April 1, 2014

Tank Testing! (the Sew Caroline Tank Dress, that is…)


One of the joys of getting more involved in the sewing blogosphere (and before you ask, dear non-sewing-readers, yes there is one!) is getting connected to other folks all over the world who also spend their Friday nights hunched over a sewing machine. One of those lovelies is Caroline over at Sew Caroline, so when the opportunity came up to test her new Tank Dress pattern, I leapt at the opportunity! My first pattern testing, but hopefully not my last.
Sew Caroline tank dress
The Tank Dress is a super easy beginner’s pattern, a little like a long Colette Sorbetto without the front pleat. It has a deep scoop neck (unusually for me, I didn’t lower it, so it’s deep there folks), a shirt-style hi-lo hem, and an elasticated waist.
I made a few adjustments to the simple pattern: first, the elastic is the only shaping in the dress, but I knew that wouldn’t work for my bust, so I added in a bust dart and did a 1.5 inch full bust adjustment. It worked perfectly! (By the way, is anyone interested in seeing a tutorial on that? It’s pretty straightforward…).
I shortened the length by 3 inches and moved the level of the elastic up on the back by 2 inches – and to be honest, it probably should have gone a bit higher. I also moved the pockets up about an inch, and again they could have gone higher. So when you make this, I recommend sewing the shoulder seams first, trying it on, and then making sure that the height of all these elements suits you.
Sew Caroline tank dress
I must confess I was a bit daunted when I first cut the pieces out, because there was just… so much fabric. However, the magic all happened with the elastic – it shapes it really well, although it does mean your side seams aren’t going to be straight (so watch out for those seam inspectors).
I paired it with a big belt for a bit more waist definition, but there are so many other accessorizing possibilities.
Sew Caroline tank dress

This beauty was made with a Japanese Tomotake double gauze, from the ever-wonderful DryGoodsDesign (and it’s still available here). I have a love-hate relationship with double gauze. When it’s washed it becomes incredibly soft and almost worn looking – like old flannel sheets. On the one hand, forget anything remotely tailored. On the other hand: secret pyjamas! It doesn’t get softer than this. You can’t see it here, but the little white dots actually have coloured stars inside them – pink and yellow and green.

I’d highly recommend this to any newbie sewists out there – it’s pretty easy and quick to whip up and you’ll feel like a superstar wearing something you just made! I’m definitely considering a few more versions because I think it could be a great summer staple.
Mary pose!
Sew Caroline tank dress

Oh, and it goes with my (fairly) new yellow wrap cardi. Though, to be fair, what doesn’t?

Sew Caroline tank dress

Hurrah! Have you ever been pattern testers, Cashmerette readers? Do you find it fun? If this round was anything to go by, I definitely want to do it again.

Sew Caroline tank dress

22 thoughts on “Tank Testing! (the Sew Caroline Tank Dress, that is…)

  1. hey, i’m a new reader! i just got into sewing last year after my daughter was born. i started with quilts, branched out into various home goods (curtains, pillows), started making skirts, & once i stopped breastfeeding, i decided to reward myself by experimenting with dresses.i just made my first dress a couple of weeks ago.

    i could definitely use a FBA tutorial. i ordered the cambie dress pattern but i’m definitely going to have to alter the bodice to get it to fit over the ladies. & riffing off the other most recent post–one of my friends was JUST complaining the other day about wanting to get into sewing but having a hard time finding patterns to fit. she’s a complete novice, definitely not experienced enough to jump right in to grading, slashing, spreading, etc. she’s feeling pretty discouraged. i linked her to your post immediately.

    1. Jenny says:

      hi Crabigail (great name, btw!). Just put an FBA tutorial up – le tme know if it works for you! The absolute joy of sewing is that you can adapt patterns to fit *you*, but it’s definitely daunting to begin with. Starting with a Colette Sorbetto and doing an FBA would be a great place to start.

  2. T says:

    Such a gorgeous colour combo on you (I so covet your yellow cardi). Yay for the pattern testing and loved your Mary inspired pose.

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks! It’s sooooo comfy 🙂

  3. i tested a pattern once and would love to do it again! i test the paula pleat skirt for maria denmakr. I am wearing it now in fact! it feel like such a privilege to test.

    i love this fabric and it is great with the yellow cardie!

    1. Jenny says:

      It does feel special, doesn’t it? I have a few more coming up soon which I’m also super excited to start on!

  4. Katy Patzel says:

    I’ve never been a pattern tester. It looks fun!

    1. Jenny says:

      even more fun when you do it with crafty foxes 😀

  5. I love that last picture! and the fabric is just gorgeous

  6. Michelle says:

    I tested the (as yet, unreleased) plus sized version of the SBCC Manahattan pants. We ran into some fit issues with the back with the plus sized block, so Betsy is still refining the fit there. I hope she gets them worked out and releases the pattern because I think there’s a lot of potential there.

    1. Jenny says:

      That’s great – it’s so essential for people of all body types to be pattern testers, and I’m sure that the pattern markers appreciate it!

  7. Simple but tres chic! Aaah double gauze – so lovely to wear but beware of it’s sneaky bulk in seams and don’t even think about trying to make self made bias tape with it – caused the sweary seamstress to appear in my sewing room!

    1. Jenny says:

      Merci! Oh yes I learned the hard way about bias tape… pah. Now I mostly use pre-made stuff, and do the application where it’s just on the inside. No more burned fingers for me!

  8. tanyamaile says:

    Definitely a summer staple!!! Love your fabric, too!

  9. Alessa says:

    It looks great, especially paired with the belt and wrap cardi!
    And that fabric looks really nice! I’ve never used double gauze. I’ll have to keep a lookout for it…

  10. Unknown says:

    WHAT ARE YOUR SHOES?!? I mean, what brand, etc. They’re fabulous!

    1. Jenny says:

      Hi unknown 🙂 they are suede wedges from MaraisUSA but they are a few seasons old now.

  11. You look lovely in that dress! Thanks for stopping by! I would need to add a dart,too.

  12. Jeannie D says:

    I’m so excited to happen upon your blog (via Indiesew)! I am a curvy gal and can use all the help I can get adjusting patterns, inserting darts, etc…this dress is so cute and cute on you too! Going to check out your tutorials right now…bye!

  13. Ash says:

    Oh man… thank you, thank you, thank you! For the instructions on how to do a FBA. I made this dress last spring in some chambray and was SO disappointed with how sack like it looked hanging off of the girls… I knew darts were needed but had neither the knowledge nor the desire to give it a whirl. But seeing this – I’m excited to try again! 🙂

Let me know what you think!