Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Diagonal Tank Dress, Take One

Last week I wrote about a bias tank dress I was thinking about making. Well, today I finally got a moment to cut it out and see if the idea worked.

Verdict: Close, but no cigar.

The Good
  • This experiment showed that the concept works. I can take a tank dress, slice it and dice it and reassemble it, and it WILL go together.
  • It's incredibly easy to sew together accurately, as the seams are all straight lines on the grain. The first seam is a cinch; the second is a little fiddly as you're trying to sew a parallelogram together. It looks like it's all twisted, but it isn't.
  • It drapes beautifully; even though there's no shaping in the pattern, the bias makes it hug very nicely.
  • I like the length.

It's easier to see the diagonal seam on this back view.

The Bad
  • Not the best choice of fabric but it was on sale and draped properly.
  • The neckline needs to be wider. A LOT wider.
  • The back armscye makes my shoulders look like a linebacker's. I need to raise the armhole and widen it across the back.
What's Next
I'm going to re-draft the tank with a wider neck and more coverage at the armscye. I'm also thinking about slicing it into more than just two pattern pieces, and using various shades of solids for each piece, to really highlight the seaming. But that'll have to wait a few days... Right now I have six DreamGirls costumes to repair (not mine... the rented ones; those old zippers keep breaking) and two Professional Totes to make.


  1. So, basically, this technique can be done on any sheath-type dress? It's a sheath, cut on grain, with a piece set in diagonally?

  2. No... Not quite. I drafted a regular tank sheath, and drew diagonal lines on it, continuing around from the front to the back. Then I cut on those lines, and connected the pieces so the lines I drew were continuous. There are only two pieces (look at the post "contemplating a new project" to see them). I'll do a future post on exactly how I drafted it.

  3. Hey Welmoed, I LIKED the bias sheath---even the fabric, but I guess if you have to practically slice your nose off to get the dress over your head I'd make the neckline larger. I think it'd be the perfect way to make a fast silk charmeuse slip too.

  4. Welmoed - Threads had an article (#107, July 03) on sewing the fabric into a large bias tube, and then cutting out the garment. One of the samples is very similar to your dress, and like many of the older Threads, it is quite an indepth article on an easy approach to bias.

  5. Dress looks great and I like the changes you think you should make. To answer your Twitter question - go for the Touch - you'll love it! I got mine mainly for traveling so I didn't have to haul the laptop into motel rooms. Perfect! Plus the games keep me entertained in the car. Be sure and get a generic plug for charging - computer is awfully slow and it seems to need charging more with games.

  6. I like where the dress is going. Can't wait to see a finished product.


I would love to hear your thoughts... Please share!