Amanda vs The Grainline Studio Tank

Sometimes you make a project and it rocks. Cupcakes rain from the heavens and you dance- oh, how you dance- and your finished piece is magnificent. Those projects are to be treasured and worn often and with pride.

And then there are other projects. I don’t want to call them a failure because they are so not. I want to call them a “learning experience” or “an opportunity for growth” or even “OH MY GAWD WHAT I HAVE I DONE TO MY GORGEOUS SILK I BOUGHT IN NEW YORK?!”. You know the ones I mean. So let me introduce you to my Grainline Studio tank in an action shot.

Fact: jumping disguises your fit and construction errors. Use it wisely, my friends!

Firstly, I want to say how much I liked working with this pattern. My stuff up had nothing to do with the pattern and everything to do with me not being prepared for the hideous, terrifying fabric monster that is silk. I tried really hard to follow all of the sassy silk rules (teehee) and stabilised my fabric, cut out pattern pieces flat and single layered, used fabric underneath and the pattern on the top to avoid slippage. I did all of these. But two things let me down… How ominous is that…

Nemesis One: homemade silk bias binding.

Talk about punching above your weight level. I managed to stabilise the fabric well enough to cut these out but when it came time to attach them all hell broke loose. I followed Grainline’s suggestion of notching the curves before finishing each band. Huge mistake with silk. Seven attempts at the neck left me close to tears and the finished result is a hot mess. At least from the outside it looks fine. But I know what lies beneath… And it ain’t no Harrison Ford movie- let me tell you… On the plus side, I didn’t notch the arm bands and those suckers went on quickly and (fairly) easily. Lesson totally learnt! Here are the icky insides of the binding. Ew!

Nemesis Two: measurement fail

All of the crazy derby and weights training I have been doing lately is starting to change my shape (hello buff guns!) and as a result my sizing has gone a bit skewed. I sat right at the top of the pattern measurements for a particular size and stupidly decided to try it. I should have listened to the logical part of my brain that was all “size up and adjust down” if you need to. As a result the tank is too tight across the high bust and back and has created two fold lines which you can see up close here.

Though in contrast the back is fierce! Sure it is a bit snug but I really like the shape and this fabric pattern! Win!

So what I liked about this pattern:

    • How easy and clear the steps were to follow. I am obsessed with independent pattern makers- they always make things super easy to follow and lay out the steps in a non-condescending way. Thanks, peeps!
    • The shape. I am so making more of these as my summer staple!
    • How little fabric this actiually used. I bought two yards of the silk in NYC and I am pretty sure I can squeeze out a second attempt in the same fabric from what is left. Fingers crossed!
    • How quick this was to make (except for the bias binding but that so doesn’t count because I am mad at it and we’re no longer speaking because I think I saw it hanging out with some chiffon and they were planning on making my sewing harder then it needs to be)
What I would change for next time:
    • Go up a size. Obviously my buffness is making me explode out of tanks like the incredible hulk. And this she-hulk does not want to get done with an indecent exposure charge while out for brunch, let me tell you…
    • Research alternative stabilising methods for silks. The one I used did not properly disappear after construction so my silk is not all flowy the way it was pre-stabilisation.
    • Not notch the bias binding when working with silk. Enough said.
    • Add the tiny pocket. I didn’t use it this time as I though that pattern was busy enough as it was. Yippee!
Overall, I really like this pattern and can see myself making some more versions that actually fit and are finished nicely. I know, I know. Wanting things I make for myself to fit. Jeepers Amanda- you get a bit fancy! But if you will excuse me someone just said we are out of ice cream and I fear that I might be feeling angry. My tank won’t like it when I’m angry… Beware the she-hulk!


  1. What completely awesome fabric. I am so hapyp that you have got another yard to beat into submission – and with those guns that silk will be cringing in terror.
    And you know what? If some of our projects are slightly not-so-perfect, if they are adorbs enough – who cares??

  2. Oh man I’m scared of silk but have some gorgeous blue to use. My jersey bias binding skills are sooo poor. I’m dreading silk binding!!
    This looks super cute though. Great print and you can’t really notice if its tight. Good work!

  3. Ooh, this is so cute! It’s my favorite pattern, too! I have silk set aside to make a version, but I’ve been dreading the bias binding, so now I’m not sure if I want to try it!

  4. Silk is designed to create fear and terror in us, Amy! I swear! (teehee) I think the trick will be stablised the bias binding further so I can beat that sucker into submission… Bind nicer!

  5. When I made my silk portrait blouse the other week I used self bias binding for the neck and arm holes, and I used the method Tasia uses for the Pendrell blouse and it was great – not fiddly because you cut a super wide strip and sew a normal seam allowance then cut it down (although make sure you add the seam allowance to the edges if it’s not already there or your neck/armholes will be too big!). I talked about it here:

  6. Ah the good old Tiny Pocket Tank, one of my fav’s after a few alterations. I just finished sewing a silk top and used the same method for bias facings, I use my swedish tracing paper as a stabiliser and it tears away after you’re done sewing. Mind you I got a bit lazy with it half way through but I did get some better results from using it.

  7. Ahh! Someone else had this issue- I’m sorry you had the same problem though I must admit to be glad it’s not just me. And the fabric is awesome- I’m hoping to make a second one that fits from it… Fingers crossed!

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