Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tank Dress Tutorial

A few years ago I bought just about every color of Old Navy tanks like they were near extinction. Well, guess what? They still make them and this tank isn't going out of style.  But there is a problem because after wearing them like there is no tomorrow they begin to get shorter and shorter.  So I have about 10 tank tops that are too short, but otherwise they fit. 

What is a girl to do?

If you are in the same boat as me go buy a 1.5-2.5 yards of coordinating fabric and make a dress. Maxi dresses are trending this summer, but I'm pretty short (5'2 if you really want to know) and have a hard time finding long dresses that fit right. Making my own was just the right answer. It allowed me to use a tank that was not being worn, pick a fabric of my choice & be creative!

Wanna know how to make a dress that fits you? Follow these steps. Well attempt to follow my steps. I usually just wing it and don't necessarily do the same thing twice even though I'm making the same type of dress making writing directions a little difficult. If you are familiar with a sewing machine you will get the gist.

Step 1: Find a tank and buy 1.5-2.5 yards of fabric. Make sure you have enough fabric to go around you! :) (I used 1.5 yards for this dress)
Step 2: Measure and cut the tank. My cut was about 6.5 inches down from the scoop neck. (This will vary based on body type.) Discard bottom portion of tank.

Step 3: With right sides of skirt fabric together fold and serge (or zig-zag sew) raw edges on long side. This will create a tube. (To make a long dress unfold the fabric. For a short dress keep folded like it came off the bolt sewing 4 layers in this step.)

Step 4: Layout skirt and line seam up with shirt center. Place pins at the centers and outer points. (Doesn't have to be perfect)

Step 5: Between each of the 4 pins sew using the longest stitch on your machine ruffling as you go. I just eyeballed this step. You don't want the skirt to have too much ruffling and be smaller than the shirt. (I tried using elastic thread and preferred ruffling by hand) 

Step 6: Pin the edge of the skirt you just ruffled to the right side of the tank in the same 4 spots (centers and side seams). Your skirt is going to be inside of your tank.

Step 7: Start sewing at one of the pins and pull the shirt and skirt tight at the next pin. This will make it so the dress fits over your bust/hips and will prevent puckering. If you do not pull the shirt it may be too tight.

Step 8: Try on the dress with belt or sash accessory. Make adjustments if necessary. This may require seam ripping (Boo!) or sewing around again so the shirt is shorter. I found that many times my tank in the back was too long and needed shortened.

Step 9: Once the dress fits the way you want serge off the edges where the tank and skirt meet. This will give it a finished edge to prevent fraying and will eliminate some bulk around the middle.

Step 10: On the long dress add a hem to fit your desired length. (On the short dress you shouldn't need a hem because the fabric is folded and has a clean edge)

Now that you are done you will probably put on the dress and think "Awesome, I just made a tent". Just add a belt or sash and you have a waist again!

Hopefully that wasn't too confusing! Now go make a dress and share pictures!

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