I just couldn’t stop!

There are now not 1 but 2 Tara Tank dresses hanging in my closet!  The first one will be my birthday dress.

Dress after laundering to "bloom" the bindings

It took some ripping and restarting for me to get happy with my binding choices, but what’s a sewing project without some ripping?  I first thought that using raw-edged tan binding would give the eye a place to rest with all these prints.  Turns out, it was just kinda “blah.”

You can see some in-progress photos on Instagram, and I’m sure you’ll agree that the tan bindings were all wrong.  I didn’t want to trash them entirely because the tan’s raw edges bloomed so nicely.

I could see that I needed a colorful binding on top.  I had used the dappled print for the waistband but didn’t have enough of that for the bindings.  Fortunately I had plenty of the coordinating striped fabric and layering it over the tan worked out just beautifully.

(I don’t think you can tell anything about the bloom from the photo above, but if you click on it Flickr! will allow you to enlarge the photo.)

When I finished the birthday dress, there was this chambray that raised its hand politely asking to be another Tara Tank dress.  Since I was on a roll and had the construction down pat, I indulged it.

Chambray version

I’m not sure about that ruffle, but I’m letting it stay for now.  Once I’ve worn the dress, I’ll decide whether than stays or goes.  I’m not sure a woman my age needs ruffles about her knees.  It does make the dress cover my knees, so that’s a plus.

I may be done with this pattern for a while.  Don’t lay any bets, but I think I’ll move on now.  ;-)


Ta Daa!

Tara & Frankie

I’m totally sold on the Tara Tank Dress and don’t get me started on the Frankies. This is a perfect summer outfit!

At this point I’m scrambling to finish a dress version of the Tara Tank before Saturday. You can see a couple of bodice photos over on Instagram.  I expect I’ll start putting some of my in-progress photos over there as Flickr! has become a colossal pain lately and I’m weary of referencing the photos in blog posts the way I’ve been doing.


I said it.

After 18 years she’s tired of it.  I don’t think I’ll stop entirely, but nowadays there are easier ways to share my sewing.

Instagram may be my next wave

or not.

Tara’s Tank Take Two

Tara tank take 2

This kind of top reminds me of toddler clothes–fun little details, trims, and all matchy. You can’t see the matchy part yet because I haven’t made the Frankies to go with it, but here’s my second run at Tara’s Tank Dress.

This time I added the bodice tucks, though I didn’t use the pattern piece for that.  I simply measured the pattern’s tucks, tucked the fabric, then cut my plain, altered pattern piece from the tucked fabric.  That worked great and was easier than trying to alter the tucked bodice piece to match my previous success.

I must say that my other Tara/Frankie outfit is fun to wear and I find myself reaching for it over and over again.  I expect this one will be the same.

The next Frankie pants will be made from the tan linen that trims the top, another fabric from my Craftsy haul.  These will be the third pair.   I haven’t shown you my second, sewn from gray linen, which are exactly like the drawing I made.  This one:

Frankie Plan

This next time, I’m eliminating the back yoke and pockets.  I learned from the second pair that I don’t use those back pockets. (Wha???) The fabric has so much drape that the pockets sag when a phone is crammed in them.

And the front pockets hold the phone just fine.

I suppose I could put some decorative pockets back there, but I’m kind of in a hurry.  My machines are going for their annual trip to the health spa on Friday, so I’m hoping to speed through the Frankies tomorrow or Thursday so I can wear them this weekend.  I’ll let you know how that works out.

Summer nightgowns

A few years ago, in one of my many attempts to burn through stash, I sewed a summer nightgown from green nylon tricot .  (Why I had nylon tricot in my stash is a puzzle in itself.)  Though I’ve worn it plenty, this nightgown was never my first choice for sleepwear.

In the first place, Kwik Sew patterns (like Marcy Tilton’s Vogue patterns) never fit me properly in the shoulders despite any adoration I may feel for the pattern illustration.  Is it shoulder angle, width or what?  I don’t know and have seldom been able to arrive at any satisfactory result.

Most condemning, this nightgown was made from nylon–nylon–tricot.  Calling it hot and sticky in July is an understatement.

This spring I decided to replace it with a cooler version.  I wanted a thin fabric that draped and chose rayon jersey.  I found a couple of rayon/lycra blends at Fabric dot com and ordered them. Considering my patterns, I bypassed Kwik Sew 3342 in favor of TSW Ann’s Tank.  I love the fit of that and knew I could lengthen it a bit and have a great nightgown.

I added seven inches to the length and redrew the side seam straight down from the hip, eliminating the side drape.  I made the pink one first:

Ann's Tank as nightgown

After a sleep test, I decided that although this fabric does not have good recovery, the nightgown pattern is a winner. The only problem was that the hemline didn’t hang exactly right.  I had cut it straight across after lengthening, and the resulting garment still had a tiny drape at the side seams.

Happy I didn’t sew my favorite fabric first! I curved the pattern’s hemline a bit and commenced sewing version 2:

Another Ann's Tank nightgown

These were almost instant sewing gratification.  I made the second one from cutting to closet in less than an hour and a half.

This last one has not had a sleep test, but the fabric seems to have better recovery. If the washing machine and dryer don’t return the first one to it’s original shape, I’ll be shopping for more rayon/lycra jersey.

You know that won’t offend me at all!

More about my new tank

A couple of you asked just how I added the dart to my Tara’s Tank to make the waistline level.  This is also known as an FBA (full bust adjustment).  I don’t have a full bust, so I just call it adding a dart.  :-)

The dart gives me more length over the bust and allows the waistline to hang level on my body.  I believe this is also the cause of the swayback problem that folks are always trying to get rid of by shortening the back of the pattern. Things have to balance.  If your front isn’t long enough, you’ll see diagonal pulls going from the bust around to the back waist.

Think about it.  Balance.

Anyway, when I pinned the tissue together to test the pattern’s fit, I could see some gaping in the front armhole. On me that usually indicates the need for a dart.  I had already noticed the waistband problem on photos of the dress–not the ones on the pattern’s website, but on others I found modeled here and there.

When I looked at my pattern’s waistline, I could see a distinct shortening in the front below my bust.  I tied a band around my body at the level waist.   The back came down to the band and the front was raised up.  I measured the amount the front was raised above the level waist and made sure my dart added that much length to the front of the garment.

Clear as mud?

Perhaps some illustration will help.  Lesley suggested the (excellent) tutorial at Curvy Sewing Collective, which is exactly how I created my dart.  If you don’t need the extra width of that sort of dart, Shirley Adams illustrates a method which adds only length in step two of the Sewing Connection’s Darts, Darts, Darts page.

Hope that helps.

I have accepted a challenge to make a dress from this pattern by the next ASG neighborhood group meeting.  I’ve bought fabric–quilt shop cottons (can you say $$$)–that ought to be perfect for it.  Now that I’ve told you about it, I’m committed!