Back in 2013 I made my first shirt ever, using Colette’s Sorbetto Tank Top pattern. I decided to try it again, as I figured it would be an easy pattern to get me back into sewing clothing. I also wanted to use some fabric I’ve had in my stash for a few years now (originally intended for a Sewaholic Lonsdale dress, I think). It’s Bloom Stretch Cotton Sateen, in navy with white specks (from Fabric.com, ordered through Amazon back in – wow – 2013!, no longer available on either site).
The first time around, I used a Keepsake Calico cotton, which was pretty stiff for this shirt, I think. (This was when I was really first getting into sewing, so didn’t really know much about different fabrics yet. I was also somewhat overwhelmed by the variety, so stuck with the cotton area that was most familiar to me.) The top was also a bit too short for my comfort. So this time, I decided to use the stretch cotton sateen and I lengthened the top by 2 inches and made the armholes slightly bigger. Since this is a tank, I didn’t have to worry about matching up sleeves (whew! — one step at time to pattern adjustments, Danielle!)
As part of my resolution to dedicate more time to sewing, I started by cutting out the pieces for this pattern during one of Dom’s naps. (I found a note I had written on the back of the pattern instructions from when I had traced these pieces with my adjustments — and it was from September!)
(side note, I think I saw on the Monthly Stitch blog that someone just sewed a bag that had 50 separate pieces, due to the linings and interfacings, etc. — yeah, 2 pieces sounds like a good start to me)
I actually sat down to start sewing it about a week later, one night after he had gone to bed. Since my sewing room is right across the (narrow) hall from his bedroom, I moved by machine, table top ironing board, and my handy little kit down to our dining room.
It was clear to me that I was a little rusty – see the embarrassing picture of the staystitching below. Luckily, it’s covered by the bias tape, but also, you can’t even see the thread on the fabric because it blends so well.
I was very pleased with how the front pleat turned out. Neat and even. And I think this material will be better than the Calico cotton from the first one, which got super wrinkly after the first washing, and made it difficult for the pleat to lay flat.
I bought navy bias tape for the top, but then started thinking that I might want to use a contrasting color that would pop (like pink or green). I went back and forth on the idea for a little bit, but when I checked out some other options, nothing really stood out to me, so I stuck with the navy.
Now I have another big admission: I broke another sewing cardinal rule: I didn’t double check that the size cut out of the pattern still fit. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I added a couple of inches to the length and trimmed a teeny bit off the armholes but I failed to mention that I had used the same size from when I first made this shirt 3.5 years ago. I’ve had a baby (and still haven’t lost the accompanying weight) since then. I tried it on after adding the bias tape to the neckline and was really bummed to discover that it was too tight. I mentally kicked myself for not re-doing my measurements to be sure it still aligned with the pattern.
I also realized that the armholes are still too small for my comfort (too high up in my armpit to be comfortable for me). I decided to open them up a bit more before adding the bias tape.
Needless to say, there will be no pictures of me wearing the shirt, so you’ll have to make-do with pictures of it on a hanger. (someday I’ll get a dressform!)
In the end, I’m actually pretty pleased with the construction, despite how long it has been since I last sewed a wearable item (a Sewaholic Renfrew top back in 2015 — though the armholes on that shirt are also a little uncomfortable). However, while this material has a nice stretch, I think it still might not be completely right for this top.
General Lessons Learned:
- always double check measurements before diving in, especially if it’s a pattern cut out long before actually sewing it up
- take my time with construction (try not to get impatient with the more “boring” steps, like finishing seams)
Pattern Specific Lessons Learned:
- use a fabric with more flow
- re-print and cut out updated pattern pieces to fit my current measurements
- If updated pattern pieces don’t meet my needs: add additional length to bottom and make bigger armholes
Have you made this top? What adjustments or embellishments have you made? What fabric do you recommend using?