Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom


Girls Knit Tank Top Pattern and Tutorial (size 3 to 8)

Hi Everyone!  I'm really excited about this new pattern I have for you today!  It's a super simple and basic tank top pattern for girls in sizes 3 to 8.  I'm excited because, even though the pattern is simple, so much can be done with it.  (And yes, I have quite a few variations planned over the next couple of months.)

Girls Knit Tank Top, free pattern and tutorial.  Size 3 to 8.

Over the last few weeks, I've been cleaning out my craft room to move upstairs to a larger room. In the process, I'm trying to clear out my stash of items to be recycled and other unused crafting supplies. (It's so hard to decide what to part with...)  My recycling box is full of my old tees from when a shorter length was in style.

I'm a fantastic procrastinator, so instead of working on my craft room move, I came up with this little tank top pattern as a way to up-cycle some of my old shirts I wasn't ready to part with.  (The best part of using an old shirt is that I can usually reuse the bottom hem which saves a lot of time.

In the photo above, the floral tank on the left and pink stripe top on the far right were both upcycled from old t-shirts.  The fabric in the middle is a stretchy knit from funkalicious fabrics.  (Which, as I grabbed this link, I noticed she has a little sale going through the 20th...  So remember what I said about procrastinating?  Yes, I now have an entire cart of sale fabric, just waiting for me to check out, lol.)

I just love these little tank tops.  Not too risque and so perfect for playtime!

(I always loved that pink top, it was just too short for me... but just the right size for my little missy.)

 Ready to make one?  Here is what you need:

  • Stretchy knit fabric (5/8 yard for the largest size) or an old stretchy t-shirt, rib knits work great.
  • Pattern
  • ball point/stretch needle
  • iron
  • basic sewing supplies
  • walking foot 
  • double needle
(Seam allowances are 1/4 inch unless otherwise specified.)

Step 1: Printing and assembling the pattern.
Print your pattern. When printing, make sure to download the pattern to your computer, open it in adobe reader and print from there, turning off all scaling.
Assemble and tape together. Print the pattern twice, cutting out a separate front and back pattern piece.

Step 2: Cut out pattern pieces.

Fold the fabric in half, with the stretchy-ness running from side to side. Line up the bodice pattern pieces on the fold and cut one front and one back.

Cut out 1 neck binding (on fold) and 2 arm binding (on fold).  Ribbed knit works great as binding.  (If you are concerned that your binding fabric is not stretch enough, you can cut it an inch or two longer and just trim off the excess later.

Step 3:  Assembling the top and attaching the binding.

Lie up the front and back pieces right sides together and sew along ONE shoulders seam, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Line up the front and back necklines with each other to find the center point and mark it with a pin.  (Remember the front neckline is longer/deeper, so the center point will not be the shoulder seam.)

Find the center point of the neck binding and mark it.  Line up the edge of the binding with the edge of the tank neckline, right sides together.  Pining them in place at the center marks.

I recommend using a stretch stitch to attach the binding to the tank.  (The stitch I used looks like this, but a very narrow zig zag would work too.)

My sewing machine kept pulling the fabric into the machine at the first few stitches, so I placed a piece of tissue under the fabric to help get it started.

Sew the binding to the tank, stretching the binding as you go. (1/4th inch from the edge.)

Flip the fabric over and press.  Make sure to press the seams toward the top of the top.

(my original photos didn't show the next step very well, so I recreated it for you on scraps...)

Flip the binding over the the wrong side of the fabric enclosing the seam and pin in place.  Be sure to put the pins on the right side of the top.  (I tried not using pins, but it definitively make a neater finish if you take the time to use pins.)

Using a wide, long zig zag, stitch the binding in place.  You will want to sew on the front side so you can see what you are doing.  Remove the pins before they reach the sewing machine foot.  (You could also try using a double needle here.)

Flip the top over and carefully trim the excess binding.

Line up the other shoulder seam and sew together.

Repeat the binding process for the two arm holes.

Line up the front and back pieces and sew the front and back together using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

For my top, I was able to reuse the shirts original hem, so I'm done.  But if you're using knit yardage, you can leave the bottom edge raw or fold the hem up 1/2 inch and sew using a long wide zig zag or double needle.  If you leave it raw, you may wish to trim off the extra half inch.  (For the striped top, I added a 2 inch band at the bottom.)

You're done!  Have your little one try on her new top and go take some pictures!

Girls Knit Tank Top, free pattern and tutorial.  Size 3 to 8.

If you like this pattern, be sure to Pin It!

