Sew Along with ALD - Seamingly Smitten Racerback Tank Maxi

Updated: Jun 14, 2019



Hi everyone! Emily here. I'm so excited to be leading June's sew along! The Seamingly Smitten Racerback Tank Maxi has some great options to create different looks or provide different levels of finishes - you can check out their tester gallery here.


I'll be updating this post daily with the information for the "daily task" so you can follow along at any point, but if you want to play to win, you'll have to pop over to the Amelia Lane Designs Facebook Group. The Facebook Event is where you'll need to head to get any discount codes for the sew along - you'll have to be a member of the group to see this!


This is the maxi option, fully lined bodice, elastic waist, with pockets and two side slits. Fabric is Andover ITY!

Day 1: Assemble pattern and pick fabric Day 2: Cut fabric Day 3: Bodice construction Day 4: Assemble and attach skirt (option: elastic) Day 5: Hemming (option: bands) Days 6&7: Catch up and share! #SALwithALD


DAY 1: ASSEMBLE PATTERN AND PICK FABRIC

Today we are going to be printing and assembling our patterns, and picking fabric.


PRINTING AND ASSEMBLY:

Make sure your printer is set to print at 100% and check your test square. Pattern assembly suggests trimming along the bottom and right side of each page printed, but I skipped that and just overlapped, making sure my diamonds lined up through the page! Pictures 2 and 3 below show this.

Print saver: If you know what options you want to use, check out the print chart on page 5. You can add 25 to each of the page numbers listed there to get your “printer pages.” (For example, the front bodice needs pattern pages 1, 2, 5 and 6, so you will need to print pages 26, 27, 30 and 31 from the document).

Pattern layout: The pattern layout is previewed on page 6, so you don’t have to guess and puzzle it together!

PICKING YOUR SIZE:

You'll need to measure based on Bust, Hips and Waist. Your bodice size will be based on full bust and skirt based on hips. I also opted to grade out for my waist since I did the regular skirt, you can probably skip that if you pick the empire waist.

Cut lines for petite, regular and long lengths are included, as well as regular and petite bodice widths! The size chart includes the finished lengths for each one so you can help determine which length you would prefer to use. More information is on pages 2&3.

The petite bodice width was a new concept to me. When I asked, Jenny recommended using this if you would buy petite clothing at the store. Here's some more from Jenny Lasalle Hall, owner and designer at Seamingly Smitten, on the petite width:

It reduces the front bodice by and inch and the back bodice by and inch. I love the way the neckline falls that way, rather than having it too wide for my shoulders. But if you measure your full busy, and add 1.5 inches, then take that measurement and divide by 4... that will be the width you want for the bodice from the underarm curve out to the fold.

PICKING YOUR FABRIC: This pattern calls for light to medium weight knit fabrics with 2 or 4 way stretch (from Amelia Lane think DBP, rayon spandex, ITY, jersey, even some of the athletics would be cool!)

I have sewn up both rayon spandex and ITY, and am working on a DBP version. I did the lined option for my rayon spandex and ITY to help prevent the bodice from stretching out, and also did the optional elastic at the waist to be safe! Check out page 2 of the pattern for more info.


PICKING YOUR OPTIONS

There are three skirt options included in the pattern - a gathered A-line skirt (maxi or dress length) or a dress length circle skirt. I also cut the circle skirt shorter to make a peplum top (I just held the pattern up to my waist and marked where I would want the peplum to hit to get my length).

The maxi skirt option includes an optional side slit, and all skirts have optional pockets you can add on. You also can add elastic in the waist to get a more fitted look there.

There are three options for the bodice finishes - you can do a fully lined bodice, or do a single layer of the bodice and finish with either arm and neckbands, or by hemming the arm and neck openings. Update: you can also pick between an empire waist or natural waist! There are a few cut lines to accommodate different heights as well, so be sure to double-check that you are doing the length you want for your height.

Here are three that I've made - a gathered A-line maxi in ITY (me, right), and two circle skirt peplums, one using Rayon Spandex (me, left) and the other using Double Brushed Poly (sister, center). These all have the added elastic at the waist and fully lined bodices.


Whew! That's lots of information to get started, please remember to pop over to the Facebook group to share your progress or ask any questions!



DAY 2: CUTTING FABRIC

Today we will be finalizing our options and cutting our fabric!


CUTTING YOUR FABRIC

I prefer to cut all of my fabric pieces at once, but I do also like how Jenny has her pattern set up! She has you cut out the bodice pieces, then assemble them, then cut out your skirt and assemble that, and so forth. The cool thing about her setup is that it keeps you honest with fit checks so you’re not wasting fabric if you need to tweak anything! So for this sew along, you are welcome to follow her directions and post just your bodice pieces today (but keep in mind you’ll have to budget some time for fabric cutting on the skirt day and the “finishing” day if you’re adding bands).

Options: natural waist (petite), fully lined bodice, circle skirt (cut to peplum length)

If you prefer to just cut it all at once like me, here are the pages/steps you’ll need!

Page 8 - Step 4 is cutting out the bodice

Page 12 - Step 6 is cutting the A-line skirt

Pages 12-14 - Steps 6A-D are cutting the circle skirt

Page 14 - Step 7 Cutting pockets

Page 20 - Step16 Cutting neck and arm bands (if you are banding)


As always, please check in at the Facebook group to share your progress or ask any questions!



DAY 3: BODICE CONSTRUCTION

Today's task is bodice construction.


UNLINED BODICE

You have a light day today! You will sew your shoulder seams and side seams together (see page 8, Step 4).

