Pattern Review: Wiksten Tank

Posted in: This and That — By on November 8, 2012 7:21 AM

Pattern: Tank Top by Wiksten

Level: Beginner

This tank has been on my to-do list for a while now, and after making it I can see why every sewing blogger and her grandma are making these like crazy! The pattern is clear and easy to read and it takes only a few hours to whip up. The finished tank is a versatile wardrobe staple.

If you are new to sewing altogether, this is a fantastic first project to try. There are some tricky parts (like hemming and attaching binding) but if you take your time and keep your stitch ripper handy, you should be fine. It is so discouraging when you invest a ton of time in a pattern and it turns out unwearable, especially when you’re just starting out. This pattern is great because it’s very simple (only 3 pattern pieces and your binding), there are no closures, darts or sleeves, and the result is a great little tank. My friend Arla is super keen about learning to sew, so I’m going to walk her through this pattern as a “Sewing 101” lesson!

As someone who is fairly inexperienced in clothes making myself, this project was a great way to learn how to do french seams and make my own binding. I’d never used binding in a project before, but the instructions were so clear that mine turned out really well — next time, I may decide to put these on the outside!

Of course, because I didn’t bother making a muslin, I had some fit issues. The bust and shoulders fit perfectly, but the body was much too billowy. I’d already sewn the sides together with french seams, so I did a quick and dirty guesstimate of how much to take in on either side and re-did the seams. The result looks great from the front but left a lot of excess fabric at the bottom back of the tank. What did we learn, boys and girls? Always make a muslin! (…Or failing that, try the tank on as you go so you can adjust the fit before finishing your seams.)

Other nice things about this pattern (in no particular order):

  • No need to serge! The pattern is written so there are no raw edges exposed.
  • It’s available as a PDF or in hard copy. The PDF is my choice, hands down. It’s a fraction of the price of the paper version, I can re-print if I want to make this in a different size, and the pattern pieces are more durable when I print them myself.
  • It seems to be easy to modify, if you wanted to jazz it up with some sleeves or a different neckline/collar.
  • If you are having difficulty with anything, there are tons of blog posts about this pattern. Chances are, if you’re unsure about something, someone else has been too. I found the details in some of the instruction photos were hard to see because the fabric used was solid white, but after a quick Google search and I was totally fine.

A final note is that if you are on the newbie/beginner side of things, you may want to choose an easy fabric the first time you make one of these — i.e. a sturdy fabric that is easy to press and doesn’t fray very much. I fell in love with this lightweight woven plaid, but it was really tricky to work with because it frayed constant. I’d like to try using a nice shirting materials for my next Wiksten tank.

All in all, this is an awesome pattern that I’d recommend to anyone and everyone.  I can’t wait to make more!
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