Searching for the Perfect Summer Tank: Testing the Lago Tank

Spoiler: This is not my perfect summer tank.

In fact, I had enough issues with this pattern as a tester that I almost didn’t blog about it… but several people have mentioned the pattern to me, and I thought I might as well point out what alterations I needed, and who might actually love this pattern!

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Now, first things first, I clearly got totally wearable tanks out of this pattern… and the other testers seemed happy! This was my first time testing for Itch to Stitch, and it was very thoroughly organised. The window for testing was very short, which I knew beforehand… what I didn’t realised that the window for re-testing and shooting photos of a second version would be quite as tight! Oh well. Live and learn.

tester 1 Collage

My overriding concern with this pattern is that in size 10 and up, the armsyce got increasingly low and oversized. Since I sewed a size 20, the largest size, the problem was really pronounced! On my first version, I shortened the arm bands as I sewed, but the underarm was still low enough to show bra as I move around. I also had pulling from the bust and pooling at the lower back, so I ended up removing 2″ of length in the horizontal seam between my shoulder blades. This pulled up the underarm and helped a little with the pooling.

tester 2 Collage

On version 2, Kennis raised the underarm a 1/4″ in the larger sizes (not nearly enough to solve my issues!). This time, I shortened the whole front 1″, below the neckline and removing length through the armscye. In the back, I shortened it 2″ in the racerback section. With that 3″ removed, the underarm fit is great! The back also fits much better with that asymmetrical adjustment.

During testing, we wondered if all my fit issues were due to me using rayon… but let’s be honest, I use rayon ALL the time, and I never make adjustments this significant. It’s not because I’m short, either… I rarely shorten patterns and have a very regular length back with very stubby legs!

length Collage

That said, this is a very long tank! It has a straight hem which hits me at the widest part of my hips, so as soon as these photos were done, I gave it a curved hem like I’d already done to the blue version. Thanks to Jalie for that nice curved hem shape!

Eventually, we decided that I would have had a better fit straight away if I’d chosen a size based on my high bust, and done an FBA. I believe that’s what is now recommended in the instructions… and certainly several other busty testers had better success when they sized down 1 or 2 sizes.

But friends… this is a simple, free tank. A pattern aimed at beginners. Who the heck wants to FBA it?

I’ve sewn other tanks that fit straight away, including the Mission Maxi, Jalie, and every sleeveless dress I’ve ever made. I made adjustments to the bands, side seams, length, front/back balance and hem, and then it was fine. Can you tell how hard I’m working in the photos to make it look good? Hips never shown straight-on, hand on hip or in pocket, hem tucked or tied… and with all those tricks and beautiful morning light, yeah, I think it looks good! I’m not usually that conscious while taking photos of trying to get the camera to flatter.

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So, who would love this pattern? People in size 14 or lower, people with shallow busts, or people on a budget.

I wish that this pattern had been designed with Itch to Stitch’s signature cup sizes – that would have eliminated my sizing issues and given first-time customers like me a taste of what the rest of her patterns would be like.

I hope I’ve been fair in my review – Just because this pattern isn’t for me doesn’t mean it’s not for you!

(On a lighter note, I took all these pictures with my fly down! Did you spot it in one photo?) 


50 thoughts on “Searching for the Perfect Summer Tank: Testing the Lago Tank

  1. Thanks for this. I have downloaded it to try the Itch to Stitch’s patterns because of the cup sizes and thought that would be a good way to check how the fit was. I don’t think I’ll bother to make it now. Seems like a good review – honesty is needed – for your integrity and so that the gushing gets drowned out a little when it comes to indie patterns.

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    1. If only it had cup sizes! I’d always thought that all her patterns did – but as I look through the Itch to Stitch store, it turns out that it’s maybe only the more fitted patterns that do? Anything that I’d be interested in wearing turns out not to have cup sizes… so that’s the end of it for me!

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    1. I’ve been happy with SOI patterns… and goodness knows everyone is raving about the ogden! I’ll look forward to see you sew either of those two up!

