Sewing for Me: FrankenIkat


Limitations. I’ve been mulling over the multi-faceted limitations I stumble upon daily. Alright, so that’s kind of an overwrought statement, since I am sharing just a simple tank top today. But this was a simple tank top borne out of limitations.


It looks like it was designed this way, right? Actually, yes, that cutout is part of the pattern and it’s the reason I wanted to make it. I’m all about interesting back details. M tells me I have a nice back, and it’s important to play up our assets, I believe. And I’m not talking about the booty variety, because the same man who gushes about my back also tells me that it looks like someone shot off my hiney, leveling it to utter flatness. He’s observant like that, and I have to agree. The limitation I’m referring to is the colorblock that I tend to incorporate time and time and time again because I don’t have enough of a particular fabric.

I end up loving the frankensteined versions significantly more than if I’d been able to make the entire top or dress or whatever out of a single fabric which is my de facto sewing style. In this case, the fabric in question is a scrap of ikat my mom brought me when she visited. It might be vintage, it might not, but it begged to be used. It’s quite thick as far as cottons go, so the felled-seam-esque method of sewing the back pieces resulted in serious bulk, and I had to hand-stitch to catch some parts that came loose. The black fabric is some kind of viscose-y, rayon-y substrate, but has enough heft to be paired with the cotton.

frankenikat3I adore this tank top so much. I learned from past mistakes of oversized end products and cut out a size 12 (I usually cut out 14) — this was also motivated by a desire to use as little fabric as possible. A good thing, too, since the fit is terrific. I’m impressed with the design because I’m wearing a regular bra that’s perfectly hidden despite the generous open square in the middle of my back. This rarely happens with ready-to-wear for me. I always have bra straps hanging out all over the place.


I do think the front armhole curves (arm scythe?) are a little too deep for my taste, as I don’t think that’s a particularly flattering part of my body that should be exposed (it gets a little flubbery there and nope, that’s not a real word. It’s a combo of blubbery and fluffy).

Still, my point is that limitations can be surprisingly liberating and I’m pretty sure it encourages more creativity, as long as whatever is limiting isn’t debilitating. Botched philosophical attempts aside, I’m glad I have a new tank top to see me through the end of summer!

14 thoughts on “Sewing for Me: FrankenIkat

  1. Excellent tank top. I like how it looks on you. I tend to just make something smaller if I don’t have enough fabric. How long have you been sewing? I’m still at the point where I like to follow all directions exactly and I have more or less stopped making myself, clothes. You know, my daughters love everything I make and they are more at the stage when they look good in everything.

    I hope you are having a nice last week of August! I miss your blogging every day, but I am glad you found more time to work.

    1. I’ve started sewing about seven years ago to make baby clothes for K, but didn’t sew all that much and then dropped the hobby for about four years. I picked it up again two years ago and have been going full force, Max! I’ve only been sewing for myself for a little over a year though, so I feel like I have a LONG way to go before I feel comfortable with adjustments etc.

      Have a wonderful end of summer too – that’s so funny about the daily blogging because I’ve been missing it too. This thrice weekly thing is throwing me off!! 😉

  2. Yay for keeping it real, even if that involves flubbery bits. I can relate to the fluffy and blubbery. The top looks great , you’re right, the fabric scrounging makes it even better, and I’m so jealous of your shorts weather. You want to see fluffy? Try my winter tights legs!!!

    1. It’s been hot hot hot and very much like a Turkish bath in our house, so don’t feel too jealous, Shelley! I’ve been sweating buckets and am fantasizing about weather that’s cold enough to warrant winter tights 🙂

  3. I’ve loved the tank tops you made previously (there, there and there). This one is no exception. You are like the maestra of creative tank tops!

    1. Ha, I do love a good tank top! I feel like I’m starting to slowly get into the groove of figuring out what styles I really like and dislike, and it’s all mighty fun 🙂

    1. Thanks Greta! I appreciate that so much – I have a tendency of focusing on what didn’t work out quite right, but I wore the tank all day today and have fallen quite in love with it 🙂

  4. I love it when you share whether an outfit is bra-friendly or not, as it’s something I always wonder. So the fact that this is both bra-friendly AND super interesting with the great back cut-out makes it a certain win! Even worth the extra hand-sewing:) Love it that your mom’s fabric is back on the cutting board – always fun to see what she shares with you:)

    1. The bra factor is huge for me, Lucinda! I was missing my mom, and wanted to sew something from her – as I sorted through the fabric she brought me, I noticed that most of them are small pieces though so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to sew much from them. But I might be able to piece something together…;-)

  5. You look beautiful and I think you should also add beautiful shoulders to the list! It is a great look on you! I am already in the mood to sew for autumn, mornings and evenings are already pretty chilly here.

    1. Oh, thanks so much Ute! It was one of those days of I have a zit on my chin, no make-up on, wait, did I brush my hair? thank goodness for soft focus…so your comment is extra boosting…I can’t wait to sew for the Fall – I seem to be only making tank tops!! 😉

  6. I think your shoulders/arms are beautiful! They look great in this tank. I like the detail in the back as well 🙂

    1. Thanks for your sweet comment, Alana – I’ve actually had people ask me if I’m wearing shoulder pads with my jacket (I wasn’t) so I’ve always thought of my shoulders as…uh…powerful 🙂 I want to try to make the other version of this tank top too, which is a split back!

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