Hello there! How’s everyone doing? Strange times we’re in, strange times indeed. We spent a good bit of today outside in various spots where I got a few pictures and it’s just a weird thing to only see a couple of other people around (although that’s the idea of course) and to awkwardly try and keep 6ft between yourselves as you pass by each other. Anyway, I hope you are all keeping well and your loved ones are all safe. And let’s hope it all passes by sooner rather than later. There’s much more I could say, but I’m sure you’ve had your fill of Covid-19 news, so let’s crack on with a bit of sewing.
I’ve actually had LESS time than normal to sew (unlike most of Instagram it seems) because my kid has been home 24/7. I’m hoping I can still squeeze my sews in for #thegreatmodulesewalong, but it’s going to be tight. This is my fourth item for the wardrobe and I am already sewing the 5th, but whether I will manage the 6th remains to be seen. This project was the Victory Tank from Chalk and Notch, sewn in an Ellen Baker Kokka double gauze. I was impressed with this pattern upon release: it had a good range of sizes, A-D cups and a couple of different views with appealing features: there’s a longer version with a scooped neck and a cropped version with a keyhole back and front strap, although of course you can mix and match the elements easily.
I was attracted to this as a potential alternative to the Ogden partly because I haven’t quite managed to crack the dartless FBA yet and this tank has a D cup pattern piece. However, I didn’t realise that the C and D cup pieces are darted, which made me laugh, as that’s what I was trying to avoid. Why would I try to avoid it anyway? – I hear you ask. It’s a good question, since I am 99% a dart-woman – it gives some much-needed shaping in most of my garments. The answer is that it’s purely an aesthetic thing. I have a couple of pieces of beautiful fabric with a picture on them and I’m trying to achieve a simple top which will showcase the design. The darts obviously interrupt the lines of the top. It’s not the end of the world, but that’s the reason!
Anyway, so the D cup obviously makes life easier and my measurements are the perfect Chalk and Notch size 16 D cup. I have a 40″ upper bust and 44″ full bust, which matches exactly to their measurements. So far, so good. But of course I didn’t manage to avoid alterations completely, because straight off the bat I had to lower the dart by 1.25″ on both the body and lining pieces. That’s my one quibble with the D cup patterns I’ve used so far – the bust darts are always too high. It’s not a huge deal, but I do wonder how many ladies with D cup (or larger) bust really have such high nipples. I’m sure there are a few, or I could achieve it with a push-up bra I guess, but I really do wonder. It seems to me a larger bust might well correlate to a lower apex in most cases. What do you think?
One thing I made a note of was how well marked the pattern is. THANK YOU Chalk and Notch for adding bust apex points. I really don’t know why some designers don’t. It’s a total crapshoot without them and it meant I could make this adjustment even before the muslin. Which leads me to the…
I made a wearable muslin in this really lovely Art Gallery rayon. It’s a real challis – soft as you like with a lot of drape – and I sure as heck wouldn’t want to try and bind it (or at least it’d have to be on a maximum patience day), so this style of tank with a complete lining is ideal for these tricksy fabrics.
I was really happy with the muslin and only had two big fitting changes to make as a result. The first was to lower and slightly widen the armhole. Interesting this, as I often have to raise armholes, but the Victory tank armhole was too high and tight (you can see it digging in a bit in the picture below). I lowered it by 1/2″ tapering into about halfway up the armscye to get a little extra space horizontally as well.
The second change was to take a bit of swing out of it. Now to be fair, this is described as a “swingy tank” and that is exactly what it is. It has very nice swing, actually. But in a double-gauze cropped version, I felt it would more stand than swing and that’s not the effect I was after to be honest. So, after cropping my pattern pieces to the “cropped” length (Team Trace over here!) I took about an inch from the front side seams and 1/2″ from the back side seams, tapering it up to the armhole (I folded down the dart first on the front bodice pieces). The net effect was to straighten the side seam up a bit. It was a bit of guesswork to be honest and… it didn’t work.
I guess that’s the danger of not always checking things. I am definitely not a “winger”, but I didn’t think this one through. I should have taken the excess from the front. To create a swing top from a regular tank you create room by opening waist darts, so I should have done the opposite. All I managed to achieve was to pull the side seams forward and tighten the back up (see pic below). Oh well. I was dead right about the fabric and it still stuck out an angle not unlike the prow of a ship. So I decided to create a “design feature” and add waist darts at the front. It’s a little weird, but I think I can get away with it and I feel better wearing it like that. If it were longer I’d tuck it in, but of course, this is the cropped version.
The construction is very neat, fast and well thought out – definitely a one-day project. It’s similar to the Ogden construction too, if you’re familiar with that, but with a full-length lining, which I definitely prefer. I used a rayon bemberg lining for both tops and it’s so dreamy to wear. It’s cool against the skin and really elevates the tank. After adding darts and joining the shoulders, the main bodice and lining bodice are sewn together at the neckline and then the armholes are joined using a burrito-style method. I love this method – it’s so neat and tidy. I took some detailed pics as it’s the trickiest part of construction, so if anyone needs some construction pics, let me know! It’s a satisfying sew.
I really like this tank. I would recommend it as a good pattern and it required minimal adjusting. The one thing I would alter next time would be to set the shoulders a little wider to cover my bra strap better and there are instructions on how to do that (among many other helpful hints and fitting tips).
It is, ultimately, a swingy tank and I’m still not 100% sure whether that is really the ideal shape for me. It is undoubtedly a different silhouette for me, so I’ll ruminate on it and get back to you.