Top Ranked Tanks


I appear to have been a bit MIA for the best part of April - but thought I'd pop back in for a little post on tank tops! Vest tops? Camis? Whatever you may call them... little useful jersey tops.

The best bit about sewing a tank is that it takes both very little fabric, and very little time! I've been short on the latter so a few scrap busters and palette cleansers have occurred. 

Winnats Tank

I'll start with my favourite - The Winnats Tank by Wendy Ward. It's a simple classic and I find the fit stop on. I have lost count of how many of these I have made over the years, in many variations. 

The pattern can be found in Wendy's book - A Beginner's Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics - this books seemed to be underrated/not often mentioned in the sew'osphere however it's absolutely brilliant. There's 20 great patterns in there people - and it's only £8!!

 This is my most recent version in the prettiest ladybird jersey ever from Beyond the Pink Door. As the tank is a super simple standard, you can hack it each way to Sunday. My version has the neck and arm bands on, and a little strip of elastic at the center front to create a gathered neckline. 

 For 'cute' overload I went for a little bunny label as I made this at Easter.

Zoey Tank

A new found favourite of mine is now the True Bias- Zoey Tank. I didn't initially buy this pattern as I thought it was very 'skin-tight' in style but I was pleasantly surprised with how it fits. Skims the right bits! (I made a 16/18)

This pattern is a brilliant scrap-buster for leftover pieces of jersey as you don't need to get any shoulder straps in as part of the main bodice. It's 2 small bodice pieces and then some strips for the straps and neckline. 

The construction is quite fun as you pop all the neckline and straps on first and then whizz it up the sides to finish. The pattern also comes with a dress version and neckline expansion pack for different looks. 

This is made from leftover scraps of Monet Jersey (listed as 'Lily Pond') from Hey Sew Sister - left over from my Agnes tee.

Another in leftover scraps from my Westcliff Dress. 

Weiland Tank

Another new-to-me pattern is the Elbe Textiles - Weiland Tank. Also another rogue entry as I really wasn't sure about the 'cropped' nature of this and definitely didnt want my mid-riff hanging out. 

I had a little insta-browse and actually it's not a drastic crop at all, it sits just at the top of high waisted jeans. I am so glad I tried this as the pattern is gorgeous and sizing brilliant. There are 2 cup options and a serious of sizes for each. The charts put me at a 'G' and that's what I made with 1" added to the length. It fit, no adjustments or changes needed.

The fabric is Meet Milk Derby Ribbed Tencel Jersey and I cannot tell you how silky soft and beautiful it is. It is pricey but I got the top and lining from 1m and it was totally worth it.

The pattern has a shelf-bra lining option which is great, this folds inside the tank and creates that lovely smooth neckline finish. You can add foam inserts but I didn't bother. You can wear a bra with this as although the back is low, it does still cover straps. That back!

One Shoulder Tank

I'll throw a random curve ball here - a one shoulder tank! I made this as I wanted something to mix and match with skirts, trousers, shorts for a holiday. 

The pattern is Pattern Emporium - One Shoulder Tank and in true PE style, there are a million variations and about 300 pages of instructions!  Definite value for money.

This was made from bamboo jersey from the stash and may be a little too thin for purpose however it's very cool and comfortable. I started off with a size 16 but did have to reduce it to make sure the sides were secure. I think it's now about a 14. 

This pattern also comes with the option of a shelf bra (which due to the thin fabric you can see a bit) - a great addition to make this top more practical if you hate strapless bras. A little flash of the innards here!

The neckline and arm is finished with binding, or bands...or a ruffle... I did say there were choice! I went for a classic binding for an unfussy version.

Many thanks for joining me again today. I you have any favourite stretch tank patterns do let me know in the comments!

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Kalle Hacking

 I don't think a year has gone by when I haven't made a version of the Kalle shirt pattern by Closet Core

It has been on the blog several times in several guises but I thought it was worth another mention. If you came here for construction and sizing do search my site as there is plenty there.

This time I went for a little pattern hacking to see if I could pop some interesting details on my favourite shirt. 

