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Pattern Review: Brooklyn Tank Top from Sewing Clothes Kids Love

The Brooklyn Tank Top is a sewing pattern in the book, Sewing Clothes Kids Love by Nancy Langdon and Sabine Pollehn. I'm currently working my way through many of the patterns in this book (you can see my review of the Insa Skirt here) and have mentioned before that my favorite things about the book are the ranges in sizes (I can make all of the patterns for all three of my girls, ages 4 - 10) and how customizable each pattern is.

The Brooklyn Tank top is made using knit fabrics. I used interlock knits. The blue and pink are from Modern Workshop and the green polka dot is from City Weekend both designed by Liesl Gibson of Oliver + S. I have to mention here that these knits are incredibly soft and supple. They were a joy to work with!

The shirt is rather simple to put together. The challenge is the binding. I have not mastered this skill and it is why I put this project aside awhile, after I "messed up" the bindings on the fronts. After a pep talk from my 10-year-old (ahem), I picked them up and finished them. I do not have a serger and I'm not sure if that would help, but I kept finding myself sewing crookedly so the top-stitching on the binding does not look pretty and is far from professional. However, I'll never be good at it if I don't practice, practice, practice and by the sixth piece of binding on the third shirt, the stitching was looking better. NOTE: have you ever un-picked top-stitching from a knit fabric? I'm telling right now: don't do it! You will be left with holes that keep getting bigger and bigger. It's better to just move past small mistakes. As my 10-year-old said, "it's not so bad that I wouldn't wear it". 'Nuf said.

I HIGHLY recommend the tie straps versus the plain straps. I thought I was doing the plain straps. Everything seemed to fit perfectly in all the fittings. Then I top-stitched the straps closed. And they s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d. Again, not sure if this happens with sergers. I was using a twin needle and a walking foot. This may have led to the massive stretching, but I think it would have happened anyway. So, I cut the straps at the shoulders, sewed a line across the ends to keep the top stitching from coming out and tied the straps. And they're so cute and I should have just done that from the beginning. You should, too.

The sizing in this book does seem a bit confusing. I wasn't sure which sizes to use for this shirt. The size chart for the pattern used waist and hip measurements so the sizes seemed different than what the front of the book said I should use via chest measurement. I went with chest measurements and added about 4.5 inches to the bottoms for length. I find most shirt patterns to be too short for my girls and that was true here. Luckily, it is very easy to add length to sewing patterns. (The book also has a section on how to modify the sewing patterns for fit.)

I also didn't hem the bottoms of the shirts. I tried them on the girls without the hemming and liked the look. It also keeps the length as I really didn't want to lose any.

The final verdict is that this is a great pattern, especially, I think, for beginners wanting to practice binding and sewing with knits. Though I think the binding is difficult, knits ARE forgiving. And unless you point out the flaws to every person you meet, most won't give your stitching a second look. Because the shirts go together quickly, they make a great project for beginners and could have some cute details as well. 

[Supplies and disclosure:]

  • Sewing Clothes Kids Love {<----this link goes to my Amazon affliate book store} book - I purchased mine at JoAnn Fabric Store
  • Fabric - Modern Workshop & City Weekend Knits by Liesl Gibson of Oliver + S for Moda, purchased at Sew, Mama, Sew!