It all started with an e-mail. From Stacey. A question. A straightforward question. How, she asked, do Adrianna and I think this was made? And then we discussed. And I think I discussed enough that I convinced poor Stacey that it was too complicated. Boo. But I did think it was complicated. Until I tried it. Not so complicated. And I documented the process so that you can try it too. Not that mine is an exact copy. No, we'll call this an "inspired by." I still have a few other ideas to try to make it more like the original piece. But I'm liking this for now, and I hope Stacey likes it too.
Now, if it were Adrianna making this one, she'd make a tank from scratch. Not only because the inexpensive-tank-buying-options are few in her 'hood, but because she can make a tank in about twelve minutes, including a break for a mint milano. She's the sew-er and I'm the embellish-er. So I got to shopping. Two tanks for $4.50 each. I chose these because I thought that the knit was lightweight enough to make ruffle-y pleats but not so lightweight that it couldn't possibly flatter a mommy body. A critical consideration.
I put one aside and laid out the other to chop it up. Down the side seams, across the top and bottom so that I have two clean rectangles.
I laid "Lite" Heat-n-Bond in-between the two rectangles and ironed them together. Knit doesn't fray anyway, but the interfacing should help keep it from curling and bunching. A yummy little knit sandwich. "Lite" fusible interfacing because I wanted to add as little weight and as little stickiness to sew through as possible. At the thickest spots, I was sewing through 7 layers of knit and 3 layers of interfacing.
Once my sandwich was assembled, I trimmed it into one inch strips, and then cut some 1/2" strips, too.
At this point I needed Marjorie on-scene. And K was so excited to see her down from her perch she had to come and hug her.
So here we are. A blank canvas. Ready to make a masterpeice. Or a mess.
Starting at the shoulder seam, pinning a ruffle every inch and a half or so. Wait, is it a ruffle or a pleat? It feels ruffly. But it's folded more pleat-y. And by the time it's stitched down, I'd say it's a pleat. But the inspiration piece calls it a ruffled tank.
I was concerned early on about how I'd end one strip and begin another, since none of my strips would be long enough to reach all the way across. Ended up being no problem at all. Just start a ruffle/pleat right on top of the tail of the last piece.
Stitching the first row down with a stretch stitch, I removed the pins just as each ruffle/pleat was headed under the presser foot. The volume headed for the needle was too much with the pin making it bow in the middle. Then I started pinning the second row.
Just tucked the ends under on the diagonal.
All those pins look a bit menacing. Not a dancing top at this moment.
And then the third row across. Like how I still have the tag on it here? As if I'm still thinking I'm going to run this back to Target for a refund?
To start the asymmetric little doo-flahtchies on the bottom, which I considered leaving out and decided to suck it up and continue, I pinned at my starting point and marked my desired endpoint with another pin so that I could try to aim for it as I worked on the smaller ruffle/pleats with a 1/2" wide strip. Tiny and a bit tricky. I had to lay Marjorie down to work on it, which felt a bit odd. But we're closer now. We've bonded.
This part has two sections. Each has two strips.
A lotta pins in a small space. Tucking ends underneath the upper ruffle/pleat wherever possible.
Allllmost done. I've used 1/2" strips in the top row of the doo-flahtchies and 3/4" strips for the bottom. The sacrificial tank eeeked out just enough to work with.
Aaaahhhhhhh. In the end, so much less painful than I made it out to be.
And now it's off to Stacey, (Happy Valentine's Day!) so that she can put it in her closet to wait the five months left before she gets to enjoy anything approximating sleeveless weather. Oy.
I'm still pondering how the inspiration piece is made. I'm still planning to try this a few other ways. So you may find more ruffle/pleat tanks 'round here soon.
Note: This top would not be flattering on me. As per every other episode of What Not to Wear, the ruffles on top are not for busty girls so much. Stacey, if you decide the ruffles are too much for you... I know another crafty blogger who has expressed interest. And would be one of the people on What Not to Wear for whom the ruffles are perfect. Ahem.