This is the pattern:
I found the pattern when I went to a sewing expo in Worcester, MA at the Vogue Fabrics booth. I had just come from a class with Fred Bloebaum and she was selling her patterns at the booth. In my mind, I was going to purchase two of her patterns, and I did (which btw I still haven't sewn!) when I saw this pattern. At the time I was still on the search for the "Great Tank Pattern".
After three children, I didn't necessarily have a lithe, young body anymore and was starting to dress to cover some areas of my body rather than expose them. I had stopped tucking in tops and needed one that would give me style but flatter my larger than I liked abdomen. Thus began the search for the great tank pattern...the one that would fit, flatter and work easily into my work wardrobe.
Since I am not a huge fan of indy patterns, I kinda stumbled onto this one. I saw several made up in the booth at the expo and thought, "Why not?" Famous last words...since this is one of my all time favorite TNT patterns. I will admit that the first few attempts at making this pattern were barely wearable. I made wrong fabric choices. The fit wasn't great. I didn't really have a vision yet...but I preserved and continued to work with it.
First, the pattern contains 4 pieces ~ a front piece, a back piece which are both cut on the fold and two binding strips...one for the neckline and one for the armholes. A very simple piece...however, it contains no darts...so on a plus size woman that's like wearing two big ole pieces of fabric...making you look like you are wearing either a tent or a very short muu-muu. I ain't no muu-muu girl.
When I began working with this pattern I should have been discouraged because the first few pieces weren't that great, but for some reason I was intrigued...and then I decided to make changes to the pattern. The first change I made to the pattern was to remove the excess fabric around the dart area...no I did not do a FBA (full bust adjustment) wasn't on my radar yet...I just sliced the pattern at the armhole and overlapped the pieces to form a dart. Now I don't know if this is "good" patternmaking or not but it took care of that excess fabric hanging out in the armhole area and gave me a better defined bustline.
This was the last version of the tank that I made with the binding at the neckline and sleeves...it was a part of a collection called "The Burda Six"
After that I got really bold with the pattern...I added a center back seam. I stopped using the binding pieces. I omitted the vents and added some more width to the bottom of the tank. I changed the neckline - giving it a lower more u-shaped neck. Then I started experimenting with knits because this tank pattern was designed for wovens.
My first experiment with knits was a single cotton knit purchased from Fabric Mart that I used as part of another collection and also as part of a twinset...I think this was its first incarnation as a 2 piecer...
A simple basic top with the neckline and armholes turned down and stitched, the neckline altered to have more of a v-neck, that center back seam and it cut just a little closer to the body to allow for the fabrication of the knit.
I have now made this top about 15 times. It has appeared in every SWAP collection I have sewn, most prominently featured in my last entry in the 2007 Timmel SWAP contest, the "Corporate Chic" collection.
This pattern is so versatile that I have made it in everything from all kinds of knits (single cotton knit, rayon knit & the beautiful St. John knit), to a cashmere/wool blend, silks (sueded, twill, woven), linens and embroidered cottons.
Now we come to this pattern's present evolution ~ the bow-tied tank. About 18 months ago, I switched jobs from a busy casual environment to a more corporate atmosphere. My clothing requirements changed drastically and I have spent the last 18 months sewing at a break neck pace to have enough garments to wear for all office occasions. I am finally at the place where I can stop and breathe and part of the reason is this tank top.
Somewhere and I don't know where I saw one similar to this latest incarnation. It could have been in a magazine or catalog...on a website or even on the street...but somehow the look stuck in my mind. I thought I could make one more morph or adjustment to the SW Mission Tank to accomplish this look...and it worked! Boy did it work! Here's a picture of my three latest versions of the SW Mission Tank with a bow tie:
This was a simple alteration...the neckline had already been changed from the straight u-neck to more of a v-neck.
• I added ties by cutting long rectanges 3" wide by 30" long.
• The tie was then sewn to the neckline leaving a 2" opening at the u-neck.
• At the ends of the seams, a piece of rayon seam tape is sewn to the pieces to provide some support.
• Then the seam is pressed up.
• The other end of the tie is sewn down from the right side of the fabric by stitching in the ditch.
• The 2" front piece is clipped at either ends and sewn down.
• The tie is either folded onto each other and stitched down or sewn right sides together and then pulled through using some hand stitching to finish off the edges.
That was it! A new version of the SW Mission Tank was born...and I must admit my favorite version of it so far.
A final picture of a dozen or so of the working pieces in my closet...
I know its redundant, probably a little excessive but it works so well in my wardrobe that I will continue to make more of these tanks. Hopefully, you will find a pattern that you love, that works well in your wardrobe ~ whatever your lifestyle, and will bring you as much sewing joy as this one has brought me!