Sunday, June 11, 2017

Testing, testing: Chalk and Notch Pony Tank (Plus Giveaway!)

When I saw Gabriela's sample version of the new Chalk and Notch Pony Tank in my Instagram feed, I was smitten. V-neck, close fitting at the bust and swinging out at the hip? Yep.

Lucky for me, I was a tester for the Pony Tank pattern, a simple tank-style knit top or dress with an A-line shape and curved hem.


I love the shape of the top! It swings out over your belly and hips, making a lovely silhouette. I think the back of this tank looks great on me, and I am typically pretty self-conscious about photos my back roll-y bits.

The fitted top covers your bra straps and those fleshy bits around your armpit, but still has enough cut away at the neckline and back to feel sexy (yeah, things feel real sexy around here after writing "fleshy bits around your armpit" and "back roll-y bits"!).

Gabriela worked hard to make sure the armscye situation was just right. I think she nailed it!


The Pony Tank was designed for drapey knits- think rayon, bamboo, modal, etc. For mine, I chose a super soft striped jersey in rayon, I think. I bought it in Hanoi last year and it wasn't labeled. You might remember that I also used this fabric for my Bento Tee a few months back. It's the perfect weight for the Pony Tank!


Stripe matching in this fabric wasn't too bad. I feel like I'm getting pretty good at stripe matching. Not perfect, but pretty damn good. 

A post shared by Meg (@megret79) on


After a few people asked on Instagram, so I thought I'd share some of my personal tips for stripe matching, particularly for knits:

1. Trace your pattern pieces onto sheer-ish paper. I like to trace my patterns (even PDFs!) because my tracing paper is somewhat translucent, which helps me to see the stripes through it to make sure they're straight. Bwa ha, had you asked me a few years ago if I would ever willingly trace a PDF and I would have laughed and laughed, but I am a convert now!

2. Draw horizontal lines across the pattern pieces. I draw lines across the pattern pieces connecting the notches and use those lines to align the stripes. That, combined with the sheer tracing paper, ensures that the stripes stay straight.

3. Trace whole pieces and cut flat. For pattern pieces meant to be cut on the fold, I trace them twice and combine them into whole pieces so I can cut flat. Cutting flat, rather than on the fold, saves fabric in addition to allowing for easier stripe matching.


4. Focus on key points. I make sure the stripes align at key points (hem, underarm, shoulder, notches) and the rest seems to fall into place.

5. Use double-pointed pins. I pin every few stripes with double-pointed "fork" pins. I find this type of pin really helps prevent the stripes from shifting around as I sew.


6. Use the stripes. For cutting and sewing accurate striped neck and arm bands, use the stripes as your guides! I like to measure the width of the band pieces in stripes (for example: the neckband is 3 navy stripes and 2 white stripes wide) and then cut long strips (width of fabric) from the fabric using the stripes as my cutting guide. Then I trim those long strips down to match the band pattern piece lengths. When sewing, I also use the stripes as my stitching guide rather than being a slave to the seam allowance.

7. Use your sewing machine, not serger. I find I'm more accurate when I apply striped bands using my sewing machine rather than my serger. I just serge afterwards to finish the edges. To be honest, on this top, since the neckline doesn't have to stretch to get over my head, I just used a straight stitch for maximum accuracy!


I hope my tips are helpful! They're not earth shatteringly novel, but it's what works for me!

Back to the Pony Tank pattern now: this pattern is great and a lovely addition to my stash. Great on its own or as a layering piece, too! It looks cute under a blazer or cardigan.


Here I've paired it with my Style Arc Georgie jeans... kinda having a bit of an Americana thing happening with this outfit. Maybe this will be my Fourth of July outfit when I move back!


Long story short: get thee the Pony Tank, stat!

Gabriela has also generously offered a copy of the pattern for me to give away to one lucky reader... to enter, comment below by Friday, June 16 (11:59 pm ET) and I will randomly choose a winner: what fabric do you have in mind for your Pony Tank?
*UPDATE: the giveaway is closed; a winner has been chosen and notified.*

94 comments:

  1. Nice looking tank- and the fit is spot on!

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  2. Ooh, this looks great! I would make it in this shibori bamboo rayon my local fabric store has had recently!

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  3. Looks great, I'll be buying the pattern

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  4. I might make one in a floral. This looks amazing on you. :)

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  5. I rarely would go for a cut in tank, but you look awesome! If I don't win the giveaway, I will likely buy based on your review. I have at least four striped rayon knits waiting, but I think the black and white is calling the loudest. I love your navy, but I need to reduce stash!

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  6. I have a lovely black floral that would look great in this! Love the shape on you!

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  7. This is so amazing with so much good information!! Thank you Meg!

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  8. This is darling on you and I have a pretty bamboo knit just waiting for this pattern...

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  9. Awesome pattern! I have a bamboo jersey fabric perfect for this.

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  10. Great looking top, which looks the perfect shape for my ample hips! I have several stripes knits in my stash which would be perfect for this.

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  11. Love it. No FBA? The bust looks great!

