Although Megan Nielsen is a generous sponsor of the Sew Alongs & Sewing Contests Facebook group, often donating patterns for us to give away in our random drawings, I've never actually sewn anything from her before. Shameful! (In fact, a Megan Nielsen pattern is part of the Sleepwear Edition Sew Along prize package...) As soon as I saw this new pattern release, I was smitten. The temperatures around here have been 80+ and so I decided the Reef would be perfect for my collection of Summer Sleepwear For Hot Lazy Nights. What better way to sample one of my favorite Facebook Group's sponsors than by trying out her latest design?
The pattern contains both a tank with a great back yoke feature and a high-low hem as well as shorts in 2 versions: A higher rise with side seam pockets and curved hem or low rise with straight hem. I started with the tank, and was really surprised at how easy and fast it came together.
|Sorry for my super gross stained ironing board cover|
You start off with the back yokes, the toughest part. Honestly, they aren't all that tough. You just need to pay attention to your seam allowances, trim very carefully and press very thoroughly. Don't rush, and you will find they are finished in no time.
Do pay attention to your stitching when attaching the back yoke and facing. You'll want to stitch precisely to make sure you've encased all your rough ends.
Despite not following the directions to block-fuse my facing before cutting, my V-neck came out great! I did experience some mild gaping along the V and at the armhole side, but I feel like that would have been avoided if I'd followed the pattern directions. Realize that your front and back are cut on the bias and would definitely benefit from careful handling, or even some light stay-tape stabilizing. I'll be sure to add that step to my next Reef Tank. For this one, I threw in a touch of edge stitching as everything was already under stitched and trimmed close, to help keep the facing in check.
I only experienced one fit issue with this tank. After getting the bulk of it constructed, I decided the strap on the back yoke was approximately 1 inch too long for my body. It caused the back bodice line to sag and made my whole side-boob area feel very exposed. I can be pretty crazy about fixing things like that properly, but it's insanity to consider unpicking so many tiny stitches with their trimmed seam allowances. Instead, I simply tucked the excess strapping up under the front (wider) portion and secured it. Suddenly, the back bodice line was level and my armhole fit much better and stopped shifting when I moved.
After that, it was a simple matter to follow the directions for stitching up the side seams and adjusting them to a customized width. The pattern provides directions to create a narrow hem with just your regular machine, but I used a narrow 3 thread stitch on my overlocker, then folded in twice to achieve a narrow hem.
I made coordinating shorts using View 2 which has the higher rise, pockets and curved hem. Just for fun, I added some flat trim at the seam line between the shorts and the hem detail.
The shorts were fun to put together, and the fit, with no adjustments, is great! Loose, but not sloppy. Comfortable. The hem facings result in a very clean finish inside, and also give just enough weight to the curved hems so that they hang nicely. I especially like the way they curve longer in the center and shorter on the sides. I can lounge in my big fluffy couch and not have that terrible Thigh Ride Up, yet I'm not drowning in a frumpy pair of long shorts.
Immediately after finishing these, I scrounged my stash and located a yard remnant of rayon challis and popped out another pair of View 2 shorts.
And then a third pair or shorts. Although, the rayon challis remnant I found at my local fabric store was only 0.75 yards, so I had to skip the curved hem. Instead, I added an inch of length and narrow hemmed them the way I did the red tank.
These pieces have only been finished for a few days, and I'm already reaching for them over and over. As a bonus, with my scraps, I put together a coordinating face mask. Because matching when you are unconscious is important.
I think they turned out adorable. Now I just have to get over feeling like I'm dressed up to go to bed!