(Mis)Adventures in Sewing: The Tiny Pocket Tank

I’ve been dabbling in some sewing over the last month attempting to sew up a giant stack of fabric I picked up in spring. I had high hopes of sewing up a fresh new summer wardrobe, but one thing led to another and my summer wardrobe is now being sewn in September. C’est la vie. Thankfully tights, leggings, and sweaters can be layered so summery clothes can still be worn in the cooler months.

In any case, I started this little journey by printing out my copy of Grainline Studio’s Tiny Pocket Tank and proceeded to cut it out in a muslin fabric to give it a try. I was a little nervous about the pocket & doing the bias neckline since I’ve never tried either, but it’s a simple pattern that is very well written, easy to follow, and has great online tutorials and tips. I was optimistic that I could handle it.

 The muslin I’d purchased at a box store for fabric and although I thought I’d picked a higher quality fabric from their selection, it just was pretty terrible. If I even looked at it, it frayed instantly and a whole lot. I kept going, though, despite the fact that it was not fun work at all. When I got to the bias neckline, I discovered the bias binding piece I’d cut was at least 6″ short. Already frustrated this put me over the edge. Flabbergasted and beside myself, I set it aside for a time-out.

A couple days later I hauled my muslin Tiny Pocket Tank out and tore through the bin of supplies to try to figure out what on Earth caused that bias binding on the neck to be so short. Eventually I discovered that I’d managed to miss taping together the final piece of the bias binding when I was assembling the pattern. Doh! 6inches recovered and mystery solved, I tried it on for good measure. 

It. Was. Huge. 

I’d heard about sizing issues with this pattern so I’d measured myself very carefully, but it was still at least a size too big. I called my efforts to salvage the muslin and tossed that little disaster in the bin. I thought the best course of action was to start fresh. I sized down and tried again with one of the fabrics I’d purchased from Alewives Fabrics in spring.

The results? Meet my new favorite top.

blue det 2It’s far from perfect, but I’m really happy with how it turned out. I managed to sew the pocket on decently.

blue detAnd this time the bias binding on the neckline turned out great. Amazing what can happen when you have the pattern printed properly, isn’t it?

It’s still plenty big, but it’s more of a roomy fit than an ‘I’m drowing’ situation. I find it obscenely comfortable. The bust dart on the side opposite the pocket is a little wonky, too, but I think that’s due in part thanks to my small bust line and my never having seen a busy dart. The fact that I was managing without a proper tailor’s chalk didn’t help either. The rogue dart is still in the realm of things I’m comfortable wearing though, so mostly that’s just me being overly picky, I think. Overall I love the fit and walked away from this project feeling pretty confidant. That’s saying something because I’m really not much of a sewist and my confidence is really not all that in this realm of craft.

I went ahead and attempted to make another Tiny Pocket Tank in a seersucker I also got from Alewives Fabrics. This was kind of an experiment for me since I’d never used seersucker before. I didn’t quite anticipate how stretchy this fabric would be so – I won’t sugar coat it – I found it to be kind of a struggle.

plaidThe stretchy-ness of the fabric really tested both my patience and my skills, but it turned out just fine. It’s definitely not as nice as its blue cousin above, but it’s still every bit as wearable. Looking at the photo, I could have ironed the underarms a bit better there -they aren’t as lumpy in reality as they appear, but I’ve been waiting days to get photos with decent light so we’re going with it. That’s what I get for making my summer wardrobe in September!

blueSomeday I’ll get some photos of these on my person, but for today I’ll just be showing you by way of my handy clothesline. A little bit of trial and error, but I’ve got two new tops to show for it that I really love. I’ll get this sewing thing down yet!