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  2. Thanks for posting this review! Lots of newbies start off with free patterns, and then assume sewing is ‘too hard’ for them when they get a poor result.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, that would be a real shame! I always feel nervous when I see people gleefully round up free patterns, or only consider free choices… because I’d rather pay for the right pattern for my figure than waste good fabric on something that might not be right for me!

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  3. Gillian your honesty here is like a light shining in the dark! I love it. I should confess I’ve not tried any free patterns. I agree that there are many potentially newbie sewers who would go for these free pattern offers out of a desire to limit their investment in this new and exciting hobby. They do need to be cautious because when a pattern really doesn’t work a new sewer will just assume naturally it’s their lack of skill that’s at fault and it could completely discourage them from sewing anything ever again! But then again I’ve made up bought patterns that have endless issues too. It’s taught me a lesson in seeking out pattern reviews before I buy the pattern. An “expose” pattern review on all fronts (pun intended πŸ™‚ )

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    1. Thank you! I was nervous about posting about this – I mean, it’s pretty clear I won’t be testing for this pattern company again, but I’d hate to have anyone else I test for think that I’m going to be negative without warning them. I was very careful that my feedback during testing included all the issues I’ve outlines here, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to Itch to Stitch that I’m not thrilled.

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  4. I appreciate your balanced approach…that this pattern might work for others while you needed to work for it (if that makes sense). There are so many things to learn in this craft and so many places to get information, of varying degrees of helpfulness, that it is awesome you were willing to share perspective. I did like the fact the designer was trying to work with you to improve your experience. I am working to get some patterns to a slipper sort of state so that I can use those to improve first time trial with a new garment. I have found a lot of good info with Silhouette patterns videos on YouTube and PBS… particularly tracing armholes to know before cutting if it will be too big/low or too small. Grafting them onto new patterns is simple once you get a good fit with one… has helped me keep my private garments private. Best wishes with your next attempt at a perfect tank!

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    1. I”m curious about your strategy of tracing the armholes first – how do you go about deciding if it will fit? I compared this pattern to two TNTs before making it (Jalie tank and Cashmerette Concord), and it was really clear that there would be issues… the challenge of testing is that you are supposed to sew the pattern as is! For my second version (the black and white) I stretched the boundaries of that by making significant adjustments (with approval from the designer)… but now I feel a little bad that the end result shown on the store website isn’t a good indication of how the pattern will really fit!

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      1. Sorry it wasn’t very clear… Peggy Sagers recommends that once you get to a shoulder slope you like and you identify an armhole you like…in this case a sleeveless armhole, one that isn’t too low,…you trace a bit of the top of the shoulder, down the armscy and a bit of the side seam. Then draw in another line about two inches inside of that to create an armhole template. You can then use the template on any new garment that would use the same armhole type( sleeveless, knit, blouse, jacket) and you will know you will be happy with that fit. To your point, though, when you test you are supposed to follow the pattern exactly…but if had a template you could identify how unhappy you might be and discuss with the designer before too much investment. Not every opportunity is for everyone- my skills aren’t good enough to test, yet, but maybe one day soon. This 11 minute video on YouTube might be better than my words

        She has lots more but this is a reasonably short intro I think

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  5. Glad to see your honest thoughts about this one Gillian! I’m always wary of tank/sleeveless styles because I always have this same issue (I see enough side bra in the wild in the summers around here that I never ever ever want to wear/sew them myself!). I finally got the Greenwood tank to fit but after a lot of fuss–and I think there was something crazy like 3″ out of the armscye for me too. I’ll have to check out a Jalie tank and see the difference–their fit is always so good for me.

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    1. Thank you! I had BIG issues with the Greenwood too – literally no shaping fr the bust, and the front and back were identical? WTF? I was so disappointed!

