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Tank Sundress Tutorial (pattern hack)

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I have another pattern hack for you today!  This one is based on my Tank Top pattern from earlier this summer.

When I planned this dress, I was going for the Matilda Jane “look”.  I don’t feel like I quite hit the mark on that.  (I think the floral pattern on the skirt ended up being too big/too bold.)  I liked the fabric in the store, but once I put it together,  I could tell the look was wrong.  (I have plenty of fabric options, so I will keep trying till I get it right.)

I love the dress though…  It’s really cute in person and since the tank isn’t too “skimpy”, she’ll be able to wear it to school in the fall.

Girls sundress with a free pattern and tutorial. (size 3 to 8)

Follow these steps to make your little one a tank sundress:

Step 1:   Print and assemble the pattern and cut out pattern pieces. 

Use a 1/4 inch seam allowance unless otherwise specified.

Find the tank top tutorial here ==>> Tank top pattern and tutorial.  Trim off the bottom of the pattern about 3 inches below the arm hole  (for size 3, trim it 2 inches below the arm hole.)

Cut out the front and back pieces of the shortened tank top.

Cut 2 skirt panels to the dimensions below:

Size 3:  22” wide by 11” tall
Size 4:  23” wide by 12” tall
Size 5:  24” wide by 14” tall
Size 6:  25” wide by 16” tall
Size 7:  26” wide by 18” tall
Size 8:  27” wide by 21” tall

Cut 2 fabric strips (the contrasting bottom band) to the dimensions below:

Size 3: 22” wide by 6.5” tall
Size 4: 22” wide by 6.5” tall
Size 5: 22” wide by 6.5” tall
Size 6: 22” wide by 6.5” tall
Size 7: 22” wide by 6.5” tall
Size 8: 22” wide by 6.5” tall

Step 2:  Assembling the skirt.

Line up the 2 skirt panels, right sides together and sew along one side.  Finish this seam and press.  (If you are making a size 3, you will line up the 2 sides that are 11 inches tall, so you will have one fabric piece that is 43.5 by 11.)

Line up the contrasting bottom the same way and sew the two pieces together.

Fold the contrasting band wrong sides together and press.  (long-ways, the new dimensions will be the full width by 3.25.

Line up the raw edges of the contrasting band and sew it to the bottom of the skirt panel.  Finish this seam and press.

Fold the side edges of the skirt panel, right sides together and sew them together.  Finish this seam and press.

I decided to add decorative trim to the seam of the skirt and contrasting band.  I just used a bit of black bias tape, but you could use ribbon, ric rac or some other fun decorative trim.

Step 3:  Attaching the skirt

Sew a gathering stitch around the top edge of the skirt.  Gather the skirt until it is the same width as the bottom of the bodice.

Right sides together, line up the raw edges of the skirt and bodice and pin.  Sew or serge the skirt and bodice together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  (If you don’t have a serger, use a stretch stitch.)  Finish this seam.

That’s it, you’re done!

You have a few options if you would like to embellish your tank.  I made a flower using this fabric flower tutorial, but any of these options would be cute too!
ruffled flower
tuxedo ruffle
double ruffle (this would need to be attached before the binding
appliqued flowercupcake or heart
Big bow
Stencil or any of these freezer paper stencil ideas

Like this post?  Don’t forget to pin it!    

My favorite fabric shop for knits:  Funkalicious Fabrics.
  1. My Sewing Machine: SINGER 9960 Quantum Stylist
  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. Ball Point needles
  7. Singer walking foot or universal walking foot
  8. Blind hem foot.
  9. Wonder clips (I didn’t use these in the post, but they are just awesome!

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  1. I love this project! Iā€™m going to do this. Thank you so much for all the hard work you put into creating them.

  2. Sheila Robson says:

    I’m such a huge fan! Used lots of your patterns and ideas. The only suggestion I would make for this tank sundress is this. If you are making it with a knit top and a woven bottom, and especially if like me you don’t have a serger, it’s a good plan when you gather the skirt either to use shirring elastic in the bobbin (which will automatically gather the skirt but still leave it stretchy) or attach some clear elastic with a zigzag stitch, stretching the elastic as you go.

  3. Marsha Wagner says:

    When you attach skirt to tank top and use the serger, do you still need to run a straight stitch on sewing machine or is the serger enough.

    1. Serger should be enough.

  4. Diane | An Extraordinary Day says:

    What a cute dress! Great job…I'll look forward to seeing your next iteration of it. šŸ™‚
    Thanks for sharing with us at Project Inspire{d}!

  5. Danielle Wagasky says:

    What a fun project! I love this! I am always looking for guest bloggers on my website Blissful and Domestic. My blog is about creating a beautiful life on less and this post fits right in with that šŸ™‚ Check out my blog and see if it would be a good fit for you. I'd love to have you!

    Danielle@ Blissful and Domestic

  6. This is so cute and will be perfect for my little girl. Thanks for sharing your great pattern!

  7. Bobbi @ 3GLOL says:

    I always see the kinds of dresses that I would like to have but in kid versions. What does that say about me? I'm more into that style than the long ones they have at the stores.

    Very cute and so are your kiddos!
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. I agree! This is a really cute dress and I would love one for myself.

    2. I'm sure you could make one! I have been perfecting my clear elastic/ knit fabric to woven fabric attachment. Cant wait to share it (makes all the difference in a more sturdy wearable garment.)

  8. Crystal Nell says:

    Super cute dress!!