 After browsing Pinterest I came across a really pretty two-tone collar detail and fell in love. Lo' and Behold, I then saw it again some time later on a sewing pattern! Ose Patterns have a shirt called the Polly Top with this exact detail on it. I must be clear, I would absolutely have bought the Ose Patterns version had it been in my size, unfortunately I fell out of their size range and it was not possible.

Not to worry - I cracked out pen and paper and just drafted my own which was a lot easier than expected. I took the original collar piece, traced it, drew on my new lines and snipped it apart. Add some seam allowance and there we have a new collar. 

The not so easy bit was constructing the collar and sewing that inside corner...twice. Let's just say it took some practice!

 Once the collar was done, the rest of the shirt was as normal, save for a little strip of black fabric across the back yoke to add a bit more detail. 

I have now made the dress, tunic and cropped versions of this pattern - this one is a hybrid. I straightened off the hem and it's now hip length and sits nicely with jeans.

This fabric is PawPrint Patrol by Minerva, one of their exclusive prints which you can find here. (Paid for not gifted!) I just absolutely adore the soft blue and contrast colours on it. I'm also pleased to report I have already worn this shirt - woo!

 Excuse the photos which looks like I'm half asleep with a cat whizzing on me. 

The trousers here are the Saguaro Pants by Friday Pattern company made in a heavy crepe. I'll do another post about those soon as I have adjusted the pattern slightly and do have plans for more. To summarize though - comfy. 

 I also just realized I never posted my 2022 version of this shirt, also made in March - so here you go - double whammy. Also if you are like me and have forgotten what the sun looks like, here's a quick reminder.

This is the cropped version in some super cute fabric called 'Warbler Birds' from Lamazi

Different year, same ol' pose. I haven'#t worn this very much due to it being very cropped however I will give that look another go this year when it warms up a bit. 

I don't want to mislead anyone into thinking all my sewing is wearable, you just get to see the good projects as a whole. There have been major disasters along the way and I have blogged about those. That being said I must have been pleased with this make:

Many thanks for stopping by and seeing, yet again, the Kalle shirt. 

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March Making with Norwich Sewcials

 I appreciate it is now April however March was crazy crafty! There have been some fantastic things going on in Norfolk if you love making and creating. 

Makers Festival took place at the beginning of the month, where I was giving a talk on all things gadget at a Norwich Sewcials meet-up. The lovely Fabric Wrangler dealt with needles and caused a stir when she pointed out the 8 hour stitching lifespan of a machine sewing needle.... (Guilty. I do not change mine that often!)

Whilst we represented dress-making, there was every kind of craft you could think of to have a go at! I absolutely loved trying lino printing with Stella Box Designs and even came away with one of her pieces of art.

 The next day was the East Anglian Yarn Festival which is in it's second year. Fuelled by a coffee and snack with a lovely sewing friend it was around the showground for a spot of shopping. 

There was an incredible amount of local yarn dyers and spinners and all sorts I felt a bit out of my depth! I did however hit up Sincerley Louise and fan girled her again. Then bought a shark knit kit. As you do.

The future Squish the Shark

Rounding off the month nicely was then the Norwich Sewcials Spring Retreat! A three day stay at Barnham Broom overlooking lovely green countryside, surrounding by people all sewing together, bliss!

Much hilarity was had, cocktails drunk and tasty food consumed. Here are a few highlights! Do check out our website if you think you might enjoy a Spa & Sew weekend.

I tried my first ever attempt at cross stitch with this cute little kit from Sew Sophie Crafts. The best bit of sewing retreat is the wealth of knowledge in the room all sharing tips and ideas!

There was even time to make a little knitted frog during the weekend as people were happily stitching away. This is the Dot Pebbles Knits pattern that has taken on a life of its own on Instagram. (Search for #imadethisfrog and you'll be astounded). He has wire knitted into his arms and legs to make him pose-able! I figured he should be called Barnham after the place he was made.

Belt Up Fifi - Agnes is Here

 Despite the slightly aggressive title, this is quite a nice post! Let me explain... (Grab a coffee it's a long one.)

