Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Eucalypt Tank and Dress: Handmade Martini {Make for Mom 2013}

Hello, lovely Shaffer Sister readers! I'm so thrilled to be here today. My name is Michelle and I share projects, pictures, and essays over at Handmade Martini. The Shaffer Sisters are ladies after my own heart. I'm a devoted older sister, too, and would LOVE to share a creative endeavor with my own sister someday.

Today I'd like to talk about sewing lovely clothes for ourselves! My passion is sewing women's clothes. It's fun to dress my kids, but for me sewing started long before becoming a mom.

I've noticed that several of my bloggy friends are nervous about sewing for themselves. Kids are easy to fit, but us? We've got curves and hips and thighs and. . . . well, it's more complicated than a waist and height measurement.

There are some things I've found that make a pattern easy and beginner-friendly: few pieces, lots of ease, and opportunities for variation as confidence builds. One of Megan Nielsen's new patterns -- the Eucalypt Tank and Dress -- has all of those things.

I sewed up the dress version recently in a polyester blend fabric from my stash (purchased at JoAnn's ten years ago).

There are only two main pieces -- the front and back. There aren't any darts, so no need for alterations. Checking the measurements on the envelope is all it takes to get a good fit.

It's comfortable and can be dressed up or dressed down. If you want a more fitted look, you can add a belt. Tights and a cardigan take it into different seasons. Versatile. That's how we mamas like it.

The Wiksten Tank is similar to the Eucalpyt Tank version and also beginner friendly. (The Wiksten Tank is available as a digital download OR paper pattern.)

The Sorbetto (available free from Colette Patterns here) is another great beginner pattern. It's got a lovely pleat detail, and the most complicated part is attaching the bias facing, which is explained in the instructions. (The Coletterie blog also has a great tutorial on making your own continuous bias strips, which is pretty easy.)
I'm a big fan of independent pattern companies, but I'm sure the Big Box pattern companies also have similar tank/tank dress styles. 

My favorite thing about these patterns isn't just their ease of construction and fit -- it's also the opportunity for customization. Right now I'm working on another Eucalypt -- the tank version with a center front seam and contrasting fabric. It *should* be finished by the time this post publishes. Come visit me at Handmade Martini to give me a hard time if it's not. :) 

With simple patterns like these, success is almost guaranteed. So go for it, mom! Make something for yourself. You deserve it!


  1. Thanks for the links Michelle. I still haven't made a wiksten and I've been meaning to for a while. Thanks for the reminder! :)

  2. Such a cute and comfy looking dress! I recently sewed my first item of clothing for myself (I usually just sew for my kids because of all the reasons you mentioned!) and I think I'm hooked! I will have to check out this pattern, I just love your version!

  3. Thanks, guys! Thanks Shaffer Sisters for inviting me to share!

  4. It looks great on you! It looks awesome with the sweater and belt too. I just got the sewing kit for this dress-shipped all the way from Australia for my Mother's Day present! My husband let me pick out my present, obviously (haha).

  5. Good job with the dress! Love how it can be dressed up or down.


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