Creating a long sleeve Wiksten tank

A while back I bought a pretty black and white cotton and silk fabric and started to sew a wiksten tank.  I never finished it because I got side tracked by other projects and probably cause I was stumped on how I was going to create a long sleeve for the tank, cause what I really wanted was a flowing long sleeve shirt for the fall.  

Well the fall is here, so I decided it was high time I finish it. 

I  drafted a sleeve pattern by placing a piece of paper underneath the front pattern and tracing the armhole (or armscye). Make sure to straighten out the top part of the pattern, cause otherwise when you cut out your fabric it won’t fit your shirt.  Yes, I did that first… I probably should have folded the paper in two, but I guess I like learning the hard way 😉 For the length & shape of your sleeve pattern, you can either use a shirt you already have or you can draft one from your measurements. I chose to draft a full length sleeve from my measurements. Don’t forget to include a seam allowance in your pattern. 

Next, fold your fabric in two, place your pattern on the grainline and cut out 2 sleeves. 

Sew the seams on the sleeves and finish the hems.

Attach the sleeve to the tank, right sides of the fabric together (slide the sleeve in the armhole right sides together) pinning along the seams being sure not to pucker the fabric or create pleats. I did this several times cause my sleeves were too wide. Finally I remembered that I had adjusted the tank when I made it (taking in the side seams), so I adjusted my sleeves to the tank and it worked! 

Sew in place and iron flat. Finish your seams. I finished them with a zig zag stitch and cut off the excess fabric.

To attach the bias tape start in the back, start pinning by unfolding the bias tape right sides of the fabric together. Be sure to leave about an inch of bias tape at the beginning and end to allow for you to sew it together and finish attaching the bias tape, once you have pinned it all around the neckline.

Starting at the back, sew the bias tape on the fold all around the neckline, and be sure to back stitch a couple stitches when you start and end your stitching.  

Attach the two ends as shown below, cut off the excess bias tape, and iron the ends flat. Sew the remaining bias tape to the shirt. Fold the bias tape up and iron so it lays flat. Then fold over and pin in place as shown.

Repeat the same steps above for the sleeves. I finally decided to sew 3/4 sleeves with a bias trim. 

Last Visit Before the Winter

The bee season is coming to a close, and it’s time for our last visit of the hives, to make sure everyone is doing well and to treat them for varoa mites. We treat them organically. Varoa is a kind of tick that affects all hives, and more specifically the bees, it attaches to a bee and utimately sucks the life out of them.(It doesn’t affect the Honey production).  The colonies must be treated throughout the season to lower the pressure of the invasion and avoid it killing off the bees.  Also, the colder it is, the better, so that the varroa die off, but ultimately the idea each season is to try and keep the pressure down so it doesn’t weaken the colony.

So, back to the job at hand, checking on the hives after having extracted the honey and before the winter season sets in, since the colony will be getting smaller, from 50,000 bees in the height of summer to around 10,000 who will mostly hibernate, keeping the queen safe and the hive warm.   These bees are born at the end of the season and they have a life span of 4 months, compared to the worker bees who only live for 6 weeks since they work so hard all summer.  You’ll find it interesting to know that a bee only gathers nectar & pollen in the last 2 weeks of her life. Throughout her life, she will nourish the larvae, make the wax honeycomb, clean the hive, and transform & stock the honey, being sure to remove the humidity from the honey, and then closing it up the combs with wax.

We installed a cushion on top of the feeder.  The cushion is lined with fabric on the hive side and filled with wood chips. The wood chips will help evacuate the humidity from the hive, which is the major issue in the winter since it’s generally cold and wet out, and there are fewer bees to ventilate the hive.  It will also create an insulation from the cold.  
Looks like the ladies are doing well.  
We will feed them syrup and then candy (a more solid syrup that doesn’t freeze when it gets very cold) throughout the winter, limiting our interventions as much as possible so the cold doesn’t get into the hive.  As you can see above, the feeder is built in such a way that you don’t have to remove it to feed them.  
 They will keep the hive at 35°C and won’t come out unless it’s above 13°C and if all goes well, we’ll see them in the Spring 🙂