Having tried on about 100 pairs of wide leg trousers in various shops, obviously none of them fit. I then bought the Closet Core Mitchell Trousers when they first came out with good intention of getting stuck into those. It didn't happen. I think the complexity and lack of time on my part put me off. They are still on the list, but relegated to next autumn!

Style Arc then popped up with the new Spencer Woven Pant which looked a more casual style. I am a fan of Style ARc and the fit so whizzed up a toile. Ohhh they were not good. The pattern is probably fine but the front pleats gave me some seriously unwanted crotch volume. 

Plus I have realized a fixed waistband just doesn't work for me anymore. They fit on about 1 day every revolution around the center of the Milky Way.

The very wise Fabric Wrangler then had a word and gently stated 'You don't have to reinvent the wheel' in her mystical Oracle way. 

Hmm.. you're right. I don't have to reinvent the wheel - but I can whack a belt on it. 

Enter my TNT pattern - Style Arc Fifi Woven Pants. Of which I made many last year. 

The flat front style and wide waistband are much more flattering for me. (Although I have been informed we're not allowed to say 'flattering' anymore but tough, there it is).

To get that 'trouser' feel I thought it might be nice to add some belt loops so that the back elastic would be hidden a little and create a 'fixed waistband' illusion. I then got carried away and decided to make a matching belt!

I had some amazing teal stretch linen from Minerva bought for a Heather Blazer, however I pilfered it for this project instead.  

I did add some top stitching to create a faux fly and back yoke detail however I should have used a brighter, more contrasting thread as you actually can't see it!

This great video tutorial popped up on Minerva by pure fluke on the day I'd decided to tackle the belt. It made the whole measurement and construction process so easy. 

Essentially you measure waist + 30cm and interface a strip of fabric.This gets stitched and voila, the base of your belt is done.

The fun part is cracking out gadgets. I have a belt hole punch which I use for rivets, snaps etc and eyelets so this got used. I also have a Big Green Machine that makes inserting such hardware a breeze so it gave me a chance to play with that too.

And comfortable wide leg trousers were achieved! They don't look the greatest from the back but I figured that's not my problem I can't see it. 

The stretch of the linen makes them very comfortable to wear and aids with pulling over the hips. It was lovely material to work with and I'd definitely buy some more. Obviously as it's linen, they do crease as soon as you look at them.

 A little added extra to this post is my attempt at a Tilly and the Buttons Agnes Top. I bought this after it was re-released in the extended size range. I think I made a Size 8 thinking I didn't want it too tight but I did have to take it in a bit and is more of a Size 7. 

It's a fairly simple sew, not much to tell you about that! The instructions are very clear and illustrated in true Tilly style. It's more of a wider neck than I'm used to but I don't hate it. 

 What I do love is the beautiful jersey bought from Hey Sew Sister - this is the Monet Waterlillies cotton jersey and the quality is wonderful. Do check out Georgie's fabric shop - not only is she a lovely human but her fabric choices are gorgeous. 

 Topped off with a little silvery moon sewing label by Sarah Hearts.

If you made it down here well done and thank you! Wishing you all a great week. 

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Snap! It's a Heavy Shirt

 A little menswear today!

We were after a new men's shirt pattern for MrCC and knowing how well Wardrobe By Me patterns fit him - that was the natural place to start.

I opted for the Heavy Shirt - described as an 'oversized shirt for medium-weight fabrics such as flannel, corduroy, twill, denim, or canvas. The shirt has a collar and stand, front placket, chest pockets, and two-piece sleeves with cuffs.'

With regard to size I cut a 2XL and like their other patterns, this was true to size. 

This amazing blue brushed cotton is part of the Minerva core range (bought not gifted!!) and is just so vivid and soft.  I may have to borrow it as it appears to fit Olivia (my mannequin) just fine aswell.

The construction is fairly straight forward save for the two piece sleeve which has a funny little cuff placket I had not come across before. Neither a bind, nor a chimney. A sort of hybrid!

