Hello! This project was largely a trial to see if a certain garment shape (cut out shoulder tank top) worked on me. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t, but I still ended up with a top I like and will wear over summer.
Way back in February, I made some Sew Over It Sylvia Robes from beautiful Spotlight rayon. Really, their rayon is now the jewel in their crown of largely overpriced, poor quality fabric – it’s lovely and soft, with a variety of interesting prints. Often their prints are let down by stiff and unwieldy fabric, but not in this instance.
Anyway, I had some rayon left over from this project and was reserving it for a summer top project. The right pattern never really came along, so I decided to experiment with a new silhouette, via the Tessuti Ruby Dress/Top pattern. I’m never really sure if Tessuti patterns are right for me, and this was another undecided style – cut out tanks look great on a lot of people, but I wasn’t convinced I was one of them. But the only way to find out is try, right?
I made some slight alterations to the pattern to increase my chances of success. I roughly tried the paper pattern on to determine where my bra straps were and drew out the armscye a size, while lowering the front neck slightly for more breathing room.
The top came together easily enough, and I took the time to sew French seams to protect the fragile rayon from coming apart in the wash. I had to sew the back facing slit slightly deeper (like….6mm) as I clipped too close to begin with and it frayed to the outside, but these things happen.
I ignored the instructions for bias binding (which would have been double thickness) and did it my own way, which involved sewing a flat piece of bias tape RST to the inner side of opening, raw edges together. You then press (finger or iron) upwards, fold the tape around to enclose the raw edge, and edge stitch from the right side. This time I pressed the folds in place before edge stitching, as the fabric was so slippery, but you really can do it all at the machine. The advantage of this method is that it doesn’t matter if you don’t catch the inner edge of the bias tape, as it’s already stitched in place.
I was feeling relieved to have finished sewing with the slippery bastard of a fabric when I tried it on, and…yikes. Something had gone awry with the back facing, and it was sticking out and buckling like nobody’s business. I had only sewn the slit slightly deeper, not wider, so I couldn’t figure out why it was buckling so badly, and frankly couldn’t be assed thinking it through. All I knew was it sat better when it was open and spread approx. 3.5cm, so that’s what I did.
I unpicked the bias binding for the neck, and resewed as a circle with the separated slit now forming a keyhole opening. It’s still buckly, but less so. Luckily, having the back facing open looked a lot better from the front too. Turns out cut-away shoulders don’t suit my broad shouldered figure, and despite my alterations I looked like a rugby player in the original Ruby shape. Something I well could have predicted, but sometimes you just want to try a trend!
It’s not my best work, but the top is passable now and I’m sure I’ll wear it during the hot summer months. Even though it wasn’t for me, I’d recommend this pattern for anyone interested in the cut-away shoulder/swing tank style.
An unrelated note: my phone photos are still in the “really not great” category, but they’re a lot better than they were thanks to a tip from Naomi. Set your camera zoom to 2x, and it will somewhat counteract the “fish eye” effect common in phone photography. It also works well for back-camera selfies!
Pattern: Tessuti Ruby Dress/Top
Pattern details: “This simple sleeveless top/dress features a high neckline, cutaway armholes with self binding on armholes and neckline plus keyhole back opening. The style is slightly flared at the hemline and makes a perfect floaty garment for the warmer months.” Available in sizes Aus 6-16, in limited edition hard copy or PDF pattern.
Fabric: Leftovers of 135cm wide printed rayon from Spotlight.
Other materials: Sheerweft (?) strips to fusetape armscye and neck. Spotlight Supafine fusible interfacing to fuse back neck facing.
Mods: Size 12
– 1/2″ (12mm) forward head adjustment
– Brought armscye out a little to size 14
– Widened neck slightly (cut a size 10 I believe)
– Used own bias binding method (the binding is double thickness in the pattern)
– Bias faced hem for more length
– Let back facing spread 3.5cm with circular bias binding for more neck room/shoulder coverage and a smoother facing slit