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:
- Itch to Stitch Lago Tank
- Hey June Durango Tank
- Life Sew Savory Paneled Racerback Tank
- New Horizons Designs Key West Tank (there’s a girls version too!)
- Halla Stardust Tank
- Chalk and Notch Pony Tank (this was free to subscribers for a limited time)
- Tranquility Tank by RP Custom Fabrics and Rogue Patterns
- Rad Patterns Layering Tank’
- Trendy Tank by Winter Wear Designs
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!
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