Products used and recommended in this post:
  1. My Sewing Machine: SINGER 9960 Quantum Stylist (600-Stitch Machine with Extension Table, Bonus Accessories and Hard Cover)
  2. My Serger: Brother 1034D 3 or 4 Thread Serger or you can just use Pinking Shears
  3. Rotary Cutter
  4. I love my large ruler and large cutting mat, but you may prefer to start of with a smaller Cutting set
  5. Dritz Dual Purpose Marking Pen and Fray Check
  6. Wonder clips (I didn't use these in the post, but they are just awesome!
  7. Ball Point needles
  8. Singer walking foot or universal walking foot
  9. Knit fabric suppliers: Funkalicous Fabrics and

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  1. You are awesome! Thanks for offering free patterns that fit both my girls. :) That rainbow knit is the best. :)

    1. Thanks Erin! That fabric is adorable isn't it? I am going to try to squeeze some leggings out of it too...

  2. Thanks for your free pattern and the tutorial. Finally one where the making of the collar comes with a good explanation ! my girls will have some cute tanktops this summer :-)

  3. What a great summer basic pattern! Thanks so much for sharing the free pattern & tutorial. Looks like a top my girls will wear every day :)

  4. Thanks for sharing, can't wait to make one!! Much appreciated :)

  5. Thank you! I will definitely be making some of these.

  6. you have a very pretty little one .Thanks for sharing these tops they are very cute and just what my little girl will need this summer and in her size too .

    1. Thank you Julie, I hope the pattern helps!

  7. Great summertime basic!! I've got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for later this morning that links to your pattern:

  8. I love knits too - thanks for sharing! :) Pinned to a couple of my boards, too!

  9. Thanks for sharing and all your work for it! Will give it a try soon :-)

  10. Thanks! I made one of these tonight, using an old shirt of my husband's. (Monty Python and the Holy Grail is appropriate for first graders, right? :) ) She's sleeping in it now. It was a test run before I use the pink striped t-shirt I've been saving for just such a project.

    1. Was the t-shirt fabric stretchy enough? I was concerned that regular t-shirt fabric might not have enough stretch...

  11. This is a comment from Kisha. (I recently started moderating my comments due to spam, and have to click a button to publish any comments. I'm on my phone, so it's a tiny button and I accidentally hit delete on her comment. I wanted to reply, so I am reposting it.)

    Kisha @ 8:23 pm: "The shirt itself was fine, although I made a size 8 and she typically wears a 7, so I can't swear to sizing--she's growing like crazy and she may be outgrowing her 7s anyway. The binding was way off for the stretch in the shirt. I should have cut it longer as suggested but I really just wasn't thinking, so I ended up re-cutting the arm binding after I totally messed up the neck. It's ugly on one side because I did this classy piecing thing, but I wasn't worried about it too much because a) it's dark brown and you really can't see it that well, especially where it's located and b) it was sort of a test project that was mainly intended to make her daddy smile. Total success on that front! :) "

    1. Ugh... my first reply disappeared! I'm having all sorts of trouble tonight. BTW, I appreciate feedback, it helps me improve my patterns/tutorials.

      - It's really hard to say how long to cut binding. There is such a difference in the stretch of fabrics. There is a way to test the amount of stretch to make sure the fabric and or binding being used has enough. I'll look it up and add it to the post soon. In the mean time, I will stress the part about cutting the binding longer and testing it with your fingers.

      This technique take a bit of practice to get right, one of mine were perfect the first time around. My daughter is still wearing a nightgown I made a few years ago that has an inch of binding missing on the back of the neck!

      I hope you try another one and be sure to come back and share your project on my facebook page.

    2. I don't sew with knits much--actually, that is one of my sewing resolutions this year, which is why I wanted a test project before cutting into my good fabric. If I did, I probably would have thought about the binding being so variable. My fault, not yours! :)

      Anyway, thanks for the pattern! It actually fits her really well--she has a lot of tank tops but I tend to not love them because I think they show a little too much skin for little girls, especially under the arms/around the shoulders. She wore it to bed and kept it on all day the next day, so it must have been comfy. :)

  12. Thanks for this free pattern. I hope I have time to do this for my girls this summer. I have plenty of tops that are in the goodwill stack that I'm sure I could upcycle. :) Pinned and shared on g+!
    Gina @ Gina's Craft Corner

  13. super cute! I just made a boy one like this almost using the exact same method a couple of weeks ago. Love the fabric/t-shirts you used for these too... Can I ask what you use to scale your patterns for a few sizes? I usually only just share the pattern in the one size I created, but would be nice to offer a new choices ;o)

  14. This is such a cute pattern and will be perfect for the hot summer months coming up in SoCal. I'll have to make it bigger, but it's a good starting point. Pinned.

  15. Thanks for sharing your pattern for the up cycling. Perfect plan.

  16. AWESOME JOB!!!!!

    My little girl wears a 10-12. I've never altered patterns before, but I'm going to try to over size the 8 with a really giving fabric and see if I can make her one to fit. Thanks for this pattern. Wish your girls were the same size as my little Morgan.

    Thanks again.

    Marilyn in MS

  17. This is great! Perfect for summer. Thanks for sharing :)

  18. Thanks so much for sharing this. I made my daughter a super sweet dress for a bridal shower we are going to. It was exactly what I needed.

  19. Hooray! I made a few pairs of leggings for my son and had enough knit leftover that I knew I could make something, but not quite enough for another pair of leggings. I'm starting on some tanks with the leftovers and I'm pretty excited :) Thanks!


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