Hands up if the first garment you ever made was a Wiksten tank? You’re not alone. Although it wasn’t my first ever ‘proper’ sewing project (that would be a patchwork tote bag in Year 8 textiles), it was an early success when I revived my interest in sewing after emerging from the baby fog, so I’ll always have a soft spot for this pattern.
This classic, simple singlet is the perfect project for beginner sewists (it’s two pieces plus binding and a pocket if you’re feeling adventurous), but it’s worth revisiting occasionally even if you’re more advanced – because it’s quick, easy and fairly universally flattering. Even in colder weather, singlets make a great layer and are an easy way to use up leftover lengths of favourite fabrics.
Pattern: The Wiksten Tank is available on the Wiksten website in hard copy and PDF versions. One of the early indies, the Wiksten site has a couple of iconic sewing patterns (the tank and the Tova top) as well as some basic knitting patterns. The pattern and instructions are clear and easy to follow, and you can hunt down a few tutorials online if you need them.
Fabric: Our Japanese fabric game is strong this week, Justine made this Wiksten in Nani Iro’s Mountain Views (this colourway). It’s a 2014 fabric but various colours are still selling online, including at Kelani and Miss Matatabi.
Tricky bits and adjustments: There aren’t that many ways you can go wrong with this beginner’s pattern – it’s such a simple make, with two main pieces and a pocket if you’re feeling fancy. The hemline is curved and there are no openings or darts. The Wiksten tank is the first project I recommend to friends when they want to give sewing a go – and as always, I recommend this Grainline Studio tutorial on how to make a flat bias-bound neckline. I find it hard to shut up about this tutorial but I promise it’s foolproof and gives a smooth, flat, professional finish every time.
Verdict: To be honest I haven’t made a Wiksten tank for a while – I associate it with my early clueless sewing fumblings, and have been drawn recently to singlets with narrower straps and a more interesting shape. But thanks to our singlet week experiment I’m back on the Wiksten bandwagon – it’s such a great basic shape and comes together so nicely. Think I’ll make one before Christmas….
Out there: There are bazillions of Wiksten tanks out there, enjoying the warm weather – just punch it into Google for endless inspiration. A few of my favourites:
This amazing Paris map version by Make Something;
Ms Wiksten herself made this gorgeous dress with the tank top and a gathered skirt (and custom fabric)
I love this yellow one, it’s very sunny.