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      1. I do like the neckline from that one, so I’ve kind of cobbled it onto my TNT t-shirt but kept the Jalie armhole. I have a good stash of knits that need to be washed up. It’s 95 today, so the motivation to sew up tanks is high! It’s gives me a chance to put my new coverstitch through its paces too.

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        1. Greenwood does have a nice square-ish neckline! Maybe I need to dig that out and transpose it onto something else like you did!

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  6. You know I loved this gingham tank from testing! I really must see if I can find similar fabric.

    Full disclosure: I am an Itch to Stitch fan girl. I ADORE Kennis’ style with her patterns and instructions. I know exactly what size to choose and which fitting adjustments to make.

    But I was also hoping Lago Tank was going to come with cup sizes. That would have been pretty awesome honestly and I mentioned that in my feedback to Kennis too. The armscye was strangely problematic on this pattern for the larger sizes as you said, even for me at 14. I also had to shorten the front straps 1.5 inches, and although my shoulder to bust point tends to be shorter than average for most patterns, I normally don’t have to shorten this area on Kennis’ knit patterns. So this was a bit unexpected. I also mentioned in my feedback that a curved hem would have been much more flattering for this tank.

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    1. I’m glad you gave similar feedback! When she first identified the issue, I was hoping she’d make more significant changes… it threw me off that the alteration for V2 was so slight! Your tanks ended up looking great, but it’s strange to me that even though her patterns usually fit you, this one wasn’t so simple!
      Oh well – at least it was a quick pattern to sew! πŸ˜‰

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      1. Yeah, the armscye on this one was indeed puzzling, but Love Notions encountered a similar challenge with armscyes when they released their free Laundry Day Tee pattern. Just don’t rule out Itch to Stitch patterns based on this one though.

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  7. Does the Rumi Tank go to your size? Or the Mission Maxi? Those are my favorites. I’ve been considering trying out the Lago, because it’d be nice to have one that’s not a racerback. (And the Ogden cami is waiting for me to have some sewing time in the upcoming week!)

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    1. I haven’t tried the Runi! Mission maxi was my TNT for years, but I’m larger than the size chart now (I still wear lots of old versions though, so clearly I could keep sewing it anyway.) I love the MM side shaping – such a great shape! Ogden fascinates me, but I feel like I’d need an FBA, and I’m too lazy to do that for the facings and the shell!

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  8. Diplomatic but honest, I like it. Thanks for the saving me the download. I’m much bustier than you are so I can only imagine the struggle I might have trying to make a pattern like this work.

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  9. I feel you’ve been very honest – and polite. And we need these honest reviews – even when the pattern is free, it may not be worth the time and effort required to make things work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, this definitely didn’t inspire me to try out the rest of the patterns… and isn’t that the whole point of free patterns??
      BTW, I bought some silk knit at Fabricland today (I know! Weird!) and was re-reading our linen tank adventures from last summer! This has a really similar feel, but is thicker, almost like a light french terry. Strange, and might be a total fail… I’m trying to pick just the right pattern!

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      1. I would give anything to have my sewing shit right now. If I’m going to lose my mind during a reno, I might as well be spending all of my free time thinking about how to fix some stupid fitting thing than worrying about how I’m ever going to get through the next few months. Knitting isn’t intense enough to get me out of my brain.

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    1. Seriously? Are you a 14-year-old boy with nothing better to do than troll around giving this kind of unhelpful, hurtful comment? What are you trying to gain here? SMH. Get a life.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Such an honest but kind review! It seems like your expectations are reasonable for such a simple pattern. I have to say though, that gingham version looks fabulous on you! I hope it’s comfortable enough that you will take it out for a spin!

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  11. I also expressed disappointment on the Itch to Stitch Facebook page about the lack of cup sizing when the pattern was released. And Kennis said that a bunch of busty sewers had made it with no problem. But maybe they are on the lower range of sizes. I’m probably identical to your sizing and a D cup, thank you for the review so I know whether to invest the time, because I was skeptical when I saw the testing photos. I also love the Peggy armhole method. I have a knit tshirt sleeve that I put on all my patterns. And I am also waiting for the day an Ogden with cup sizing comes out.

