Chambray racerback peplum tank (almost done)

Chambray racerback peplum tank - front

There’s something about a quick sewing project that’s really uplifting.  My life outside of sewing has been extremely stressful lately, and I find that diving head first into a satisfying sewing project can be a very healing, restorative process.  I’m sure you can relate.  I whipped up this tank during a day off from work today (a mental health day in the truest form), and I’m quite delighted with the result.  I’d say it’s *almost* done at this point, just lacking a little piece of flair.

This top is self-drafted from my bodice sloper, and I used the modifications I had made for my self-drafted maxi dress that I never got around to sewing in real fabric.  Essentially I took the sloper and added a racerback, deepened the armholes, and added a deep V-neckline.  For the peplum, I simply chopped off the maxi skirt and left the top ~8 inches, adding a slight shirttail hem.

Chambray racerback peplum tank - back

The biggest challenge with this top was figuring out how to finish the neckline and huge armholes without adding too much bulk.  I’ve come to the realization that I don’t particularly like finishing edges with bias tape, as I find it to be quite bulky and a little puckery when it comes out of the wash.  Maybe I need to start using silk bias tape instead of cotton?  Anyway, I decided on a narrow double-fold hem for the armholes and a shallow, topstitched facing for the neckline.  The facing was a great choice for getting a crisp point at the center of the V.  I think the curves of the racerback were a little too aggressive for the double-fold hem, but it came out better than I was expecting.

Chambray racerback peplum tank - slot seam zipper

The only zipper I had on hand was a regular (not invisible) black zipper, so I used a slot seam insertion in the left side seam.  The insertion isn’t the neatest, and the black zipper clearly shows on the outside of the top, but I considered this to be a test version and didn’t worry about it too much.  It was pretty liberating actually.  A zipper that doesn’t match?  A bit of sloppiness at the top of the side seam?  Who cares!  I have more important things in life to worry about than zippers.  🙂

Now, about the flair…

Chambray racerback peplum tank - lace applique

What do you think of this V-shaped piece of crocheted lace?  I found it in a box of sewing-related goodies that John’s mom had given me a while ago, and I thought it would fit perfectly on this top.  I hadn’t sewed it down as of taking these photos, but I just topstitched it before writing this post.  I think it adds just the right amount of interest and is quite a departure from my usual style, which I think is pretty refreshing.  Me, wearing lace??  🙂  I think the summer brings out a more feminine side of me.

Chambray racerback peplum tank - with chambray bird ArcherYou may recognize the fabric from my Chambray Bird Archer, pictured here in desperate need of some ironing.  The main fabric is a Robert Kaufman chambray dot that made the rounds on sewing blogs this past fall, and the bird print is a voile that I think pairs nicely with the chambray.  Since I didn’t have enough of either leftover fabric to make the entire top, I chose to make the peplum in a contrast fabric.  This was just a test version of my drafting, after all.  But you know what?  I like it!  Especially with the lace applique.

My apologies that I’m not modeling the top myself, but suffice it to say that I’ve been sick for a few weeks now and have been looking (and feeling) pretty miserable.  When life calms down and I’m feeling a bit better, I hope to model both this top and my floral Archer.  Fingers crossed it will be sooner rather than later.  🙂

I’m so thankful that I have such an enjoyable hobby to get me through stressful times, not to mention the wonderful community of online sewists to keep my spirits up.  The weather finally warming up a bit was a big help too.  Here’s hoping you’ve all been doing well!

26 thoughts on “Chambray racerback peplum tank (almost done)

  1. Great top for summer and the lace definately finishes it off. I’ve just used single folded bias tape on a recent denim dress. I made it with a remnant of Liberty cotton that I picked up on eBay. I applied it like you would a facing and it’s worked a treat!
    Looking forward to the pics when your feeling better. 😀

    • Thanks Ali! You’ll see the lace in its full glory when I can get some outdoor photos of me wearing it. Great tip about bias tape – I think single fold (vs. double) and a lighter fabric choice will make a big difference.

      P.S. – I saw your recent post about your sewing meet-up, and it looked like such a fun time! Glad to hear it went so well after all that planning. 🙂

    • Thanks for the good wishes. 🙂 The top was looking a little plain without the lace, so I’m glad I found that little piece to tack on top. Sometimes a small embellishment can make a big difference.

  2. I do love this combination of fabrics! Cute top—I like that it’s feminine, but not frilly. Hope you start to feel better soon! We’ve spent the last three weeks sharing and passing a nasty cold around the family… can’t complain, we had nary a sniffle all winter!

    • Oh no, I hope you all feel better soon! I’ve had a similar experience – healthy all winter and miserable at the very end. It’s like the universe is laughing at us. 🙂 Hang in there, and thanks for your comments on the top.

  3. Oh, my gosh! I LOVE this top! This is when I wish I could wish a “coolest copycat sewing projects wardrobe” into existence. I’d totally put one of those shirts in there. I love the fabric combo, and I think all your edges and details look really good, so don’t be hard on yourself. Hope you are feeling better soon and that we get even more springy weather so you can wear it!

    • Thanks Lisa! 🙂 This was definitely just a test version with leftover fabrics, but I’m happy with how it came out. I’d be happy to send you the pattern pieces if you want to make your own, with the caveat that they may not fit all that well!

  4. Great top! I’ve recently learned that a lapped zipper can look really great in a side seam (still need to blog, because life and all that stuff…). It took some time to insert because it was done by hand but I really like how it turned out. Definitely a good alternative to invisible zippers.

    Get well soon!

    • Well done for the pattern drafting, I can’t wait to finish the coat I’m making and start playing with my sloper, unfortunately I’m a one project at a time kind of seamstress.
      Love the fabric combination on this one!!!!

      • Thanks! I’m with you – I only work on one project at a time, no exceptions! The reality is that I don’t have enough sewing time to juggle multiple projects even if I wanted to. A girl can dream… 🙂 Best of luck finishing up your coat!

    • Great tip, thanks Emmely! Believe it or not, I’ve still never tried sewing a lapped zipper. My usual preference is invisible zippers, and when I don’t have one (like on this top), I revert back to slot seam. I’m making a mental note to try one. I bet your hand-picked zipper came out beautifully. 🙂

  5. Even though it was a lot of work up front, I’ve found that having a sloper is amazing for quicker sewing projects like sleeveless tops! Sounds like you might be experiencing the same thing 🙂 Your tank looks lovely and I hope you continue to feel better!

    • Thanks Morgan! Yes, exactly. I spent some time looking through Big 4 patterns for simple tanks and realized I could easily draft one myself from my sloper *and* avoid all the inevitable fitting adjustments. It was a no-brainer. 🙂 The trick will be drafting a more complicated garment… one day.

  6. I love those two fabrics together! This top looks really great and I can’t wait to see it on you. I really love racer back styles. I hope you start feeling better soon and your stress level can be reduced. I know sewing is what keeps me sane– especially quick, fun projects like this!

    • Thanks Teri! Yes, it’s amazing how beneficial sewing can be during stressful times, even if all it does is distract you from your stress for a while. I tried on the tank with the matching Archer just out of curiosity, and it was way too much burgundy, LOL. I like them individually though. 🙂

  7. Hope you feel better soon. I really love the fabric combination on the new top (and the earlier Archer) – the style of the top with the racetrack is really unique – I love it – perfect for warmer weather (if it ever comes!)

    • Thanks Louise! Thankfully spring has finally arrived here, although it’s not quite warm enough to wear a sleeveless top yet. I’m looking forward to wearing it this summer, hopefully along with a handful more tops in this style. 🙂

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