Sew a Willow Tank or Tank Dress

Sew a Willow Tank or Tank Dress

The Willow Tank & Dress pattern is wonderful. That's the easiest way of describing this pattern. It's a must have pattern for your summer sewing. You will see from our many pictures and sample garments that we also love these garments. It's rare that you can make more than one garment from a pattern - this is a wonderful exception. Below we will outline the three variations of the Willow Tank Dress and how I constructed the pieced Willow Tank Top from my scraps.

The Willow Dress:

We made three Willow dress samples in the image above. Our goal was to show three different ways of using our various batik rayon fabrics. Below is a description of each dress style and how the fabric was used in each. We know you will fall in love with one of these beautiful variations.

1. All Over Batik Rayon:  Phoenix - Gecko.

We followed the pattern layout instructions and sewed this beautiful Willow Tank Dress from one batik rayon. The Phoenix motif is non-directional so you can layout the pattern pieces following the grain line with ease.

2. Border Batik - Directional Garment Layout. Durum Dreams - Azalea Black.

When working with a border batik there are two things to consider. One - the pattern layout changes and the length of the garment is restricted. Unless you incorporate another fabric to lengthen the garment, the length of this dress can not be longer than the width of the batik rayon - which is 45" wide. The Willow pattern includes a 1/2" garment hem and a 5" join between the tank top and the skirt. The longest this garment can be is 38".

Now, let's talk pattern layout. Layout the pattern following the direction of the motif on the fabric. The illustration below shows how I positioned the pattern pieces on the fabric. As you can see, the length of the garment is completely dependent on the width of the fabric. You can use almost double the fabric to increase the length of the skirt by overlapping the join of the skirt to the tank top.


3. Two Coordinating Batik Rayon Fabrics. Tank portion is Phoenix in the shade of Twilight Blue. Skirt portion is Spray in the shade of Twilight Blue.

This version does require a bit more yardage because there are two separate fabrics. I wanted the garment to look like the skirt was completely separate from the tank top and it worked! The transition from the tank to the skirt flows nicely.


The Willow Tank:

I have made several tank tops using this pattern. The yardage is as follows:

Size 0-10 is approximately 1 3/4 yards.

Size 12 - 18 is approximately 2 yards.

Before making the tank top for the first time I wondered why there needed to be so much fabric for just a sleeveless tank top. Well, the tank is longer and the folded hem adds 3" to the length of the garment. Also, the yardage is enough to make your own matching bias binding to face the neck and arm holes. If you are using purchased bias binding you will only need the length of your tank top times (2).

Front Back


The Rayon Remnant Version of the Willow Tank Top:

In last week's blog post we shared our Simple Elegant Tee made from a single Rayon Remnant Pack. I can't throw anything in the garbage, so as you might have guessed by the similarity in the batik rayon look, I had left over strips and cut outs from the tee itself and decided to make another Willow Tank Top. One note - I did add a larger piece of rayon to the lower back to finish off the tank top. I didn't want to take the time to piece the additional strips together.

Let's get started...

1. Find your cut outs from the Simple Elegant Tee top - or create your own fabric using your Rayon Remnant Pack or scraps you might have on hand. The image below shows the remaining cut outs that I had from the Simple Elegant Tee.


2. Cut the fabric scraps into rectangles so they can easily be sewn together.

3. I decided to sew together two of the remaining cut outs from the Simple Elegant Tee fabric. This became the center front of the tank top. I added another strip to the top and to the bottom. I also had to add two side strips to make sure the fabric was wide enough to support the angle to the tank top.

The image on the left below is the fabric I created. It is folded in half down the center of the front piece. I positioned the front pattern piece on the fold to make sure I had enough fabric to support the entire length and width.


4. I created the fabric for the back of the tank top. I found three strips of fabric that would make up the shoulder and added a longer piece of coordinating rayon to complete the back.

Following the same guidelines as the front of the tank top - lay the pattern piece on the center fold of your fabric creation and cut out the back piece.



5. Follow the pattern instructions to complete the Willow Tank Top as instructed.

Tip:  I did use purchased bias binding to complete the facings. I didn't have enough coordinating batik rayon on hand to make my own bias strips. After all the piecing to make the tank top - it was nice to finish the top in a simple way.


Wasn't that fun...

It was great fun to use every inch of the Rayon Remnant Pack to create two fun summer tops. I hope you enjoy this process and if you have questions - definitely give us a shout!! 

Be well ~ Sew on ~

Diane @ SewBatik

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