Wardrobe Building: the Ashtop Top by Helen’s Closet

Hey y’all, Heather here. I don’t know about you, but the last few weeks of August were filled with a flurry of weirdly late-summer sewing. It was like I knew our Canadian autumn was rapidly approaching, so I had to cram as many tomatoes and corn into my mouth as possible before it was too late (tomatoes and corn being linen tanks and summer dresses, my mouth being my Pfaff Creative Icon).

Part of me knew it was ridiculous to make tank tops when I was already thinking about pulling out my sweaters, and another part of me was saying “You are going to be so happy to have these to wear come spring 2021”. 

The tanks in question? The Ashton Top by Helen’s Closet. I’ve had this pattern for a while and was waiting for the right fabric to appear. In this case, it was a TRULY gorgeous white embroidered denim shirting from Style Maker Fabrics. I recommend checking them out; they always have unusual fabric I never see anywhere else.

We got a few yards to make a sample for our upcoming Kalle Shirtdress release in sizes 14-30 and I had just enough to squeeze out this tank with the leftovers. Isn’t it lovely? I wish I had bought a few more yards.

I’m kind of surprised by how much I love this pattern. It’s such a basic style, but I think it’s drafted beautifully and the proportions are perfect, with the ideal “hem swing” to crop length ratio. The simplest ideas are often the hardest to execute, and this was executed perfectly. Highly suggest it for wardrobe building, since we all need a good basic tank pattern in our repertoire. 

I liked it so much I made it twice! This time I used a lovely handwoven linen/cotton sent to us by Loom & Stars (another great fabric store I highly suggest you check out – they carry mostly hand-loomed slow fashion fabrics). Originally a cream colour, it was calling out for a natural dye treatment. Dyeing has occupied a lot of my attention this summer, and this was my first attempt at dyeing with avocado stones. It came out a bit deeper than I imagined, more terra cotta than millennial pink, but I’m still very happy with the finished result. More on avocado dyeing to come; we have a big blog series planned this fall that covers everything from tie-dye to natural dyeing – I can’t wait to share everything I’ve learned about this process! 

The proportions of Ashton work perfectly with our Pietra shorts – the cropped version hits at just the right part of the waist, so this was definitely an outfit I tried to wear as much as possible. That said, it’s well on its way to autumn here (I’ve had to start wearing actual shoes, goodnight sweet Birkenstocks) so these tanks will likely be layered with a cardigan for the rest of the year.

Have you made the Ashton tank? What deceptively simple pattern have you grown attached to?

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Hi! I'm Heather Lou, a pattern designer and sewing educator for the modern maker. At Closet Core Patterns, we transform your imagination into step-by-step implementation that helps you create a wardrobe you love - not one you're limited to buying off the rack.

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