The Tank Dress // Sew Caroline // Holm Sown

The Tank Dress – two ways

I’ve been very productive with my sewing this month and rather than delay sharing some of my makes with you, I’m showing you two versions of the Tank Dress modelled by one of my shop dollies.

The Tank Dress is:

the perfect summer dress that you’ll want to make over and over.  The simple construction leaves room for lots of modifications and ‘making it on your own’.  The dress fits to hit above the knee, has no darts or closures, and the option for an elastic casing or elastic thread to cinch the back.

Version 1: Tank Dress in Edith cotton lawn

I made my first version is this gorgeous Edith cotton lawn that arrived in the shop this week.  I selected my size based on the finished garment measurements and made the size large with the in-seam pockets.  The neck and armholes were finished with yellow bias binding for a fun pop of colour.

The Tank Dress // Sew Caroline // Edith Cotton Lawn // Front // Holm Sown

The Tank Dress // Sew Caroline // Edith Cotton Lawn // back // Holm Sown

This is such an easy dress to wear and quick to sew.  I cut and sewed this in an evening.  I opted to do an elastic casing but I find that it sits a little low (the top of my elastic was aligned with the mark for the elastic on the pattern).  Otherwise the length is perfect for me and hits just above the knee at the front, and the shirt-tail hem probably hangs just below my knees.  I know from reading Sew Caroline’s blog that she is quite tall so you might want to check the length is right for you.

The Tank Dress // Sew Caroline // Edith Cotton Lawn // Elastic casing // Holm Sown

The Tank Dress // Sew Caroline // Edith Cotton Lawn // Armhole bias facing // Holm Sown

The Edith cotton lawn has such vibrant colours and is lovely and soft with good drape.  It has already been popular in the shop so make sure you don’t miss out!

Version 2: Tank Dress in Rosie brushed cotton

My second version I made up in our Rosie brushed cotton twill with a delicate floral pattern of blush pink roses to wear as a nightdress.  This brushed cotton is perfect for nightwear and I also think it would make a lovely back for a baby blanket/quilt.

The Tank Dress // Sew Caroline // Rosie brushed cotton twill // Front // Holm Sown

For this version I moved the elastic so that the bottom of the elastic sits on the marked line.  This change of approximately 1″ makes all the difference and now sits at my natural waist on my back.  I left off the pockets and opted for white bias tape to finish the neck and armholes. The next picture gives you a good idea of the curved shirt-tail hem:

The Tank Dress // Sew Caroline // Rosie brushed cotton twill // Side // Holm Sown

The only thing I’d do differently if when I make this again is finish the hem with bias tape.  As the hem has quite an exaggerated curve and I also think that it would be a nice feature – you’d see it on the inside and would be a nice pop of colour.  Doing a double fold hem on a curved edge isn’t particularly easy so a bias facing would result in a better finish.

Sew Caroline provides instructions on how to colour-block the tank if you like which is a nice addition.  Depending on fabric choice you could easily make this dressier for evening wear, or even crop it shorter to be more of a tunic, or even top length.  The elastic on just the back cinches it in nicely keeping the flat front and providing some shape.  This could easily become a staple piece in your wardrobe.

Cost analysis

Version 1 total cost = £25.70

1.25m Edith floral cotton lawn @ £10/m = £12.50

The Tank Dress pattern = £12.00

1.5m yellow bias tape @ £0.45/m = £0.68

0.4m 1″ wide elastic @ £1.30/m = £0.52

Thread (from stash) = £0

Version 2 total cost = £12.20

1m Rosie brushed cotton @ £11/m = £11.00

The Tank Dress pattern = free as used before

1.5m white bias tape @ £0.45/m = £0.68

0.4m 1″ wide elastic @ £1.30/m = £0.52

Thread (from stash) = £0

As a side note, I really enjoy adding the project costs as I get so many people come into the shop sceptical that making your own clothes is cheaper than buying them.  I know I don’t include my time but sewing is also a hobby for me and when I’m making for myself I don’t think the time element is so relevant.  If I like a garment once I’ve made it I’ve started trying to make a second one straight away.  This way I’m getting best value out of the money I’ve spent on the pattern, and constructing it is quicker since it is fresh in my head.