Sunday 26 April 2020

Tencel Twill Tank

This post is going to be short and sweet. Consider it an extension of my Gemma tank journey from two years ago. To recap: I'd hit a bit of a brick wall with Made by Rae's Gemma tank pattern. It's possible that I was trying to over-think and/or over-fit it. However, when this lovely fabric dropped into my lap, I decided to try a different starting point.


A few months ago, Fabric Godmother got a delivery of a whole rainbow of tencel twill. It's light and flowy with fantastic drape, and a washed, almost sanded appearance. I scored just under 1m of the rust colour way. Tencel (a brand name of lyocell) is a bit of buzz word these days. It's often claimed to be a 'sustainable' fabric, because it is produced in a closed-loop process, which reuses a lot of the chemicals (and water?) required to break down the base material (wood pulp) into useable fibres. A lot of people are hailing it as a better alternative to viscose/rayon, the more common of the regenerated fibre fabrics. However, I have also heard that Tencel/lyocell isn't as stable as viscose, and has a shorter lifespan. Plus, I personally bristle when the label 'sustainable' is assigned to any virgin fabric, particularly a regenerated fibre that has to undergo so much processing to be ready for fabric production. I'll be interested to see how this fabric wears over time with use and washing. 


As I mentioned above, I was on the hunt for a new woven tank pattern to try. I'd previously considered the Wiksten tank pattern, but had opted for the Gemma in the end because the latter has bust darts. Yet, seeing as this fabric is so drape-y, I thought the looser shape of the Wiksten tank might be better suited for this project. I also bought it with half an eye on making more patchwork viscose garments in the future, and thought that this might be a great blank canvas for that also. The looser, roomier style also allowed me to avoid sway back adjustment headaches, and I made the size M with no adjustments at all. 

I like the curved hem detail, which makes this pattern suitable for both tucking in to bottoms as well as wearing loose. Included is a little basic patch pocket, which I nearly didn't bother with, but I thought this top might look too plain without. This slippy fabric, as you can imagine, is a bit of a pig to work with, and when I'm wearing the finished garment, I can see that the pocket isn't applied completely straight and the bottom righthand corner (when worn) is a bit askew. 

Another nice feature is that all the seams are french seams, which is perfect for light, slippy fabric such as this Tencel. Overlocked seams might show through on the right side, plus, from my experience, overlockers sometimes enjoy chewing up fine fabrics a bit and can create some unwelcome gathering. The neckline and armholes are bound with self-made strips cut on the bias. Because my main fabric was so tricky to cut and handle, I cut my bias strips from some lightweight 4oz washed denim from my stash, and I love the contrast it brings. I should have taken a photo of this garment flat so you can see, but you'll have to use your imagination!  


OMG, I didn't predict that Tencel would feel so nice to wear! It feels so soft, and I also want to say slightly rubbery, however I'm not sure that that gets the right concept across. As for the pattern, I'm really pleased that I invested in this basic woven tank pattern, as I'm sure I'll reach for it again before long. It'll probably be my version of the popular Odgen cami by True Bias. One thing to note though: the neckline is pretty low! Lower than I was expecting. I'm definitely not prudish, however I think I may raise it slightly for future versions, just so that I don't need to be so conscious when leaning forwards.  


Lilz said...

Lovely top, well done! The color is perfect. Thank you for all your thoughts on the fabric. What is your experience with laundering tencel twill? Does it require special treatment in your experience?

Let's Get Sewing said...

I love the colour! The simple pattern shows off the fabric perfectly.

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Fabric Tragic said...

Gosh the Wiksten tank is such a blast from the past! The first pdf I ever made! Looks great. Just as an aside I wonder what the peppermint peplum tank would look like sans peplum and full length. I recall i really liked your recent version xx

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