Thursday, May 03, 2018

Two Tester Tropo Camisoles - Tuesday Stitches*

Pattern: Tropo Camisole (2018) This is actually a tester of the upcoming maternity version to be released by

Pattern Description:  Form-fitting camisole in three cup sizes, various neckline/strap options, side gathers, and an optional shelf bra. Tester 1) View C, sweetheart neckline on both sides. Tester 2) View B, curved neckline on front, straight on back.

Pattern Sizing:  Sizes 0-24, high bust 32"-52", A-B, C-D, E-F cups. For both, I cut size 10 in a C-D cup, sized out to a 14 at the hips for my niece. Yes, I'm doing some unselfish sewing!

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, exactly.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, it has a very simple construction.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I loved that I could make this for my niece who is currently pregnant with her first child. She's a personal trainer, so supportive tank tops are already a wardrobe stable for her.

Fabric Used: Two yards 58" performance jersey (88% Polyester/12% Spandex) in space dye black from Jo-Ann Fabrics for $13.59 (16.99 at 40% off), 5/8" black fold-over elastic (FOE) from Elastic By The Yard, and Dritz 3/4" braided elastic.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I was at a disadvantage because I wasn't able to take her measurements. She supplied her own and she has never sewn, therefore, I had no confidence in their accuracy. I found myself second guessing which size to cut and that included the elastic lengths too. Eventually, I cut a size 10 in a C-D cup and increased the hips out to size 14.

I constructed the darts in both the tank and shelf bra then moved onto the side gathers, though I was surprised that elastic was not being used for these.

On the 1st one I used the wrong elastic.

For the bralette, I chose to cut the elastic to the size 10 length of 35". The bralette is constructed so that the seam allowances sit inside the two layers to eliminate chafing but I got confused and the softest side of the fabric ended up inside there and not against the skin.

V. 1 worn.

For the neckline, I again went with the pattern's guideline and cut my elastic to lengths of 13.75" and 19.5" for a size 10. I sewed my FOE using the two-step method in the pattern and made a big mistake. For the first pass, I placed the elastic against the right side of the fabric. Even though I only did a basting stitch that I could remove later on, it was the second stitching pass that was neat and more attractive but that ended up on the inside! I had run out of black thread, was on a roll, and didn't want to stop so the straps have light gray stitching. I'm so happy this was a test garment!

Even so, I still stitched in my first custom label on the back.

I couldn't get over how long the tank seemed so instead of the suggested 3/4" hem, I made it 1-1/4" and finished it with two rows of zigzag stitches.

Front with extra length.
This shows that the back is shorter.

View B
Tester version 2:

Luckily, that first one fit. My niece was happy with it but wanted some changes and since I had purchased twice the amount of fabric I made her another one. I made even more changes when I cut out this version by choosing the view B curved neckline for the front but with the straight back, and I made the bralette 1/2" longer. Additionally, I cut the side seams a 1/4" wider for a  total inch increase in width, just in case.

My niece requested that I make the front gathered panel longer for more bump coverage so I cut the front two inches longer and for some reason*** I cut the back 1/2" shorter.

For the neckline, I cut the suggested lengths of 13.75" and 19.5" for the size 10. I sewed my FOE using the two-step method in the pattern and remedied my mistake from the first one. I basted the elastic against the wrong side of the fabric and in the second pass carefully and neatly stitched it on the right side.

The straps on the first one were a bit tight so she wondered if I could substitute adjustable bra straps instead. Luckily, I had already taken apart a few of my old camisoles and bras for parts months ago so I didn't have to buy any hardware. I consulted the Internet and after seeing this tutorial, I realized I could make each strap from just one longer piece of elastic, whereas in other tutorials they use two separate pieces. I calculated a 27.5" length for each one and set aside 2" at each end to later form the attachment loop on the front bodice (which really should have been the back!). The next 13" of elastic was attached to the entire underarm curve (14.5" in total) splitting it equally in 6.5" on each side of the seam. I used a zigzag stitch for that but used a straight stitch for the rest of the straps. I unfortunately couldn't get any good pictures but trust me, it looked good.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  This was a good pattern. Since I had bought more fabric than needed, these two yards made three tanks in all, two Tropos for my niece and another one for myself from a tracing of a tank in my wardrobe. However, for mine, I only had enough to create a shelf bra panel for the front.

Early days, worn at 12 weeks.
Update: 30 weeks!

 The belly has moved the gathers.

Conclusion: It's a good pattern and the addition of side gathers seem to work well, at least at this stage. The true test was in the later months, would the tank grow with her or would she outgrow it?

In my tester feedback, I suggested that instructions for adjustable bra straps and/or a nursing tank conversion should be included in the pattern and the final maternity version, which will be released by Maternity Sewing, will include instructions for a nursing tank.  While I was asked to test a maternity tank called Tropo, it seems they have removed the side gathers from the design and released it first in a non-maternity version with Tuesday Stitches because on the website I don't notice them on the modeled versions and they are no longer mentioned in the pattern description.

* F.Y.I. The company name is new, when I was first contacted it was still known as SeamstressErin Designs.
** Final maternity version to be released once the site has launched.
*** I really don't remember why.

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