Grainline Studio’s Tiny Pocket Tank

Tiny Pocket Tank Intro

How do you ease yourself back into sewing? If you’re anything like me, you’ll loll around on the sofa like a teenager with a cold, sulkily rejecting every helpful suggestion. The shirt dress? Don’t wanna! A Ginger skirt? Can’t be bovvered! Something new? My head hurts even thinking about it, you’re so selfish, I can’t believe you’d even suggest that!

In the end, I gave myself a good shake and returned to Grainline’s Tiny Pocket Tank. I made a couple of versions last summer, ill-advisedly in jersey. Could I make this pattern work in the fabric it was meant to be sewn in? I dug out some Liberty lawn I ordered this summer and immediately swooned.

Fabric Detail

Isn’t this Richard and Lyla Liberty lawn just to die for? The perfect London landscape for someone who resides in our great city. Red telephone boxes, airplanes, ickle dogs, allotments, London bridge, sunflowers. The perfect testament to what, for me, has been a memorable summer. Was I going to muslin this top first? No way! I’d caught the sewing bug again, and would plunge forth.

Tiny Pocket Tank

Everything came together swimmingly. I raised the neckline slightly and added 1.5cm to the shoulder width. I used a decorative stitch on my tiny pocket and took care over print matching.

Pocket Detail

Yes, I am the queen of print matching. A genius of alignment. I am brilliant at this, there’s no one better. I AM PRINT MATCHING LION, HEAR ME ROAR! I am… Hold on. What’s this? What the…?!

Rear Detail

Blooming heck!*

* For international readers, this is a regional term of gentle frustration or surprise that roughly translates as, ‘ What the @!*&*@!’.

For reasons I won’t bore you with (incompetence) my version of the Tiny Pocket Tank has a centre back seam that now sports a design feature. I think we all know how to translate ‘design feature’, don’t we, readers?

No matter. If anything, this gives me huge source of amusement. I’m really curious to see who will have the guts to say to me, ‘You know you have an upside down Tower Bridge straddling your back, don’t you?’ If they do, I shall peer down my nose at them and proclaim, ‘It’s a design feature, you fool.’ Or maybe I’ll say, ‘I know! It’s hilarious, isn’t it?’ Or maybe I’ll just wear this with a cardie…

Tiny Pocket Tank With Cardie

On a serious note, I really do like this pattern. It’s perfect as a wardrobe builder. I have some silk twill and really want to have a go with that. I think I need to do a teeny tiny FBA but other than that, it’s good to go. Though maybe next time, I’ll  leave the directional prints to one side.

Now, come on. Make me feel better about myself. What’s the worst sewing mistake you’ve ever made?

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92 Responses to Grainline Studio’s Tiny Pocket Tank

  1. jdiettrich says:

    I love that print! So beautiful and colorful, especially at a distance. Looks great on you. And hey, design features make our things one of a kind, right? Now I have to ask – is Liberty cheaper to get in London than it is here in the States?

    • I don’t know how much you pay in the States. The rule here, if you’re in the know, is not to buy direct from Liberty, but to buy from a website called Shaukut. They list it at about £15 a metre rather than the £20+ a metre it is from Liberty. £15 roughly translates as $23. How does that compare?

      • Jessica says:

        Liberty tends to run around $35 a yard here… Ugh. I’ll have to check out Shaukutmand see if they ship to the US.

      • lauriesannie says:

        Too many to list. But generally don’t make the same mistake twice. Notice I said generally. Liberty here, on sale, is more than $30. Glad to know about Shaukut!

      • Katie M says:

        I buy my Liberty prints from Desai in Cricklewood Lane, West Hampstead. They are usually around £12 a metre. I’m not sure if they do online, but they do have a website. They get all the current season, but sometimes not for a few weeks after it is stocked in Liberty.
        Random Crafting Adventures

    • Ooh, that’s good to know about, Katie M – thanks!

  2. susew says:

    Believe me, the design feature isn’t easy to pick out with that pattern even in close up. It took me three looks to realize it is upside down, in spite of you pointing it out.
    We sewers are an unforgiving lot when we have “design features”.
    I’ve realized that most people are so amazed and impressed that I made the clothing I am wearing that I no longer point out all the faults I with it and that probably only I notice.

