It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve done any actual sewing (my Hollyburn post last week had been sitting in draft, waiting for photos, for ages) and so last weekend I really wanted to make something that would provide a bit of instant gratification. It’s still really hot in London and last week I just about lived in shorts and skirts. However, there’s nothing like a heatwave to point out a distinct lack of sleeveless tops in my wardrobe. Step in the Wiksten Tank top.
In these temperatures I don’t want to be wearing anything to close-fitting, cos that’s just a recipe for a hot, sticky and grumpy Jo. The Wiksten Tank is generously cut so it fits nicely enough over the bust, but then gives ample room through the body – perfect for a nice, light voile such as the birdy blue/green/grey stuff I bought from the Village Haberdashery the other week. This stuff is super-floaty. When I threw it over the ironing board to give it a press, it just floated down like a feather on the breeze. Creases like a bugger though, as you can probably see from the photos.
The top itself is aimed at beginners – two pattern pieces plus a patch pocket, and some lovely French seams teach some nice techniques, but it’s all very straightforward and I didn’t really bother with the instructions after a while. In fact the toughest thing I had to contend with was making my own bias tape. I didn’t want to waste a whole heap of fabric by using the pattern piece provided, so I used the Colette tutorial on cutting your own, and the By Hand London advice on pressing it without the aid of a bias tape maker. All you need is an iron and a dressmaker’s pin and a little patience. It saved me a hell of a lot of fabric, and I’ve picked up a new skill, so yay me!
I had read on a few other blogs that the back gaped a little, so I mocked it up, tried it on and found that I needed to take out about two inches. Once again, the internet came up trumps and I used Made By Rae’s straightforward tutorial on taking out the width. The results are pretty pleasing – I reckon I could still take out about half an inch, but I think it’s good to have a little space for movement in the back.
I made this up over the course of several evenings – snatching an hour here and there. The thing that took the longest was making up the bias tape, and THE MOST ANNOYING THING IN THE WORLD HAPPENED when hemming (i.e. the bobbin thread ran out with about four inches to go) but otherwise it was pretty much plain sailing. It’s the perfect casual top for summer, goes really nicely with shorts and I’ve already got plans for future editions. The only thing I’ll change next time is the neckline – it’s high enough to be decent on me, but I think I’d like an extra inch’s coverage just to be safe. In all though, this billowy top is going to get a LOT of wear if this weather keeps up.
I’m off for an ice cream.