Thursday, April 24, 2014

Perfect Slouchy Tank

Tuesday I reviewed the book Patternmaking for a Perfect Fit, which explains all about the rub-off method (aka copying) of making patterns. Inspired by what I had read, I decided to get off my butt and finally make a pattern for my most favoritist tank top. Actually, my two most favorites, but one of them went MIA when it was time for the photoshoot,'s one.

I bought these two knit tanks...when I was in college? I think. I remember grabbing them on the way to the checkout and being super happy because they were like, $3 a piece. I have worn these two shirts far more than Old Navy ever intended them to be worn. There was just one little thing...they were too low-cut. Whomp whomp. I have to wear another, more fitted tank underneath, or I feel a bit too exposed. Even the college version of myself felt that way (I'm a prude).

So what do you do when you can sew? You draft your own pattern and raise the neckline! I call this pattern the Perfect Slouchy Tank.

I figure this was a good first-time copying project because the design is SO simple. Two pieces, that's it. Oh, sorry, three pieces with the pocket (the rogue shirt has a pocket, promise). It probably took longer to write the construction steps than it did to draft the pattern.

The inspiration tanks have some strange finishing techniques that I fully intended to copy. For example, the neckline and armholes are bound, and then the binding is cut, causing it to curl at the edges:

The side seams (and hem) are done with a flatlock stitch:

I DID copy the flatlocking, I did NOT cut my bindings. Once they were on there...I couldn't bring myself to do it. I spent forever coverstitching them on, and they looked so nice it seemed a shame to cut them. I also coverstitched the hem instead of flatlocking it. I'm not sure my machine could replicate that anyway.

I had some trouble flatlocking so it doesn't look as close to the inspiration. Basically, my tension was too high (even though it was at the recommended level per my manual) and the thread kept breaking. Decreased tension led to the flatlocking not working. Couldn't win.

Despite not being exact copies, I'm crazy about these two new shirts. The raised neckline is perfect. The fabrics are super soft drapey rayon knits (a b*tch to sew but oh so dreamy to wear!). I even fulfilled a few of my Wardrobe Architect capsule collection requirements (loose tops in blue).

I used hoarded scraps of two of my all-time favorite fabrics (the tribal knit and the feathers) as well as some of the endless yardage of blue knit from my stash (courtesy of a bargain lot from Girl Charlee). What's not to love about these tops!? Oh, here's one thing. Let's talk about the tribal knit version.

Do you see what I see? Perhaps it's a sewist thing to even notice...but I promise I tried really hard to avoid boob headlights. I had barely any fabric (hence why the back of the shirt is solid blue) and I could only shift my pattern piece up or down a little bit. I added the pocket to try distracting from the headlight look and I think it helps a little.

What do you think? I see myself living in these two tops this summer and I can't wait! These were actually supposed to be wearable muslins to test the pattern, I wanna make another in this knit which is waiting in my stash.

Speaking of awesome tank tops, the Rio Racerback Tank and Dress pattern is now available from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop! Save 15% today only on this super cute design. This pattern might even inspire me to start sewing for AB again!


  1. This is the perfect tank! I have a Craftsy class in my queu that is patternmaking from rtw. I just haven't found the time to watch it yet.

    1. Stephanie's book is really good, so I'm sure the class is great as well. I'd love to try the class about copying jeans. Y'know, if I can work up the courage to SEW jeans!

  2. Great job! I'm horrible at flat locking, my serger is so finicky about it!

    1. I've done it once before and it worked much better, so I'm thinking it was just my super lightweight rayon knit that was the problem. At least, that's what I'm telling myself!

  3. Now I must know your secret to matching the beginning and end of the coverstitch. My friend and I were just discussing the subject this morning.

    These look comfortable and cute, great job!

    1. Haha no secrets here! I go pretty slowly at the end so I can get the stitches to overlap. Sometimes I even turn the wheel by hand so I go reeeeeeelly slowly. I haven't figured out how to pull the threads to the back, so I've been leaving long tails. I thread the tails onto a hand-sewing needle and then poke them to the back and tie off.

      It sounds ridiculous now that I type it all out, but the awesome finish from a CS machine makes it worth a little extra time to secure the threads.

    2. OK then, go slow it is. I used the coverstitch option on my machine for the first time last week, and it worked beautifully. I will make a note to turn by hand at the end. Thanks!

    3. And of course, always start/stop in the back, so if you screw it up you don't have to look at it ;)

  4. Awesome Tanks! You are encouraging me in my coverstitch machine envy. I also have some Old Navy items waiting to be copied--and adjusted in the process. For some reason I can often get an almost good fit from Old Navy.
    The headlight is not too obvious to me, perhaps the pocket is helping distract.

    1. My absolute favorite jersey dress is also from Old Navy. Good luck with your copying, this little project was really rewarding because I loved these tanks so much.

      And I only took a picture of the coverstitches that looked good ;) I'm still learning and sometimes they get a little wonky!


I would love to hear from you! Please feel free to comment below.

Newsletter sign up