Ruffle Fabric Tank Top

For some reason, the minute I opened the boxes of our new Ruffle Fabric, all could imagine was hanger after hanger of ruffle fabric tank tops in my closet. The ruffle fabric is stretchy and lightweight, perfect for pulling over your head on a hot summer day. Plus, what could be better than balling it up in your suitcase and pulling it out, wrinkle-free at your beach destination? When CityCrafters first see the ruffle fabric, they usually think it's going to be too sheer to wear without a lining, but I quickly found this wasn't the case after completing my second tank out of the Raspberry Ruffle Fabric. (My first tank used the Mint Chocolate Ruffle Fabric.)

I made my own pattern for these tanks by manipulating a Simplicity pattern that I had lying around. (I was actually surprised that I couldn't find a basic tank top pattern on a PDF pattern download site like BurdaStyle.) I traced the front and back pattern pieces for the dress bodice and then added length by simply extending the side seam lines using a long ruler. (I wanted to make sure the tank top was loose-fitting, so I used one size larger that I normally sew in Simplicity patterns.) The one thing I forgot to do when I made the first tank was to get rid of the seam allowances on the neckline and armholes since the ruffle tank doesn't need any facings. This was very simple. On the tracing paper pattern pieces I created for the first tank, I used a seam gauge set at 5/8" and made evenly spaced dots inside the neckline and armholes, connected the dots, and then cut away the original seam allowances. This created the look I was going for with thinner straps and a deeper neckline. (I might even create a second tank pattern front piece with a deeper neckline for sassy evening wear!)

I used a serger to create these tanks, but you can easily sew with ruffle fabric using a standard sewing machine. Just take a scrap of the ruffle fabric after cutting out your pattern pieces and test out various stitches to achieve the desired results. On my serger, I used a 3-thread narrow rolled hem to finish the edges of the neckline and armholes, and then used a 3-thread overlock stitch to sew the side seams. On a standard machine, try using a very narrow and tight (as in short length) zig-zag stitch to finish your edges, and then try a narrow, LONG zig-zag, "lightning" stitch, or mock overlock stitch to sew the side seams. (The point of these unusual stitches is to create stretch in the stitch for knit fabrics - but since you don't need much stretch lengthwise (up and down) on side seams (stretch is more important on seams running crosswise) you could even get away with straight stitch (just watch for puckering and lengthen your stitch if necessary.) Also, if you guys come up with some better hints for sewing ruffle fabric with a regular machine, please leave suggestions in the comments!