The Knit’n'Cotton tank dress (Kwik Sew 3758)

Greetings kakapos! You truly have sad lives. Are you owls? Parrots? Who can say. All I know is that your 120 year life span, coupled with your noctournal ways and near extinction must make for lots of long, lonely nights talking to yourselves. Have you considered inter-species relationships?

Moving on! I FINALLY got a photo shoot in yesterday, so without further ado, here’s the green and white version of Kwik Sew 3758!

Yay! OK, what to say about this dress? Well, if you can’t really tell from the photo, the bodice is made from a knit fabric and the skirt from a woven – I used cotton interlock and a quilt-weight cotton on the bottom. There’s two views – view A has sleeves and a belt. View B is a tank-style bodice with a piece of superwide elastic at the waist. I mixed the views because I wanted the sleeveless bodice, but I didn’t really want to use the elastic waist because that elastic is only available in black and white (one would assume – I didn’t actually look all that hard!) Here’s the pattern photo…

Kwik Sew 3758

Doesn’t that dark haired model look like Charlotte from Sex in the City? I think she would have liked this dress.

I was a bit apprehensive as to how construction would work on the non-elastic waist dress. I had a hard time imaging how gathering the stiffer woven fabric into the softer, stretch knit bodice would work and was worried that it’d be a big, baggy mess. Luckily, there was no wierdness in the mixing of stretchy and non-stretchy. Once the bodice is constructed, the skirt is assembled from two rectangles. Then the waist of the skirt is gathered and stitched to the bodice. THEN the instructions have you (or me) cut a piece of clear elastic, but here’s the trick… you’re not cutting it super tight. I made the XL, which is sized for a 45″ bust and 37″ waist and the clear elastic piece was 39″. Enough to get over the bust but not SNAP into place. Since the waistline is slightly raised it isn’t gathered TOO much, but it’s not really that baggy when worn without the belt. Here I am wearing it without the belt.

The belt is wider in the middle with long, skinny ties. Both of the wider pieces are interfaced to give it some body. I used my favorite interfacing for quilt weight cottons, Stacey Shape-flex from Pellon. It’s an actual WOVEN cotton interfacing that’s fusible. The belt doesn’t have super-great ‘staying’ power – it gets mashed up and wrinkled while wearing and I fussed with it a lot, making sure it was in place. I still like the look a lot. Putting some boning in a few channels might help a bit, but, you know, boning flexes as well and if you’re sitting and standing a lot you’d still be fussing with it unless you’re Mr. Bug with a rock-hard middle that doesn’t move when in the seated position! Here’s me practicing my Vanna White posing with the belt.

As I said, I made an XL with no adjustments. The XL measurements are smaller than my measurements and I’m totally happy with the fit, although I probably would be happier had I cut out the size L on the bodice. I really prefer my top-side knits fitted and the arms are a bit gapey.┬áThe bodice and arms are finished with bands cut on the cross grain, which is a finish that always works very nicely on knits. On this version I serged most of the seams and twin needled the serged seam allowance down around the neck and the arms. This would be a SUPER easy dress to mess about with sizing if necessary. The rectanglular shape of the skirt pieces are a cinch to add inches to and the knit bodice will ‘size itself’ unless you’re really going for the baggy look.

I made two versions of the dress – the green and white one and another in pink and brown. I wore the pink and brown version to a drum corp show last Saturday in the steaming hot and it was SO comfy! This version was a shop sample as I’m teaching this as a class at the end of the month (register online). Since this was a class sample I finished it completely with a sewing machine, which was super easy. Sometimes I actually prefer using a sewing machine to work on knits – it’s HARD to serge curves! I stitched the knit bodice with a zig-zag stitch set just over 1mm wide and then went back and overcast the seam allowances together with a zig zag set to 5mm wide. I DO have the overcast/overedge all-in-one stitch on my machine, but I always feel like it’s such a commitment to use it – what if I have to rip seams??

I left the belt at home for the show – it was accidental, but I’m glad I did. We were squashed into sweaty stadium seats for almost five hours. Going beltless is much cooler and with the clear elastic acting as a waist stay the dress stayed nice and tidy looking even without the belt!

The Last Word – Kwik Sew 3758 – the Knit’N'Cotton Tank Dress

fabric:
green and white dress: bodice, Oliver + S City Weekend Cafe Dots cotton interlock (available online); skirt, Tula Pink Turtle Bay in Cream (available online).
pink and brown dress: bodice, Oliver + S City Weekend Cafe Dots cotton interlock (available online); skirt, Amy Butler Trailing Cherry in Brown (available online)

pattern: Kwik Sew 3758 (available online)

notions: thread, clear elastic, interfacing

time to complete: 2 hours, 45 minutes. About 15 minutes to cut pattern, 30 minutes to cut fabric, 45 minutes to assemble bodice, 15 minutes to assemble skirt, 15 minutes to attach bodice & skirt and stitch on clear elastic, 30 minutes for belt, 15  minutes to hem.

likelihood to make another?: pretty high. I don’t have immediate plans to do so, but it’s a comfy dress and only needs 3/4 of a yard of the knit, so it’s great for using up extras from other projects!

curvy girl score: 10. The out of the envelope would fit up to a RTW size 22/24 easily, I think – as long as you like your knits fitted! If I remember correctly the finished hip measurement is in the neighborhood of 72″ (or 60″) – anyway – PLENTY of room!! You may need to add a bit of length to the skirt and/ or bodice, but it’s easy to size up as everything is rectangular. It’s a flattering shape, super comfy, easy to adjust and with the stretchy non-darted bodice and full skirt, there’s a lot of room to fudge sizing!

