Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Color Block Tank Dress: a tutorial


Do you ever go to the store with one project in mind, and leave with a totally different idea? That's how this project came to be. I went to Joann looking for a cute floral print. I'm usually pretty disappointed at Joann's selection and this time was no different. So I stumbled across the solids section and decided to get creative with some color blocking. 


Materials:

A tank top/t-shirt in your size

3/4" Clear Elastic (about a yard give or take)

Lightweight Cotton Fabric (1 yard -give or take- of each color)

Optional 1 yard Muslin (for lining)

Thread to match your trim fabric.




Tutorial:

Begin by trying on your tank/tee. Make a mark about 3/4 an inch below your natural waist.


Cut straight across where you just made the mark. You can save the bottom portion of the tee as a guide for making more dresses. 


To determine how much elastic you'll need measure the width of the bottom of the tank. Take this number, multiply by 2 and add 0.5

i.e.  My tank was 13" across so... 13 x 2 + 0.5 = 26.5" of elastic


Stretch the elastic out a little bit and then lay the two ends on top of each other with about an inch of overlap. Sew so that you have a loop of elastic.


Lay your elastic loop on the right side of the tank. Pin in place. The loop should be just a tad smaller than the tank.


Sew with a stretch or zig-zag stitch, pulling the elastic lightly as you go. 



You want the (two) panels of your skirt to be 12" wider than the width of your tank. Cut as shown below. Cut along the fold so that you have two panels of fabric. 


The length of the dress will also depend on your body type and preference. Mine came to just right above my knee. I'll give you the measurements I used but keep in mind that I'm pretty tall at 5'9" and you may need to adjust for your size.

Lavender- 16" 
Mint- 5.5"
Teal 7" 


Sorry I forgot to photograph this but, for the two-toned I used 21" of my main fabric color (red/navy) and 8" of the trim (mint).


Finish the edges of the strips if you'd like. Pin and sew




If you don't care about having pockets, go ahead and skip the next few steps. But bear in mind that they're really not too much extra work, and soo worth it to have a place to put your hands, phone, etc. 

Fold your remaining trim fabric so that you have four layers of fabric on top of one another. Lay your hand down and free hand a pocket pattern. One side of the pocket should be a straight line. The rest doesn't really matter too much, kind of a slanty oval works best.


Or you know, cut a heart valentine style and cut along the fold. 




Right sides together, pin the pockets 3 inches down from the top of each panel. You'll want to be as exact as possible so that everything lines up properly. 


Sew with a 1/4" inseam. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. 


Iron the seams open.


Now lay the panels, with pockets outstretched, right sides together. Take care to line up the trim at the bottom and everything else accordingly. 

Sew as shown. 



Use the iron to shape, and hey look, you just made pockets.


Here's what you should have so far:


Depending on your fabric, you might want to line the skirt. You can get away without on darker fabrics, but lighter fabrics are usually more transparent.  I lined my red dress but not my navy. 

Cut two panels of muslin to the same dimensions as your panels. Sew together opposite sides with the same inseam as you did your skirt.


Sew or serge the muslin layer and the skirt together as shown. They are only joined together by that top stitch. 


Set your straight stitch to the longest length setting and sew two gathering stitches (about 1/4" apart).


Pull the top threads to create a nice, uniform gather. 

Now with the tank/tee right side out and the skirt wrong side out, insert the tank as shown.


Pin the bottom of the tank to the top of the skirt. 


Sew (with a stretch or zig zag stitch) very carefully and slowly with a half inch inseam. Once you've gone full circle, go around once more for good measure.


Finally hem the bottom and 


finish the lining. You may need to cut it about an inch shorter than the rest of the skirt so that it doesn't peak out.


I like a wrinkled look so I twisted my skirt and squeezed tight to create a little texture.








I love it without, but a belt or sash seems to really pull things together.




Wouldn't this be cute with your team colors? I made an A&M one for a friend a few months back.




...

Oh and if you're wondering what happened to the mint, teal, lavender combo..


I guess the iron was a little too hot. Do you see the print it left behind? Plus it made my seam pucker so much that I lost a good inch or two of width. I had such high hopes for it and I had worked so long and precisely. 

Oh well, maybe another day!

...

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73 comments

  1. How cute and summery! I have never used clear elastic, nor have I make pockets, but you make it look so easy I think I could tackle it!! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Ooh I love all of these dresses! So cute :) You're very clever, I wish I could make things like this. Luckily I've got someone who can, so I might have some persuading to do :) lol

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  3. Too cute! I need to just make the jump and start trying to make some clothes!

