Thursday, April 4, 2013

racerbacks are for speed

this is the story of mccalls 6359 view C and colour blocking.

in which our heroine practices smiling for the camera

once, while scrolling through the mccalls catalogue i had one of those moments where a picture leaps off the page and says "pay attention! this is for you!". you see, at the time i was on a mission to find something more interesting than plain t-shirts and tank tops, and this pattern was perfect.

channeling summer, even though theres still 3 feet of snow outside

i made up the black version from a cotton-lycra jersey with stretch mesh for the shoulder inset (gotta love a stretch mesh inset). after a lengthy debate on decoration, i tricked it out with a length of tape with little metal D-rings on it. and lived happily ever after in my new fancy top.

but wait--there's more!
i have a stack of band t-shirts about a mile high thats current function is to house the cat during afternoon naps. i even bought a book on t-shirt surgery to help figure out what to do with all of them, but couldn't get past the possibility of destroying the artwork with all that prescribed moxie. so there they sat. until i recently hatched a plot to piece them into patterns i had already worked the kinks out of. and that was the inception of this tank:

back views 101: lean awkwardly against the wall?

now somewhere along the line i had the misguided idea to tilt the image on the front piece, which kind of threw a wrench into the Elaborate Piecing Plan. because the front piece is off-grain, it hangs a little funny in some places...and the bottom of the grey part has an i-cant-cut-straight angle to it instead of the slick-design-element angle i was aiming for. so if i can match the colour of the original t-shirt i might replace the black bit on the front with a grey bit.

...or i might just let it marinate in the closet for a week, at which point i usually have forgotten about all the little imperfections and just wear it out already.

back to the pattern!
it is super easy to customize and has just enough detail to make it special. the only thing that caused major grief was the bit in the instructions where they explain how to add bias tape to finish the neckline/arms (what. is going on in that picture, mccalls!). there was a lot of unpicking, both times, that went into figuring out how to get it all neatly folded up on itself. so here is a diagram to explain it, for everyone's future reference:

original image sourced from and chopped up by yours truly

the end!
you can get more specs on these tops over here at pattern review :)


  1. Thank you! I've been on the fence about this pattern for a long time. You just sold me. I love love love both of your versions.

    1. you should definitely do it! :) it goes together so easily, especially if youre not thrown by the M.C. Escher bias tape diagram. One of the PR girls has made a dress-length version with a waist tie thats got the wheels turning for round 3...

      and thank you!

  2. This is inspiring! I have so many band tshirts that I need to make cute - love it!

    Amy (

    1. thanks! ps - speaking of inspiration, i took a peek at your blog and *love* your mad men make :) those polka dots!