Friday, June 17, 2016

Tank Top Testing - Finding Our Favorite Muscle Tank Pattern, a comparison of 15 patterns!


Levi asked me to make him some more tank tops, his favorite style of shirt for the summer.   I had a look and realized I had 18 different tank patterns!    Some of these are free ones, some are ones I've tested for various designers, none of them I actually bought.    In the past, I just chose one of my patterns without thinking too much about it, but I know some of Levi's tanks fit better than others, so I decided to find out which we like best.

I ended up sewing a total of 15 tank tops, and I even convinced Levi to pose for pictures for every single one of them.

I'm going to share a little about each pattern, some key measurements, and pictures of the front, armcye and back fit.   I'm putting these in order starting with Levi's least favorite and ending with his favorite.

AND if you stick it out to the end of the post, you will find a giveaway to win your very own tank top made from one of these patterns by The Little Sewing Shop.

First a quick comparison on a measurement chart, these are all size 6, or the equivalent Euro size.

Armcye depth - Pink Line
Shoulder width - Blue line
Chest width - red line
Length - Turquoise line

(All titles are clickable links!!!) 

15. Mini Sun by Aefflyns To Go
Size: 74-140 (about 12m-10yrs)
Price: FREE
Armcye/Neck: Bands-  Measure openings to determine length
Notes: This pattern is not in English but comes with great pictures and Google Translate does a good job as well.    Check out the other patterns on this blog too, there is a mom's version of this one too!

I had high hopes for this pattern because I liked that it is the only one with a more "racer back" style.  Unfortunately, it seemed to run pretty small despite remembering to add seam allowances (European patterns often don't include them).   I plan on trying this again in a bigger size because I like the look!

14.  On Your Mark by Kelly J Designs
Size: 12m-18yr
Price: $9
Armcye/Neck: Binding, with cutting chart
Notes: This has fun color blocking with pockets!   The On Your Mark pattern is not just a tank but also a short or long sleeve shirt too.   Layered printing on this one too which saves ink!

I was surprised that Levi ranked this one "low" on his list of favorites, because another pattern in the same bundle came in higher even though they have the same fit.

13.  Maui Muscle Tee by Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop
Size: 3months-12yrs
Price: $7.95
Armcye/Neck: Bands with pattern pieces
Notes:  Peek-A-Boo has very clear instructions, nice easy pattern to follow.

12. Blank Tank by Blank Slate Patterns 
Size: 18months- 8yrs
Price: $7.95
Armcye/Neck: This one is unique - neck and armcyes are folded under and topstiched
Notes: Slight flare to the shape, curved hem, and a pocket as well.   I used a fun meerkat embroidered design for the pocket.   Levi likes the deeper arm holes.   I like the details on this one and because it doesn't have bands its even faster and easier to sew than the other tanks.

11. The Tank by Fishsticks Designs
Size: 12m-5T  (I made a 5T on this one!)
Price: FREE
Armcye/Neck: Bands with measurement chart.  Has instructions for adding the armcye bands flat
Notes:  I found that the measurements given in the pattern are different than my finished tank - it is narrower and longer than the pattern says.   But a good basic tank, this was a favorite when Levi was smaller.

10.  5K T-shirt and Tank by Elliedactyl
Size: NB-12yrs
Price: $9, or FREE in the Facebook Group
Armcye/Neck: Bands, measurements on the pattern pieces
Notes: Lots of options - tank, short sleeve, long sleeve, color blocking.   Layered printing.

9. Ottobre Designs: Free tank top
Size: 80-122 (about 18m-6x)
Price: Free
Armcye/Neck: Binding, stitched on flat instead of in a circle
Notes:  I made this from an upcycled Tahoe shirt, its 'burnout" fabric.

8. Pickled Pepper Top by Pickle Toes Patterns
Size: 2-16yrs
Price: $8.95
Armcye/Neck: Bands, hood option too
Notes:  This one has a few options - hood or not, ruffle, band or hem at the bottom, and color blocking for the front and/or back shoulders and a kangaroo pocket.   Slim and regular fit options.

7. Justin & Justine’s Muscle Tank by Snuggle My Baby Patterns
Size: 2-16
Price: $8
Armcye/Neck: Bands, uses measurements
Notes: This is a good basic design, quick and easy to sew up.  Seems to run a bit short.

6. Go! by Kelly J Designs
Size: 12m- 18yrs
Price: $9 or $20 as part of the Race Day Collection 
Armcye/Neck:  Bands, instructions for sewing in the round and flat.
Notes:  Tank, short and long sleeve options (both with layered look options).   This one has a fun kangaroo pocket.

5. Mini-Muscles Tank by Stinkin’ Adorable LLC
Size: 12m-10yrs
Price: $3
Armcye/Neck: Bands, uses measurements
Notes: Has color blocking - stripes down the sides

4. Tyler Tank Top by Funktional Threads
Size: 12m-16
Price: $1
Armcye/Neck: Bands - cutting chart OR pattern pieces
Notes: Another good basic tank, this one is only $1!

3. Freebook Sommertop by Klimper Klein
Size: 56-158 (about NB-16yrs)
Price: Free
Armcye/Neck: Bands, you measure them yourself
Notes:   Good basic pattern, has an add-on option for the faux placket.   There are some other good free patterns on this site as well.   Its not in english, but google translate works well!

2. Matey Muscle Tank by Patterns for Pirates 
Size: 3m-14yrs
Price: $5
Notes:  Looser fit, basic style.  Matching mens tank 

1. Safari Tank by Pickle Toes Patterns
Size: 2-18
Price: $5
Armcye/Neck: Bands
Notes: This is the more basic version of the Pickled Pepper Tank, it has ruffle, hem, or band options.
This was Levi's favorite!!

All of the tanks together

In order from first place to last place
Row 1: Safari Tank, Matey Muscle Tank, Sommertop, Tyler Tank Top , Mini-Muscles Tank
Row 2: Go, Pickled Pepper Tank, Justin & Justine’s Muscle Tank, Ottobre, Elliedactyl 5K
Row 3: The Tank, Blank Tank, Maui Muscle Tee, On Your Mark, Mini Sun

Buy one here or Enter the giveaway!!

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  1. Great comparison of all the tanks! It definitely makes it easier to choose from the oodles of tank patterns out there.

  2. Its definitely interesting to see how the different patterns compare!

    1. Oh... if I got to choose a top I'd choose a 'matey muscle tank'

  3. I love the "on your mark" tank because of the unique pockets and blocking of different fabric. My kids love pockets!

  4. The safari tank looks nicest to me. A good armscye depth and I like the thinner bands on it. But they all look great, and thanks for doing such a big comparison!

  5. Hmm, I'd actually choose the last place one: Mini Sun by Aefflyns To Go. I've not tried European patterns and it is good to know they do not include allowances and that the pattern runs on the smaller side. I also have both the Pickle Pepper tank patterns and love it.

    1. The mini-sun is my favorite based on the "racer back" style, I just wish it was a bit more pronounced. I do want to try it again in a bigger size.

  6. I think I like the safari tank.

  7. I love looking at all the different choices of tank patterns. So helpful!