My boyfriend recently challenged me to make something simple, but without using a pattern. I accepted the challenge and set out to make a simple tank top dress using a black knit fabric that Minerva Crafts sent me after I won a Monthly Stitch challenge during Indie Pattern Month. For my first attempt at garment making without a pattern, I’m pleased with the results.
To prepare my own pattern pieces, I grabbed both a tank top and a pencil skirt that fit me well and I folded them in half and laid them against the fold of my fabric.
Using fabric chalk, I drew a line around my clothes, roughly 5/8″ away all the way around for the seam allowance. I also extended the length of my skirt by drawing a line seven inches longer in order to make a maxi dress. I did this for both the front and back views of my dress. This gives you two main pattern pieces that will become the dress. I serged the shoulder seams and then finished the neckline with self cut bias tape.
Craftsy has a great tutorial on how to finish a neckline using your own bias tape. After I finished the neckline, I serged the two side seams of the dress and then finished the armholes also using bias tape. Again, Craftsy also has a great tutorial on how to finish armholes. All that remains is to then hem the dress. I went with a slightly curved hemline. And voila! You can make a simple tank top dress following this easy process, too.
The dress came together quickly and easily. The only mildly challenging part is attaching the bias tape, especially on this knit fabric. Does anyone have any tips for this? Do you use a special presser foot? Or do you just pin the ef out of your fabric? I constantly had to stop and lift my presser foot to readjust the fabric.
The only big boo boo I made was that one armhole is slightly larger than the other. Oh well. Although I prefer to sew with a pattern already made, it was good to get out of my comfort zone and invent my own pattern, even if it is quite simple. I think there are infinite ways to be creative even if you are using a commercial pattern but learning how to draft your own patterns can open up new possibilities, too.
What about you? Do you have any experience pattern drafting and how did you learn?