sewing saturday! the eucalypt tank
I began my sewing adventures (three years ago now) with a vintage pattern and despite a couple of exceptions, I have mainly sewn with patterns over twenty years old - because old patterns are plentiful in flea markets and thrift stores, mostly. I had never sewn with a brand-new sewing pattern until just a few days ago, excitedly breaking the trend with a Megan Nielsen project.
I remember reading about Megan on Liebemarlene a summer or two back and really falling for her creations then, and when she branched out into the world of sewing patterns I became an even bigger fan. So when she contacted me about putting my personal spin on one of her patterns from her latest Breakwater collection, I jumped at the chance and chose the Eucalypt Tank and Dress pattern - classic and simple, which means unlimited variations.
The pattern came with a bound booklet and velcro envelope for organizing. Inside the booklet contains not only instructions but ideas for variations as well as a place to keep your personal notes (I've never felt so spoiled by a sewing pattern before!).
The pattern itself is a basic tank top or tank dress in several sizes with an optional center seam in the front. It includes a guide for making your own matching bias tape to cover the arm holes and neckline, but I opted for a store-bought tape instead for the sake of time (next go-round with the Eucalypt dress, I'll make my own).
I dug out some vintage striped rayon I had stored in my sewing room and set out to make a tie tank with matching high rise trousers for summer wear.
With the center front optional seam, it'd be pretty easy to change the pattern and make a front tie tank (like this one from my spring collection) but I decided to keep the fold at the front and create a tie at the straps instead - rather, the illusion of a tie. I shortened the bodice by folding the pattern at the center and drafted a small tie piece, about thirteen inches long and three inches wide, and cut four. I sewed the tie piece pairs together, right sides touching, leaving a small opening to turn them right sides out, and pressed them.
Once they were ready, I sewed one tie piece to each shoulder seam inside the finished top by about an inch or so of stitching and backstitching, making sure they were secure. Then, the pieces are ready to be folded over the strap and tied in a knot at the shoulder, giving the illusion of a tie strap.
Another option is to extend the tank straps by about 5-8 inches to create a true tie strap tank, which I'm working on right now. I thought about lining them in bias tape but I didn't like the look with mismatched tape, so perhaps this is a better job for those who craft bias tape from the fabric the tank or dress is made from. If you sew a dress with tie straps, it'd make an excellent swim coverup.
Finished project.. the (illusion) tie tank I sewed, with matching pants!
The Eucalypt tank is an excellent pattern for beginners, but also great for those who want a creative challenge with a myriad of options. Next time I'm sewing the dress version with an added drop waist skirt, stay tuned.
Shop Megan's amazing array of patterns and products here.