  3. Maggie says:

    Biggest sewing mistake- after cutting the body pieces for a robe, I proceeded to cut the pockets right out of the front body!

  4. Nicole says:

    I’ve been eyeing this pattern. Awesome fabric choice. Thank you for the regional slang. I second the above question about the cost of Liberty textiles stateside versus in London. Almost every garment I sew, except baby and toddler trousers (got that shit down), contains the stupidest sewing mistake I’ve ever made. The last dress I made? It makes me cringe to turn it inside out. I really need a basic garment construction crash course.

  5. Louise hanes says:

    Worst sewing mistake:- using simplicity trouser pattern with 3 fit options, slim, average and curvy. Then accidentally cutting 2 back pieces out, one curvy and one average. Say no more!

  6. EmSewCrazy says:

    Oh my, since I started sewing at 11 there were lots of sewing mistakes. Early on my Dad taught me to not become frustrated and angry but to consider them moments for creativity. He said, “Being a good seamstress isn’t about how well you can sew but how well you can hide your mistakes.”
    That color is lovely on you and I agree that no one is going to be able to point out your design feature in that busy print.

  7. Fibre friend says:

    Don’t know if its my worst but just last week I went to dew the front and back of a dress together only to discover the back was 8 inches longer than the front! Design Feature I said! Did a stepped hem and get only compliments on my cleverness. Love when this happens.

  8. Hester says:

    I’ve just made some corduroy dungarees for my baby niece, using a length of lovely wine-red stuff I found at Goodwill1 It was just a little bit smaller than I would have liked, and I didn’t lay out all my pieces before cutting, so I had to cut the two symmetrical back pieces separately. I thought I was doing brilliantly until I realised I now had two left back pieces, and no right back…
    (Fortunately I just about managed to squeeze a right back out of the remainder by shortening the leg slightly, and I corrected that with a faced hem rather than a turned-up hem!)

  9. Kathleen says:

    Sewing the sleeves in backwards, sewing pants together incorrectly, slicing a buttonhole open right through the end…too many to count. I could hardly tell that was upside fown until you pointed it out.

  10. peacockchic says:

    I hear ya! I get that way all too often. My solution was same as yours…make a Tank!! Your is very cute,especially with the “design feature”

  11. Sam says:

    Oooh, what gorgeous fabric! I’m never sure whether this pattern would work for me, being rather full in the chest department, but maybe with an FBA? I’ll just add it to my list, shall I?!

  12. Marianne says:

    Well, isn’t it great to commemorate this week of Big Change with a personal landmark in the form of an upside down Tower Bridge on your back? Congrats on your new job!

  13. victoriapeat says:

    I once made a dress when I was about 18. There were loads of techniques and I was really pleased with the work I had done. I had put it on to check the hem length and showed it to mum and dad. I asked what they thought and dad said….nice, as long as you want a dress with the print upside down! There was a one way print and I hadn’t even noticed, but when it was pointed out to me it was totally noticeable. I took the dress off and never finished it….grumpy teenager!

  14. Wendy says:

    Cute fabric and the colour really suits you. Nice to see you back 🙂

  15. Angela says:

    Sewing a pair of trousers up into two tubes. I finished sewing and instead of a pair of pants I had constructed two separate tubes! It was made all the worse because I had carefully french seamed both legs. I was so surprised that I just had to laugh:)

  16. rachsews says:

    Great print – I, too, didn’t realise it was upside down until you said!
    My worst mistake was making a dress with no obvious right side to the fabric; I somehow ended up with one side skirt seam on the outside – I hadn’t even noticed when I sewed it to the bodice.

  17. twirldesigns says:

    I love this! I have also tried to make this out of a knit and it failed utterly. Probably because I didn’t chose a small enough size. I refuse to think it can’t be done! I love my knits and this tank is way too cute.

  18. Trish says:

    I made a pleated skirt for my three-year old. Every time she wore it she cried. Til I discovered I had left a couple of straight pins buried inside the pleats.

