Tuesday, April 5, 2011

DIY {30 minute}Tank-Dress

Have somewhere to be in an hour? Nothing to wear? 
No problem - you can whip this baby up in 30 minutes or less.

I've been wanting to make one of these for a while, and I must confess that now that I have made one...well my entire summer wardrobe might consist of these.  This little dress is so easy to make, and a great way to revitalize a sad, forgotten tank top.  Here's what you'll need to make your own.
Tank top
1-2 yards of fabric (depending on the size you make)
sewing machine/thread/scissors/yardstick

Step 1:  Cut off the tank top.  Try the tank on, and make a mark just below your bustline.  You could also make it at your natural waistline for a different look.  Take the tank off and measure to your mark from the shoulder seam.  Add an inch, then draw a horizontal line across the tank.  Cut along the line.

Step 2:  Measure the width of the tank top, where you just cut it.  Mine was 14" across.  Double that number (28") then add half (14") + 1" = 43".  This is the width you cut your fabric at.  Just cut it at a long length to begin with, because you will hem it when you try it on. (I cut mine at 43" x 30").

Step 3:  Set your sewing machine stitch to baste (most machine's that is a length of 5). Sew along the 43" inch edge of the fabric.  Pull the strings carefully to gather it down to the width of your tank plus 1". 
(mine was 28" + 1" = 29")

Step 4:  Sew the gathered edge onto the cut edge of the tank top, right sides together (don't forget to switch your stitch back to the regular length).  If you have a knit stitch (usually looks like a lightening bolt) it would probably help to use it.  I forgot to use it on mine, so you can do it without it.  When you've sewn all the way around, begin to sew down the side seam of the open side of the fabric. 

Step 5:  Press the seams well, then try the dress on.  Fold the hem under where you want it and pin it.  Take off the dress.  I cut about 5" off the bottom - you may or may not need to do this depending on the length you would like the dress to be.  

Then press the bottom edge of the dress toward the wrong side about 1/2" inch.  Fold it over another 1/2" and press again.

Stitch the hem - have the wrong side facing you so that you can see the folded edge of the hem.

And that's it!  Throw on a belt to cinch the waist a little and head out looking effortlessly put together.

happy sewing


  1. I love the color/patterns you chose together... Inspiring!

  2. What kind of fabric did you use on the bottom?

  3. It is a decorator weight fabric. I like it for this one, but I think the next one I will use a light summery cotton.

  4. Love it! It makes me want summer NOW!

  5. This will be perfect for my growing belly this summer!!! I'm going to have to make a couple! ;)

  6. Actually as I was making it, I was thinking it would be a great maternity dress option!

  7. It is super cute! How would you adjust it if were for maternity?

  8. I would make the bottom fabric more full. So instead of my width plus half, I would just double the width of the tank top. So like in my example, instead of cutting the fabric 43" x 30", I would cut it 57" x 30". Still gather it to the size of your tank top, but because you have more fabric, it will be more full = more room for baby belly ;)

  9. Too cute! I need to try this one...soon :)

  10. Yay you made it Jessica!! I love the color combo! So cute. I need to get going and make one of these!!

  11. I included your dress on a roundup of fun DIY dresses for the summer...

    Here's the link if you want to check it out!


    Can't wait to make one!

  12. this looks great but was thinking id make the top section of the dress rather than using an old tank top....cuz i wanted to use the same fabric all the way through.

  13. What a fabulous tank dress! I followed the link from AllFreeSewing and am so glad I did!

    Thank you for an easy sew dress!

  14. I made one of these this past weekend. I took the scrap from the tank and put ruffles on the front of the top. I am about 6 months pregnant and it is going to be a great dress to get me through the summer. I hope to make a couple more.

  15. Very cute! Can't wait to try this project. Great way to recycle a tank top.

  16. Great dress to be original with. Don't have to use and OLD tank top either, you can place the waste higher or lower as you wish!

  17. I also followed this link from AllFreeSewing. I love it and plan to give it a try.

  18. Loved this idea! Can't wait to try it

  19. Is the tank top a regular ribbed top or is it a woven one? I ask because it seems that the weight of the fabric would pull down on a regular ribbed top. ?Then, is it sort of loose so you can get your shoulders through the waist part and you have to wear a belt?

    I have some yellow and black fabric and I would have to buy a yellow tank top so want to be sure to get the right kind. It looks so nice and tailored. LOL, great to fake people out with and they say, You mean you made that?

    1. Marj, mine was not ribbed, and yes I left it a little bit bigger at the waist and then used the belt to give it that tailored look. Black and yellow would be adorable :)

  20. Thank-you for the tutorial. I just discovered your site today and boy am I glad I did again Thank-you.Becky

  21. Why not just make the bottom material a skirt with an elastic waist, since a belt hides it anyway? Then you could where any color top with it.

  22. looks really easy and nice! very exited
    to try making it. maybe black uptop with zebra print bottóm? would also make fantastic mommy and me outfits


Thanks so much for commenting! If you have a question, make sure your email is in your profile or leave it in a comment so I can answer you. Otherwise email me at jessica(at)sewhomegrown(dot)com - Have a lovely day!

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