Sunday, September 28, 2014

An Alabama Tank

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!

37 comments:

  1. I love it!! This is such a great, non-threatening project. I feel like even I could muster the time and energy for this!

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    1. Thank, Kelly! You could! I think this is a great entry-level AC project!

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  2. This is lovely Gail and goes perfectly with the jacket. Double win!

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    1. Thanks, Sam! I do believe I'm hooked!

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  3. Very nice! Love what you did with the tank.

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  4. Your feather stitches are downright pretty! The top looks perfect on you and the jacket completes the outfit as if it was made for it.

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    1. Thank you so much, Judi! It's hard to see here, but the jacket has the same cream and mushroom colors in the ditsy floral of the cuff and pocket linings :-)

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  5. Both of your tops are beautiful! I love hand stitching. What amazing work :)

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    1. Thanks, Jo! I'm having so much fun hand stitching!

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  6. SO cute... I think that neckline is spot-on. I love the bindings done with feather stitch, that's what I'm planning for my AC make also. Plans. I'm so full of plans. ;)

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    1. Thanks, Susan! My goal is to try out all the stitches. I like this feather stitch, but I do think I like the cretan stitch I used on my last top more. And this stitch uses a lot of thread!!

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  7. i absolutely love this tank! the ruffles down the front are so cute. your hand stitching looks so neat and tidy--great work!

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! Believe it or not, I don't take a lot of care with my hand stitches - they are all different lengths and not always on center. But I think that only enhances the handmade look of this type of garment.

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  8. Love the fitted top. The ruffles are nice touch more so with beads. I've not tried feather stitch before for the binding. It looks really good.

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    1. Thank you, Barbara! I'm not normally a ruffle person, but these little ones just spoke to me!

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    2. I finally finished my fitted top. You can take a look at my blog if you want. http://sartorialstitches.blogspot.com/2014/10/alabama-chanin-inspired-garments.html

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  9. This is a perfect transformation! I love it especially the beaded ruffles!

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  10. So pretty! I really love the feather stitch on the binding.

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  11. Yes, sometimes I have to admit a me made is not right for me. It's great to re-fashion then - better than an unworn dress. I love this little top -the beading is really lovely.

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    1. Thank you, Sarah Liz! Yes, I've had plenty of failures over the years. I usually just put them in the donate box, as I figure someone can get some use out of them. I'm glad this one didn't leave the house before I could refashion it!

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  12. Wow, Gail! You're really knocking them out of the park. This is adorable, and the hand stitching looks so good.

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    1. Thank you, Jen! I'm kind of obsessed with this stuff at the moment - it's taking up a lot of my knitting time!

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  13. I love this top ~ the details are fantastic.

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  14. Really lovely, the close fitting shape is great and those details! I love the beads.

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    1. Thank you, Louise! I love that these patterns are drafted for a womanly figure :-)

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  15. What a fabulous refashion. It looks fab both with and without the jacket!

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  16. Just lovely and perfectly sewn. I'm a recent addict too......

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    1. Thank you, Ruth! It IS addictive, isn't it?!

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  17. Now I'm gonna stalk you...

    Sooooo I was in town this weekend for my grandmother's funeral. However, I am going to be in town for a week for work. Email me so we can plan a shopping date!!!

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    1. Girl, I've been stalking you for a while! LOL!

      Read that on your post and commented - will PM you!

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  18. OMG, I need that book!

    Awesome remake! I liked the first dress already, but the tank outfit is even cuter. LOL - to your hubby liking a tighter version.

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    1. I think you do need that book! I think you would really like it!

      Boys, eh? So predictable!

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