  19. Good way to ease yourself back into sewing! I don’t think anyone will EVER notice the “design feature” I love this top and you look lovely in it! x

  20. Well, I’ve just cut out a top in Liberty lawn with the flowers growing downwards. (Slaps forehead and groans).

  21. This print is so unusual, I love the Big Ben on it! I have the creative skills of a 3 year old so any sewing goes straight to my mum, who luckily for me is a interior designer! I cheat and get her to customise a lot of my clothes!

    Belle x
    Mascara & Maltesers

  22. Colleen says:

    You should always wear those colors — you look really beautiful in that tank. I want to live in London so bad andif I did I would wear London all over me!

  23. Rebecca Beach says:

    I have literally just sewn a panel into my Colette Iris shorts upside down & in frustration decided to take a break & I’m so glad I did as reading this post & the comments has made me realise everyone makes mistakes once in a while :o)

  24. What a lovely top, I love the fabric and it took me a fair bit to realise it was upside down. In regards to mistakes…I once had very minimal yardage left and felt very clever when I managed to cut out all of my pattern pieces from it, it was only when I came to making it up that I realised I was missing half the back; quite the design feature!

  25. Marie says:

    Please don’t only wear this with a cardi Karen (as lovely as your cardi is)…it’s way to pretty for that! I bet you no one will notice ‘design feature’ let alone comment on it. They’ll be too busy swooning over what a cute top it is. I wish this kind of faux pas was my worse, but oh no, making things too small is mine…there’s really no way of correcting that kind of thing!

  26. Rita Monos says:

    What a cute top and I bet no one notices the “design feature.” Right now I seem to have a lot of “design features” in my outfits!

    LOVE the Liberty fabric…..swoon.

  27. redsilvia says:

    Cute tank! I love the fabric you chose.

    My worst sewing mishap (at least one I can remember) I was cutting open the millions of buttonholes on a button front dress and sliced straight through the center front – right at the boob line. I cried and had my mom mend it. And before you ask, I was about 30 at the time.

  28. Elizabeth says:

    Awww… I love your top, even with the design detail. 😉 And may I say that you are looking very trim! Beautiful. And the colors of this fabric are so flattering on you.

  29. abitofanenthusiast says:

    Pffffft! Worst sewing mistake? All of them!! But then I’m a relative newbie when it comes to sewing clothes so I’m hoping it’ll get better…
    I love and adore that print so much. So VERY VERY much!

  30. gccmom says:

    About mistakes…I always say, “If someone is close enough to you to see it, they are too close!! I love the fabric and pattern.

  31. Susie says:

    Yes, the colors are perfect for you!

    Thanks for sharing your mistake, it’s especially funny given your attention to matching the pocket. I have so many mistakes, I can’t think of a favorite, but that’s how we learn!

  32. Cherie says:

    Karen, you are so adorable! I love your writing! Well, your sewing also. A pleasure when I see you have a post!

    Cherie in Phoenix

  33. Becky says:

    I sewed through the end of my finger when distracted by one of the kids…I cut two back pieces for a jacket for my husband rather than cutting on the fold…BIG design feature right down the back of the jacket, husband still wears it though so can’t be as bad as I think

  34. Nikki says:

    Great top, at least your mistake is still wearable, I cut a big hole in the back of my blouse whilst trimming the arm seam today – sigh! It was also my first make in a while, this time of year the garden takes up a lot of my time.

  35. Actually, here in the Antipodes, that side of the back is the right way up. But why did you do the rest of it upside down?

  36. Sunni says:

    Its brilliant! I love the fabric and to me, its looks like the fit is spot on! By the way, you are looking wonderfully tan and summery in it too. Easy projects are the only way to ease yourself back into sewing. Especially ones that sport no closures (uggghhhh, closures are the bane of a sewer’s life!).

    Your pocket was brilliantly matched and as for the backside being upside down – I highly doubt that anyone will even notice. I would never have seen it unless you pointed it out! I’m sure it looks just fine!

