Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sewing Project: self-drafted burnout tank

Last week I reviewed Simplicity 1613. The band around the top was a total fail for me, but the cut of the bodice was comfortable and fit just right. I decided to try my hand at some pattern drafting, altering the bodice piece to make a tank top. I pretty much live in tank tops during the summer, so I knew it would be a useful pattern if I could figure it out.

Here is the bodice piece from the Simplicity pattern:

Obviously, it's missing straps and a proper neckline. I looked through my patterns to find a suitable top portion and chose Butterick 5606. It's technically a tank dress, but I like the way it fits through the bust and shoulders.

To Frankenpattern these two together, I laid out a piece of kraft paper. The straight "place on fold" line went on the edge of the paper. I traced the outline of the Simplicity pattern onto the paper, ending at the bottom edge of the armhole.

Then I put the Butterick pattern piece on the paper, and lined up the armhole of that piece with the line I'd marked previously. It wasn't a perfect match (the Butterick armhole was a bit longer) so I decided to start from where the Simplicity piece ended instead.

Then I traced around the top portion of the Butterick pattern; this included the armhole, shoulder, and neckline.

I repeated the process for the back pattern piece. When I was done, it was time to test it out. I decided to use some fabric that I didn't care much about (just in case!). I'm sure we all have that fabric that we love in the store, and then we get home and are like "whhhuuuuuu was I thinking??" (But we don't take it back.) That's how I felt about this striped burnout jersey from Jo-Ann's. I had a slight burnout obsession going for a while, and this impulse buy helped put out that fire.

It was hard to cut because the burnout parts are very...springy? They moved around a lot. I decided to construct the entire garment on my serger, and I'm glad I did. Not only did I finish the shirt in about 20 minutes, but the serger stitches gave enough elasticity to manage the weird springiness of the burnout.

At the last minute, I decided to cut the back on a curve longer than the front, in a sort of high-low hem. It gives the tank a bit more interest.

I call this self-drafted pattern a definite success! The shirt is flattering and comfortable. I have the option of using my serger or doing finishing work with narrow hems or bias facings (my new favorite method with knits!). And if you're wondering, I wear a black cami underneath to keep it modest.

AB decided she wanted to get in on the photos and posed for this picture. Yes, she's only wearing one shoe.

What about you? Have you ever combined two patterns like this?

Need some help learning how to construct a whole garment on a serger? I'm using Beginner Serging from Craftsy. Over five hours of lessons all about serging, plus handouts and project instructions. Plus Craftsy has a money-back guarantee on all classes!


  1. What settings did you use on your serger to construct the pieces? I'm working on a dolman-type top in burnout fabric. I set my cutting width as wide as it will go, and I'm still getting a ton of loop overhang on the cut edge. I've tried maxing out the tensions, and my next step will be to try taking off the outer needle once I find a small enough screwdriver to remove the screw holding it in. Any other advice?

    1. It was quite a few months ago, so I apologize that I don't remember exactly. But I was rushing to finish it and I know I didn't fiddle around much! I'm sure I used the standard settings and tensions. I frequently have loops hanging off the edge and haven't figured that out yet. It's been a while since I watched my Craftsy class on serging, I should probably go back and see if this is covered.

  2. Yah, I have combined 2 patterns: the bodice from one dress pattern and the skirt from another. Worked like a charm (but I can't wear that pattern anymore, bec. I'm too fat {sniff}).



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