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    1. Nope, no FBA! This is the pattern as-is, no fit changes ;-)

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  12. Great fit, same question as last person, did you do an FBA? ��

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    1. Nope, no FBA! This is the pattern as-is, no fit changes ;-)

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  13. Love this! I have some lengths of draper jerdwrybyhat I bought on holiday in the US last year, and for which I have been deliberating endlessly over pattern choice- think my decision is now made!

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  14. This pattern would be perfect to test my brand new, first ever serger. As for the fabric - solid white, to have something to pair with all the florals I've been sewing lately!

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  15. Great post Meg, and the fit is just the way I like MY tops, fitted through the top and swingy at the bottom. I have many pieces of ITY knits just screaming to be swn.

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  16. I have some gray and yellow stripe I got from Girl Charlee that I'd love to try with this pattern!

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  17. This looks great on you. Sounds like a good pattern. It would be fun to try in bamboo, since I've never tried that substrate. Otherwise I would go with rayon, probably, like you did. Great tips, too! When I want to trace a pattern piece so I can cut the fabric single layer, I fold a piece of tracing paper in half and put the fold of the paper on the "cut on fold" part of the pattern piece so that once I cut it out, I can unfold it and it will be a whole piece.

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  18. I would buy and use pony fabric!!!!

    I love this top, just what I need for an upcoming trip to humid Singapore.

    If not pony fabric, then some of the balloon print fabric I have, or a randomised blue spot fabric.

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  19. How have I never seen forked pins before?? Genius. I'd make this pattern out of a beautiful lavender rayon....

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  20. Love the top (and the red shoes)

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  21. This looks like *just* what I need for a quick summer sew (Tops and shorts this month!) - thanks for showing it to me!

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  22. That top might even make me wear a tank!!! I would love to make one in a bamboo knit - it feels divine in our hot summer heat.

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  23. Great shape on you. I'm always looking for patterns that disguise the belly.

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  24. I love this tank pattern, it really flatters you figure. I think I will use a lightweight knit fabric I will have to see what is available in the store.

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  25. Love this tank....looks fantastic on you! I have a lightweight striped linen knit in my stash that would be perfect for it!

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  26. Oh, this looks like a great pattern! I've got some slinky black fabric that would make it a nice layering piece.

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  27. Love your version! Would love to win- I would use a gorgeous rayon knit I've been saving!

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  28. I have a slinky rayon spandex tribal print jersey that's been begging to become a perfect summer tank like this one.

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  29. love the v neck and close fitting bust. This would definitely be a repeat pattern.

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  30. Great style. Lots of good points with this pattern, particularly for those of us who don't want a clingy look. Thanks for sharing all the details.

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  31. I've been into rayon spandex for drapery tops like that lately. A bit fiddly to sew but sooooo comfy to wear. My three year old likes to pet me and tell me how soft my shirts are!

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  32. I've felt very Goldilocks about tanks lately, and this one looks like it could be my "just right"

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  33. I love your version, that neckline is 👌🏻! I have some purple modal jersey in my stash that would work for this top.

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  34. The perfect summer tank - love the fit of this tank. Thanks for the tips on matching stripes.

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  35. I don't have much stash so I would need to hot up a fabric store an hour's drive away. If probably start with a solid, I don't think I'm up for stripe marching yet.

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  36. I LOVE this! I have a similar stripey jersey in my stash that would look great.

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  37. I love the fit of this tank and that it's not clingy. It looks adorable on you.

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  38. This is just about the cutest tank top pattern I've ever seen, and you executed it perfectly! Goals!

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  39. Great shape! I have a rayon lycra that would be perfect!

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  40. Wow, great fit! I'd make one in a thin hemp knit. And then maybe another in stripes, I love yours!

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  41. I'd love to make this pattern out of a grey rayon/jersey from my stash!

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  42. Beautiful and flattering fit! I think a lilac floral knit with contrasting edging would be striking.

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  43. Great fit and very flattering on you. I would use a make it in a floral knit.

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  45. OMG! I love this pattern! I will definitely buy this pattern but will wait until after the 16th....u know, just in case I win the pattern!!!

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  46. This is gorgeous... is it simple enough for a beginner? I can sew, but have not made clothing.

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    1. It's pretty simple and the instructions are great. The v-neck might be a bit of a challenge for a beginner, but it's worth a try! You could practice the v-neck part on scraps in advance if you're really cautious.

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  47. PS As far as fabric, I think a ditsy-type floral - would have to use something to simplify the sewing (as in: no stripes) - although your striped top is my goal!

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  48. I love the look and fit of this pattern. I'd make it out of solid red or royal blue knits I have. Thanks for sharing and the chance to win the pattern. I love your blog.

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  49. Wow, I love the fit and that neckline. I have the most perfect pink & black striped fabric I bought at Mood in NYC that wants to be this tank.

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  50. Wow, I love the fit and that neckline. I have the most perfect pink & black striped fabric I bought at Mood in NYC that wants to be this tank.

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  51. Love your blog- thank you for sharing your talent and knowledge! I enjoy seeing just how prolific some of my fellow sewists can be. Would like this pattern and would have to go shopping for something suitable to make it from.

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  52. I have some dark turquoise rayon jersey that would be perfect. Yours suits you very well!

