If I was a poet and was gifted with rhyme and song, I would call this post ‘Ode to a tank top’ or ‘Ode to Gemma’. Alas, I am not, but you’re still welcome to sing this post in your head as it’s my love song to this simple summer pattern. (FYI – I’m singing as I type.)
If you read along at all, I have made a couple of the Gemma Tank tops here and here. The pattern is by Rae Hoekstra of the Made by Rae blog. In the past, I hadn’t quite perfected the fit. Having previously cut a straight medium, based on bust measurements, the bust fit great but everything lower was too big. This spring, after unloading my summer bin of clothes (Does everyone else use bins for off-season clothing? We do. Big plastic bin family here.) I realized basics were needed. Badly. While being a big fan of skirts and dresses, tanks and shorts are required when you are chasing your 5 yr old around or going for bike rides. I’ve tried a few other woven tank top patterns but haven’t had a lot of luck as they tended to run boxy. Boxy = maternity-looking if you are short and curvy, which I am. I want something to accentuate my curves not hide them. Which brings me back to this great basic summer tank top, the Gemma. It’s easy and quick to sew, comes in different cup sizes (yay!!) and is very easy to adjust the right sizing for the perfect fit. I’ve made quite a few!
The yellow floral tank top (above) was my muslin. The fabric for the yellow floral is a very lightweight quilting cotton and I have yards and yards in my stash. I’m not sure where I bought it. I planned on using it to perfect the pattern but actually liked it after it was sewed up. My perfect fit for this pattern is/was a medium for the bust in a C/D cup and then tapered down to an X-small at the waist and back out to a small for the bottom. Based on the finished garment measurements, this would fit me perfectly, and it did. I didn’t want it too loose.
Next up, I made two tanks from the Luminous Yarn Dye collection by Anna Maria Horner. The color way on the left is ‘Metallic Plum’ and the right is ‘Metallic Sea Foam’. Both fabrics are listed as quilting cottons, but they don’t have the same thickness and are pretty lightweight. If you click on the picture above, you may be able to see the metallic graph fabric. These have already had plenty of wear and are in constant rotation. Both fabrics were purchased at Hawthorne Threads, online.
Everyone needs a white tank top, right? For this one I used Brussels Washer Linen-Rayon blend, also from Hawthorne Threads. Do you like my new clothing labels?
Last, I made two more Gemma tanks in Alison Glass Handcrafted Jersey Knit fabric; again purchased at Hawthorne threads. The colors are Taupe and Navy. I really love this knit fabric. It is very wide (67″!!) and is 100% cotton. It feels like T-shirt weight and its very good quality. Because it is 100% cotton (no lycra or elasticity), there is no stretch. Therefore I didn’t need to modify the pattern at all (like cutting a smaller size due to the stretch factor). I’m surprised that more people haven’t written about this fabric online. I do hope Alison Glass continues making it and adds more colors. For the bias around the neck and arms, I didn’t fold it under to hide the edges. I wanted the edges to show and perhaps give the tank a little texture.
This ends my love song for the perfect summer tank top. If you are still singing along as you read, I’m impressed. Perhaps you will try this pattern as a warm weather piece? I’m giving it two thumbs up!