Happy Sunday everyone!
In today's episode of The Vest Quest, may I present the Cali Faye Collection BASICS.tank?
Before I show you a picture of me wearing it, I need to point out that I expected it to be slightly too big.
The Vest Quest is an unscientific experiment to ensure that I have couple of pattern options to try out with The Girl while she is here on holiday.
I am sure she won't mind me saying she is a wee bit bustier than me, so I opted for size medium, instead of small.
I squeezed it out of scraps of fabric from the stash.
The back is the same white cotton that I used last week for the Bantam Top trial run.
The front is the final piece of broderie anglaise from a never-ending half-metre I bought years ago and have been pillaging for collars and yokes.
It is totally transparent.
This is another nightie!
But that's not a bad thing.
The Bantam Top is the best pj top I have ever had - the cotton is so smooth and cool. Perfect for the summer, when FL is still cuddling up with a hot water bottle, wearing two shirts and a woolly hat, but I am hanging my feet out of the duvet to breathe!
Speaking of FL... it would appear he laid a bowl of rhubarb crumble down on my ironing board while I was out of the room.
My DIY bias binding smelt amazing as I pressed it and I wondered why... that stain had better come out, or he's in trouble! (The ironing board cover has a big blob of ironed-on fruit, the binding escaped with just a smidgen.)
Making and attaching the bias binding was a bit stressful altogether, as my Instagram followers will have gathered.
The Cali Faye tutorial would have you fold it under itself at the join. But past experience of that method left me with a too-tight underarm seam.
I much prefer the Merchant and Mills method (from the Bantam Top), of seaming the binding at an angle before you attach it... but that only works if it is exactly the right length and I found that hard to judge. M and M provide a pattern piece for the bias binding. Cali Faye does not.
By sewing it at an angle, the bias retains its stretch and fits the curve far better.
This is what it looks like once you get it trimmed down to size and stitched, ready to attach:
Back to the BASICS.tank...
The straps are just the right width to cover bra straps, back and front.
And the back neck sits really nicely - no gaping.
The front is cut a bit lower than I prefer, but I think The Girl will like it.
The armholes are deeper than I like too, but not ridiculous.
The shirt tail is perhaps an inch and a half longer at the back than the front.
It flares out at the hip and covers my jeans pockets - a good length.
Pattern: Cali Faye Collection BASICS.tank, a print-at-home pdf, in size Medium. This is supposed to fit a 34.5 inch bust, but even though I used French seams when the seam allowance was only meant to be 3/8 inch total, the finished top measures 36 inches at the underarm level.
Fabric: Two scavenged scraps, as described above. The bias binding gobbles up yardage though, so beware being too ambitious. You could probably make it from a yard (or metre) in the medium size.
At the beginning, there is a warning: "skill level is based on the complexity of the garment construction, as well as the verbiage used in the tutorial."
Really, it should be a breeze to sew a simple vest and I see no reason for fancy "verbiage" when plain English does the job.
In comparing construction methods I much preferred (and used) the Merchant and Mills method: stitch the hem first; French seam the sides and shoulders; stay stitch the neck and armholes edges; sew the bias at an angle to preserve the stretch... and you are done, with not a stray thread in sight.
In the right size and the right fabric I can imagine making this again for me, if I was going somewhere hot and sunny.
But more importantly, I think The Girl will like this pattern a lot.
As long as I can guide her safely through the bias binding, we should be on to a winner!