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.
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.
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.
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.