Southport tank hack

One of my goals this year is to stretch my creative muscles a bit and have a go at some pattern hacks. This one isn’t a particularly complex one but baby steps.

I’ve had this cotton lawn in my stash for about 18 months and I was originally planning to make a Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank with it but when I got the pattern out to make a start I had a change of mind. The straps seemed really long so I was worried about how it would fit but I didn’t want to make a toile.

That’s when I remembered that I’d seen Kelli of True Bias hack her Southport dress into a tank top. I like the way my Southport dress fits so I thought I would do the same.

southport tank

I didn’t follow Kelli’s tutorial as I didn’t want to cut into my pattern. Instead I just laid the bodice pieces on my fabric, cut around the neckline and side seams then moved the pattern down about 8″ and cut out the hem. Then used a ruler to follow the side seam down to meet the hem. So basically the same thing just without altering the pattern.

I also put the centre front line on the fold to omit the button band as I just wanted a plain tank top.

southport-tank-back-and-side

I have the same problem with this top as I do with my Scout tee of the lines from my bust to my hips. I was going to try making the dart bigger (and have already fiddled with the pattern) but since looking at these photos I’ve noticed that the dart is a little low on me. So now I’m wondering if that’s the real problem.

southport-tank-darts

There’s not really a lot else to say about this top. It’s a really simple top but it’s a great staple. I’ve worn it a couple of times since I made it and I’ve got two more planned. One in a black polyester that called itself peach crepe and in some grey floral cotton lawn.

southport-tank-close-up

The details

Pattern: True Bias Southport dress hacked into a top

Measurements: Bust 37″ – Waist 30.5″ – Hip 40″

Size made: US 6

Alterations: Same fit changes as in my first version and then hacked into a top by lengthening the bodice and omitting the button band.

Fabric used: 1m of 150cm wide navy and cream geometric cotton lawn from Abakhan

Another version? Yes definitely.

Any changes next time? I’ve already started adjusting my pattern to make the darts a little bit bigger and I think I added a smidge more flare at the hip. But now I’m wondering if I should try raising the darts first.

Final thoughts

I really like this top even though the fit needs a bit of work. It’s a great Summer staple.

true bias southport tank dancing
Derp

Hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend. Thanks to a self imposed Twitter ban mine has been a lot better than last week. I’d hoped to get lots of sewing done but it doesn’t seem to have happened. I did manage to finish off my Sew Over it Carrie trousers and assemble the PDF of the Ultimate Trousers, which are next up on my sewing table. How about you?

It’s all me Mimi

Well firstly, hello to everyone who found me through Tilly’s blog! I actually have another Tilly make for you today, I hope you like it. Meet Mimi.

mimi-blouse

I actually started making this (I really want to call it her) months ago and it seems to have taken me ages to actually get around to finishing it. The pieces sat cut out for weeks, then I had a little flurry of activity, nearly finished it and then kept putting off the handstitching and buttons – I hate sewing buttons on. Always have and even now I think I would rather sit and slipstitch a hem on a circle skirt than sew a couple of buttons on. Leigh logic.

mimi-buttons
And here are the buttons. I’m guessing from the shimmer that they’re shell or mother of pearl. The packet didn’t say and I know nothing of these things.

Mimi is the most complicated pattern I’ve sewn and I’m quite pleased with the new skills I’ve learnt and I wouldn’t say I found it too challenging a make, even though I did have several accidents. I interfaced the wrong bit of collar but looked up the sewalongs of other things with collars to see if it mattered that much and decided to still use the bit I wanted to as the top – it had the prettier flowers on and looked better. I also sewed the left bodice front to the right side of the yoke and vice versa and then had to unpick and redo them, which wasn’t fun considering I was using French seams. Oh and button holes were a blinkin’ nightmare. The buttonhole on my machine seems to be really picky and needs me to reset the buttonhole stitch if I touch anything. Just turning the handcrank slightly to make sure the thread uptake lever thingy (I know all the words) was up made it sew one side of the buttonhole and then just stop and sew the bartack over and over again. So now I reset then sew, no matter how many times I’ve already reset it because buttonholes are seriously not fun to unpick. I know this, I had to do it three times.

mimi-poser
I attempted the fashion blogger sideways gaze thing. It didn’t go well.
mimi-laughing
And then I burst out laughing.

I sewed Mimi in a straight size 3 because I made my Megan in a 4 and I had a gapey back so I thought that a 3 would fit better around the shoulders and neck and I hoped that the loose design would mean it still fit okay everywhere else, just a little closer than intended. This almost worked out but I was foiled by my arms. The sleeves are a little tight around the armscye and at the sleeve hem. Side note, am I the only one who changes armscye to arm scythe in their heads when they read or write it? I have absolutely  no idea how you actually say it – arm sigh? Arm sky? Arm shy?