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  53. I love stripes but am afraid of mismatching so thank you for the great tips.

    I also love the fit of the back too and the neckline is nice without being too revealing for a vneck.

    I think I have some yellow voile in my stash which would be pretty for summer.

    Thanks for the chance to win. Holly sunnysky223 at embarqmail dot com

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  54. Great tips and great looking top! I'd love to give this pattern a try in some bamboo knit I've had hanging out on the shelf for a bit!

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  55. Oh, this is REALLY cute! I've been looking for something like this that fits nicely in the bust but doesn't hug the hips. I'll have to pick this up!

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  56. I think I will do a floral and a solid. I have fell in love with.

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  57. What kind of tracing paper do you use? I've heard of people using it, but I have no idea what to get!

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    1. Hi there! I use this Bee Paper that I order on Amazon, but there might be a cheaper options out there; I haven't done any research: https://www.amazon.com/Bee-Paper-Sketch-24-Inch-50-Yards/dp/B004KPLL0Y

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  58. Thank you so much! Appreciate the tips.

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  59. Very pretty! I have a purple/gray/cream stripe I'd love to use for this!

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  60. So pretty! I have a gorgeous floral rayon spandex that would work so nicely with this pattern! So glad I found your blog. Your tips are awesome too!

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  61. So pretty! I have a gorgeous floral rayon spandex that would work so nicely with this pattern! So glad I found your blog. Your tips are awesome too!

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  62. That looks wonderful on you! I am always nervous I will look larger than I am with this style shirt as I have a large bust, but this looks like it would be flattering on many different figures.

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  63. I am loving all these Pony Tank posts! I wonder how it would work with some light weight sweater knit I have...

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  64. really flattering on you....maybe I'll win it!

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  65. This is such a cute pattern! I don't have any stripe pattern fabrics, but I think I will get some when I use up more of my stash. I've got a great blue knit I'd use for this top.

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  66. I have some delicious drapey rayon modal that would suit this pattern perfectly.

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  67. Perfect shape to the top! I'll have to go shopping cause I haven't tried to sew for me for many years.

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  68. Yes! So sexy! You look fabulous.

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  69. Love the stripes! I'd go for something with a pattern, because I have almost none in my wardrobe!

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  70. This looks like an awesome tank! I have a small collection of bamboo & tencel knits I'd love to make this tank with! A splashy abstract or a multi - sized, multi - colored stripe I can see from here! Thanks for the reminder to use tracing paper!

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  71. Gorgeous top on you! I have a rayon stripe just waiting for the perfect top. This could be it. Thanks for the great review and chance to win. Fingers crossed!

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  72. This is so great! Usually tanks are too skimpy for my taste, but this is perfect!

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  73. I absolutely love the look of this tank. The fact that it helps accentuate the positive and hide the parts I would rather not be focused on makes it even more fantastic.
    I'm not sure if my first one will be stripes, but one of them will have to be. Whether I win or not I just have to have this pattern. I have some beautiful white tencel knit that I think I'll start with. After that, who knows?

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  74. Love that tank top! I have a fab red and white wide striped knit that might just be perfect for this.

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  75. The back and the armscye look great, Meg! Yay for tanks that have good coverage but still have some style to them!

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  76. What a great fit - I love this pattern! I think I would make it in a stripe - it looks so fresh.

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  77. Like the pattern and your top. Thanks for the tips on matching stripes,some good information which I will pin for future reference.

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  78. I usuallydo not go for tanks, but I do like how this fits. I have several knits in my stash which would be perfect for this!

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  79. This looks great on you! I am going to buy the pattern today and make a couple of these. I have a piece of linen/rayon and a piece of linen/bamboo that are drapery and thin that would work great for this! Thanks for the stripe matching tips.

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  80. This looks like such a great pattern. I've been surprised by how hard it is to find a basic tank pattern that fits well without a ton of adjustments. I'd love to make up a bunch of these in bamboo jersey--I'd be set for summer!

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  81. This looks fab! I'd love to make it as my first attempt at knits, in an ivory viscose jersey I bought recently; sounds like a great match!

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  82. You've sold me on the stripes, and while I was looking for a multi colored stripe... I think Llama stripes win! https://www.fabric.com/buy/0478293/jersey-knit-llama-stripe-gray

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  83. I have a navy modal rayon that would be perfect for this

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  84. I would like to have a striped rayon to have a tee just like yours, I love how it looks. And the red sandals are great!

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  85. This top looks incredibly comfy, I might need one (or two..) too. Do I hear that fab drapey laserprint knit with electric blue circles calling from my stash? Must be.

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  86. Meg, the shirt is cute! Navy stripes and red shoes, very patriotic! I have never sewn stripes before and think i'll wait until I have a few garments under my belt. Great review. Your a great teacher. Thanks :)

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  87. Great top. I haven't (yet) traced a PDF pattern but feel it coming! Good tips. I'd like to try bamboo of I can get it.

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  88. I love this! Thanks for the tip on drawing pattern pieces flat for stripe matching

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  89. I'm pretty new to sewing with knits but have some nice ones I would like to use!! I think maybe some jersey or dbp!

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