Summer · Tops


This summer Joe and I spent most of July travelling to hot places: Lake Couer d'Alene in Idaho, Phoenix, AZ, and Springfield, MA. For our trip to Phoenix, especially, I basically just wanted to wear my bathing suit, but as some clothing was required (on the plane, at least), I ended up making a few different tank tops.

I've been Pinterest stalking tank top ideas for a while now, and have really been wanting some loose, strappy tanks that I could just throw on for maximum coolness. Pinterest is full of these and most of them are the same basic shape: low cut, fitted through the bust, lots of ease in the waist and hips. Fortunately, that's a very easy silhouette to copy! And once you've got the basic shape, you can just mix and match the strap placement.

I used McCall's 7158 as a base pattern because it had more or less what I wanted, although I wasn't crazy about the shallowness of the v-neck or the width of the strap placement across the bust. This was a quick alteration, though–I simply copied the pattern and then extended the armscye line for a more steeply angled v-neck. This brought the shoulder straps in a bit, as well–a very simple adjustment. I also ended up chopping a lot of height off the back piece, which ended up somewhere around the base of my neck. I'd totally make a tank like that in the future, but I wanted something lower this time around. For the hems, I just used my Sewaholic Granville pattern to curve the front and back, leaving the back a bit longer than the front.

After that, though, I basically didn't pay any attention to the pattern or its instructions, although I'm sure they're lovely. Instead, I cut strips of bias binding and used it to bind the front and back bodices along the top seams. For the v-neck I first stay-stiched the point and then sewed across the binding strip at a 45 degree angle from the point. This basically produces what looks like a mitered corner on the inside and the outside and gives you a nice sharp v rather than a sort of bland droopy suggestion of a v (which is what I got on my previous attempts). FYI for anyone trying this–doing an invereted mitered corner didn't work for me, although I'm sure it can if you're a more precise sewer than I am.

After that I simply used the bias binding to finish the armscye and then continued that binding into the straps–I needed about 21.5″ of bias binding for each strap. These tanks were so easy to do that I ended up making three different versions. I had intended to mix up the straps, but since I was sewing them right before we left for Phoenix, I didn't bother and now that were back in the cooler Pacific Northwest I'm not sure I'll make any more this summer. Still, I'll definitely make a few next summer once I've restocked my rayon challis stash. Challis was the perfect fabric for these–breathable, light, wonderful drape, and easy to clean. Too bad it wrinkles like an Internet denizen who hasn't discovered that one weird trick. Still, I loved wearing these this summer–so easy to just throw on and then enjoy the sun!



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