But anyway, back on topic. When I move house, Manfriend’s Power Rack is going to live in my garage and I will start working out and running more than I have been over the last few months and will hopefully slim down a little bit and the sleeves will fit better. Or I the bicep gainz will make it fit even worse, we’ll see. For future makes I might see if I can trace a size bigger at the armhole anyway. I did wonder if sewing it again with a slightly bigger seam allowance would help make this version fit better. Any suggestions?

The fabric is cotton lawn from Abakhan and I really love it. I have a tea dress from Dorothy Perkins in a very similar print that I’ve always loved so I fell for this fabric straight away and bought 3 metres. I used about 1.5m for Mimi so I’ve been having a think about what to make with the rest. I think I’d probably be able to get New Look 6069 (view C) out what I have left but I have also been toying with making a circle skirt, maybe a button up version to have a sort of mix and match set with the Mimi blouse. Skirt, blouse and a sort of shirt dress looking thing when worn together.

mimi-french
French seams

I used french seams throughout the blouse, even on the armscye because I hate finishing seams with a zig zag stitch and Jen from Grainline says you can use French seams for armholes so I took her word for it and I love the neat finish it gives to the insides.

Mimi isn’t something I would normally buy to wear but I really loved the look of it and it was one of the things that made me buy Love at First Stitch. When I first wore it I wasn’t sure how me it was as the neck felt really low, which is something I tend to avoid but looking at these photos it’s not low at all so I don’t know what planet I was on that particularly day. I really love the way it looks in these photos. I adore the fabric and I really like that I can wear the blouse loose with skinny jeans or trousers or tucked into a skirt so I’m definitely considering this a win.

mimi-outside
It was far too windy outside for photos, hence us coming inside for the jeans versions.

Floral Anna Maxi Dress

By Hand London Anna dress

I love love love this dress so much. I am very much a maxi dress girl in the summer and the maxi version of the By Hand London Anna dress was one of the things that drew me to the pattern in the first place. I got this lovely floaty cotton lawn from Abakhan for £4.99/metre. I used 3 metres so with the notions that’s less than £20 for a dress that makes me feel amazing. Sewing is great.

I used French seams throughout again and I’ve used loads of new techniques. I applied bias binding to the edge of the facing, I understitched for the first time, which was no where near as scary and hard as I was expecting thanks to this great tutorial from Tasia of Sewaholic. Sewing it as a straight line just made it so easy.

Understitched bias bound facing
Understitched bias bound facing

I also made my own bias binding and bound the centre back seams before putting in my zip. This didn’t go that well. I used the pin method to fold my bias tape as I don’t have one of the maker thingies and it was pain in the arse and didn’t really fold that evenly (and I hadn’t cut it that well either). Because it was all uneven I foolishly tried attaching the binding to the first raw edge just by folding it in half and stitching both sides at once, which I buggered up and had to try to sort out loads of bits where the fabric wasn’t enclosed properly.

So for the second edge I did sew along the fold first like you’re supposed to, even though the fold was wonky and then used a zig zag stitch to close it. That worked much better but the inside doesn’t have the nice clean finish I was intending when I decided the bind the unfinished edges rather than just zig zag or pink it. It doesn’t detract from how happy I am with the dress though. I just want to dance around in it waiting for people to tell me how pretty it is so I can creepily shout, “THANKS, I MADE IT!” in their faces.

By Hand London Anna dress

I used my altered bodice pieces from before but with the length I took out initially put back in and the fit is much better than my first Anna. I took 5 inches off the skirt pieces before cutting them out and the dress would have been long enough to wear with heels but I wanted it to be short enough to wear with flats so I took off another 2 inches before hemming. It’s now maybe a teeny bit short if I ever did want to wear it with heels but I’m more of a flip flop girl anyway so it doesn’t really matter.

almost matched the zip at the waist seam, it’s a few mm out. It starts a little bit too far off the top of the dress too but I put a hook and eye in for the first time so it’s not really a problem. I was going to handstitch the hem but it was gone 9 o’clock by the time I was ready to start and I wanted to wear it to work today so I decided to machine stitch it. I had lots of compliments from people at work, who were very impressed when I said that I’d made it.

I’m so, so happy with this dress. It’s easily my favourite of the three I’ve made so far and it’s possibly my favourite maxi dress I own (I have about six). I’m very glad I started sewing.

I’ll leave you with one more photo featuring a photobombing dog.

By Hand London Anna and Max the dog
Rub my tummy, Human.