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 - and omg, how gorgeous is this bathing suit fabric? I've got to make one this year!)
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.
- ball point/stretch needle
- basic sewing supplies
- walking foot
- double needle
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!
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