fewer things in the closet. After 4 years of sewing and blogging nonstop, I had way too many things in there. I was also tired of them! And having so many clothes was bugging me – I had a nagging feeling of guilt because most them were never worn after I blogged them.

Easy to correct – donation time. They’ll be going to a women’s closet organization in Ft. Myers that helps women in distress or in need of appropriate clothing for interviews, court appearances, etc.

Second, I turned to a TNT top that I just love, the Wiksten woven tank top. I had four pieces of cotton/rayon jersey from Girl Charlee’s big Black Friday sale – about 2 yards of each, purchased for under $2.50/yard. It was time to revamp my Wiksten pattern for use with knits.

Last year I redrafted my Wiksten pattern to be a little longer (added 2″) and a bit ‘swingier’ (moved the bottom side seams out 1″).  This time around I just added the sleeve from a knit dress, Vogue 1315, cut to elbow length.

Worked great! This top is incredibly comfortable, and it’s tunic length, which makes it perfect for jeans and leggings. Even better – I slept in the first one I made, and it was wrinkle-free in the morning. Wow. Nice fabric.

Other sewing notes:

  • As with every single garment I sew, I finished the shoulders with a flat-fell seam. This prevents any irritation from the seam and stabilizes it without bias tape or elastane.

  • This top could be sewn with a serger alone, but I always worry that a serged seam will stretch open a little bit with wear, exposing the stitches. So I sew my knit seams with a lightening stitch, and then serge/cut the seam allowances together.
  • And I cut my neckline banding across the width (across the stretch) of the fabric, rather than on the bias. I keep a basket of knit and woven scraps, pre-cut into binding widths. They come in so handy – I had a suitable color for each of these stripes.

I will say that the fabric has funky selvedges. But I cut them off before laying out the pattern, and the stripe matching was really easy.

Hope everyone is enjoying a nice weekend! Bye for now, Coco

Simplicity 1852 Low Rise Shorts

Wiksten Tank Top, ACMoore snakeskin print, 100% cotton
Shorts, JoAnns linen-blend
Sandals, Lindsay Phillips

I know I said in my post about pull-on pants that shorts do not suit me…but things change! I have decided that shorts suit me very well and am happily making lots of them. This pattern, Simplicity 1852, is a great find.

The shorts/pants are described as sitting 1″ below the natural waistline – but I am short in the rise. You can see these shorts sit a bit higher on me, as I hoped they would – in fact, they are very comfortably at my waist. It is so nice to have a pattern that fits in the rise. (I have another TNT as well, but it is plain vanilla).

This pattern has a cute piecing and pocket treatment. Each side comprises three pieces, with a styled patch pocket set into the front seam and extending across the side seam onto the back.  Here is another view, front and back:

I love the elastic waistband casing on this pattern – it is set on as a separate piece, instead of being an integrated fold-over casing. The result is a very clean and lightweight finish that gathers very nicely around the elastic. Much much better than any fold-over treatment I’ve experienced. So nice that I will never again use any other approach to a pull-on pants elastic casing! (Last week I went back and redid the waist on a pretty linen pull-on pant that I took to Orlando for Mom’s Day visit with family.)
I sewed a M (12-14) and they are so comfy. And….take only a little over a yard to make because of the piecing. If you modify the pocket just a bit (cut the pocket facing separately), a yard will do it for many sizes! What a great summer stash buster!

The drawstring is actually faux – it is inserted into two buttonholes set an inch or so apart on the front waistband. Did I bother? Noooo. For myself, I find pants drawstrings distracting, bothersome, and limiting…did I say I don’t like them?

Wiksten Tank Top, FFC white on white dots, 100% cotton
Shorts, ACMoore leaf print, 100% cotton
Sandals, Jack Rogers
I think this is a really nice rear view! no bag, no sag, pinch, or pleat. Definitely will be making the longer pants version.

Then there’s the yellow and white print from ACMoore, the one I used to make my first Wiksten tank top…Oh, what cute shorts they made! Dance time!

Ciao! Coco

Wiksten Tank Top

White linen blend pants, self-made, future blog
Kelly & Kate sandals

This is my first  spring woven top fever result! And I love this tank top pattern by Wiksten. I sewed this in a super cute and fresh cotton print that is a 3 yd. Mini Bolt from ACMoore. I was so happy with how well it laundered, the finish is better than I expected (the bolt was shrink-wrapped, no touchy), and it handled very nicely.

The Wiksten pattern is downloadable, and it did not eat up my paper supply! To my surprise and delight, the pattern includes a longer version that would be a darling tunic top for leggings and jeans. Yes, I see it in my future 🙂

There is so much to like about the pattern. First, it is clearly intended to be used by all level sewists. For instance, it has all french seams. Wiksten makes this so easy by marking the pattern for the 1//4″ and 3″8″ seams. For beginner sewists, what a wonderful way to become acquainted with french seams! Second, it does not have darts – but the fit in the bust is amazing. I drew my bustline apex marks on the pattern to verify ease and so on before I cut my fabric. After stitching, I am so pleased. Truth be told, I am not wearing an undergarment in these photos…and the fit is great.

Navy weavers cloth pants, self-made, future blog

Just a couple comments on the pattern construction: I looked at a lot of renditions of this pattern online. I noticed that many gals had a very high armscye, a high neckline, and more than one complained of a gaping back neck on the garment. And I am pretty sure I know why. The pattern uses bias facing on the armholes and neckline. I think less-experienced sewists are applying the facing as a binding, not a facing. Simple mistake that makes a huge difference in fit and appearance of the garment. Wish I could reach out to them!

I decided to apply my facing so that it folded to the outside instead of to the inside. For a couple reasons. One, it puts the inevitable little stitching puckers from the topstitching where they cannot be seen. And two, the extra fold adds weight and effect to the tank top, which is otherwise a bit of a sea of fabric!

I like the result.

What a fun project and tank top. I am making more! Hasta luego! Coco
p.s. my camera is not taking good outdoors pics today…it is a somewhat aged Elph! ah. I’ll pat it.

Spring Woven Top Fever…

Last night I was looking at the almost 400 entries in the Spring Top SewAlong hosted by Made-by-Rae…uh oh!! I was overcome by the need to make some quick woven tops. All those examples in the SewAlong, and most of the sewists included comments, the Flickr site is like having a database of reviews right here with me. I have to do it now!

I’ve been looking at these 3 patterns for a while now. Each takes 2 or less yd. of fabric. And they are all downloadable. Guess what my printer did this morning 🙂

Grainline 3001 Pocket Tank Top

Grainline 3002 Scout Woven top

Wiksten Tank Top
All three of the downloads were flawless, as were the printouts. Wiksten and Grainline both provided separate instruction files with lots of pics. The patterns are very reasonably priced. More later when I’ve actually made these!
Moving on. My compulsion did not stop with patterns. ACMoore has its Baby Bolts on sale for half price, which means 3 yd. for $10! These are not high end cottons, but perfect for one season tops. So…yes, I actually got in the car and went shopping (I hate, loathe, and abominate shopping in stores!). Consolation prize for the effort: a 24″ x 50 yd. roll of trace paper for $22. I’m a bit tired of freezer and parchment paper for my download traces so I’m moving on up to the East Side…
Frosting: I had a 25% off total purchase coupon. Ok, it was so worth it! Fabrics are in the wash, but here’s a look:

Ciao! Coco