This week I was busy having a love fest with The Claudia Tank by Just Patterns. This pattern was very popular when it came out because it caught the trend of sleeveless t-shirts with bulky shoulders heightened with shoulder pads. However, the reason I love this pattern is not the shoulder pads which are the main feature. In fact, I left them out of my 2 versions that I sewed up. I love it because it is simple to sew, and I love the silhouette of it, especially sans shoulder pads.
My frame is on the smaller side so these shoulder pads look ridiculous on me. I’ve never been into shoulder pads even when they were hot-selling cakes in the 80s and 90s. Shoulder pads only look good on me if they are rather discreet, and mainly for shaping reasons when they are inserted in blazers or a smart jacket. When they are placed in a t-shirt made of knit material, I look like an American football player. It’s a matter of proportion, I suppose. So why did I even give this pattern a go? Well, I saw everyone’s version on Instagram, and they all look so good. I thought: “Maybe it’ll work for me 2-3 decades after I tried my last failed shoulder-pad outfit!” Spurred on by a huge surge of FOMO, I caved in and bought it.
Of course, just as I had suspected, the shoulder pads didn’t work out for me 2-3 decades later. Can’t say I didn’t try, but lucky for me, it looks good even without the padding. In fact, I think it’s more practical now that we’re in the midst of an extraordinarily hot summer. The shoulder pads would only serve to add another sweat-inducing layer.
Using a stable knit that had more structure helped to define the shaping in the shoulders without the pads. My first version is a knit fabric with a jacquard-like patterning on it. It’s in a boring beige that I crumple tie-dyed in Rit Dye All-Purpose Liquid Dye in Violet and Fuchsia. I am really chuffed about how this one turned out. I was so happy that I set out immediately to make another version. This time, I hacked it into a maxi dress with a high slit on the right side to keep things breezy and a little sexy.
The fabric that I used in the maxi-dress hack is a digital zebra print from Minerva, and it was gifted to me in exchange for a post on their website. This is a high quality cotton jersey, and it’s very easy to sew with. It has a high percentage of elastane, so there is 4-way stretch with at least 40-50% stretch going in all directions. In one direction, there may be as much as 60% stretch. It also has excellent recovery. Best of all, it is an animal print with a whole dazzle of zebras – all very life-like looking. In fact, it may be a digital picture of actual zebras grazing at a safari. With a whole herd of zebras staring at you, the print is eccentric and playful. And stylish in a strange and hypnotic way. I can’t stop looking at the different zebras with different attitudes staring into the distance, either dreaming or looking out for the next predator. Anyway, if you like this fabric and want to get some for yourself, please go here where it is an affiliate link. When you purchase the fabric I get a small commission with no extra cost to you.
I made a size 36, and sizes for this tank go from 34-56. It is a super quick sew. The instructions are very clear. The only time I veered away from the sewing instructions is when sewing the neckband to the bodices. It says to match up the seam of the neckband with one of the side seams of the shoulders, but I find that it’s better to line up the neckband seam with the centre back instead. It’s easier for me to install the collar band this way with the quartering technique, and it sort of bothers me that the neckband seam is at one shoulder.
The hack for the maxi-dress was a very simple one. All I did was to extend the length of the tank straight down at the hem by 25 inches. Instead of closing the side seams on both sides, I created a high slit on the right side, hemmed that up, and voila – the hack was done. Easy peasy.
The crumple tie-dye job on the first tank was also very easy to do. There’s a short video that I posted on IG of the dyeing process if you want to take a look:
All week, I’ve been busy making these 2 versions and I just realised when I looked at my IG account that there are 5 posts out of the week dedicated to Just Patterns patterns this week. So I finished up the work week with another reel featuring these Claudia Tanks. Have a great weekend, y’all!