There is however a handy little video on how to deal with that and that too, was fairly straightforward once explained.

The shirt has several pocket options however none of them were requested so a 'plain' shirt was produced as ordered!

As Bagel Cat was present for a lot of the sewing and sitting on the fabric, this label seemed appropriate:

 The best bit of this make is that I had a go at snap fasteners! I ordered some antique gold snap fasteners from TrimmingShop along with the die that inserts them for the Big Green Machine. I love that machine - no fuss hardware installation. 

It was a bit trickier than buttons in so far there was no room for error on the corresponding sides of the button placket. The plaid pattern actually helped with that.

I think I did the placket the wrong way round (male/female directions) but never mind. Gender neutral shirt. 

I am pleased to report the shirt went down well. It was put on immediately and has been worn regularly since!

Another great Wardrobe By Me pattern - excellent instructions and helpful videos to go along. Would recommend. 

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If Staedtler did Coats - Butterick 6720

That time I made a High-Visibility coat disguised as Butterick B6720. Or rather a fluorescent highlighter pen...

So pink it can be seen from space. What with all these UFOs flying around at the moment I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

This absolute mega-fluro boiled wool is from Rainbow Fabrics in a batch I bought before Christmas. I am please to say I have used it all up! Two Alex coats and a B6720 later and there is now room in my sewing space.

PSA – Rainbow Fabrics have 40% off the wools at the moment and there are some beautiful colours left for Spring. If you want a bright pink like this one you can find some here. 

This is a ‘wool-mix’ and perfect for a lighter coat as it has a little drape and softness to it. It cut and sews wonderfully and I didn’t have any issues with it at all. (The fabric – not the coat construction!)

Minerva were having a February ‘#sewnwithButterick’ challenge with prizes to be won. At the beginning of the month, I was kindly gifted this Butterick B6720 pattern. (It sounds so formal without a name!) I have not made many Big 4 patterns, being put off by the ease in previous makes, and so I wasn’t initially sure what size to make.

The chart put me at a L-XL however the pattern comes in two pattern envelopes. S-L and then XL-XXL.

I made a gamble and went for the L pattern envelope assuming there would be crazy ease in there. Once I’d cut all my pattern pieces out I did give them a measure and it was actually a little snug. To counter this, I graded about 1.5cm outwards on each piece and therefore – it ended up being an XL in any event. From this experiment, I would say the pattern is true to size!

The pattern is a classic design – dare I say ‘timeless’? Princess seams give it a nice shape, the back is slightly curved and the pockets are patched on – woop no welts!

 I did modify this coat in a couple of minor ways. The first was to line the pocket pieces. I felt it would just give a much nicer finish to have the pocket interiors lined in some soft satin to match the jacket inside. This was simply a case of stitching 2 pieces together, flipping inside out and ironing. The pocket was then just treated as normal and top-stitched onto the coat where indicated. 

The second ‘modification’ was to entirely ignore the lining instructions. There was some faffy kind of hand-stitching to seam allowance method that I couldn’t be bothered with. I opted to just sew the lining of the coat in it’s entirety – like a mini-lining-jacket – stitch it into the facings of the coat and bag it out. (Much like the Alex Coat method – which had I not just made this I may not have been brave enough to do).

The lining I used was this amazing Ted Baker dead-stock from Fabworks – it has an iguana on!!! ‘Linings must always be jazzy’ mantra remains in place. This is a high-quality satin and you could probably make clothing out of it not just use it as lining. 

There are four very sharp corners in the facing at the collar which presented some challenge. No amount of pivoting and pulling could result in a crisp finish, so a ‘bit messy’ was the result but I can live with that. It was not worth my sanity to re-do it for the 19th time. 

As the wool was a little thinner on this coat, I did pop some tailors shoulder pads in to keep the shape. Not sure if I’ve gone a bit too ‘80s with that but it does the job of non-saggy shoulders.

No buttons, just a belt on this one which means the button-hole maker could breath a sigh of relief.

So here we have it – a pink coat! Cutting it a little fine on the Butterick February front but it got there in the end.

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