I was immediately drawn to the design of the Gaia Keyhole Top by Sinclair Patterns. The design of the back is quite unique and a nice variation on a plain knit tank. Last year I’d downloaded their Sunset Lounge Pant when it was offered as a freebie but hadn’t got around to using it.
This was another pattern co that uses the tester promotional model of heaps of tester photos/glowing reviews when a new pattern is released. Usually it is a turn off for me, but I had received a survey from the pattern co a while ago that looked like they where genuinely looking for constructive feedback. So I decided to give the top a go and make up the pants as well. I’m glad I did.
This is an Australian based pattern co, but the pricing around the AUD$10-14 mark. Some of the pattern release emails have been a little misleading as the $8 introductory price is in USD, not AUD. Each of the patterns have multiple design options, making them quite good value.
The pattern comes with different PDFs for petite, regular and tall heights. Yay! For both garments, I used the petite version (52-160 cm /5 1” – 5 3”) and didn’t need to adjust bust or crotch heights. I did need to shorten the pants a little, but most of the hard work was already done. This was particularly helpful with the keyhole top, as I didn’t need to shorten the armhole depth, or fiddle with the keyhole design to get the base of the keyhole above my bra-strap.
Sizes range from XXS – XXL ( bust 80-128cm or 31.5-50.4″). Both metric and imperial measurements are give along with select finished widths and lengths. The instructions give you guidance on which sized to use and how to blend between sizes. Eg for the pants, the size is chosen based on the hip measurement, then graded to waist measurement. Both patterns came out spot on for me using these recommendations.
Printing and Instructions
The pattern PDFs are multilayered and come in A0, A4 and Letter sizes for each of height ranges. Plus a separate instruction file. I used the tiled PDF and was impressed with how easy they were to put together. I didn’t need to trim anything down and could just overlap the sheets using the registration marks. Very quick and accurate! Probably the easiest I’ve worked with. Pattern is laid out within sheets very well so that not all sheets require taping ( eg can tape front and back separately). There were a couple of blank sheets in order to make a complete grid, so check before you print, it you want to avoid printing them.
The instruction booklet is very comprehensive, and well laid out. It would be suitable for a beginner, with a photo tutorial of the sewing process. The Gaia top also had a short version of the instructions, suitable for more experienced sewists.
One thing to watch is that the fabric layout show front and back pieces top & tailed, which may not be a good idea for some prints or textured knits.
Gaia Keyhole Top
The keyhole back and binding are the features of this tank top. Options include a crew or deep scoop neckline; and a curved, banded or slit hem that can be tied in the back. I chose the scoop neckline with the curved hem. Sizing was based on my bust measurement and graded out to the hip as I wanted a little more ease at the hip.
I was quite impressed by this drawing, showing where the bottom the keyhole and back hem were designed to sit of the body. It was accompanied with the depth measurements for each size/height combo. I haven’t seen this on any other pattern and found it quite useful.
Perhaps the hardest and most time-consuming part of the construction is doing the binding. The instructions give you three options on how to do the binding. I chose the “ottobre method” as I get a more consistent width of the binding. There are notches for the keyhole binding which give the correct tension to the binding and take out any of the guess work. The front neckline binding isn’t notched, which is a pity.
My test top was made from a cotton-lycra knit and uses fabric from the pants as the binding. Fit is spot on and I’ve very happy with the result.
These are a yoga pant style with pocket options, fitted at the hip and relaxed through the leg. Two lengths; keen or full length. A wide waistband with drawstring ; options for ruching and maternity. Again, these were offered in petite, regular and tall. I’ve used the petite version, size chosen by my hip and graded to my waist. Crotch length was good, just needed to adjust the length.
Sewing Project Score card
Gaia Keyhole Tank
Overall Score: 80%
Notes: Trail version of the top. Fit is spot on and love the back detail. Binding takes a while
Sewing Project Score card
Sunset Lounge Pant
Overall Score: 80%
Notes: Trail version of the pants. Good fit, will make again.