Thursday, January 23, 2014

For my students...tank top pattern and sewing it

Ok, talked to some of my sewing students, and the biggest request out right now is for a tank-top tutorial. Since clothing isn't my strong-point, this is extremely challenging, but thanks to the web...we have help!  I've reviewed this particular tutorial, and it's pretty darn close to how I was planning to explain it all. Using this help plus a few things I think my particular students need to know/ we go!

OK. Now that you've watched said my points.
1.  Use a thinner paper (or even use scrap cloth like muslin)....posterboard is expensive, and extremely hard on your scissors. If I find out you used your fabric scissors to cut your pattern, I'm going to be terribly unhappy. :(
2.  She doesn't address the issues between the fronts and backs of our bodies. Boobies (yes, using that word now) take up room. Boobies and style should be accounted for.
   a. On the pattern piece for the back (yes, make a second one), cut the neckline higher than the neckline for the front. This will make your tank look more like what you'll get from a purchased pattern.
   b. Between the front and the back, the arm holes should look slightly different. The ones for the front should be dipped down just a bit more. Easiest way to learn this is to cut your first one the way she does, try it on, and don't feel upset if it needs a bit of adjusting. The thinner you are, the less likely you are to notice the need for this. To make the adjustment, keep the same marking points, but make the curve in the armhole a bit deeper, and slightly more towards the center of the bust of the shirt, not just towards the "fold line" of the pattern. In her pattern, it's more towards the center of her neckline. Bigger busted girls should also raise their neckline slightly for modesty. This will keep coverage. You can always make it deeper, but can't add fabric back once it's cut off.
3. Make sure to note that the edge of the paper (or line you've pre-drawn) is the FOLD line. You fold your fabric in half, and this edge goes even with your fold on your fabric. If you accientally cut your fabric here, you're going to have a lot of fix work, that in some cases, is more expensive than it's worth.

That gets the pattern done.

NOW to the fun part of sewing it! Once you've cut your two pieces (one front, one back), the next step is assembly. The side seams and those with the 5/8" seam allowance. If you're using a knit (receommended if you're following her pattern method), you need to use a zig-zag stitch. Remember that this fabric will stretch, and your stitch needs to stretch as well. To hem the bottom, fold up the bottom edge twice to meet the hemline from your pattern, pin, and use the zigzag stitch on your machine to stitch at the edge of your folds to secure. To secure the edges of the sleeves and neckline, it's pretty much the same need to use a zigzag. You need to test your stitches on scraps of the same material, and see how they perform over different areas of the fabric. You want to test diagonally across, horizontally, and vertically on the fabric. Some knits work differently depending on the direction. You want to make sure your stitches look good, as well as don't come out before you wear your tank out on its first wear.