  37. Louise says:

    Love the print. I’m a newbie to sewing so not made many finished items. But the last top I made I stupidly did different seam allowances on the left and right shoulder/sleeve as I set them in. So one shoulder is wider than the other! I didn’t notice until I’d finished the seams. Still I’ve pinned a brooch to one of the sides and no one has commented yet.

  38. I’m easing back into sewing by picking up a long ago abandoned dress. One of my first projects, I worked so hard on and then sewed the frilly sleeves on the wrong sides and gave up in despair! But looking at it now it shouldn’t take too much to fix and it’s got me really excited about sewing again. I like the shape of this blouse… I want this pattern. The bug is back!

  39. Jean says:

    Love your Tiny Pocket Tank. Love the shape, the fabric and the fit. Very entertaining post too. You have convinced me to try this pattern.

  40. Jen (NY) says:

    We all love the tank, so I’ll answer the question posed… Worst mistake was probably the classic cutting out 2 right sleeves. Second worst was overestimating how much shorter I wanted my shirt dress (which is now a rather short dress or a long tunic, but wearable).

  41. Susan says:

    The tank looks great! And there are enough intentional prints that are up and down that I bet no one would notice unless told. I loved your relaying of the mishap though. My recurring mistake is using the serger when I shouldn’t risk a blade situation…but I keep throwing caution to the wind anyway. Keeps it interesting.

  42. Anne-Marie says:

    Lovely top and you look great Karen! Nearly all the garments I sew for myself have mistakes – the worst one was overworking a woollen jacket so that when it finally was finished (including welt pockets and full lining) it was so totally out of shape that it looked awful and I threw it out; I also tend to assume a pattern will fit me when i KNOW it won’t – I’m working hard on learning to adjust patterns properly so that I’ll finally get a top with sleeves and FB-adjusted that fits!

  43. Bec says:

    I’m the queen of the upside down panel, I started calling it my ‘beccasauras trademark’ haha. It’s such a pain to have to remember to check it!

  44. Funkbunny says:

    I love a good ‘design feature” I cut the bodice upside down for my Eiffel Tower dress and with not enough fabric left had to pattern match down a created cf seam… turned out Ok in the end but not my finest moment. Oh and there was the time that I cut the sleeves out of the only piece of amazing gifted lace large enough to cut a Laurel body from… enter HOURS of matching & joining lace by hand to make a piece big enough…. *sigh*

  45. musingrunner says:

    Last fall I cut a lovely motorcycle jacket from the Burda sewing book in chocolate brown corduroy. I was so careful with my cutting, but not careful enough. I reversed the nap on one of the back panels and didn’t have enough fabric left to recut it. And it is SO obvious. I wear it anyway, because I made it.

  46. Bec Stitches says:

    Looks lovely:) It’s an added handmade detail 😉

  47. Such beautiful top!! You look gorgeous as always!

    I had one of those moments where I made this Rudolf the reindeer pajamas in pink (with sparkly red nose et al) out of super soft flannel. DD loved it!! And posed gladly for pictures. When I asked her to turn around for a picture of the back, I found that Rudolf was busy doing headstands! Lol!!

    DD still loves it and it brings me a smile every time I see Rudolf doing upside down yoga. 🙂

  48. Ayana says:

    I think it looks great, and like others have commented, I had to look several times before I could figure out what was wrong. And that’s while scrutinizing over a close-up photograph. It’s likely not that noticeable in person. My opinion? If anyone is staring that intently, they shouldn’t be.

    My worst sewing mistake? Trying to rub off a top made of panels with curved topstitched seams, only to wonder why mine came out square and too big. It took me about a week to realize…duh! Curved seams have to be mirror images of each other in order to actually create shaping in a garment!

  49. Gjeometry says:

    I love this fabric, Karen!!! So fabulous. And, hee hee hee. Well, I think it’s very Dali of you to put an upside down landscape on your shirt. Well done!!!

  50. zora read says:

    Hi Karen, over recent years, I have played it safe with my sewing and used the same patterns and not many prints frequently, so mistakes were reduced. It is only since I discovered the on line sewing community I have begun to ‘stretch’ myself again, so looking forward to more mistakes especially when I am tired.

