Saturday, 1 October 2016

Grainline Willow Tank

I had to wait until I had made more than one of these to give a real review, because my first tank was really short due to lack of fabric and I didn't feel like I could judge the pattern by it. 

This was an unplanned pattern purchase.  I was in Seattle looking at what sort of constitutes a stash (the fabrics left in my mother's old stash in our basement) and a small tank seemed just the way to get rid of so many floaty wovens.  But then I got distracted by this amazing scrap of Nani Iro rayon double gauze, from Miss Matabi on etsy.  In retrospect I should have waited because the fabric was dramatically shorter than the tank - about 4 inches, I think.

I cut a straight size 4.
Too tight across the back and the armholes.
Lots of bias taping.  My bias tape technique needs work, it always stretches out.
For the bottom I made the most minimal hem that I could, considering that double gauze unravels fast so it was still about 1.5 cm total.

It's a very easy pattern.

The second time I used a very drapey, spongey rayon from emmaonesock. The problem with such drapey wovens is cutting them out, ugh, as bad as silk for shifty and slipperyness.  However, this time around I didn't have the pattern instructions so I had to make do without.  I mean, there isn't much to surprise you about this pattern. 

Sorry for the low resolution of my photos.  They were taken by my cousin in Edinburgh centre, using my phone (which is pretty crappy). 

I did wonder if my cutting out was bad and that's why it seems so big compared to the first version. Since it was a paper pattern and I had cut it out, I kept the size 4 rather than trying to cross size lines.  I added 1 inch to the middle back.  I expected to scoop out the armscye too, but after trying it on I was shocked -- A change of fabric makes a huge change in the result!  This top was so drapey and big.

I stay stitched all my curved lines first this time.  I did the first half of the French seams and then assessed and decided it was worth my efforts to raise the darts.  They were drooping something like two inches below my bust.  So I unpicked and resewed them about two inches higher by marking where I wanted them to end.  It wasn't bad, just the dart edge didn't get caught in my new French seam so I had to do some emergency zig zags on the inside.  Also I made them physiologic rather than matched on each side, and I think that makes them look uneven - maybe I should have put them in the same place...

Also as you may or may not notice, my amazing inability to hem a straight line presented itself here.  But my struggles with Grainline's perennially too-narrow bias tape worked out ok, although I thought my neckline was all out of shape, some ironing improved it and it sits fine when worn.  I attached the bias to the outside with about a 1/8 seam allowance, and then folded it twice to the inside as I sewed it down on the second pass.  This actually worked ok.  It felt like using a rolled hem foot. 

The end product is amazing.  I'm really really pleased, both with this fabric, and with the result.  If I made the dress I would probably put in the effort to make an upper back-widening instead of widening the entire back body.  It would be nice to have the instructions prior to making the dress but I think they might be lost in the void.  Who knew pdf patterns had so many pluses??  Is there anything in the instructions that's not obvious? 

Overall: I recommend a fabric with some drape to take advantage of the shape of the top.  I like it!  I will make it again and might try the dress, although how do you attach the bottom part to the top?

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