Kennis from Itch to Stitch is seriously productive. That woman pumps out patterns like no tomorrow, yet they all are extremely well drafted and quite intricate. It blows my mind, how does she do it? Meanwhile I feel super accomplished if I manage to cook dinner two days in a row.
When I saw the call for testers for Kennis’ latest pattern – Vienna Tank (affiliated link), I jumped on the opportunity to test it. The tank is a super simple summer top. The cut is pretty straight and there are no darts. Yet, it is the details that make it something special. The tank has yoke, gathers and paneling on the front bodice. It also has an option for simple neck ties or ones with ruffles. I was crazy about the ruffles!
The tank is originally designed for knit fabrics but Kennis asked a few people to test it in woven fabric. I envisioned this tank in flowy, soft poly mix, or silk if I can ever get my hands on some, so I singed up to test the tank in woven fabric.
First off, my bust measurements put me into size 8. The tank is quite loose through the hips so I ignored the fact that my hips are size 12. Also, I am 5’10” so the tank would be quite short on me. I have added 5″ to the length to compensate for it.
My first tank came out beautifully, but a little too tight… Even though in the picture below it fits, the armscye was too short on me and the tank was a little tight in the chest and hips.
Don’t I look glamorous when I sew? I was very happy that on that particular day I was wearing pants while sewing.
Rather than trying to fix my first version, I decided to hem it and give it to my lucky friend who is shorter and thinner than me. There, happy belated birthday!
For my second version, I went back to the pattern and started from scratch. I decided to size up from my original 8 to 10. I figured I prefer my clothes a little looser so even if 10 is a little too loose it will not be the end of the world. I also blended my hips out to size 12 since I wanted to make sure it the tank is not too tight. Finally, I lowered the armscye by about 3/4″, but in hindsight 1/2″ would have sufficed. My second version was looking much better!
The construction of the top is not really difficult at all. It is pretty straight forward actually until you get to the neck tie and optional ruffles. I love how the front panels and the neck slit are handled. It makes it so easy in the end! The neck tie finish is very clean, but I would recommend reading through instructions carefully first before attempting anything. I think the construction steps are super clever and actually easy once you figure it out. For my second version I didn’t even need instructions!
I love this tank! It is so feminine, simple and elegant. I have been wearing it almost non-stop since I made it. My version of the tank is made from a very slinky polyester fabric that I had in my stash (I really should start writing down fabric names…).
The fabric itself is very hard to work with. It is very slippery and is almost impossible to keep on grain and work with. However, I have a secret weapon when working with fabrics like that. I use Sullivan’s Fabric Stabilizer. I spray it all over the fabric, let it dry or dry it with an iron (no steam!). The Stabilizer Spray stiffens the fabric and gives it almost tissue paper-like feel. It takes the fabric from impossible to work with to super easy to handle in minutes! Just look at how those ruffles turned out. It would have been extremely hard without it. The only thing is that once you are finished putting the garment together you have to give it a quick wash, but for me it is so worth it! For those of you in Canada I buy the spray online from Stitch In The Ditch, for those of you in the States you can find it on Amazon. It’s seriously good stuff, it also doesn’t clog the iron which is always a positive.
I am planning to make this top in a couple other colors as well. I am seeing it in ivory and may be dust pink? I am not sure if I would make it without the ruffles, as the ruffles just make my day every time I go to put this top on. But you never know…
Here is one final picture of the top and Skye wanting in on the shoot. What do you think of Vienna tank pattern? Would you make it?