My favorite things over the past few weeks have been walking around historic Charleston and house gazing, spending time with the husband and baby, and making anything in flowy, drapy rayon. So these photos pretty much sum up the end of a beautiful summer. Well that, and it also reinforces the fact that I don’t know how to pose for photos without holding Liam on my hip. I suppose he is my greatest accessory and my favorite photo prop. If you have been following along with my sewing blog then first of all, let me say thank you. But also, if you remember, this is not the first time I blogged about this tank top (oh here it is). The original idea for this tank top came last summer and this floral one is now my fifth in my collection. No matter what stage my body is in: pregnant, not pregnant, postpartum, just ate a big burrito, wishing I was eating a big burrito… I always fall back on flowy boho-style tank tops. They go great with skinny jeans, cut off shorts, or wide leg pants (as seen above).
I found this old gem from a never-blogged-about photo session. This version is made in pandalicous voile and I wore it last summer when I was still breastfeeding all the-live-long day, in dire need of some Vitamin D, and apparently thought my feet were pretty funny.
The Fabric: Art Gallery Fabrics rayon
The Pattern: self drafted tank using my favorite flowy ready-to-wear tank top. Follow these steps for how you can make your own pattern from your favorite tank:
- Pick out your favorite tank from your closet. The one you wear all summer and can’t live without.
- Lay out some paper on a table or floor (either taped together computer paper or a roll of parchment paper).
- Fold your old tank top in half, lengthwise, and place on top of the pattern paper, holding it in place with weights or tape.
- Using a pencil and a small ruler, trace around the tank top leaving exactly 5/8th inches around the tank at the side seam and the bottom. This will be your seam allowance. You do not have to leave a seam allowance along the folded edge or neckline.
- On your paper make sure you write down which line was the folded edge (where the folded lengthwise portion of the tank was laying on the paper).
- Follow steps 3-5 for the back bodice as well. (for my tank top, I actually used the same pattern piece for both front and back. This works well if you want the back neckline to match the neckline in the front. However if you want a higher back piece or something different like a racer back, then make sure you are tracing both a front and a back piece and labeling them as such.
- Cut our your patterns pieces from the paper. Now you should have your bodice pieces!
- You will use bias taping for the neckline and straps so you do not have to make any pattern pieces for this. I’m not going to re-invent the wheel so here is an excellent tutorial from Dana on how to create your own bias tape. This way you can match your bias tape to your bodice fabric. Or if you want to use store bought bias tape then carry on, my friend.
- Right sides together sew the side seams of the bodice using a 5/8 inch seam allowance.
- Finish off your seam using a serger or zig zag stitch because rayon will fray!
- Turn the garment right side out.
- You are now going to add your bias tape to finish the necklines, arm holes and to create your straps. First stop and go get a glass of water/wine/lemonade. This will take a minute or two. I made about 75 inches of bias tape and then cut into four pieces: 26in for my right side straps and arm holes 26 inches for left side strap and arm hole, 11 inches for the front neck line, and 11 inches for back neck line. Your numbers may be different if you have a shorter torso or want shorter straps. I would wait and cut your bias tape as you go along.
- First, sandwich in the raw edge of the neckline with the double fold bias tape and stitch close to the edge. But makes sure your stitch is catching both sides of the bias tape and also that your slippery rayon bodice fabric is still sandwiched in-between.
- Repeat step 5 with the back neckline.
- Next, pin your 3 and 4 bias tape pieces with the arm holes sandwiched in, but before you begin sewing in place, try on the garment to decide how long you want your straps to be. From there you can adjust how much of the bias tape you want to use. Sew in place.
- Hem the bottom of the tank and you are done my friend!
Final Thoughts: I decided to go back a day later and reinforce the straps at the area where they meet the neckline and sew a small “x” with backstitches in place. Just to ensure I don’t have a strap malfunction one day while I am at the park or grocery store.
If you are new to sewing, then this might all look like Greek to you, but you know what, just play around with the bias tape and you’ll never believe what you can do. I am now a sucker for finishing off all my tanks and hems using bias tape but if you would of given me a pack of bias tape just 3 years ago, I would of thrown in back at ya and said no thanks!
until next time, may your tank tops blow in the breeze and if you live in Charleston, may you be lucky and get a breeze sometime soon! xoxo Priscilla