  51. zora read says:

    forgot to say, I have major problems with pattern matching, do you have any tips. You look great in that tank by the way.

  52. erin says:

    It’s still a pretty tank nonetheless. And as knitters would say, if it’s not noticeable on the back of a running horse, then it’s not worth bothering about! 🙂

  53. VickyH says:

    You crack me up! I love this post (and the top!) 🙂

  54. Sabs says:

    Such a cute top, despite the upside down tower!

    I’ve been going to a sewing class since last October and my first make (a skirt) took AGES to make as my teacher is very particular. I eventually finished it after 6 months (!!) only to realise after topstitching & finishing touches, of course, that the waistband was 3 inches too big. Fail.

  55. Laughed like a loon!! And you went public ?? I’d go cardi free, invite those comments from fellow Londoners, you know the one’s without filters. Design feature indeed and a term I shall readily employ should the need ever arise as I of course am a lion ROOOOOAR! No such school girl errors ever, not never (you haven’t got me on Twitter have you else I’m outed).

    Am a fan of Mums quite frequently used phrase. Oh well, there’s another way I know not to do it! She was the best!

    Thanks for the early Sunday morning giggle, started the day beautifully!

  56. Nicola says:

    I sewed a pair of PJ’s with the French seams on the outside! So now I’m the proud owner of a pair of pj’s with mock flat felled seams… I love the top and no- one but you will know about the design feature, unless of course they get really up close and personal..

  57. Rachel says:

    That pattern, fabric and you go together so well. Lovely.
    My worst mistake (I think, there are a number vying for first place) involved sewing for a bridesmaid’s dress for a friend. It was absolutely fine until she put her shoes on, and then it was too short. Way too short. So we tried just adding a bit found the midriff to provide some extra length but then it was too tight. Raw silk, no extra fabric, and I was doing it for free. I’ve never sewed for anyone else again!!

  58. RankkaApina says:

    I should have all my pieces the right way, but I think some of my wool cape pieces are a bit stretched out… We’ll see what happens. I’m hoping the end result won’t look too bad…

  59. Sewingjen says:

    Many years ago i offered to make a bridal outfit for my friend in Liberty silk, purchased by her, but not begun for some time after purchase. She told me how lucky she was as there was not much left on the roll. The top had a yoke and after attaching back front and sleeves she slipped it over her head to look at the effect. She was quite short so the sleeves needed to have 4″ cut off. I laid it on the floor with the sleeves and back and front protruding like a cross – merrily cut 4″ off both sleeves, she retried it on ” oh dear I cried” horrified as I saw the problem before her – I had cut 4″ of the back and front which now sat an inch below her waist whilst the sleeves still hung 4″ below the tips of her fingers. I had a very stressful Easter weekend ( in the days when shops were closed for the full weekend) waiting for the shop to reopen to purchased enough to remake the back and front! Phew they did, have enough fabric which then cost me quite a lot including postage in those days. A lesson learned check twice before cutting once!!!

  60. a brilliant tank top, at least I know I’m not along with the odd pattern match! Once made my mother a beautiful kimono, with the pattern running upside down….

  61. aem2 says:

    You are hilarious. And you look really lovely in this top, and I didn’t even notice the panel was upside down until you said so explicitly.

    I put “design features” into everything I make. That’s how I can identify them in a police line-up. Or so I tell myself. I had a matching issue with some plaid shorts. Like you, I was all “Behold my matching awesomeness. Check out those pockets! Check out those seams! Check out the fact that the folded fabric had shifted before I cut out the back pieces, so one side is off and doesn’t match the rest!” Ugh.

    I think the worst sewing mistakes I made were when I was making a 30s bias-cut dress out of silk charmeuse. One of the skirt panels was somehow cut about an inch narrower than planned. The dress still fit nicely, but it made for some weird ripples. Then when I went to hem it, I would up hacking off too much in the front, so I can’t wear high heels with it. And then there was the zipper. Let’s just say it looked like I had sprouted a tail.

    It’s still a lovely dress, and as long as I keep a shawl covering my butt, it’s fine.

