Monday, August 22, 2011

Two Tops and Lake Superior

I wanted to make myself two new tops for our vacation last week, but ended up finishing just one.

Above, I'm standing in front of Lake Superior. Have you heard of it? It's the world's largest freshwater lake (and holds 10% of the world's freshwater).

I made this tank top pattern a year ago, and it's one of my most worn summer items. The front stripe is curved (as you can see) and incorporates the dart shaping. The back stripe goes straight across. You can see back and side views of top #1 here. That first version was made out of stable interlock, which wasn't the best choice. I used cotton jersey for #2 (above) and lycra jersey for #3.

Pattern: Ottobre 2-2008-4. Note that the armhole runs tight on this pattern; possibly it's higher so it can accomodate the sleeve option.

Which brings me to another point. The pattern has two main views: sleeveless top and short sleeve top. I tried the sleeves and they did not work at ALL. There was no shoulder room. In fact the sleeve is super tiny. So I switched it out for another Ottobre sleeve that fits me well and it still didn't work. I think the slight cut-in shape of this tank top armhole is pulling the sleeve inwards. Come to think of it, sleeveless armscyes and sleeved armscyes are not normally interchangeable. I wonder if anyone else has made this top with the sleeves.

Now, I said in a previous post that we were going "Up North" for vacation. Minnesota has around 12,000 lakes. Apparently there's no official number!?! So when Minnesotans go Up North, they go to the northern half of the state, or possibly into Canada, and hang out near a lake. Many people have a lake cabin in the family, or they will tent or rent a cabin. We rented a cabin on a lake near Lake Superior and spent many hours canoeing, boating, kayaking, fishing, hiking, and sitting around.

If you find Duluth on the map and follow the shore north along Lake Superior, you have the "North Shore" where we did a little hiking one day (if you can call it hiking with a 2 year old).

Here's a river which flows into Lake Superior. The photos don't capture the dizzying height of the bridge I'm standing on.

The water of Lake Superior is frigid even in the middle of summer so you don't see many people trying to swim here.

The shoreline is very rocky and is a popular place to hunt for agates.

We had fun finding wild raspberries along the trail.

Stopping for mid-trail snack.

Apparently people will camp just anywhere, since they felt the need to post signs.


  1. Both tops look great! I like the curved stripes.

    Looks like a fun vacation, with lots of outdoor activities. Are the smaller lakes more swimmer friendly?

  2. The tops look just right for a summer vacation, but make me think you are very hardy. I lived in Escanaba for 3 years, and camped all around Lake Superior every chance we got, and am quite sure it was never hot enough for a sleeveless top! I love your photos, they remind me of some great holidays, and all I can say about hiking with a 2 year old is I am glad we have finally outgrown the baby backpack.

  3. Fun photos! Can't believe how grown up Molly looks beside the other kids. She's GROWN since we last met! And lovely tanks! And how brilliant, that design, to incorporate dart shaping in the curved band! I'm with you about the sleeveless/sleeved armscyes not being interchangeable generally. But can be with a bit of adaptation. Jen covered that in her sleeve adaptation post (see point 6) here:

    I've found that generally, a person should make the armscye as small as comfortably possible to fit a sleeve. Just looks and moves nicer. So in theory, your tank armscyes would work well! But I've also found (the hard way) that sleeves are often drafted to fit specific armscyes, so change the armscye and one must change the sleeve/draft a new one to fit that armscye. I suppose, therefore, the lazy (i.e. me) person's guarantee-success method would be to always use the same sloper armscye and the same sleeve block.

    Whoa! This is too technical for me at this time of the afternoon. Especially at these temperatures. My head hurts from the heat and humidity today. I need to go up north, too. D and I went to Twin Harbors just once and loved it. Cool, misty, quiet and not a fabric store in sight to distract anybody!

  4. May I humbly offer an alternate title for this post? Not a correction; no not that, but an alternate that reads: "Lake and Two Superior Tops."

  5. I really like the sporty look of these two tanks. Looks like a great family holiday.

  6. These are wonderful tanks. I love the creative stripe of contrasting fabric you added. This is a great example of sewing for the everyday, something I need to do more of. Nice job!

  7. Great tops! And I love getting geography lessons from other bloggers - what a lovely place.

  8. I had no idea Lake Superior holds that much water. Looks like a fun trip in some amazing 21 Wale clothes !

  9. I love your tops and the geography lesson. I agree with LiEr that you need to redraft the sleeve pattern. From what you say it's tight. In this case you can lower the armseye slightly 3/8 inch or less. Then you need to lengthen the sleeve by the same amount on either side. Of course I would do a muslin for this first.
    Let me know if you need more info.

  10. Perfect tops for an active vacation! Looks like everyone had a lot of fun.

  11. Such wonderful photos of your family holiday, and it looks like you had fun! I like both your tops; sporty and summery :)

  12. We love Lake Superior too! they have the best rocks ever! tops look great on you...and family seems "muy contento"

  13. I like the sporty look of your tank top. Thanks for sharing your vacation photos. I love to see the land where fellow bloggers live. Minnesota is one of the few states I haven't been too. Your picture on the bridge reminds me of Ohe`o Gulch here in Maui, though I'm sure the water is a lot warmer in our stream than in your river!

  14. Really nice tanks. That stripe is real cute on them. Looks like a fun vacation. :O)


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