Tent Dress Trial and Error

It’s my 5th wedding anniversary today, and we’re celebrating by going to see one of our favourite bands play in Canada for the first time! A few days ago Jamie was showing me live concert video on YouTube, and I got inspired by the stage costumes the band wears… and half an hour later, I had my own knock-off/tribute version all cut out!

Everything Everything Santa Fe

(Here’s a link to their YouTube so you can listen as you read: https://www.youtube.com/user/EvrythingEvrything)

You know how unlike me it is to sew a solid, so I was rather proud to find enough jersey in similar colours. You’ve seen all three fabrics before as this scarf, this top and this tee! The neon coral was the only one with enough yardage to be the dress, so it became the main colour by default.

Wherein lies the problem. This fabric is in no way thick enough to be a dress, and I knew it when I bought it. Last summer I made two tops out of other colours of the same fabric (Actually, that might be the real start of my tent-shape obsession!) but as a dress? It doesn’t leave much to the imagination.

Everything Everything Santa Fe

Folks, I am wearing SPANX with this! Goodbye, easy breezy summer dress, hello sweaty tight Lyrca! I take it as a point of pride that my blog pics are honest to how I’ll actually wear clothes, so I almost never wear them in pictures. Worse, every bra I own shows through, in outline if not in colour as well. Why you gotta be so sheer, jersey?

(OK, obviously it’s not indecent, but I’m a prude AND I like to be totally comfortable in my clothes!)

Everything Everything Santa Fe

That said, let’s talk about what’s great about this dress;

  •  I LOVE an unplanned project. It’s fun, it’s on the fly, it’s like a Project Runway challenge without the judging!
  • What else would I ever have made with a metre of neon coral jersey and some pink and purple scraps. This isn’t my favourite garment ever, but it isn’t because I chose the wrong pattern or sewed it poorly!
  • The pattern! It’s my spring/summer obsession, the Hey June Santa Fe tank. I’ve actually already made it into a dress, which I can’t blog yet because it’s a Cali Fabric project… but I can promise that when this is sewn in a cute print, I love it!
  •  The colour blocking. Reader , I NAILED that V, even in a lightweight jersey. Thank you, handbasting. You really are worthwhile!

Everything Everything Santa Fe

As I went out to take blog pics, I told Jamie, “It’ll probably end up as pyjamas!” But after a few days, I decided it could do better – like this!


Yup, my dress is now the tank the pattern always intended. As a top, the sheerness doesn’t bother me nearly as much. I thought for a while about sewing a denim mini to wear to the concert with it, but laziness prevailed and I dug out these Profontaine shorts from last summer instead. Why throw good fabric after bad?

So there you have it, my third tent dress trial. An excellent pattern if you want a swing tank or tee, either of which can be lengthened into a dress. Unlike my first two dresses (Jorna and Groove), this one has no shaping at the bust and angles straight out from the armpit. A good pattern, and poor fabric choice!

18 thoughts on “Tent Dress Trial and Error

  1. A) Happy anniversary! B) ZOMG I love this! The colors, the colorblocking, the tent-y-ness. I love it as a top, too. Very reminiscent of the Hey June Santa Fe, in a way.


    1. Bahaha – because it IS a Santa Fe! But with my own colour blocking lines, obviously – but I definitely feel this could have been one of the other pattern versions in another life! 😉


  2. I am not a fan of Spanx….I find them to be torture to wear :). I love the color blocking and think your ‘fix’ was brilliant. It’s really cute as a top.


  3. I had a similar problem and I bought spanx-like fabric and fold over lingerie elastic, traced a cami and lengthened it to make my own slip, binding the neckline and armscye with the elastic as well as using it for the straps. It smooths things out and prevents see-though but is pretty comfortable and easy to “slip” into as opposed to a ten minute struggle to pull up spanx.
    I’m enjoying following your tent dress journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thats a great suggestion! I did think about making a slip, but because the shoulders are cut narrow on the dress, the slip would have to have narrow-set straps too… and that would make it rather unwearable with anything but this one garment. In the end, it just didn’t seem quite worth it! 😉


  4. Happy anniversary Gillian! Hope you both had a fantastic relaxing day!
    So when this fancy colourblock getting a black, white and grey version? 😉


    1. Hahaha – funny you should say that, because I spent part of the concert eyeing up their grey and silver colour-blocked bomber jackets that they are wearing on the current tour! 😉 (And feeling bad for them that clearly no one told the Brits that Canadian summers are hot and humid – they were sweating buckets in the sunshine!)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That v is perfect! I hard achievement in cotton let alone stretchy, the colours work really well and I’m so pleased it’s a top so it will get some wear.


  6. I think this looked really cute as a dress, but I can also see how you might wear it more as a top! I have been wondering about a cute floral printed Santa Fe dress, so I look forward to seeing your on the Cali Blog soon!
    I have to say that I am feeling really old because I’ve never heard of Everything Everything, and I used to be really “up” on the music trends. LOL


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