Yes, still sewing for warm weather here in Florida! After spending 30 months in New England (not like I was counting or anything) I have been in deserate need of tank tops this summer. I have made maybe 6 Essential Tanks (Patterns for Pirates) and was starting to wonder how I could change things up right about the time Mama Ella was released. What drew me initially to the pattern were all the variations on the back neckline. It was just an added bonus that the lengths included a dress and a tie front option as well.
This was the first women’s top pattern that I have made from this pattern designer. I was a little unsure on how the fit would be. After downloading the pattern I pulled it up on my computer to review the pattern layout. The one thing that bothers me about this designer is the lack traditional size names. Instead of being a Medium or a number you are given a color. And I can not remember my color for the life of me. If I don’t write it down I ended up back at my computer checking again each time. My measurements put my chest and hips into “purple” and my waist into “blue”. I printed out both sizes with the layers option and graded out for my waist and back in again for my hips. I shortened the length of the top by 2″. I also lowered the armhole by 1/2″ and recalculated the arm bands. These are my usual alterations for tank tops.
I went with the top length with a straight hem and the higher back for my first try. I used some very soft cotton lycra jersey from Print Knit Studios that worked out perfectly for this top. The entire tank easily fit on a one yard cut with some to spare.
While reviewing the instructions, I decided I didn’t want to use the binding technique that was used. I do not like the way a binding feels under my arms for tanks. I cut my bands just the same as the pattern and sewed them as traditional bands instead. I was able to attach my horizontal back band before top stiching around the neckband. I was very pleased with the outcome.
Just out of curiosity I compared my Ella Tank to my Essential Tank that I know fits well. The Ella is a bit wider than the Essential Tank. It is not however as drapey as the Free Spirit Tank (also by Patterns for Pirates) or the Laundry Day Tee (by Love Notions). This was a relief since neither of those tops really work for my body. The Ella was similar enough to the Essential tank that I made the same pattern adjustments to the length and underarm for both patterns. I also would like to note that the higher of the two backs was plenty high enough for wearing a regular bra and not have the band show.
I was so pleased with my new Ella tank. I already have my next one planned. I am saving some Riley Blake knit for a ruffle version next.