P.S.! Pockets!

oh! I almost forgot! Another awesome-o feature of the dress are the super-easy, in-seam pockets! The kind where you sew on the front and back first, then sew the side seams and pockets together in one fell swoop! Yay for dresses with pockets!

 

 

 

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17 Comments
  • Kati
    July 20, 2011

    I’m so glad you put the time to complete on here because I’ve been wondering how much time to allow for one of these super cute dresses! I think I’ll make a sleeveless one for now and a long sleeved one for winter to wear with tights or leggings.

    Elastic does only come in white and black, if you want to color match you have to dye white elastic. http://grosgrainfabulous.blogspot.com/ has an elastic dyeing tutorial if you’re interested.

    • Patty The Snug Bug
      July 23, 2011

      Thanks for the GREAT link!! I was at the crazy fabric warehouse the other day and they had that width elastic in rainbow colors (you know, like clown suspenders…)

  • Amy
    July 20, 2011

    Gorgeous! I love how the skirt, knit combo together with the belt. Could you make the skirt as a separate? That way you could switch between tanks for different looks? Also, if the belt were attached, would it be better behaved, or does the look rely on having it be fully detachable?
    Amy recently posted..Sew Retro: The Perfect Fit Bombshell DressMy Profile

    • Patty The Snug Bug
      July 23, 2011

      I’m not so sure about the separates -first, I love the dress because it’s NOT separates – just throw on and go!! Also – the skirt is a dirndl skirt – just gathered rectangles. I only really like those skirts if they’re really high waisted – otherwise they are just too bulky around the hips! Having the skirt attached to the bodice keeps it up at the right height!

      I thought of attaching the belt. Again, I sort of like the versatility of tying the belt higher or lower – plus, the belt is HOT, so it’s nice to have the option of wearing without! But tacking it on somewhere might by nice for keeping it in place -

  • Alessa
    July 20, 2011

    Those dresses are very cute! I absolutely love the style, with the knit bodice and the woven skirt part. I’d love to make one with broad white&blue stripes for the skirt… I’m afraid I didn’t quite get how to join the bodice to the skirt using an elastic… Do you stretch the bodice out to the length of the skirt waist and then gather it with the elastic? Because if you stitch the gathers to the bodice, they’ll be fixed and not have a lot of give, won’t they…?
    Alessa recently posted..Giveaway Winners & A TreatMy Profile

    • Patty The Snug Bug
      July 23, 2011

      Stitchy witch made a cool stripey version of this dress – although I think her bodice was striped!

      When you attach the skirt to the bodice you gather the skirt, then you arrange the gathers so they are the same ‘length’ as the bottom of the bodice. Then you stitch the skirt to the bodice. There’s not a lot of negative ease in the bodice, so it’s easy to still get on over your head and chest. They you cut the piece of clear elastic, for my size I think it was a 39″ piece of elastic for a 45″ bust measurement. Stitch that on with a zig zag stitch. The instructions say to remove the gathering stitches, but I didn’t do that in either of my versions of the dress. Once you get it all together, the elastic stretches easily over the bust, but isn’t super cinched. I thought the waistline would be much more baggy and the fabric belt would do the real ‘cinching’ but it actually works pretty well!

  • Crystal
    July 20, 2011

    I love how these turned out, and think the mix of knit and cotton is really interesting – comfy and cute!

  • Sharilee
    July 20, 2011

    I love these dresses! They really would work great on my body because I am high-waisted. I don’t sew but think I knew to find myself a seamstress.

    Wonderful job and the dresses look amazing on you!
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  • Tanit-Isis
    July 20, 2011

    Those are both terribly cute! Sewing the non-stretch skirt to the stretch bodice reminds me a bit of sewing on the skirt to my red-polkadot sundress along the shirred back—I put some elastic in there, too, to reduce the rippliness. The belt really finishes off the look, though, and you sure rock those high waists! :)
    Tanit-Isis recently posted..Something smallMy Profile

    • Patty The Snug Bug
      July 23, 2011

      The sewing of non-stretch to stretch had me a little concerned – it worked REALLY well, though!

  • gMarie
    July 20, 2011

    Those dresses turned out fabulous! I love it. Can’t wait to see the last two dresses from the weekend. g

  • Stevie
    July 20, 2011

    I adore that brown and pink version I need more brown and pink clothes. I have a similar New Look pattern like this that I was apprehensive to try but I think I should have a go as my most comfortable RTW dress is made like this!

    • Patty The Snug Bug
      July 23, 2011

      which new look is it??

      I’ve been really loving that amy butler brown and pink fabric, which is odd as I normally don’t love amy butler! I just couldn’t think of anything to use it for! I think this dress is perfect!

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