Dress Up Party – Pattern Review – By Hand London Polly

This post is part of Dress Up Party. For contest rules, full details, and schedule, please click here!
Today’s post is from Jesy from Sew Dayton.

Hi! I am Jesy Anderson, Co-Owner of Sew Dayton.  I love teaching others to sew, buying fabric, and testing patterns! I was excited to be asked to help with the Dress Up Party! I was racking my brain for something that is fun, classic and easy enough for all levels of sewing skills. I found the amazing Polly Top from By Hand London.

This top is an easy sew, it’s fun and flirty and most of all very different from the tank patterns that are normally released.  Something about the center panel piece, it  just adds that bit of sophistication to the pattern.

OK, let’s get to reviewing this awesome top!

Pattern Taping Time: 35 minutes
Cut time :  15 minutes
Sew Time:  55 minutes
Difficulty : Easy (6 pieces total)
Size Made: 10 US/14 UK
My Measurements: 39 ½” Bust ~ 32” waist ~ 38 ½” Hip  ~ 5’3¾” tall

polly tank-supplies

Supplies needed:

  • Fabric – 3 yards for all sizes (Art Gallery Fabrics purchased at Sew Dayton)
    • 2 yards of main fabric  – Miniature Hills Metal By Sara Lawson
    • 1 yard for center panel & bias binding  – Unicorn Fable Sageplant by Sara Lawson
  • Size 12 Needle
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Tape measure
  • Tailor’s chalk/ Marking Tool
  • Pinking shears, Serger or ZigZag Stitch
  • Tailor’s Ham
  • Dress makers shears
  • Tape
  • Craft Scissors
  • A4 paper
  • Iron

Pattern Fabric Suggestions : light to medium weight wovens such as cotton lawn, quilting, voile, shirting, poplin, batiste, broderie, flannel, lace; flowy fabrics such as silk crêpe de chine, silk charmeuse, chiffon, habotai, rayon, wool crepe; even knits such as ponte, double knit and viscose jersey.

Pattern Difficulty: Beginner

polly tank-print verification

One really amazing thing about this FREE pattern, is that By Hand London has included a fantastic video tutorial on sewing this top together! It really is a great beginner pattern!

Grab this free PDF pattern download.  This pattern is formatted for A4 paper;  adjust your printer settings to allow it to print on US Standard, if you do not have A4 paper.

I print the first page only, to make sure that it prints the correct size.  Using a measuring tape, I verify the 4”x4” square is actually 4”x4”.

polly tank-taping layout

Once I verify it’s printing correctly, I go ahead and print the rest of the pattern. This will save you paper and time.

Take a quick peek at the print layout, before starting to tape the pattern together.  Then get to taping!!

Using the sizing chart I went with making a US size 10.

Cut one front, one back, one center, two bias for armholes, and one neck bias binding. A total of six pieces.

polly tank-pattern

Start with the center panel, this part may be a  little intimidating, but I promise with taking your time and a few extra steps it will be a snap.

One tip, stay stitch all of your curves, this will keep the bias of the fabric from stretching when sewing.  Then clip notches in the center panel fabric only, and clip within your stay stitch allowance to allow the curve to be sewn with ease.

polly tank-stay stitching

After stitching the center panel in, serge your raw edges.  Then with a tailor’s ham, press your curved seams. Using a tailor’s ham will allow the fabric to curve with the shape of the garment.

polly tank-pressing ham

This pattern, likely was  made for someone with a long torso in mind; since I have a short torso, the shoulder straps were a bit long on me, this made the front to the garment gap.

Of course, I didn’t take my own advice and make a muslin first.. so I stitched everything together, only to realize that the straps were too long..

Whoops!  I had already serged all the edges, topstitched and made everything look pretty inside.

polly tank-fixing shoulders

So instead of risking a disaster, picking out all of those stitches, I modified the straps by lining up all the edges and stitching across the straps to make the new length.

The straps were corrected by shortening the straps 1.5 inches. (⅝” on each side).

It’s a great summer tank that I plan on wearing it often and making a bunch more!

Pros: It sews up fast, and I already modified the printed pattern, so next time no too long straps.   I can just cut and sew!  This pattern has no need for bust darts due to the center panel insert. Having a larger bust size, it is usually hard to find tops that do not make me feel like I am wearing a sack.  The darts give the shape I need, that being said, this tank is lovely and the fit is spot on.


Cons: The straps were a bit long for someone that is 5’3” and no torso, making a muslin would help with fit.  Print size A4 (this is a European pattern so understandable) and for a beginner inserting the center panel curve might be a bit frustrating.

I would highly recommend any level of sewer to make one. It’s such a simple staple pattern. Easy and a fast sew for the next time something new to wear is needed.  I would suggest sewing  it with some knit or stretch lace for a more professional look under a blazer.

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