When Life Gives You Lemons…(make mommy and me tops!)

I’ve had quite a few sewing “lemons” lately- patterns I was super excited to sew up, that for various reasons turned out completely unwearable. It happens to the best of us, I guess, but I found myself last week in a bit of a rut.

Heres the equation, for all you math geeks out there:

Pattern fails + no immediate deadlines = dangerously low sew-jo!

A simple (read: idiot proof) project, and a fun new fabric were exactly the rescue remedy I needed, and I found what I was looking for in testing the new Cascade pattern by New Horizons. Testing, for me, is a way to keep myself motivated- I’m type A enough to be terrified of missing a deadline, and having one imposed on me is the perfect way to get myself going again.

That, and I trust Terra’s drafting enough to know that the pattern would end up completely wearable on me (unlike several other recent things that shall not be named or photographed….)

While I initially wanted to make the flounce version, I was assigned the basic tank for testing, and I came to really appreciate this, as I’m always looking for a few new tanks so I can go longer between laundry rotations (I can’t be the only one who sews to avoid laundry?).

The basic tank is about as simple as it gets- a scoop neck, finished with bands, with a slight racer cut in the back.

The neckline is low enough for me to nurse, though I would lower it about an inch more in the future to make nursing even easier. Of course, it’s not the showstopper that the flounced version is, but it’s a great basic and handy for making when you don’t have time to coax bias edges into perfect hems.

The fabric I used is from So Sew English– I picked it up on my recent travels, originally intending to use it for my daughter. Since SSE only sells fabric in whole yards though, it seemed like it would take years to use it all up on her, so I decided to make the tank for myself and add on a matching top for her with the scraps.

I have to be honest here- I’ve seen many adorable adult things come from this fabric, but I was a bit worried I would end up looking like a giant fruit basket. The other testers assured me that wasn’t the case, so I’m hoping they are right, and weren’t trying to spare my feelings! All fruity humor aside, I do love the loose fit and simplicity of this tank- I’m wearing it right now as I type this, and plan to make a few more soon.

To match, Princess (not her real name….though she is starting to think it is- eek!) got another Peekaboo Melanie, this time in peplum length.

I wasn’t originally interested in this pattern otpion, but I think it’s pretty much the cutest thing ever, and a great use for smaller scraps when I can’t get an entire circle skirt from my yardage.

She was a little lackluster in these photos, because they were taken right as she was getting sick, but rest assured she’s back to her normal self now and loves it!

Also, sometimes when you’re taking photos of toddlers, this happens…oops!

They sure have their sweet moments though:

Comparison: Key West vs Cascade

Since the basic tank version of the Cascade and the free Key West tank look so similar, I thought a little photographic comparison might be helpful for you. I made the key west last year, from a lightweight jersey knit as part of my free tank comparison series. You can check that out here, but for now, here are a couple side-by-sides of the two tanks.

They Key West comes with two fits- a looser fit and a tighter fit. I made the looser fit last year, so I’m not sure exactly how the tighter option would look. It also has options for a racerback (I did the racerback) or a fuller back, a curved hem, and a choice to use bindings or bands.

Overall, I think the Key West (looser fit version) is less fitted at the hips, and more fitted at the bust than the Cascade. The Key West has a slightly lower scoop neck, and the back racerback cut is almost identical (on me), with the Key West being just slightly more scooped in the back arms.

If all I wanted was the basic tank version of the Cascade, I probably would just use the Key West, with all its options- but if you love the flounced options in the Cascade and want the bonus of a well drafted tank, then the Cascade might be the right one for you (less printing- the flounced and non flounced versions are very easy to trace off so you don’t need to print extra pages)!

Key West:




I hope that’s helpful- let me know in the comments if you’ve had any sewing fails lately, and how you typically recover your sew-jo when it’s lost!

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  1. Angie Knutson on July 11, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    I am super struggling with sewing fails lately. I made shorts doe my 2yo boy and they looked awful, I made the Greenstyle Jillian tank outer tank that I can’t get to lay right, and I’m working on a Maribella tank that is now too low in the back for me and you can see my bra straps. Ugh. Hoping for a win soon. On a side note, I love your shorts. Are they me-made?

    • Sarah on July 17, 2018 at 1:46 pm

      I hope you find a win soon too- I know how frustrating that is! And no, unfortunately they are store bought, but I do love them and they go well with so many things!

  2. Liza115 on July 23, 2018 at 4:31 am

    I’m so glad you used this fabric! It looks lovely on you and adorable on Princess. I’ve been out of my sewing room for a month now due to some fails and just dumb mistakes. This basic tank may be just what I need to kick me into gear. Thanks Sarah!

    • Sarah on July 24, 2018 at 9:54 am

      I hope it helps you get back to feeling confident again!

  3. Randi on July 24, 2018 at 9:09 am

    Love your lemon print tanks, your little princess looks adorable in her flounce version, and no; the fruit print doesn’t make you look like a fruit basket, you look fresh and summery in your cute tank. The comparison of the two tank patterns is interesting, sounds like the Cascade would fit me better. And I’ve had many sewing fails over the years, I usually recover my sewjo as you did, by making a relatively simple piece that I know will fit.

    • Sarah on July 24, 2018 at 9:53 am

      Haha- thank you for your encouragement! I do love it and have worn it multiple times since I made it. Glad to know I’m not the only one who needs to go back to a simple pattern every now and then to get my sewjo back!

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