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  4. SOOO CUTE! This is so great! I have been looking for a cute color block tutorial to make a dress for my brothers upcoming wedding! How how wonderful! Thanks for sharing this great project!

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  5. Very cute - looking forward to trying it!

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  6. Wow, everything you do looks really polished you must really take your time to do such a tidy job.

    Is the purpose of the clear elastic to stabilize the knit shirt from stretching out? It isn't actually gathering the fabric at all is it? I have seen it on ready made garments on the shoulder seams but never in a fabric store in Canada. Did you buy it at Joanns as well?

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  7. I love it! This is definitely on my to do list.

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  8. i just love your tutorials. you are awesome.

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  9. So cute! I love it with the belt!

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  10. So cute! I love your tutorials. They are always so easy to follow. Thanks
    Sara
    http://ohhoneydontworry.blogspot.com/

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  11. I love all the Options!
    Great work!
    kisses

    http://mywhiteidea.blogspot.com.es/

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  12. Once again, you inspire me! I've never attempted a pocket, bc well, I'm secretly lazy and it just seemed a tad difficult. But now I'm going to make one hopefully today! :)

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  13. Such a sweet dress. I like the finished look with belting.

    Today's my birthday so come stop by and say hi!

    www.themadething.com

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  14. this turned out soooo cute! you are so good at these; wish i had your skills :)

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  15. So cute! And I just saw your project featured as a How-To today at Craftzine! How exciting!

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  16. I love this! I have been wanting to combine a t-shirt with an old skirt or dress for ages now but don't have the skirt/dress to cut up. Don't know why I never thought of just making one! Thanks for the great tutorial!

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  17. You are so talented! I love this idea and I love all the different ways you showed to wear it! Great job! Love the blog!

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  18. I just discovered your blog a few weeks ago, and have used a couple tutorials already. They are the BEST I've ever come across and I'm so excited to try this dress!
    I'm a quilter, but nervous and new to clothes making. Your tutorials make it seem doable. Thank you! (And keep the super ideas coming!)<3
    ~Liv

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  19. I LOVE THIS TUTORIAL!!! Gonna try it this weekend! Thanks for sharing!

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  21. You make this tutorial sound so easy and simple! I have a machine, and this makes me want to jump right into sewing!
    http://5footchic.blogspot.com/

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  22. I DEFINITELY want to make one of these!!! And from another sewist standpoint, you do a GREAT job at explaining how to do this in your pictures! I really love it!

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  23. These are beyond freaking cute. I am inspired to try to make one!

    You may have addressed this in another post, but how do you handle pre-washing your fabrics in case they shrink? I make a lot of home-y projects and sometimes things shrink unevenly. I'd like to venture into clothing and would appreciate any suggestions!

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  24. I made this today and it was my first time at pockets and they were so simple!! Thank you for the great directions and photos! I love it!

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  25. Cant wait to try this one, after the baby is born...Love your blog ;)

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  27. Very cute! This is absolutely going on my to-make list! I can't wait for your next tutorial, they are always so amazing! I hope my blog, Cucire Dulce, turns out as well as your's!

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  28. Oh my it is like you literally read my mind! I have been wanting a dress like this for weeks!!

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  29. Love this! Especially with the pockets. So cute!

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  30. Hi! I just wanted to say, I've been reading your blog for awhile now, and I always love your posts.

    I don't really know how to sew, myself, but your tutorials are always super easy to follow and I feel like I'm learning for that day in the future when I decide to figure out how to use that sewing machine in my parents' basement. :)

    Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy and appreciate your blog! You seem insecure about it sometimes, and you have no reason to be. :)

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  31. Love this tutorial and can't wait to try it! I posted about it on my blog today :)http://love-jujubeancreations.blogspot.com/

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  32. I made this today and it turned out great! I feel so accomplished now that I have made something with pockets! ;) It was much easier to make than I expected. Keep the tutorials coming... I love them all! :)

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  33. Just an idea, if you don't already prewash your fabrics, try the next time to prevent shrinkage from heat or first wash. My mom, a former seamstress and avid quilter, ALWAYS prewashes her fabrics before cutting or sewing and I've learned to do the same. It might solve your problem! As always, LOVE your blog and your super helpful tutorials :) keep the good stuff coming.

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  34. Sooo cute! And love it with the zig zag belt! Where is the belt from? Did you make it?

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  35. Your tutorials are lovely! I always feel like making something after reading one. Have you ever tried using a styling design ruler when making your own patterns? It's a curved ruler that can be purchased at Joann's for about 15 dollars. It has been my MVP when drafting patterns. Also, I sometimes feel the same way about the fabric selection at Joann. Have you purchased fabric online before? I work at this cute little shop in Preston, Idaho that has beautiful fabrics. They always have a decent sale section especially right now while making room for new lines coming in August. If you want to check out some of the fabrics you can find them at supposecreatedelight.com.

