I think everyone has had that magical pair of jeans, or t-shirt or sweater that you would buy in fifty different colours if they made them because it just fits perfectly. Well, this garment for me is a white Eddy Bauer tank top given to me by my in-laws ages ago. I love it because it’s light, basic (but not too basic) and fits perfectly. I’m a small-chested, short, hippy lady, so I find tops tend to bag up top and cling (or ride up!) on my hips. But this magical top does none of things.
Of course I scoured the Internet and stores for more of this tank, but to no avail. I thought once, I found a similar top, but it wasn’t quite right. Now, two years later, The Top has been relegated to sleeping and lounging as it’s stained and full of holes.
I’d seen tutorials online on recreating your favourite jeans so I figured why not The Top?
I started by laying out my top and doing a rubbing with chalk, as I’d seen in more than one tutorial on recreating your favourite jeans. I can see this working well on denim as the seams are significantly thicker. For this cotton, tracing around the top onto pattern paper would have been just as effective. The one thing I adjusted was the strap length. I shortened them as I find most tops sit too low on my chest. Then, I sewed up a quick muslin, made a few adjustments (gave my self an extra inch at the bust and a little more length) and adjusted my pattern.
But first, I had to figure out the whole but to thing. I tested it out on a woven and it turned out to be significantly harder to recreate on my super stretch stripes.
I decided a while ago to focus more on basics and less on pretty dresses. Though I love dresses, I don’t get near as much wear out of them. A large reason why I haven’t made too many easy tops is I hate working with knits. Most of my first attempt was learning to deal with a super stretchy knit and you’ll notice it’s very long. This is mostly because it stretched out. I had to do some major iron-work to get the arm openings to stop gaping as they got spectacularly stretched out when I finished them with self-made bias tape. I will take the opportunity to again emphasize how much I love bias tape – especially with prints that add a graphic element when cut on the bias (ie. Stripes that become diagonals).
The biggest problem was the side view. I didn’t manage to get the curve right and got these awkward points at the corners. I easily fixed that by using masking tape to mark how I wanted it to fall.
The second major problem has to do with the straight across hem at the back. I had a curve in the front (which was also longer than the back somehow – but this might have to do with my generous derrière). Also an easy fix. Bring up the front and bring down the back.
So take two, went significantly better. The fabric and I found some tips to help with the stretch (but more on that later).
I think I nailed the rounded hem front and back. The one thing I think I’ll change for the next time (and there will be a next time!) is lengthening the straps again. It’s just a tad too high now.
I will also play around with how I reinforce the button band. I find it just a little too stiff.
But overall, a great tank! I’d actually say it looks better than the original! I’m excited to pop out another in the cute yellow and pink bird patterned stretch knit I bought last week.
I feel I could churn out a million of these just to see my tag in there. What a thrill!