Friday, 1 December 2017

Free Pattern Friday: Women's Durango Tank


This is my monthly feature where I road test a free sewing pattern or tutorial: sometimes a children's one, sometimes a women's one. I publish these posts every first Friday of the month, timed to provide inspiration for those of you who plan to get your sew-on over the weekend. I firmly believe that, if you pick your projects carefully, sewing doesn't have to be a crazy-expensive pass time. Thanks to all the amazing pattern designers who have offered up their hard work for us to enjoy for free. 

Last summer taught me that my hot-weather game is weak. And with winter approaching fast, I realise that my cold-weather game is much the same. (I've nailed spring and autumn though.) So in the interests of making comfy clothing that will see masses of wear (as per the discussions in my recent post about trying to make sewing more sustainable), I'm in the market for a decent knit tank (vest) pattern. Something easy and comfy to wear in the summer, that can be scrunched up in a suitcase when travelling to warm places, but that can also be worn as a foundation layer in winter, and maybe even used to sleep in. Thanks heaps to Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow for bringing this pattern to my attention at just the right time, and to Hey June for releasing this free Durango tank pattern

(image source: Hey June Patterns)

Pattern type:

According to the Hey June site, the Durango Tank is a casual sleeveless shirt with a centre back seam (to make sway-back alterations easier) and a longer flared hem. The higher neckline and high-cut shoulders give it a vintage summer concert tee vibe. The Durango is fitted at the shoulder and bust and loose through the waist and hip for an easy fit. It is not meant to cover bra straps, unless you're wearing a racer-back bra.


Sizing info:

This multi-sized pattern has been graded from size 2 to 22, which looks equivalent to US dress sizes. Taking my measurements and following their size info, I cut a size 8 around the shoulders and bust, grading out to a size 10 for the waist and hips. I also folded out 2cm of length just under the bust to account for my short-waisted-ness. Size-wise, I think it's pretty spot on. 


Fabric info:

I couldn't find any fabric suggestions on the website or the pattern PDF, so I went with a light-to-medium weight cotton/elastane single jersey, this one from Girl Charlee in fact. The quality of this fabric is really lovely, with a great stretch and recovery. It was perfect for this project, however I was a little disappointed that the 'gold' sparkles advertised on the GC website are actually a lot more yellow in the flesh. I reckon you could also use a baby rib for this pattern, and perhaps a interlock for a thicker tank.  


Findings:

First, I must say that I found this pattern a real pleasure to use. Both the digitised pattern and the instructions are really well produced and very easy to follow. The instructions include clear diagrams to illustrate the construction steps, and the Durango tank would be a great project for a less experienced sewer, or someone new to working with knit. Based on my experience of this pattern, I would definitely go ahead and buy a Hey June pattern if one caught my eye. 


However, through no fault of the pattern's, I don't think the Durango tank is the tank pattern for me. Personally, I would prefer a lower neckline, less carved away armholes so my bra straps were covered, a little more shaping in the side seams, and neck and armhole bindings that are the same width as each other. If you search the #durangotank hashtag, you'll see heaps of other people's versions, many of which look really fantastic on the wearer. I think this style suits some people's figures (like Gillan herself) more than others, and that I'm not one of the lucky ones. I do, however, like a number of elements of this tank, including the fit around the bust, the curved hem, and the method of construction. 


Customisation ideas:

The Durango tank is a great basic pattern, but some ways that you could get even more use from it might include:
  • contrast neck and/or armhole bindings (perhaps in rib)
  • add seam lines for colour blocking
  • solid coloured front and a print or stretch lace back
  • redraw the armholes for a more defined racer back look
  • lengthen into a dress
  • as the website suggests, you could apply iron-on transfers or decals
  • add applique

Would I make it again?

No disrespect to this pattern, but I don't think I'll make it again for myself as it is. It's just not the shape of garment I'm looking for. I plan to lower and rebind the neckline on this garment to use as a sleeping top for hot weather, and I may use this pattern as a basis for drafting a different shaped tank because I'm happy with the sizing. 

6 comments:

Jo H. said...

Zoe these posts are so great, thank you! I had seen Gillian's version of this but the free pattern hadn't really registered - I think I might give it a go but using the narrower width band around the neck as well as the armholes. But, mainly I wanted to comment to say that I absolutely love your bird tattoo, it's beautiful! I got my first last year and am itching to get another, if only I could figure out exactly what & where (it took me about 15 years to make that decision the first time...!) In the meantime I'm just storing up inspiration wherever I see it :-)

Have a nice Friday! Jo

Fabric Tragic said...

I agree, I think you could find something better from above the bust. The wider neckband is a bit weird! I HIGHLY recommend the Itch to Stitch Lago tank which is also free and I think just what you’re looking for in the neckline. I’ve lived in the two preggo versions I’ve made (using your fab tutorial thanks lovely! Xxx) both as under layers in winter and now in a recent heatwave. The drafting is fab and the bands go on perfectly. I was tres impressed! Xxx

Gillian said...

I wonder if you would like the Jalie raglan/tank pattern? I have made a ton of both views, and I really like the scoop nexk and side shaping. The curved hem is great too! Here's the pattern: https://jalie.com/jalie3245-raglan-tee-racerback-tank-tunic-pattern


...and here's one of my posts about it!
https://craftingarainbow.wordpress.com/2017/06/26/searching-for-the-perfect-summer-tank-jalie-3245-and-santa-fe/

sewing green lady said...

That is a great work out t shirt, super make. x

Ronja said...

That neckline makes me claustrophobic just looking at it. I think some people really enjoy that style, but it would drive me crazy & I would never reach for it in my closet.

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