My Favorite things in (sewing) life are FREE!

There are a number of sayings in our culture cautioning people not to trust a free product- and while sewing is far from being an economical hobby (at least for me!), I’ve actaully found the opposite to be true with regard to patterns: many of my favorites are FREE! In fact, a designer’s free pattern is often one of her best, since it’s what draws in new members and a positive experience with a free pattern can not only garner a new group member, but increase future sales.

There are acutally quite a few free tanks out there. Here are a few I’ve found:

Most require you to join the pattern company’s group to access a file or special code, so I suppose you could count that as “payment”, if it satisfies your inner cynic. Regardless, you’re getting a free pattern, which equals a free pass to buy some new fabric right?

In that spirit, as part of the Sewing by Ti August Blog Tour, I set out to sew up and compare a few of these, to help you evaluate the fit and finish of each. To make things easier, I’ve used rayon spandex on all of them, except the halla stardust, which lends itself better to a more structured fabric. I thought about sewing four tanks in the exact same fabric, but that was too repetitive, and I thought someone might notice if I kept wearing the same pattern over and over, so I settled for the next best thing!

Durango Tank by Hey June

First up is the Hey June Durango- I love all things Hey June, so I was looking forward to seeing how this tank came together.

As usual, Adriana’s instructions are excellent, and I always learn something new from reading them. This tank features a slight racerback, a higher banded neckline, binding around the arms, and a center back seam. I love how the instructions demonstrate how to use the center back seam to adjust for a swayback (which I don’t have, my butt is pretty flat, unfortunately), and the tips for attaching the binding are quite handy.

In addition, cutting the back in two pieces, rather than on the fold, is a fabric-saver, which is good, since my fingers weren’t fast enough to score more than a yard of this pretty floral from Pretty Posh Prints. I didn’t have the confidence to bind my tops without my usual sewing machine, so I switched out the binding for narrow bands instead around the arms. To adjust for this, I trimmed 3/8″ off the pattern, so the overall fit isn’t altered.

The verdict: I had high hopes for this tank, and I’m happy to say my expectations were thoroughly met! It’s a fast sew with a few unique details- my favorite type of pattern!

Key West Tank by New Horizons Designs

Next, I sewed the Key West Tank from New Horizons Designs. I’ve tested for New Horizons for a while now, and really love their patterns, but I’ve never had a chance to sew up the women’s version of the Key West and was glad to get the chance!

The Key West has two silhouettes to choose from- a more fitted shape (which is what I made) or a swingy, looser shape. It also has options for a racerback or a fuller back, a curved hem, and a choice to use bindings or bands. Again, since my sewing machine was on the fritz, I chose the racerback, banded option, and topstitched with my coverstitch to help the bands lay flat. I love the options on this tank, and the fit was great on me!

The verdict: I’m so glad I finally took the time to sew this one up- the curved hem adds a more dressy feel, and I like the included options for banded or bound edges!

Lago Tank by Itch to Stitch

The third tank I’m including for comparison is one I’ve made repeatedly: The Lago Tank by Itch to Stitch. I actually cut out my 5th version, hoping to make another for this tour, but ran out of time taking care of a sick kiddo. Rest assured, it will be sewn up ,but for now, I’ll share a Lago I’ve made previously and love!

This pattern also features a slight racerback (no bra peek!), narrow bands, and a slightly shaped hem. This pattern earns the distinction of being the only one I’ve ever made where I can just use the band measurements as drafted, and it includes many helpful notches for getting the tension just right when attaching them.

The verdict: This is one I’ll continue to make over and over. It’s simplicity and fit are a clear winner in my book!

Halla Stardust Tank

The final tank I’m including (and one I’ve sewn many times previously) is the Halla Stardust.

This one stands out because it is much more fitted than the other three, and includes options for a banded hem, one or two side panels, and a full back. I’m showcasing a version I’ve made previously- I feel like this pattern works best in more structured fabrics, due to the negative ease. If you made it in a lighter weight knit, it would cling to any lumps or bumps. It’s perfect though in cotton lycra, and I love it for showcasing a special panel or saving on fabric.

The verdict: This is another one I’ll turn to again and again, especially when I’m using a custom knit or working with a limited amount of fabric.

Wait! Do you see what just happened there? I love them all-for different reasons! I wish I could have sewn all the tanks I listed- but I’m hoping you’ll take up where I’ve left off and sew up the rest! I’d love to hear what you think!

Before you move on, I’m supposed to share a favorite sewing tool. This was really hard to narrow down (even harder than they tank tops!), because I use and love many types of tools in my sewing. But, here are three winners that you may or may not know about!

Hammer– with my sewing machine out sick, I’ve come to rely on my coverstitch alot this week, and it hates bulky seams. This little hammer helps get the job done without skipped stitches by pounding those bulky areas flat!

I also love my button hole cutter– it’s saved me time and again from ripping open a beautifully stitched button hole!


Last, but not least, I love my snap press. I have one I bought directly from KAM, but you can get a similar model from amazon (for less!). Ironically, I use it most frequently to set in grommets- and this makes it quick and easy!

Don’t forget to check out all the other bloggers on the tour! I’ve been enjoying learning about everyone’s favorite things this month and I hope you do too! You can follow me on Facebook, and subscribe to my blog here! I love staying connected!

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases you make with these links help fund my sewing and blogging adventures. Thank you!

Tuesday, August 1st: Intro┬á 😀, Tenille’s Thread
2nd: Stitching At Night
3rd: Sewing By Ti
4th: Needles To Say
5th: Very Blissful

Sunday, August 6th: The Fairy Dust Bin
7th: Anne-Mari Sews
8th: Sewing With Sarah
9th: Thats Sew Lily
10th: Stitching at Night
11th: EYMM
12th: Sew Sew Ilse

Sunday, August 13th: Lulu & Celeste
14th: Seams Sew Lo
15th: Tales From a Southern Stitching Mom
16th: Stitching and Making
17th: Creative Counselor
18th: Ma Moose
19th: Kainara Stitches

Sunday, August 20th: Embrace Everyday
21st: She Who Sews
22nd: Idle Sunshine
23rd: My Heart Will Sew On
24th: Lovely For Life
25th: Margarita On the Ross
26th: Anne-Mari Sews

Sunday, August 27th: Made By Melli
28th: Adventures with Bubba and Bug
29th: Auschick Sews
30th: Me Made
31st: Living in Twinado Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16 Comments

  1. Hillary on August 8, 2017 at 8:42 am

    I love them all d or different reasons. I’ve only seen the stardust so far so I need to step ot up. Can I ask where you got tje mesh for the stardust panels? Also I libe that purple/pink teal key west, love it. That is beautiful fabric!! Thanks for the pattern comparison. ­čÖé

    • Sarah on August 8, 2017 at 9:46 am

      You’re welcome! The mesh is from Phee fabrics- they have a FB group where you can order. It comes in some great colors too!

  2. Michelle Schuh on August 8, 2017 at 9:20 am

    So great to showcase some of the amazing free patterns out there, great job!

    • Sarah on August 8, 2017 at 9:46 am

      Thank you! It was a fun post to write!

  3. GloriaJune on August 8, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Great job Sarah!

  4. Auschick on August 8, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    I am so tempted to get a snap/grommet press. I have the hand one right now and it appears makes a mess of my snaps! And I can never get grommets to set properly with the basic tool either!

  5. Susan Petersen on August 9, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    Hmmmm……..Triple digit weather……Fort Bragg, I’m guessing you’re somewhere near me. I live in Yuba City, about an hour north of Sacramento.

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