  62. Fab! Love it with the red. And I didn’t even notice it was upside down until you said it – I just assumed you were being uber-picky about not matching across the seam. To which I say -who cares?! Live on the edge 😉

  63. Jo says:

    Last week I managed to cut 2 left legs for a pair of PJs…

  64. Liza jane says:

    Well it’s supposed to be that way!! That’s what I’d say. I spent a long time cutting out a wrap dress in a printed stripe. I was careful to match grainlines and notches, cutting each piece in a single layer. Only to discover I cut two left fronts with no fabric to spare! Blooming heck!!!

  65. Anne Barden says:

    My most recent mistake was yesterday teaching myself to so French seams I put right sides together not wrong sides and now have a lovely camisole with fantastic French seams on the right side, yes it’s a design feature!

  66. Seattlerain says:

    That print is to die for! I love it and the design feature! Shows how “versatile” that directional print is- haha!

    I bought some Hello Kitty Liberty of London lawn from for an awesome clearance price of $11.54/yard. The color way wasn’t my first choice, but I waited too long to purchase. Last time I looked there were over 180 yards of it but who knows now.

    My most recent design feature was sewing in a skirt panel sideways. I now have a directional print with an asymmetrical hem on a kimono dress. I’d fix it but I’d already put in elastic via serger. Ugh. I have to remember to check myself with directional prints and serging!

  67. Kelly says:

    Well I bought the cutest silk charmuse print with all kinds of perfume bottle on it and picked out a retro style full skirt dress pattern to make with it… then I noticed that those cute little perfume bottles were a one-way print. I assumed I would just need nore fabric so I went back and bought 3 more yards. THEN I found out that it was just 45 inches wide, and there was NO WAY that full circle skirt was going to be cut out of that facric, ever. So I ended up and made pajamas, which are just as cute and I’ll probably get more use out of, anyway. 🙂

  68. Julie says:

    You made me laugh out loud ! Thanks for sharing ! Well, as for my own sewing mistakes, try to picture Miranda Hart having a go at it and that’s roughly me !……

  69. ThreadTime says:

    You are too funny for words! I’ve got to remember that ‘blooming heck’ next time. Mine is ‘Hades!” Means the same thing, right?

    Your tank looks awesome on you….even with the bridge all topsy turvy.

  70. sewplaysew says:

    Very cute! Most recently I used up all my mood striped ponte fabric after painstakingly, carefully matching stripes only to realize I forgot t turn the pieces over and now have 2 pieces of everything facing the same way ( I.e. 2 left side fronts) and not enough material to start over! Super frustrating.

  71. sarahsewlove says:

    beautiful print, and a great project.perhaps I need a lil easing back into it too.

  72. Last saturday, I as lucky enough to take a sewing workshop with Natalie Chanin in San Francisco (*squeee*), and the very first thing she said was about how the amish always put a piece upside down in their quilts, because they believe perfection is not of this world. See? You were just being humble. 🙂

    I agree with the others, your top looks great and I’m sure no one will notice. And as for the mistakes, I may already have talked about that dress I made, entirely lined – except I had to unpick the lining twice (TWICE!) because I sewed it upside down. Twice. And then I added the lovely kimono sleeves, and they made me look like a wrestler. If you can imagine a wrestler wearing a dress with kimono sleeves.

  73. Philippa says:

    I do stuff like sewing Pyjama legs together from time to time & because I don’t usually follow cutting layouts (to save fabric) I sometimes forget to turn a piece over. All the more frustrating when fabric is limited! Anyway I really like your top. The colour is lovely on you and I think you definitely have a much better fit than your first jersey one. I would wear it, shop bought clothes have a lot of mistakes in them!

  74. CUP + PENNY says:

    Ooh, I want to make some of those! I’m sure absolutely NOBODY will notice your mistake. I love the idea of calling it a “design feature,” I’m going to have to use that!

  75. Claire says:

    first time I tried lining a sleeve, I got a sort of continuous tube with no way in! For Liberty fabric I have found Kat’s fabrics on eBay is really cheap.

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