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  36. This is such a cute dress! I'm making mine now. I'm having trouble finding clear elastic, though (I've tried Hobby Lobby, Michael's and Hancock Fabrics). Any recommendations? Thanks!

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  37. I'm from Brasil and love your blog, keep going with this creative things you do, congrats!!!

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  38. I was just wondering if you ever make custom ones for people? Thanks

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  39. I was just wondering if you ever make custom ones for people? Thanks

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  40. I was just wondering if you ever make custom ones for people? Thanks

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  41. As I was reading your post, I was already planning to put a couple of my Old Navy tanks to good use, but seeing the A&M dress makes me really want to kick it into high gear!

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  42. I just finished making the dress and it turned out great! Thanks for the pattern.

    One note: I could not find elastic in the size recommended size, so got it in 3/8 inch instead, and it still turned out well. Just in case others are having trouble finding it, too!

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  43. Did you use a knit or woven fabric for the skirt? In the picture, it seems woven to me, but most people do a knit with a knit. Just wondering because I have been thinking of doing a shirt-dress with a woven skirt instead of knit and am not sure if it will turn out or not. Thanks!

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  44. Thanks for the tutorial! I made this tonight in black, white, and mint green. I think it needs a sash but it's cute on it's own, too. I wanted to mention that the pattern works if you add a couple of inches to the color block part (if you're a little hip-pier like me!). I also added a couple of inches to each color for some length. Thanks again!

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  45. Great inspiration! I saw the picture and used it as an idea for my own dress. Now I just need to gather the materials and actually follow your instructions. Love the pockets too. Not having pockets is probably my least favorite thing about wearing a dress or skirt.

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  46. Nice skirt!! I'm a blue kind of person, so I like the blue one better =)

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  47. Thanks for the great post on your blog, it really gives me an insight on this topic.
    tutor

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  48. I love this dress. And the pockets don't seem that difficult. I have only done patch pockets so far, but think these will be the next style of pocket that I attempt!

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  49. Hi there!

    I'm stuck on the gathering part - my thread keeps breaking! But I'm a bit worried. If the skirt it 12" wider than the tank is this gathering really going to bring it in so much that it will fit? Right now I can wrap the skirt around me (like an apron).

    Thanks!
    Whitney

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  50. I'm obsessed with that chevron belt! Where did you get it?!

    Also love this project it's on my list to do!!

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  51. Love this! I have several tanks that I don't like the length of that this would be perfect for!
    I'm curious what the purpose of the clear elastic is though?

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  52. Unique, and artistic creation BornTrini SanJules known as, is the brainchild of local artist Sandra. The enthusiasts for years to come directly to your customers (earrings, necklaces, etc.) has sold her crafts. Tank tops women The new work of art, the medium was changed only slightly. It is his unique talent to create industry is a unique type.

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  53. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I love to sew but when it comes to clothes for myself, I don't like things that are too difficult. This is relatively simple! I think it would be cute on just about any sized person too! I have tons of old tanks. Thanks sooooooo much!

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  54. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I love to sew but when it comes to clothes for myself, I don't like things that are too difficult. This is relatively simple! I think it would be cute on just about any sized person too! I have tons of old tanks. Thanks sooooooo much!

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  55. I have never ever seen this type of tutorial. You did a magic in few step. This is the easiest way to look fashionable. Thanks alot
    Bella Ladies Tanks

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  56. above dresses and tutorial I like because it has step by step all necessary information

    http://www.neevov.com also offers worldwide quality fabric plain tank tops.

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  57. Thank you! Very nice. I liked the idea of transparent elastic.I used a dolman sleeve tee shirt I made for another project (I don't care for sleeveless dresses) and amazingly it looked very nice. I also made some for my granddaughters with their school colors and added stenciling with freezer paper. Now I have more requests than I can keep up with. (So much for a spring or summer only dress!)

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  59. Perfect tutorial! Love this concept. Thanks for sharing.

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  60. A great and creative idea.We will be very happy to design our own car print dress.

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  61. Could you make this with a lightweight wool or other wintery fabric and a long sleeve T shirt for a fall dress?

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  62. Color Block Tank Dress: a tutorial. Do you ever go to the store with one project in mind, and leave with a totally different idea? That's how this ... ecolordress.blogspot.com

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  63. Check out our website for fabric! boutiquefabric.com

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