FULLY LINED BODICE

We will be following pages 9-11 Steps 5A-5I.


I made a video (I had to split it into two uploads, thanks YouTube!) showing the fully lined bodice construction, from the neckline through the side seams. I added in some title slides (Step 1 - Neckline, Step 2 - Burrito Roll, Step 3 - Side Seams) to help you find the section you need or want! Video 1 has the neckline and burrito roll - if you JUST need the burrito roll, skip to 3:57!

Video 2 has the side seams:

Check in on the Facebook group to share your progress photos for the days, or ask your questions!



DAY 4: ASSEMBLE AND ATTACH SKIRT We'll be going through assembling all of our skirt options, attaching them to the bodice, and adding the optional waist elastic. I have some tips if you want to modify this to a peplum length, and also a way to add some support to the waist seam without cinching it in.

OPTIONAL POCKETS

Directions for pocket placement, attaching the pockets and sewing your side seams of your skirt are on pages 14-16 steps 7-7D.

The Petite/Regular/Tall placement measurements are for the regular bodice. If you are doing the empire waist, you should use the “petite” placement. You can also go rogue and try your bodice on, put your hands where you would like the pockets to be, and measure the distance from the bottom of your bodice to the top of the pocket. Add 3/4” to this number to account for the seam allowance when we attach the skirt to the bodice!

Tip: I like to put a clip at the top of each pocket piece after I cut them out so I make sure I attach them right side up!

I recommend sewing using a sewing machine to get around the corners of your pocket neatly, and you can always finish with a serger after.

OPTIONAL SIDE SLITS

If you are doing the optional side slit on the maxi skirt, please refer to page 16 step 7C. I did slits on both sides of my maxi!

NO POCKETS

Check out page 17 step 8. You’ll just be sewing straight down your side seams, stopping at the bottom of the skirt OR at the mark you made for a side slit.

ATTACHING SKIRT

If you are doing the gathered A-line skirt (maxi or dress length), please see page 17 Steps 9-10 to gather your skirt to fit your bodice width.

All skirt options will follow page 18 steps 11-12 to attach your skirt to your bodice.

Be careful not to stretch your bodice as you attach the skirt, or your seam might turn out a bit wavy.

OPTIONAL WAIST ELASTIC

You might opt to add waist elastic to give a more fitted look at the waist - directions for this are on page 18.

I included this for my ITY maxi dress with the gathered skirt, and found going slowly and using my “lightning bolt” stretch stitch worked really well.

On my rayon spandex peplum, I actually used this cheat method to reinforce the seam a bit to additionally prevent the skirt dragging the top down over time. Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qO78UiE8hEQ



ENCLOSING THE SEAM IN A LINED BODICE

I decided not to do this on mine, as I am still working on my topstitching with fabrics like rayon spandex and ITY. A walking foot can be very helpful with this step - this is still on my “to buy” list while I figure out which one works best with my machine.

Page 19 steps 13-15 guide you through attaching your skirt to the main fabric only and then covering the seam allowance with your lining. I have done this with woven fabrics in the past, and it does give a really clean finish on the inside of your skirt!

PEPLUM MODIFICATION

I’ve had a few people ask about my peplum versions, so wanted to include what I did here.

I just printed off the full circle skirt pattern, held it up to my natural waist (as that is the bodice option I selected), and marked where I wanted it to hit! For me, the length was about 12” - please keep in mind that I am only 5 feet tall, so it will likely be a bit longer for you. You will then add 3/8” to this for your seam allowance when attaching to your skirt. If you are planning to hem your circle skirt (shhh, I left my rayon spandex version raw), you will want to add the 3/8” hem allowance as well.

Measure down your desired amount from the waist line. I measure and make a few markings around the curve to get a nice smooth cut line.

If you don’t want to print your circle skirt pattern, you can still measure down from your waist (regular option) or under bust (empire waist option) and then follow the directions on pages 12-14 for cutting a circle skirt using measurements.

I haven’t tried it yet, but I imagine the gathered A-line skirt would also be pretty cool as a peplum length! That's everything for today! Check in on the Facebook group to share your progress photos for the day and ask any questions. Tomorrow will be finishing touches (hemming and bands if necessary).


DAY 5: HEMMING AND FINISHING

Today is the day to finish up! If you did an unlined bodice, you will need to finish your neckline and arms, and it is hemming day for all skirt options.


UNLINED BODICE OPTIONS

You can choose to hem or band your armholes and neckline - skip this step if you did a lined bodice, as these are already finished.

Page 20 step 16 is where to go if you prefer to hem these openings.

Pages 20-22 steps 16-21 guide you through cutting and attaching your bands.


Day 5 was extra light for this option, since I did the lined bodice and decided to leave a raw edge on my circle skirt!

HEMMING

Follow page 23 steps 22-23 to hem your skirt option!

I was a bit sneaky with my rayon spandex peplum version and did not hem it at all. You can get away with a straight stitch when hemming a circle skirt, or a maxi with a side slit. I would recommend using a stretch stitch if you are omitting the side slits, as your normal movements might stretch the hem a bit more.


And... you're done!


As always, please check in to the Facebook group if you have any questions, we are happy to help!


If you're following along, be sure to share your progress on today's post in the Facebook group to be entered to win the sew along prize (a free pattern and free shipping on a fabric order). If you sewed one up using Amelia Lane Designs fabric, you can also enter to win a fabric prize by sharing your final make to the group wall with #SALwithALD included!


Thanks SO MUCH for joining me! This is the first sew along that I have hosted, and I have really enjoyed seeing everyone's progress.

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