Today I am sharing my sewing tutorial to make this DIY tank top dress using a basic tank top from Target. Alright you guys,this project is extra special to me because it features one of my newest patterns from my very first fabric collection (which I’ll be revealing very soon shhhhh!), and I am so excited/nervous to share it with you! This pattern is called “California fields of gold,” and I used Spoonflower‘s new cotton lawn fabric to turn my design into this easy DIY summer dress. I absolutely love the way it turned out and I’m pretty much living in this dress now!
Spoonflower‘s cotton lawn fabric is so light and soft, it’s absolutely perfect yo make this light summer dress. This dress is super comfortable, and the fit is loose below the bust so you can actually wear it pregnant or not. My dear and gorgeous friend Sarah volunteered to model the dress so you could see the regular fit -or maybe I volunteered her?! ;)-, and here I am with my big belly showing you the maternity version
To tell you the truth, I usually don’t like sewing clothes for myself because I always get lazy around the neckline…hence why I haven’t done a sewing tutorials for this blog! But because this dress uses a basic tank on top, it removes all the hurdles and it’s so easy to make! I made this tutorial using French seams, it makes the whole finish that much nice, but you could totally change that to regular seams to save yourself time. This dress has a long sash to make it more elegant – I attached to my dress using bonding tape because really, I can’t be trusted not to loose a sash 😉 Another favorite thing about this dress: the in-seam pockets! Gaaaaaaaaaah do I love me some pockets on my dresses…..it’s addictive, you guys! The pockets make this dress feel so comfy and casual, and you can barely notice them since they are in-seam.
1. Before you start making your dress, make sure to wash and iron – better than me 😉– your tank top and fabric.
2. Cut a long piece for the sash – I simply cut a piece that was 8 inches wide and as long as my piece of fabric, 3 1/2 yards. I shortened it a bit later on, but I like a long sash. You can make it shorter, or skip it altogether if you don’t want one. Tip: try to use multidirectional fabric if you are going to make a sash, this way the sash will blend with your dress much better.
3. Cut the front and back panels of your dress. Height of the panel: Measure from right below your bust to the floor, then add 4 inches to that to have a bit of margin. Width of panel: measure right below your bust, all around, then multiply that measurement by 1.5 and divide by two. For example, my bust was about 36 inches, so the width of my panel was 36 x 1.5 = 54 /2 = 27 inches. My final panels measured 27 inches x 50 inches.
4. Cut out 2 pairs of pockets using this pattern for the pockets – you can also use your own pocket pattern if you’d like, just make sure it has a 1/2 inch allowance on the side. Tip: these pockets have a 1/2 seam allowance because we’ll be sewing them in two phases to make a french seam. If you do not want to do French seam, you can reduce the seam allowance to 1/4 inch.
5. Take one of your pocket piece and pin it about 9 inches from the top of your front panel, wrong sides together. Sew a 1/4 inch seam, trim fabric a little bit as needed then flip so that the right side are together and press with an iron. Sew another 1/4 inch seam – you made your first french seam. Repeat this step on the other side of the panel, and then sew the remaining two pockets pieces on the back panel. Make sure to match the pocket pieces! When you are done, slightly cut the fabric (about 1/4 inch) at the very top and bottom of each pocket piece to make sure the panels don’t wrinkle.
6. Match the front and back panels, wrong wide together (again, we’re doing French seams here), and pin along the long edges and the pockets. Saw all along the long edge with a 1/4 inch seam, stopping and turning your fabric as you go through the pockets. When you get to the top of the pocket, you’ll want to give your seam a nice curve. At the bottom of the pockets, I simply stopped my seam, repositioned my fabric and started the seam where I left it off – the angle is just too sharp.
7. Trim any excess fabric so that it doesn’t get caught in your French seam, then flip your shirt, right side together and sew another 1/4 inch seam all along the side + pockets. You pockets are done!
6. The top part of the skirt calls for elastic thread to make it easier to put the dress on and take it off. If you’ve never used elastic thread before, don’t be scared, it’s easy! All you do is to prepare your machine is that you manually thread your bottom bobbin loosely (no tension) with the elastic thread.
7. Sew the top of your dress with long stitches using the elastic thread in the bottom bobbin and regular thread on top – as you sew you will see your fabric start to ruffle Tip: if you have a Brother machine, you might have the issue that your fabric stays flat using this process. Not to worry, just make sure to not use back-stitching at the beginning/end, and when you are done sewing all along the skirt you can simple create the ruffles by gently pulling on each end of the elastic thread – do a little bit of ruffles at a time, go gently so you don’t break the thread!
8. Match the bottom of your cropped tank top with the top of your skirt, and pins right sides together – I didn’t do French seams here, but you could easy do that if you want to. Sew 1/4 inch along the side of the seam you made on the top of the dress, using the elastic thread in the bottom bobbin again. Flip you dress right side out and hem the bottom of your dress at the right length for you.
9. Now for the sash: Fold your piece of fabric along the long edge, right sides together, press and sew. When you are done, refold along the long edge for the the seam is in middle of the back of your sash – as pictured above. Press again, then saw one end of your sash – I angled mine with an 45 degree angle. Flip the sash inside out, press again, then close the other end of the sash. Tip: I used a bit of fusible bonding web to attach the sash to my dress because I hate loosing sashes Simple cut a small piece of tape and place it between the dress and the sash – right where the tank top and skirt meet. Make sure to measure how long the sash need to be in the front so you don’t end up with a sash that that’s too tight
Disclaimer: Spoonflower partnered with me for this project and provided the fabric. All ideas in this post are my own. All pictures by This Little Street. When sharing this tutorial, please only share a picture or two and link to this post for the full tutorial – thank you!