Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wiksten squared

There's been radio silence the past few weeks as the school year has wound down, but my sewing machine has continued to hum. At the end of every year, when the testing is done, the art history class holds an event dubbed the Art History Olympics, a contest of intellectual prowess and artistic interpretation. Among the competitions are building famous pieces of architecture from memory using graham crackers, marshmallows, and cruciferous vegetables; The Price is Right with recently sold famous works of art; and an art fashion show where students act out pieces of art.

As I have been joining an esteemed panel of judges (other teachers) for a few years now, I decided this year I would join in with an art themed outfit. Since I had been obsessed with Jay McCarroll's Drop Cloth fabric from his Habitat line and stalking the Wiksten tank obsessively, I thought I would combine the two. I decided this with less than a week to make the top and I knew that I would have to, for the first time in my sewing life, make a muslin.

Armed with the knowledge mined from Flickr, I knew to cut out the size that matched my bust so I cut out the medium size using a recycled sheet (this sheet is endless, yo, I cannot get rid of this fabric). The initial result looked good, but needed some tweaking. I went and paid a visit to A Verb for Keeping Warm, where Kristine suggested that I take up the straps so that the seam fell behind my ears and for the excess fabric I was getting on the back neck I should take the back down a smidge. AVFKW had the Drop Cloth fabric in blue, which is exactly what I wanted, so I got 1.75 yards.

I got home, took up the straps and lowered the back. I liked it better, so I bound the neck as practice. One other thing that bothered me was how it sat on my backside. It sort of rode up, so I wanted to widen the bottom a little. I then transferred the following alterations to the pattern and redrafted it:
  • Trim .5 inch off front strap
  • Trim 1 inch off back strap & neck
  • Grade back down another .5 at deepest
  • Increase back sides by .5 inches starting at 7 inches from the bottom
  • Cut neck and armhole binding down by 1.5 
I cut out the pattern pieces on Monday night, sewed Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning et voila! I had something to wear to the Art History Olympics and a wearable muslin. 

I did end up cutting the neck down a smidge more, which is useful information since I just cut out fabric for a third Wiksten that will have a button band down the back and have two pockets on the bottom of the tank instead of one at the top. While this pattern seems simple, it is a great base to start from and a perfect pattern to practice making alterations with. I also think it could be a great gift if you have the general idea what size someone is especially since it works up super fast!


  1. Adorable! I can't sew so I think everything you sew is fantastic :D

  2. These shirts are both wonderful, but I especially love the drop cloth fabric. What a great summer shirt: easy to wear by itself but also under a sweater with no bulk. Thanks for the inspiration! And, I love your idea for this blog.

  3. Very cute! I want to make this now too, after hearing you talk about it on Stash and Burn.

  4. I love your approach to sewing. Keep it going!!!
    Here's my blog:
    It focuses on verbs, nerds and fiber... all good stuff.

  5. Beautiful fabric, you did a fabulous job. Now if only I could .....
    Oh well, I'm working towards that goal.

  6. Sweet! I purchased Wiksten's Tova, which is a tunic. Muslin sample is a great idea.