Yes, I'm back with another hand-stitched Alabama Chanin garment. I made this one up this week and wore it on a date with Hubby yesterday.
Before I got any of the Alabama Chanin books, I always thought of that work as solely reverse applique, and I do think that is the style most folks work when they pick up this technique. So I was surprised to see several other styles and techniques when I finally bought Alabama Studio Sewing + Design, and one that caught my eye immediately was the Beaded Random Ruffle Fitted Tank on page 159 of the book. I couldn't stop thinking about it, so my mind went to work figuring out what I had on hand that I could use to make it.
Remember this fail of a dress?
I wore it only once and felt uncomfortable the whole time. It's been hanging in my closet ever since, waiting to be turned into something better. I figured I could fit the pieces for the Fitted Tank on the skirt portion, and I almost could. Because of the way the grainline sits and the shape of the pattern piece, I had to cut the front pieces about 1.5" shorter than the back. No problem though - I just tapered the back hemline in a mini hi-low hem. I actually really like it and would consider doing this on purpose in the future!
I had a couple of objectives with this make other than just using up my fabric and getting a darn cute top. This is really a fitting muslin. On my list is to make the Fitted Dress from the Sewing + Design book; I'm not too worried about how the skirt will fit because it's very A-line. But I did have concerns about the bodice, and rightly so. My measurements put me in a size M, so that was my starting point.
On this top, I ended up removing 3/8" from each of the four shoulder strap pieces. It's OK on this one, because this fabric is a very stretchy cotton/lycra jersey. But for future makes I'll take that back to 1/4", and maybe only on the front. The armholes ended up being a little smaller than I'd like.
I definitely need to do a sway back adjustment on future versions:
And I'll shave about 3/16" off the center front seam from the neckline, tapering down to nothing about 3" below. I had a bit of gaping around the neckline in the cleavage area. This time I took care of it by pulling my neck binding extra tight to gather the neckline in a bit. Again, this works because of the stretch of this fabric, but might not look too great on a fabric without lycra.
My other objective was to try a couple new stitches and techniques from the book. Working the Beaded Random Ruffle was really fun, and surprisingly quick. I think it only took me about an hour to work all four ruffles! I cut my ruffle strips 3/4" wide, rather than the 1/2" recommended in the book, just because I felt like it.
All the seams were inside felled, like on my first Alabama Chanin project. After I had the tank sewn together, I tried it on for fit before adding the bindings. Because the shoulder straps were long, I undid those seams and took some off as mentioned above. Then I worked all the bindings with the Feather Stitch.
I had wanted this one to be lower-cut than I usually wear, but because I took so much off the shoulders it doesn't show a whole lot of cleavage. Honestly, it's probably better that way - I won't feel like I have to keep yanking it up.
I think this top is both pretty and comfortable. Hubby loved it of course! More than the other one, because it's so form-fitting. I'm also happy that it goes with a jacket I bought years ago that doesn't go with much else in my closet:
And now, believe it or not, I'm ready to start doing some sewing with a machine!