Friday, February 7, 2020

Blue Tank to Tunic Dress: Smart Fashion Tricks for Modest Women on a Budget

Tank Upcycling Technique #1:

Turn a Tank Top into a Tunic Dress

Thrifty Tricks for Modest Sporty Women:
Low-budget fashion tips to keep you stylish, safe, and covered while active outdoors

The Design Challenge

Early in my exploring of ways to cheaply and quickly add classy options to my activewear, I discovered the technique of adding a skirt to a sleeveless top or tank. 

This tunic with faux kick pleat was my first trial of that concept. I was just starting to cycle, so garment length and hem width were also experimental. My goal was a knee-length tunic. Keep reading to find out why I didn't achieve that.

The shaped tank top, bought secondhand at nearby SaveMart for about $5, is viscose, soft, drapey, and durable. The fit is excellent -- loose without looking like a sack.

I had a strip of cotton denim that was a good colour match. Basing the skirt design on an adorable dress with contrast kickpleats that my mother had been sewing for her granddaughters, I found a way to recreate the look with the limited fabric I had available.

I folded the selvedges to create an attractive horizontal border that showed off the rightside/wrongside contrast of the denim, and used bias binding to join the panels and add further impact. To hem, I sewed a zigzag stitch 15mm above the raw skirt hem then pulled out the horizontal threads as far up as the stitching, creating a fringe.

My next step was to sew the tank and skirt together. At this point I found that the top ratio greatly outweighed the skirt ratio, and the weight of the denim created unsightly ripples in the viscose where the seam sat level with my crotch. So I created big tuck pleats in the tank until the bottom-to-top ratio looked balanced and the problem seam had enough support for the weight.

This outfit has been great for cycling to the post shop, clambering on rocks, harvesting seaweed, gardening, bush walks, and relaxing at an urban barbecue. I feel smart, modest, and feminine, while also knowing my limbs have the freedom of movement demanded by my activities.

This viscose/denim combination is easy wash-and-wear. The only aspect other than a bit more length that I'd want to change is creating more hem width, because the stress where the pleat flaps join has been more than the fabric and stitching could well sustain (see seruptitious repairs in photo of garment interior).

I originally paired the tunic with wide-leg Tencel jeans, but I've grown out of them. Wide-leg trousers are hard to come by at present, so I'm modelling this outfit with stovepipe jeans.

Now you know a fabulous trick for upcycling a secondhand tank top into a new and classy dress for very little cost.

Look out for more Boutique Narelle posts detailing liberating modest fashion techniques.

Fiat lux!

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