It’s been a wee while since I’ve been at my sewing machine, and I was missing it. The rush of sewing before Dublin had lessened my need somewhat, but like all good hobbies it was always at the back of my mind.
I’ve got a few challenging projects coming up soon, and I think that was part of my reluctance to get back to my machine. My sister gifted me a bra making kit for my birthday, I bought denim for jeans and brushed cotton for a shirt, and I’ve got some very stretchy deliciously-printed sports fabric for some proper sports leggings. All of which are very exciting, but none of which are going to be easy makes! So I needed something with which I could ease myself back into sewing. Hence, the tie-back tank from Greenstyle Creations.
This t-shirt features on my 2020 Make 9 as I’ve been missing having a decent gym top now that I’m making more of an effort to go. For this first try, I had an old t-shirt from a Scottish charity – Trees for Life – that I had earmarked for repurposing. As much as I try, the classic t-shirt shape just does not suit me, however, the Tie-back Tank is a much more me-flattering shape and I loved the idea of the open back and the tie option.
I bought and assembled the pattern late on Sunday night and I must say that this was the easiest pdf I have ever found to put together: what a wonderful technique Greenstyle Creations have developed! Following their cues, there’s no need to trim the sheets of paper, just a small overlap with guidance, stick together and then cut out your pattern. Wonderful. I did make it harder though by accidentally unticking the box that said “pattern markings” on it, so printed out a blank pattern, whoops! After working it all out, it did not take long to piece it together only to discover that the pattern was not going to fit on the t-shirt.
Knowing that there was no way I’d get both back pieces out of the dissembled t-shirt, I aimed for one back and the whole front out of the original, and made the following changes to allow it to fit:
- Widened the pattern neckline so that the shoulders sat 5cm further out, enabling me to work around the neck of the existing t-shirt
- Shortened the length by 6cm as the t-shirt was hemmed at that length.
- Changed the shape of the racerback due to adjustment at the neckline
- Narrowed the base of the front pattern piece by 2cm due to the narrower width of the existing t-shirt.
This all meant that the included neck binding pieces wouldn’t work, and indeed I didn’t have enough fabric left to make binding with, so instead I just overlocked and then turned over and stitched with the twin needle. (Both machines seemed to behave very well indeed with both fabrics – wonders will never cease!!). As a consequence, the edgings lost a bit of width, making the top slightly more revealing than intended.
To make up for the shortfall in fabric, I substituted one of the back pieces in with a different fabric, and this has worked marvellously. The spotty fabric has sat in my stash for years, as I just plain did not like it. It was bought on impulse in a sale, probably to get my order in the free delivery bracket. However, in this combination, and on this item, it’s actually made it a really special top. Which reminds me to try out new things, even with fabric that is not actually very nice: you never know what will work.
I got to the point of sewing up one side seam on that Sunday evening, accidentally sewing until almost 11o’clock at night! We’re looking after a guillemot at the moment: she was found on the beach with oil on her feathers and I’d taken her home, washed her, and she’s currently regaining her waterproofing in the bath. On Sunday night the stress definitely got to me, as looking after a wild animal comes with all sorts of hiccups and potential pitfalls but she’s full of character (we’ve called her Greta) and her rehabilitation is going very well indeed. Sewing was definitely my saviour on Sunday night, however, with my bath out of action the mind-transformative powers of the sewing machine definitely calmed my anxieties regarding her care and took my mind off the pressures.
Normally my t-shirts don’t make it onto the blog. I’ve made two for myself this past year and two for Joey too. Both of mine were self-drafted and based on the Grail Top but with much better fit. And Joey’s were the Hot Patterns Nice ‘n’ Easy Tee. Those also needed substantial modification to get them to fit just so, but neither were worthy of the blog (apparently). This tie-back tank however, seemed special. One part of my decision to showcase this top is the fabric: the refashioning of a never worn tee. Another is the cross back with flair. And another is because this is another (my third!) Make 9 completed.
The gym is closed for the foreseeable and all other sports classes are cancelled, and in reality, I think that this open backed top might be slightly too much for our wee Hebridean gym. I will wear a normal tank underneath, and make a decision about sewing the open back up or not. Indeed, a thought has just occurred that I could use the spotty fabric to make a tank to go underneath this! Or is that overkill? Whatever happens, the making of this top really got me back at my machine, it was an incredibly enjoyable make and one way or the other, I will get a lot of enjoyment out of the finished article.
What have you been working on recently? Have you made any of Greenstyle Creations patterns? What did you think?
Since I first wrote this blog post, the situation around Coronavirus has escalated and the world is a very scary place at the moment. Much as an evening of creating calmed my mind while caring for Greta (who has now returned to the sea!), it has also helped to calm my anxieties and concerns around the pandemic sweeping the globe.
We are hopefully all able to find solace in activities personal to us: for me, that’s making. I finished one of my knitted socks the other evening, and the feeling of accomplishing things is very positive. All social engagements have been cancelled, all classes, all gatherings: it’s a lonely time, but there’s a global community out there all feeling the same thing. Some of us will make, some will read, some will relax, some will take to nature (I hope we all find peace in the natural world) and together we will get through it. There’s a couple of hashtags on Instagram that are bringing the sewing community together. If you’re alone and struggling, check out the following:
and remember you are never truly #sewalone
Much love everyone xx