Five Tops in One Week: Matcha Top, Willow Tank Dress and Gemma Tank
May 26, 2017
Thank you for the kind comments here on the blog and on Instagram about my new book, Make Your Own Medallion! I am so excited to share more about it with you over the next few months. I'm even more excited to have it out in the world and see what you all make with it.
Because my focus has been on sewing quilts and blocks for the last several months, I have been itching to sew some clothes. Does that happen to anyone else? It's kind of like a palette cleanser, I guess. I am also trying to work through my stash and using up two yard cuts of apparel fabric is making a noticeable dent. I took a long look at my closet and realized that, although I love making and wearing dresses, making some shirts and skirts would have more utility for me day in and day out.
I started with the Match Top pattern by Meg at Sew Liberated. I made a muslin out of a Leah Duncan voile in a size 12. Based on the size chart (body measurements), I fit in the 14. I was bummed to find that there are not finished measurements included with the pattern because I find it so helpful to compare the body measurements to finished measurements to choose my size and see if I need to add length for my long torso. So, I made a guess and went with the 12 after searching for photos on Instagram and seeing how loosely it fit people. The muslin is wearable and fits, but I knew that I would prefer less fabric and more length so I tweaked it quite a bit for my Liberty one.
For the Liberty version, I started with a size 10, but kept the length of the arm hole at size 12. I lowered the neckline notch two inches so that it was between the two notches given on the pattern. I also added 2 1/2'' to the length - 1 1/2'' for my torso and an extra 1'' so I could make a deeper hem. When I sewed it up, I centered all the back gathering instead of spreading it out over the entire collar. Likewise, for the front gathers, I left less towards the shoulder than towards the front. I cut the collar at a size 8 to further emphasize that opening. The fit is better, although slightly tight under the arms. It looks really cute with jeans and I will wear it, but I don't think it is the best style for me. Maybe as a dress? I may experiment with that.
Next up, I made a Grainline Willow Tank Dress Tank in a Liberty print I bought last summer. I went up to a size 14 after my experience making the lawn one last summer. If I were making it out of a loosely woven fabric such as double gauze or linen, I would still make a 12, for what it is worth. Just like the ones last year, I added 2'' of length and that was the only adjustment. I love it and was able to get it out of a 1 1/2 yards. #winning!
Then I finally got around to making the Gemma Tank by Made by Rae. I don't know what took me so long to get to this because Rae's patterns are so well done and the fit is spot on. I made a L, C/D cup, with the scoop neck out of a Cotton and Steel double gauze. I had 2 yards of this pattern and was/am hoping to squeeze a pair of pj shorts out of what is left so I used a light pink voile from my stash for the bias tape on the neck and armholes. Rae's pattern calls for the bias to be sewn on the exterior so it is visible, but I went ahead and folded it to the inside because that is my preference. What I neglected to think about was that this would make the neck 1/2'' wider and the armholes a 1/4'' wider as well as making the straps 1/2'' narrower. Rae does mention this in the sewing instructions, but I just didn't take note. Still...I love it. It fits like a dream and I didn't have to add any length! The hem was a little fiddly, mostly because of the double gauze. I ended up serging the raw edge before hemming and that helped some.
And then I made another Gemma Tank because I could! I added the extra 1/4'' seam allowance to the neck and armholes so the tank would maintain the original design lines. For the hem, I serged the bottom edge and just turned that up 1/2'' which worked well with this mystery embroidered white cotton fabric. I know I am going to wear the heck out of this one. It's a great addition to my closet. But, I might like the thinner straps of the first Gemma more. Hmm.
Ok...I think that is it. Questions? Hit me. I'll respond in the comments so other can benefit from the answers, too.
I'm not done sewing clothes...skirts are on the agenda next.
These are great top. I think the second, longer Matcha looks really good on you; I can see wearing it with a denim skirt as well as with shorts or jeans. I also love the white Gemma. I like Rae's patterns a lot but my frame is apparently very different than her block because I can never get them to fit right without lots of tweaking!
Posted by: Masha | May 26, 2017 at 07:58 AM
I think that liberty Matcha top looks great on you! I sewed up my first Gemma on Monday too. Truthfully, I didn't look at measurements but assumed I'd be the Medium C/D, but it was too big. I also sewed the bias so it showed on the outside and didn't care for it. So I think the next time I will try what you did, adding To the seam allowance to have the tape on the inside. I loved the darts and the accommodation for a bigger bust. It's a great pattern that I need to have some patience with in regards to getting the fit right.
Posted by: Krista | May 26, 2017 at 10:09 AM
I love them all but the blue green Liberty is 😍😍😍Totally a you look. It will be perfect with jeans. Can't wait to see what you sew next! You are on a roll👍👍👍
Posted by: Julie | May 26, 2017 at 11:30 AM
These look great. I love the Matcha one.. I didn't know about this and now it's on the list! xx
Posted by: Caz Adams | May 30, 2017 at 12:44 AM
I love all the tops! Especially the Liberty. I have had the same realization in my own wardrobe. Although I suppose I could use some more dresses too since I haven't shed the baby weight yet. I really love these, and I'm going to check out the patterns. I love that Rae includes pattern pieces for different cup sizes!
Posted by: Meredith Daniel | May 31, 2017 at 11:20 PM