Frankie Tankie for summer

I was lucky enough to win a few patterns from the Independent Pattern Designers Showcase challenge on Instagram and one of them is the Vanessa Hansen Frankie Tankie. I chose it because I thought it would fit right into my summer makes, some of which are in need of a refresh, and we’ve had lovely weather so I’ve worn it already.

It’s a simple cami style cropped top with shoulder ties. I had them tied too high which meant the bust darts were too high. Such an easy fix! I used some vintage cotton/silk blend fabric which was donated to my stash. I only had a very small piece, but it was perfect for this make.

There are three versions: fully lined, fully reversible or using facings. I didn’t want to commit more fabric until I knew how it fitted so I did the version with facings. I used French seams throughout and it still took only a few hours to make.

It’s a relaxed style top, quite cropped with deep armholes, which is why I think I tied my ties too high. I will raise said armholes next time and the pattern includes instructions to do this. The pattern includes two different dress hacks, which is nice as I’d do this anyway!

I wore mine to do some desperately needed work in the garden. You can see the bust darts are too high in this photo.

woman wearing pink tank top with ties, showing gardening tool.

My gardening gloves and that fearsome looking tool were bought in Upsala in Sweden. My travel souvenirs take the strangest form! The tool is used to clear the weeds out from the cracks between the pavers and works brilliantly.

I was supposed to under stitch the facing but I kept messing it up so I topstitched it down instead.

showing top stitching on tank top.

I used my favourite Magic needles which my friend Hélène gave me when I visited her in Montreal. They really are magic! They have two eyes so the machine is threaded as for twin needling, but each thread goes through the eyes. The threads are then sewn on top of each other giving a thicker effect. I know that this can be done with a single eye but I feel as though this system works better, and I enjoy using it.

 Bernina Magic needles, with a needle threaded to show the two eyes.

I redid the ties and the bust darts now sit correctly, but I could not hide my bra strap. I might have to make and sew some bra strap keepers into this make, or go braless and frighten the neighbours!

woman with hands in her pockets showing pink tank top.

You can see that it’s quite cropped, I might add a bit of length next time, but I don’t actually mind this length. The top doesn’t show my midriff when I lift my arms, so all is ok.

woman with arms raised to show thank tank top doesn't lift up.

Back view is pretty much the same as the front view, but without the darts, obviously! I’m wearing the first pair of Hudson pants I ever made and I really don’t like them, but they are very light and easy to wear and perfect for gardening. The fit is pretty terrible though.

back view of pink tank top

I like that I can bend over without having to worry about flashing anything at unsuspecting passers by!

view taken bending over to show that tank top doesn't gape at the neckline

Can you see the difference in the garden? It went from extremely shabby to extremely neat quite quickly. We are waiting to do a bit of planting along the path. The coloured pots hold the Sheoaks that Mark has been growing from seed. They are destined for our holiday place but if we plant them too early the kangaroos eat them all!

I thought I should include a photo of Mark chainsawing branches off our Mulberry tree whilst standing on the neighbour’s tree. Looks precarious to me! He’s wearing tee shirt and trousers which I made.

Man standing on a tree branch whilst chainsawing branches off a mulberry tree.

I took a break from gardening and took a photo showing the top seated. I was modifying the bathrobe which I made for the Queen’s Gambit challenge and which I want to wear to the pool, but it was indecently short because the one I was copying was really short.

showing tank top whilst seated. I am modifying a yellow bathrobe

I unpicked the hem and found a long rectangle of the towelling in my stash, which I simply sewed along the bottom. It’s now perfect. The pattern is the zero waste bathrobe from Liz Haywood’s Zero Waste Sewing book, which I’ve now made umpteen times.

Can you see the seamline which was the original hem? It’s much more wearable now, although the pockets are too high as well. I don’t think I’ll bother unpicking them though…

yellow towelling bathrobe showing large piece added to improve length and decency.

I have used every scrap of this towelling now, which makes me very happy!


4 thoughts on “Frankie Tankie for summer

  1. A great little top and like the idea of the little use of fabric. That tool to remove the weeds sounds like a godsend as I spend far too many hours trying to remove them from our paving and we don’t have that much. Why do our men do balancing acts like that, mine was just as bad trying to get all the lemons of our very tall tree.

    Good save on the robe as well, and a good pair of work pants that don’t scare the neighbours is perfect.

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