Sophisticated silk tank

Yesterday I posted three old projects, and now I want to share something hot off the sewing machine!

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Burdastyle twisted tank 07/2013 #103A – front view

I’m looking and feeling smug in these photos, because I’m super pleased with this top. The pattern is the Burdastyle twisted tank 07/2013 #103A, which I’ve had in my stash since December of 2013.

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Burdastyle twisted tank – photo from Burdastyle.com

The fabric is silk crepe de chine from Fabricmart (in my stash since August 2015), so I’m feeling pretty good about the stash busting I did on this project.

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Burdastyle twisted tank – closer front view

I know this looks like just a simple white top, but if you’ve worn silk before then you know how special a simple top can feel. I’m also happy with my sewing and the fit, so overall this project has me feeling pretty self-satisfied. And CLASSY.

Pattern Modifications

When I laid my pattern tracing out, I noticed that the armscye was shaped very strangely. I took a photo comparing it to the armscye on my Scout woven T, but can’t find it anywhere. Basically, the front and back on the Burda tank meet in a pointed V instead of a U like most armscyes. If you examine the line art and the model photo below, however, you can see that this is an intentional design element.

Some reviews commented that the armholes are low, the V neck is low, and the top is overall rather large. So even though my measurements (currently 37-30-43) put me at between a size 40 and 42, I cut the size 38 at the shoulder and graded out a little from waist to hip. I also raised the armhole by 1″, but later ended up lowering them back down by a half inch. They probably would have been fine if I didn’t mess with them at all. I also stared at other people’s finished project photos for a while and thought the back neckline was too high and the straps were too wide. I lowered the back neck by 1 1/4″ and narrowed the straps by 3/8″ on each side or 3/4″ total (per strap). Kathy, who also made this tank, noted that since she wanted to tuck hers in, she made it fairly narrow over the hips. I thought that sounded pretty smart, so I followed suit. This top barely skims over my pants.

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Burdastyle twisted tank – back view

You can see from the photo above that the neckline is still plenty high in back. It also looks like maybe I should learn to do a sway back adjustment.

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Burdastyle twisted tank – side view

The armscye is still pointed, although not as much as the original.

Cutting and Construction

I procrastinated on this project for a long time because sewing with silk still intimidates me, but everything went pretty well. I hand-washed the fabric first, then cut things in a single layer. The crepe texture kept things from sliding too much. I omitted the center front and back seams, but I was short on fabric and did have to cut the lining for the back in two pieces. I cut them on selvage so that I wouldn’t have to finish the seam. I used French seams on the side seams. I followed the method used by this excellent blogger for stabilizing the center front V using silk organza. I followed this helpful tutorial for the rest, which encloses all your seams completely and technically makes the top reversible. You have to do a little hand sewing at the shoulders and in the center back seam, but it doesn’t take long and it’s worth it for the neat finish. The hardest part for me was the hem, which is created by sewing the inner and outer layers right sides together and then turning the whole thing right side out through a hole you leave in the center back seam. First I had to let the top hang and stretch out. Then I had to trim the inner and outer layers together so they were even, which is really hard to judge when you’re using a shifty silk and don’t have a dress form. Then when it came time to sew the lining and outer layers together I had some trouble getting the right tension on my machine. My stitches were too tight, and it was creating a bubble effect at the hemline. It took three tries to get stitches to loosen up so the hem would lay flat, but now I think it looks pretty dang good.

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I’ve been needing a plain white top for a while now, and I’m happy to have finally filled that gap in my closet. I’m even happier to have scored another victory sewing with silk. It makes me want to jump straight into another project on my list – this time with some black crepe de chine that I have stashed. I’m thinking about trying to replicate this top:

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What do you think? I think I may have leveled up on this last one, so we’ll see how it goes!

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