I may be slow-playing my swing dress head to head comparison, but I desperately needed woven tanks after my last closet purge, so last week I busted out 4 of them! And since I was making 4 woven tanks, why not do a head to head right?
The Criteria: I chose 4 classic woven tanks without embellishments or unusual seamlines. All of my patterns also have a bust dart.
The Caveat: I modified 3 of the 4 patterns pictured here to include a facing/partial lining to finish the neckline and armholes. The Willow, Gemma and Sorbetto all are finished with bias facings, but I prefer a full facing/partial lining as it’s faster, gives a cleaner finish, and the neckline lays nicer. I don’t think it affects the overall fit of the garment for comparison purposes, but just give me a nicer finish. I’ll be posting a tutorial on making that mod later in the week.
Printing, Assembling: This is the only pattern included here that is available in both print and PDF format. I have the PDF and the files are very manageable. There is an A0 version available, which is a single A0 page. The print-at-home file is very manageable as well. Like all Grainline patterns, the print-at-home file is not trimless, and you do have to trim the edges off the paper before taping together.
Drafting: Very good, as I would expect from a company like Grainline. The pattern has all necessary markings and everything matches up beautifully. I made my usuall, small, typical-for-me adjustment to Grainline patterns. My shoulder to bust point is shorter than average so I removed 0.5″ of length above the bust on the Willow. I like the thick hem on this one. Drafting is for a B sewing cup.
Sewing, Construction:. The construction is solid and the instructions are good. Willow is drafted with a bias facing finish, which I don’t particularly care for. For that reason, I modified the pattern to include a full facing to finish the neckline and arms.
Recommended for: Someone looking for solid drafting and a looser fit. Willow fits very nicely through the shoulders and bust after I made by usual adjustment. It is loose through the waist and hip, though, so be aware of the intended fit.
Made by Rae Gemma
Printing, Assembling: Assembly was quite easy. The pattern only has two pieces, and the file is less than 20 pages. The sizes are color coded in addition to having different dashed lines, so printing in either color or black and white should work fine. The pages are not trimless and the file includes an A0 version.
Drafting: Very good. Also has all the necessary markings and the pieces lined up perfectly. The Gemma has two front bodice options — one drafted for an A/B cup and a separate bodice front for a C/D cup. I made the A/B front and the fit is spot on for me. No fit modifications at all, not even to remove length above the bust. The pattern also includes two neckline options. I chose the deeper scoop neck.
Sewing, Construction: Construction is the same as for the Willow. The sleeves and arms are finished with a bias facing. As with the Willow, I drafted a full facing to finish the neckline and arms.
Recommended for: Someone looking for solid drafting and a more fitted tank. A woven tank with no closure is never going to be particularly fitted, but this one has by far the least amount of design ease of all the tanks I made. If you don’t want extra fabric at the waist and hip, I think this is your best bet.
Printing, Assembling: The print-at-home version is not trimless but is still just over 20 pages. This pattern has a few more pages to print because it includes more pattern pieces. Front and back facings are included as well as an optional pocket and shoulder ties. An A0 version is included as well.
Drafting: All the pattern markings, etc. are there, but the drafting is where I really have a gripe with this pattern. It’s just big. I feel like there is too much ease all around. I easily could have sized down in this pattern and still had plenty of room. The bust is too big, the waist is huge, and even the shoulders feel loose. You can see it in the way the fabric hangs too. There’s just too much of it. This pattern has by far the most ease of the ones I made. I think 7″ at the bust and 12″ at the hip. Drafting is for a C cup.
Sewing, Construction: By contrast, I like the construction of this tank the best. It comes with a full facing included to finish the neckline and arms. Instructions for omitting the ties like I did are included in the April 2017 Seamwork issue.
Recommended for: Someone who is dying to burn through some Seamwork credits. Honestly, I can’t think of any other reason to choose this pattern. It isn’t terrible, but there are better patterns available.
