It’s baby’s first blog tour! As part of the Indiesew Great Tank Bonanza, I present you with two knit swing tanks: the Santa Fe Top by Hey June and the Vallynne Tank by Seamly. (Plus a bonus Santa Fe dress!) I’ll be comparing and contrasting the two patterns, which were a nice change of pace after my latest bout of woven shirts.
Santa Fe Top
This is view B of the Santa Fe Top, sewn in a slub knit from JoAnn Fabrics. I can’t remember the fabric content for the life of me, but I believe it’s a combination of poly/cotton/rayon. I love this tank! I’m a sucker for a center seam, and this top’s got ’em on the front and back. I used a serger for the seams and omitted the topstitching.
The cut is loose and swingy, with a hem that curves up a bit at the sides. Most of the knit tops I make call for simple bands to finish the neck and arms, but this pattern uses knit bindings. They take a little more patience, but the end result is totally worth it.
If you want to use a serger to attach the bindings, I’d suggest adding a bit of height to the binding pattern pieces. The seam allowance for the binding is 1/4 inch, rather than 3/8 inch. I forgot this and serged on the arm binding, which is why those strips look a little narrow. I used my regular sewing machine to attach the neck binding at 1/4 inch. To attach the bindings, I used a 3mm stitch, rather than the standard 2.5mm.
- Sizing? I sewed a medium with no alterations. This seems to fit pretty true to size.
- Favorite part? The knit bindings. And the center seams. I can’t choose which detail I like more, so they both win!
- Will I sew it again? Yes! This pattern has a whopping six variations (not including the dress hack shown below). I’m excited to try view C, a dolman-style tee.
BONUS: Santa Fe Dress
To lengthen view B of the Santa Fe top into a dress, I added 15 inches and flared the hem out a tad. The fabric is a floral poly/spandex from Denver Fabrics. When I tried the dress on to check the length, I decided to serge off another 5 inches. If I do this again, I’ll add 11.5 inches total—and extra half inch for hemming and the other inch for wearing comfort.
Considering I live in the windiest city in the world, it’s just a tad too short for me now, hence why it’s not properly hemmed. (But I kind of like the look of the overlocked edge.) I think this would be especially comfortable in a stable cotton jersey. This floral is cute for the summer, but I wish it had a little more body.
This one started off as a hot mess, but not because of the pattern. For my first go, I used the absolute wrong fabric: this striped rayon/lycra from Denver Fabrics. It’s gorgeous and buttery soft… but it’s also incredibly slippery, has very little recovery, and lacks the recommended 50% stretch. I knew it was a lost cause when it came time to sew the neckbands—height-wise, the folded band practically disappeared when I stretched it side-to-side. Yes, fabric was harmed in the making of this post. Luckily, that fabric will make some very comfy scarves.
But enough about the mishap. The blog tour must go on! I delved into my knit stash to find something suitable for the Vallynne Tank and landed on this sturdy olive ponte and taupe bamboo rayon/lycra. (I refer to Grainline’s color-blocking tutorial when piecing fabrics—it’s super easy to do this for any pattern!) Both fabrics have pretty fantastic recovery, which might be the reason this tank was 100000% more successful than my first attempt.
After my earlier fiasco, I took my sweet time with these pieces like a real newb. I cut each band longer (and taller) than the pattern piece, pinned them in place to check the length, and then cut them accordingly from there. It’s really is all about feel and fabric with neckbands. There’s no shame in taking the time to test via pinning. In fact, it’ll probably save you some heartache in the end.
I used a twin needle to anchor the neckline and finish the hem. Because the bamboo rayon is so stretchy, I sewed the hem with tissue paper underneath to reduce waviness. It works!
- Sizing? I made a small with no alterations. I read somewhere that this pattern runs a bit big, so I sized down from my normal medium. My fabric is forgiving, so this would probably be fine in a small or medium. God bless knits when it comes to fit. I should note that this tank is pretty long. I’m 6 feet tall with a long torso, and I didn’t add any length.
- Favorite part? The flattering A-line shape.
- Will I sew it again? Yes, if I find the right fabric, preferably some stretchy bamboo rayon in a black-and-white stripe.
Comparing the Two
View B of the Santa Fe Top and the Vallynne Tank are pretty similar, especially when it comes to the neckline. The main difference lies in the neck and arm finishes (bands versus binding—a very personal choice!) and the angle of the side seams. Santa Fe flares out a few more inches at the side, whereas Vallynne is a slightly longer A-line tank.
I’m not going to pretend that you can make a knit tank anything but casual, but for some reason Vallynne feels a little more polished, Santa Fe more beachy. That could be because I literally wore my Santa Fe Top to the beach a couple weeks ago… Anywho, I see more of both in my future wardrobe.
Thanks for reading along! As part of this blog tour, Indiesew is offering 20% on tank patterns through June 30 with the code GREATTANK. I’ve got my eye on the ubiquitous Ogden Cami.
Indiesew provided the patterns. All opinions and musings are mine.