Today’s post is about the McCalls Kwik Sew Misses' 3848 tank, which turned out to be a not so quick sew.

I found this pattern just a couple of weeks back while looking online for sewing inspiration for my mother in law. The idea of a pretty cotton tank with a racer back really attracted me, and I love the idea of a look that’s work appropriate from the front but with a casual summer vibe from the back. Unfortunately for my Mother in law, I abandoned my pattern search and snapped up the Kwik Sew pattern for myself….ooops!

Whenever I find a potential purchase I always do the requisite Google / Pinterest / Instagram search to see how other people have interpreted the pattern, as sometimes it’s pretty hard to tell from the pattern graphics what the finished article will be like, and if there will be any unexpected surprises.

The biggest surprise was that there was so few ‘other peoples makes’ of this pattern, none that I could find really inspired me and all of the reviews said there were issues with the fit…still, this did not put me off for some reason and not only did I buy the pattern it rose right to the top of my making list!

My first from one of the 'big four' commercial pattern companies!

I decided to try making a wearable muslin which in hindsight, and considering the reviews, was probably a silly idea. I opted for view A / size S but a quick try on demonstrated the fit problems other people had experienced. I was expecting a small gape at the neck as this seems to be consistent for me, whether ready to wear or handmade! What I wasn’t expecting was the gaping arm holes and shapeless bodice that could practically fit a second person in! Who is this pattern made for? (I really should remember to take photos along the way!)

With the help of Mr Distracted I pinned in the yoke at the centre back neck to see how much adjustment was required to allow it to lay flat – 2cm in all! And then I went about trying to add darts to the front to create a better fitting shape. As the arm holes were so low a bust dart was out of the question as it would have landed far below the intended area, so I pinched in the fabric to create a more vertical dart starting under the arm and finishing on the bust – which Google informs me is an armscye dart. This seemed to do the trick nicely and improved the fit greatly, but of course my wearable muslin was sadly no longer wearable.

After a quick Blue Peter transfer of the adjustments onto my traced pattern pieces using extra tracing paper and sticky tape I was ready to try again. 

The pattern itself came together quickly and with minimal fuss, although the 6mm seam allowance seemed a bit risky to me so I added 10mm when I initially traced the pattern. I found attaching the back yoke a little tricky to line up with the shoulder seams and so I opted for basting it in place – which as a lazy sewist I never usually bother to do, but it was totally worth it to get the yoke and back join so neat. Since the back yoke is the best feature of this top I'm pleased with how good it looks! I also thought I had stretched out the armscyes while applying the bias binding, but they seem to lay flat so I’m happy enough.

I decided from the start to do away with the front pockets, and when I tried on the reworked muslin with pins holding the front closed I found that I really liked the drape of the pattern when only the top three pins were in place.

The fabric is an Alison Glass cotton double border batik called Speckle that I picked up at the Knitting and Stitching Show in March – I’ve seen this described as a pink on a grey background, but I am 100% sure this is actually green….I am totally in love with this fabric, green is most definitely my favourite colour.

The pattern was made up in less than 1m of fabric, and I managed to position the pieces (against the grain) so that the border formed the hemline. The buttons were another lucky match from my button stash - I'm sure they'll run out soon.

I've learnt a few things along the way to a finished garment - the most important thing is not to get distracted by interesting features but to look at the pattern as a whole. I should have noticed that there was no built in shape to this top - and other pattern reviews should have rang the alarm bells! I am also slightly sceptical that the sample garment worn by the model on the packaging is made to the same instructions...or maybe it's three sizes smaller than she would normally wear...

So my finished garment is nowhere near what the original Kwik Sew 3848 design intended, but I think my pattern adjustments have been relatively successful. But my first experience of a 'big four' pattern has been pretty disappointing.

Would I make another? I’m not ruling it out but I’m in no hurry…

Have you sewn the Kwik Sew 3848? Let me know what you thought of the pattern and any adjustments you made!