Hot! The “Turtle Tank” Shirt

The Facts

  • Fabric: 2 yds wool blend voile
  • Pattern: modified from The Rectangle/Triangle Top from Rhonda’s Creative Life
  • Year: 2011
  • Notions: thread
  • Time to complete: longer than it should have
  • First worn: for pictures
  • Wear again?: Yes
  • Total price: $0

I have three green fabrics in my stash, none of which inspired me this week. One, a thrifted bed sheet, would require way too much thought to match the distinctive lattice design. One is really something I bought for quilting and has a large floral print I’m not sure would work on a garment. The last was a 2-yard length of a loosely-woven woolen blend voile that I got from my grandmother’s estate and really wasn’t sure what to do with. And also it’s the least green of the three. Olive? Almost gray in certain lights.

I was ruminating about this challenge when I happened upon this pattern on Rhonda’s Creative Life. Rhonda has done a series of Fabulous Free Pattern Fridays you should defintely check out (I plan on doing a few more of her patterns this year). They usually consist of rectangles, triangles, and circles, and are airy, simple, and elegant looking.

Now, you may have noticed that my shirt looks nothing like Rhonda’s shirt. You’re correct. I used Rhonda’s pattern as a jumping off point and made adjustments as mood (and then some ridiculously enormous sleeves I created) dictated. I made the neckline smaller, the collar much fatter, and once I realized the arms I created made it look TERRIBLE on me, I cut them off, shaped the bodice and shoulders a bit more, and made it a tank. The hips are a bit too tight, but I think I can work with that.

Now it’s more “me.”



Erin Bartels

Erin is a copywriter by day, a novelist by night, and a wife, mother, dressmaker, quilter, zoo docent, painter, poet, and photographer in between. She only gets paid for the copywriting.


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  1. I love it! The snug hips give it a bit of a 1930s aesthetic, which works well with the cowl neckline. And wool voile…swoon…lucky you!

  2. Great job of using a free pattern and then doing your own thing with it. It turned out very nicely! I like the sleeveless look with that collar.

  3. I agree with Barbar, I like the sleeveless look. The pairing with the brown pants is great and this top will go with a lot of colors.

  4. That is an absolutely gorgeous color on you. :)

  5. I like the sleeveless look with the collar too. And the colour is great on you. The fabric sounds gorgeous.

  6. You look fantastic Erin. Thanks so much for the plug. Can’t wait to see what other patterns you decide to try.

  7. I really like it sleeveless. I could see you wearing a long sleeved shirt underneath when the deep winter returns next year. Very versatile lil’ piece you’ve made there! :)

  8. I love it sleeveless, and I like how you’ve styled it here. Bravo on adapting it and making it fit your style!

  9. The drape of the neckline is magnificent.

  10. It’s a very elegant look.