KS3497 : Back 2 years

Yesterday I said I needed a new direction.  I started by going back to the beginning; my last copy of this pattern made 2 years ago:

As I said it has been worn two summers.  Intense heat in South Dakota last only a few weeks. My camisole tops and true tanks, like this one, tend to be worn frequently during those few weeks and occasionally after that.  So I’d estimate about 20 wearings.  Each wearing followed by a laundry cycle.

But even today, this is still nice fitting. Part of the reason for that is, undoubtedly the fabric.  It is a cotton rib knit.  The rib knit is wonderful for stretching to fit and shrinking back into shape in the wash.  Eventually, it “remembers” just a little about the body it normally clothes.  Most of the wrinkles in the pic above are from the way I’m standing.  The garment feels comfortable over all. The only issue I notice is a little bubble of fabric in the front underarms.  Like I need a little dart right there.

The Side view begins to reveal issues that I never see.  It would appear that the front is just slightly too tight across the abdomen.  But I think what’s being seen there is not the result of my padding, but of the pants worn beneath the shirt. We see a flash of my bra strap, but as a whole the bra is not visible in the front or on the side. We do begin to see rolls of fat on my back and those are shadows and wrinkles forming from a too tight hip even thought the hem is nearly perfectly horizontal. But of course, I did pull it down during photo taking.

The full back is obviously too tight starting from about the bottom third of the armscye to the high hip.  Trust me, it’s too tight across the hip as well.  I’m repeatedly pulling this top down in the back.  I just never realized that it made my rolls of back flab visible. In this view my bra strap is not visible.  So I think the flash of strap in the side view was  result of my extended arms. The side view seems to indicate that the back and front are balanced by the vertical plumb line bisecting the side view.  But I’m not sure this is true.  When I compared patterns the back was smaller than the front by at least 1/2″.

I do like my knit, tank-style tops to be closer fitting.  But I prefer the semi-fitted look that skims the rolls and bulges without outlining them.  I’ satisfied with the front, but I’d like a little more ease across the back below the shoulders.

I know I’m not the one to first discover this.  But I’ve found it true, when you’ve lost your way (I have with tank and surplice tops), return to the beginning.  That’s what I’m doing here.  I’m looking at this top and saying why did I think this was so perfect?  Did I do anything that made it perfect?

As for the first, until CLD My Hearts a Flutter I’d never had a better fitting top.  Before HAF, I’d used KS3497 countless times, in several sizes (I went up the pattern scale and now am going down) and repeatedly made lovely, flattering garments. I received many compliments.  I remember being surprised when someone said “you had to have made that”.  I said “It’s the same fabric, same style that Walmart is using right now.  Why don’t you think I bought it?”  She said “First I know that you sew and 2nd, RTW never, never fits that well.”    She just confirmed my own opinion that this Kwik Sew pattern was good, really really good (my own bulges above notwithstanding).

However, I have to admit that I made changes to pattern for every size I’ve held. For the current version,  I added 1″ in length. I’ve discovered my best lengths the hard way.  By making garments; not liking them; and changing the length to something I do like.  I also added a varying amount to the side; from 1/2 inch at the underarm to about 3/4″ at the hip. Sigh, I also removed all of the waist shaping.  At least in front, my waist is convex not concave. It’s one of the things you give up for your children.

So by going back to review what I thought was a perfect fitting tank, taking pictures and confronting the truth, I can now go forward.