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    1. That’s an interesting comment from Kennis! I would not have drawn the same conclusion from what I saw in the testing group. I mean, it’s workable if you have time, fabric and knowledge to make changes, or if you like a low arm hole… but other patterns would get curvy ladies to a good point faster!

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      1. I think her exact phrase was “You will see testers with DD+ cup in this tank and they look beautiful.” So I guess to be fair, it didn’t say that others haven’t had problems just that there were those that didn’t have problems.

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  12. Oh god, taking a whole set of photos with a fly down is pretty much my nightmare! It’s so hard to take photos in the first place! It’s too bad this pattern didn’t work out. I feel like it’s especially bad when patterns are drafted oddly in the upper sizes for beginners–there is such a better pattern selection for lower sizes, I imagine fitting is easier in general, and their RTW options aren’t as limited. Lots of options. I must say, I grudgingly forced myself to do a (admittedly small) FBA on the Ogden, and it was totally worth it πŸ™‚

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    1. Oooh, Ogden FBA! Good for you. How’s the bra coverage? Or is that a pipe dream, so have acute strappy tank that also at least covers the front of my bra straps?

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      1. Bra coverage isn’t great, the straps are pretty thin in the front too. I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to widen them but that’s getting to be a lot of mods! I’m in chilly sf where such a top is almost never worn without a sweater, and on the precious few days it is warm enough a strapless bra is worth it!

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  13. When your post went live, I was right in the middle of making my first Lago Tank. I had to slim down the sides and I think I can go down 2 sizes next time, so I agree with your review. I’ve always had some downfall whenever I used a free pattern (original Deer and Doe Plantain’s bust/shoulders were too small, Colette Sorbetto’s armholes were too small and the bust darts were just… NO…). I guess it all boils down to whether you want to put some work into really making it work for your own body. I think I’ll stick it out with the Lago but size down two sizes and raise the armholes a little. Hopefully that’ll work for me! Thanks for the review! ❀

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    1. That sounds like a good plan for your next Lago! Colette Sorbetto threw me off free patterns too… though like a generation of sewists, it was the first pattern I made! Even then I could tell it didn’t fit right though… but it did get me sewing, so I’m grateful for that! πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw that too! If Meg really likes a pattern, that’s a great sign. She’s got such awesome style, and I admire how adventurous she is with new shapes!

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  14. Gillian, please never think twice about giving a fair and honest review. I wish more sewists would do just that.

    You are definitely not alone in your results. I can see mucho “armpit cleavage” in the ITS tester round-up pics, even in smaller-sized testers. It’s not obvious in some pics until you’re looking, but once you do, you can’t un-see it. At best, the armhole sizing and fit of all testers is hugely inconsistent so it should be clear that *something* is up.

    I wish some of these more prolific indie pattern sellers would not schedule a new release until testing issues are worked out. Such a short turn-around favors no one except the seller’s bank account. 😦 I actually like a number of the ITS styles and so selfishly want to see Kennis succeed, but knowing her testing schedule and that it appears she’s relying on stretch to cover cup sizing in knits gives me some pause.

    LOL on the fly being down. That would totally be me.

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    1. Thanks Debbie! I agree, patterns need a proper testing period, with time to make proper changes! I’m always pleased when I test for Cashmerette, because I feel like input is considered and often acted upon. When testing is really rushed, then it starts to feel like all they want from you is the pictures!

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  15. I love the finished product on you! It fits very well, and I’m a sucker for gingham in any shape or form πŸ˜› But so frustrating to have to make so many adjustments.

    Thank you for blogging this. I think it’s really valuable to blog negative or even mixed experiences with patterns. Otherwise it’s an echo chamber and it’s hard to tell what’s actually a good pattern and what might need some more work – or what might work for some people and shapes but not others. As long as you don’t tell the pattern maker it’s great and then give it a bad review I think it’s fine!

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