Printing, Assembling: Sorbetto had the fewest number of pages to tape together — only 14. While Sorbetto has several views, each one comes in its own print-at-home file. An A0 is included as well. As with the others, the pages require trimming.
Drafting: Sorbetto is long through the upper torso. I removed a full inch of length above the bust on this pattern, far more than I typically remove from patterns. However, once I did that, the fit is actually really good. I probably could stand to either size down or do an SBA since I have a little extra room in the bust, but I still like how this fits. Drafting is for a C cup.
Sewing, Construction: I like the construction on this one the least. Sorbetto is designed with exposed bias tape at the neckline and arms which I just don’t care for. I drafted a full facing to finish the arms and neckline. I will be sharing a tutorial to do this, which gives a much nicer finish.
Recommended for: Someone looking for a lot of options, a looser fit and on a budget. Sorbetto is FREE! It also comes with the most options of the four tanks included here — there is the basic tank, a tunic tank, and a woven tee with short sleeves. The pattern also comes with the option to add a decorative front pleat.
Comparison by Features:
Winner: Gemma. Gemma gets my vote here. It is drafted really nicely through the shoulders and the bust with two neckline options. The neckline is drafted really nicely and hits at an attractive spot.
Runner Up: Tie between Willow and Sorbetto. Both Willow and Sorbetto have a nice scoop neckline that hits about the same spot. it isn’t too high and isn’t too low.
Winner: Gemma.. Again, Gemma is drafted really nicely through the bust and shoulder area. The pattern also includes a separate front bodice piece with a built-in FBA, which is a nice feature.
Runner Up: Willow.. Willow doesn’t have the FBA included but has a very nice fit through the shoulders and bust. It also doesn’t have the excessive length issue of the Sorbetto.
Winner: Gemma. I think that the curved hemline of the Gemma is the most attractive. It hits at a nice spot and it very slimming.
Runner Up: Willow.. Willow doesn’t have a curved hemline, but it hits at that sweet spot on the high hip. I also like the the deep 2″ hem included in the pattern. It has a very nice look.
Winner: Gretta. The construction is largely the same on all of these. But the Gretta comes with facing pieces included for a clean finish. I had to draft them for the other 3.
Runner Up: Tie between Gemma and Willow: Gemma and Willow both use a bias facing. I don’t particularly care for this method, but I do prefer it over the exposed bias binding of the Sorbetto.
Winner: Gemma. Admittedly, this is partly personal preference. I like that the Gemma is a little more fitted. For a looser fit, I like the Willow just a tad more than the Sorbetto because I think the fit in the shoulders is better and it doesn’t have the excessive length through the upper bust that the Sorbetto has.
Runner Up: Willow. Willow is looser through the waist and hip than the Gemma. I prefer the more fitted look, which is why I choose Gemma. I also needed a length adjustment on the Willow, which I didn’t on Gemma.
Winner: Sorbetto. Sorbetto has by far the most options. It has this basic tank view, but also comes with a tunic and sleeved option.
Runner Up: Willow. Willow comes in a dress version in addition to the tank.
No question that the Sorbetto is the best value. This pattern is free and with only a small amount of tweaking, I got a pretty darned good fit. It also has the most options of the four with three different views and some variations within that view. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money or if you want a pattern that includes a lot of options, the Sorbetto is your best bet.
Yes, I officially have a new go-to woven tank pattern! I like and will wear all 4 of these tanks, but the Gemma is my personal favorite. But to a certain extent my recommendation depends on the fit you want:
- If you want a more fitted look — Get the Gemma Tank. It has significantly less design ease than the other 3 tanks and has a beautiful shape. It also has two neckline options and a built-in FBA, which is nice.
- If you want a looser look — Get the Willow Tank. I originally had this drafted to recommend the Sorbetto over the Willow, but the more I looked at my photos, the more I realized that the Willow has a better fit through the shoulders than the Sorbetto. Still, they’re pretty darned close so if you want to save some $$ and don’t mind making the necessary length adjustments, the Sorbetto is a solid choice.