Thursday, April 28, 2011

Family Fashion Week Day 4: Tank Top Ruffle Dress

Happy Thursday everyone! Are you enjoying Family Fashion Week so far?  Today I have a tutorial for a child's tank top dress, similar to the one I made a few weeks ago.  I made this dress for Charlotte to wear to Ryan's graduation (which is tomorrow!).  I wanted something orange and blue (go Gators), but not tacky.

I was inspired by this dress at Janie and Jack:
I liked that it was tiered, but that the layers were connected.  Obviously I changed it some - I added the ruffle to the neckline, and made 4 tiers instead of 3. 
Here are the supplies you will need to make one:

1 Tank Top in your child's size
1/2 yard of each color of fabric (I chose voile because it ruffles and hangs nicely.)
Sewing machine/thread
scissors/yard stick

Step 1:  Cut off the bottom of the tank top.  Try the tank on your child and determine where you would like the first tier to start.  Add 1/2" to that and make a mark.  Take it off your little one and draw a line across at the mark and cut along that line.
Save the bottom portion of the tank top, because that is what you will use to make the ruffle at the neckline.  

Step 2: Cut 4 strips - two of each color - 5" x the width of the fabric.  Press under both long sides of the first tier about 1/2".  On the other three strips you only need to press one long side.  

Step 3:  Gather the first strip.  The easiest way to do this is to set your machine tension the highest it will go (mine is 9) and lengthen your stitch to the basting stitch.  Then while you are sewing, place a finger behind the presser foot and as you sew, the fabric will bunch up as it runs into your finger.  When you are done, you will have a nicely ruffled strip.  Be sure to leave nice long tails of thread on both ends so that you can adjust your ruffles.

Step 4:  Pin it right on top of the tank top and topstitch it on - if you have a knit stitch on your machine it would be best to use it.

Step 5:  Pin the next strip(unruffled) to the bottom of the first tier.  

Top stitch the first tier to the second tier.
When you sew all the way around the strip, the side seam will be open. Just tuck under the raw edges lay one edge on top of the other and topstitch it closed like this:

Continue this method until you have all the tiers sewn on.

Step 6:  Using the left over knit from the tank, cut two strips 1 1/2" x the width of the tank.

Sew them end to end to create one long strip, then ruffle it using the method in Step 3.
Pin it to the edge of the neckline.  You don't have to worry about raw edges because it's jersey knit!!

Top stitch the ruffle on the entire neckline.

Step 7:  Lastly try the dress on your little one and mark the hem.  Press it under 1/4", then 1/4" more and stitch all the way around the hem.

That's it!  A sweet little summer dress without the trouble of making a bodice.  I love it you guys.  Seriously.  I made another tank top dress for myself to wear to Ryan's graduation.  I'll show you pics later.  
Happy sewing!


  1. Sooo cute! If only I had a sewing machine!

  2. I love tne neckline is so cute.

  3. I love this cute little dress! I have really been wanting to make my sweet little niece one! I really love the ruffle that you added around the neck! It really makes the dress!


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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