Tank Top Sewing Pattern Review: Up In Arms Blouse by Sew News

Tank Top Sewing Pattern Review continues with the Up In Arms Blouse by Sew News!

We’re closing up the Tank Top Month with our favorite tank tops! If you are just joining us, all month long we’ve been sharing our favorite tank top patterns, modeled by the editorial and creative staff of the Craft and Sewing divisions. Check them out and be sure to sew up your own tank top — the perfect summer top. Here’s our latest the Up In Arms Blouse

Tank top sewing pattern review

All month long we’ll be sharing our favorite tank top patterns, modeled by the editorial and creative staff of the Craft and Sewing divisions. Check them out and be sure to sew up your own tank top — the perfect summer top.

This one’s going to be a little different than the rest of the tank month posts. Rather than being a pattern review, I’m going to talk about how I altered a non-tank pattern into a tank.

The Up In Arms top is a popular Sew News pattern, and personally one of my favorites. It comes with several sleeve options, including the box sleeve shown on the pattern cover.

Earlier this year I acquired a fabric remnant that I loved, and as I didn’t have much of it I decided to make the Up In Arms blouse, as it doesn’t require much yardage. Unfortunately, the fabric was narrower than standard, and in the end I just didn’t have enough fabric to cut out two box sleeves. But everything else was cut, so I resolved to proceed and make a tank.

The final armscye construction

The easiest way to do it, of course, would have been to construct the blouse and bind the armholes. But I didn’t have enough fabric to self-bind, and it would have been very difficult to coordinate with the tie-dyed fabric.

Instead, I decided to utilize the yoke that already existed. The neckline of the pattern is finished by stitching the yoke to the main fabric and turning. First I stitched the front yoke to the front and the back yoke to the back. I stitched the shoulder seams on both the outside construction and the inner yoke. Then I stay-stitched 1/2” (the seam allowance width) from the armscyes on both the outside construction and the inside yoke. This gave me a turning line. I carefully turned the seam allowance to the wrong side and pressed it down. It was a little challenging around the curves, but my fabric was cooperative and the stitching line helped.

Interior showing the yoke and armscye seam allowance below the yoke

At that point I continued constructing the top per the pattern instructions. Before sewing the side seams, however, I lined the two yoke pieces together, wrong sides together with the pressed-back seam allowances facing, then topstitched along the armscye edge. At the bottom of the armscye, below the yoke, I just topstitched the exposed seam allowance down.

It worked fairly well and I think it was a very nice solution to my limited-fabric problem.

So, to sum up: In order to turn a regular top into a tank, options include:

  • Bias binding the armscyes
  • Simply folding back the seam allowance and topstitching
  • Using a yoke to enclose seam allowances with topstitching
  • Create a facing

To draft a facing, trace the pattern along the armscye, shoulder and side seam lines, then draw a line 2” from the edge. Don’t forget to mark a grainline, and always understitch when constructing.


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