Right, I’ve got a lot of sewing from April to get blogged, so prepare yourself for lots of posts this month! First up is one of the most useful garments I’ve ever sewn.
In a Nutshell:
A seriously versatile basic tank with some cute details, that has become my new favourite top!
The Knit Sweetheart Top from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual. I made the sleeveless variation which Gertie models in the book in black too. Such a copycat! My measurements on Gertie’s sizing chart put me at a 6 for bust and hips, and an 8 at the waist. I normally have to go down a size at the waist for most patterns, not up, so this is drafted for some serious curves! I cut a straight size 6 in the end because I don’t mind things being close fitting at the waist, and I figured the fabric was stretchy enough for it to work.
The black cotton spandex knit from Girl Charlee. I love this fabric and must buy it in more colours! Soft, excellent stretch and recovery, decent drape and a medium weight. Absolutely perfect for this pattern.
New skills learnt:
This was the first time I’ve ever sewn this type of knit binding (a wrapped binding), as I normally use a band. Gertie’s technique is slightly different to the one detailed in this Colette post, and I might try their method next time to avoid the raw edge inside.
This is the first time I’ve sewn a Gertie pattern, but I was impressed by how easy the instructions were to follow. The book gives the method for the cap sleeve top, then has separate pages showing how you can create different variations. There was something important missing from the tank variation instructions, however. Nowhere did it say to trim off the 1.5cm seam allowance around the armscye. Now, if I’d probably engaged my brain I’d have figured out I should have done this myself, but as it was I made the top up and couldn’t understand why the armholes were so small! The problem was compounded by it asking you to cut the binding 2.5cm shorter than the opening. The finished armholes were extremely snug and bit odd looking. Not uncomfortable exactly, but I could see them becoming so on a hot summer day.
Then I realised my mistake, cursed myself loudly for a couple of minutes, and after wearing it one more time in the hope it might magically ease up and be okay (guess what, it didn’t) I set about hacking off the arm binding (easy as I literally just had to cut that off rather than unpick it) and redoing the binding, this time only cutting it 6mm shorter than the opening. I’m so glad I went to the trouble of doing this as the finished garment not only feels more comfortable, but it looks better too!
Time taken: 1 hour 35 mins initially, plus an extra 30 min to redo the arm holes.
I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say this is probably the best, most useful garment I’ve ever made. Yes, it’s just a black tank top, but I wear vest tops all summer (and in the winter as an extra underlayer) and in black this will go with most of my skirts and trousers. Also, it gives excellent bra strap coverage (always a winner!) and I love the shape of the straps at the front. The neckline is perfect too: I loves me a sweetheart neckline and the pleats give a bit of added interest at the front. It’s feminine and sexy without being overly fussy or revealing. Here’s some more pics. Apologies for the last two not being in focus. Not sure what went wrong there, but I totally blame Andy!
I think the fit is very nearly perfect too. There’s very little swayback wrinkling going on (I seem to remember Gertie has a swayback, so perhaps she drafts to compensate!) and the generous curve to the hips means the fabric doesn’t ride up there, as RTW knit tops so often do on me. I do think it could perhaps be a little tighter fitting at the waist as you see a few wrinkles–especially when it’s tucked in (see pics below)–but it’s fine for wearing untucked and I don’t often tuck in my tops anyway.
Changes for next time:
I’ll definitely be making this top again and again, with sleeves and without. The only changes I might make are a minor swayback adjustment and to move the centre front pleats a little lower, or space them out slightly more, as I think they’d look better that way. You know, centred between the girls rather than higher up. Hey, I’ve had two children–things are going to droop a little. Oh, and I might try scooping the back neckline a little lower too, to give an alternative summer look.
I also want to use this pattern as a base for drafting other garments, like a maxi dress and a bodysuit. If it fits this well I figure I should make the most of it!
Pattern: £1.75 (The book was £17.49 and features ten patterns, so approx £1.75 each)
Fabric: £7.00 (£9.95 per metre. Used 0.7m)
Total cost: £8.75
Totally bargainous! Looking forward to replacing all my old Next camis with these tops 🙂
Has anyone else made a Gertie pattern? Or have you found your perfect knit tank somewhere else?