Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sewing Project: Lace Back Tank

Now that I'm a mom, it takes a bit more planning and subtlety to inject any sexy into my wardrobe (am I even allowed to say sexy as a mom??). Holy split personality Batman. A few months ago, I bought a pattern that encouraged a small use of lace and haven't been able to get it out of my head:

View C (yes, it's View C, even though it's on the left IDK McCall's) is a racerback tank, with the top rear portion in lace. I made a TERRIBLE muslin of this pattern (you can see it towards the end of my Me Made May photos when I was getting desperate) and since then I haven't tried it again. But I've been hunting for some nice lace just in case. A few weeks ago I was at a garage sale and found a silk blend crocheted lace shirt for $1.

I thought it would be perfect to cut apart and use the back for a tank. I decided not to use McCall's 6359 after all since there was enough yardage to make an entire back from lace. Instead, I used Simplicity 1716.

You may remember this pattern from my red and black striped mini-dress. I don't know why it took me so long to use this pattern again, the front drape is perfect for nursing and the pattern goes together very easily. The tag on the silk shirt suggested hand wash only, so for the front of my blouse I decided to use a very drapey rayon jersey (from Mood). I did prewash it once on cold and dried it on low heat, but I always have trouble with rayon getting pilly over time. I figure hope if I hand wash it, I won't have that problem.

Obviously, I had to change the pattern a bit since I wasn't cutting the back from yardage. I carefully cut the back of the shirt away from the front and the sleeves. The Simplicity pattern has you cut the back in two pieces because it has a slight curve in the center back seam. I ignored that. To get my side seam curve to match my front piece, I laid them together and cut into the lace portion.

I also wanted to keep the great scalloped border along the hem. That meant I had to hem the front only. As you can see from the photo above, I cut the front of the shirt longer than the back so that I could hem that portion. The original pattern also calls for a facing along the back neckline, but since the silk shirt was already finished, it didn't need a facing. I did remove the original tag because it was lame.

I assembled the front as directed, and then sewed it to the back using French seams for the sides and shoulders. This was my first time trying French seams on a garment and they're pretty awesome (except in the shoulder seams, I think it's a bit bulky there). I thought I would NEED them because I assumed that the lace would be all ravelly and hard to manage. It turned out that the rayon jersey was much harder to sew than the lace. All kinds of slippery! All my normal methods for dealing with slick knits (glue-basting, dissolving stay tape) wouldn't work because they required washing afterward. Ugh. I have a bunch of this knit left and I don't know if I'll use it because it was so hard to sew. Maybe now that I have my serger...(oh yeah, I made this top before I got my serger on Mother's Day...otherwise I probably would have used it instead of French seams). I couldn't even pin because of the openness of the lace. Binder clips to the rescue! Oh, and a little tissue paper, too.

You can purchase real sewing clips if you didn't use to work at a place that had way too many binder clips in the incoming mail. And if you didn't accidentally take a bowl-full home with you when you stopped working there. Y'know. If that's not you.

I wear this top with a nude bra and you can't see it through the open lace. It's sort of a tightly made lace, so that helps. Plus I get a cool breeze on a hot day! I like this blouse a lot, but I'm so paranoid about getting something on it and having trouble washing it out that I haven't worn it much. I hope I still love it when AB is older and not throwing food at me everyday.

I promise I don't have Hulk shoulders.
I was arching my back to show off the lace!

Oh, and in case you're wondering, it was pretty tricky hemming only the front. There was a lot of folding and pinning and swears prayers. Especially since I couldn't press it either (I tried with a press cloth and still saw shine...or at least was paranoid enough to think I did!).

Any adventurous sewing happening for you these days?


  1. I have the first pattern and am planning to make view C as well! I'm attempiht to sew with chiffon so I'm hoping its not a complete disaster! Great job!

    1. Good luck! I bought some cheap chiffon from Jo-Ann's, just to practice with chiffon, but I haven't done anything yet because I'm too scared!! I'm probably making it out worse in my head than it will really be!


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