Tuesday, May 25, 2010

20 Minute Tank Dress Tutorial

I was inspired by the 15 minute jersey dress tutorial on Ruffles and Stuff and decided to try it out.

I started with a tank top ($1.95 from H&M) and some matching fabric from my stash.

I had Hannah put the tank on and put a pin on her hip where I wanted the skirt to start.

Then I eyeballed the fabric to see how long the skirt should be. 

I cut off the bottom two and a half inches of the tank with a rotary cutter.

The tank top was 12 inches wide at the bottom hem so I did some math and cut my skirt 9.5 inches long and 48 inches wide.  I hemmed one edge and sewed the skirt together in a circle (and forgot to take a picture of that step).

After I had a large (48 inches around) hemmed loop/skirt I needed to make the gathers so the skirt would be the same size as the tank top (24 inches around).  I adjusted my stitch length to the longest it would go and sewed all the way around the skirt at the raw edge leaving the threads long at the beginning and the end of the stitching.  Then I pulled on the threads and fiddled with the fabric, sliding it along the thread, until I had gathered the skirt up to be 24 inches around. I actually didn't measure it with a ruler, just kept gathering it and laying it on top of the tank top until the skirt and tank were the same width.  Then I tied off the threads.

After everything was the same size I stitched all around the skirt, over the gathers, so they wouldn't slide when I attached the skirt to the tank.  Then I sewed the skirt to the tank top.  When I do it again I'll use a zig zag (as the tutorial recommends, my bad) instead of a straight stitch so it will give a little where the tank joins the skirt. 

Hannah LOVED it but I thought it was missing something so...

I used the bit of fabric that I cut off the tank for a headband.

This was a super easy project and definitely only took me about 20 minutes. I'm sure next time it will go faster because I'll have a little experience and I won't run out of bobbin thread halfway through.  Next time I'll try to take a picture of every single little step but if parts of this are confusing the pictures on Ruffles and Stuff should help explain it!


  1. LOVE it! I miss the Amy patricia bag company BTW! I'm gonna try this with the old t-shirts Mia doesn't like!

  2. Adorable. My mom made me something similar when I was a girl using only tee-shirts. One long tee shirt for the top, and the bottoms of 3 other tee shirts to make the skirt (if that makes sense)

  3. Looks adorable! Now, all I need is a little girl to make one for... I can see it now... "Honey, we need to have more babies so that we can have a girl and I can make dresses for her." ;)

  4. Love the dress - love her participation even more!

  5. Super cute, great job. Thanks for the tutorial

  6. Really cute & can't beat the price!! Thanks for linking it to Craftastic Monday:)

  7. YOu can also easily add an applique design to the front, made from your skirt fabric. I did that one time to cover some holes in Rachel's pant knees, and it looked like an expensive set. The flowers on the knees matched a tee shirt print I had made. FYI- I have patterns and directions for cranking out huge amounts of tee shirts, knit pants and even swimsuits, all from a company called Stretch and Sew. I even took classes in knit sewing. - Grandmahollymom

  8. Awesome job, and I LOVE her expression in the headband picture. Too cute!

  9. My mom made a dress for my daughter this way, 2 decades ago! As Grandmahollymom suggested, my mom had taken a motif from spare fabric and appliance it to the shirt. Of all the dresses her Grandma made for her, she wore this little dress the most and saves it still.

  10. Just stumbled upon your blog and this posting and love it! I JUST grabbed two tank tops at Target yesterday with the intention of making dresses for my little girls and this is great to see my ideas in words and pictures!


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