A tank top dress is perfect for summer and takes about 30 minutes to make! It is even great for winter when paired with a turtleneck and tights! This is a great way to use a tank top that is a tad too short (but still fits) or buy one at a yard sale or thrift store for extra savings.
DIY Tank Top Dress Tutorial
Have your child try on the tank top and decide where you want the skirt to start. Measure from that point to the point where you want the skirt to end. Take that measurement and add one inch. That is your length.
For my daughter the skirt piece was 17 1/2 inches long and 48 inches wide.
After you have measured, cut your tank top 1/2 inch below where you want it to end. If your tank top is already really short you might not need to cut it.
Tank Tutorial Tip: Find a tank top that is not “ribbed” the fabric is very stretchy and can be harder to sew.
Take your prewashed and pressed fabric and cut your piece using your length and width measurement. I always fold my fabric in half before I cut so I’m not dealing with so much fabric. (If you fold your fabric, you will need to cut along your fold line after you cut it out)
For my project I cut a rectangle: 17 1/2 by 24 (when the fabric was folded in half).
You should now have two rectangles (or squares depending on your measurements).
My rectangles measured 17 1/2 by 24.
Putting your fabric right sides together, sew up the “length” sides of your fabric.
I serged the sides of the dress, but if you don’t have a serger you can use a zig zag stitch.
Along the bottom of your skirt fabric fold it up 1/4 inch then press. Fold it again 1/4 inch and press again. This will be your hem. Sew around the bottom of the fabric.
Hem Tip: You can serge the bottom of your fabric then fold up 1/4 inch and hem, but I think folding it twice looks neater.
Sew a gathering stitch around the top of your skirt piece, 1/4 of an inch from the top. Don’t tie off either end.
Pull the thread so you get a nice gather. Don’t worry about the size, you’ll adjust it when you pin it to the tank top.
Gathering Stitch Tip: Don’t forget to set your sewing machine back to a straight stitch after you sew the gathering stitch.
Attaching the skirt to the tank top.
This is probably the most difficult part of the project, and it really isn’t that hard, just harder than the other steps. (I’ll try to explain in detail and include a few extra photos for those who are beginners)
Take your skirt and flip it inside out. Lay it on the table with the gathered stitch closest to you. Take your tank top and put in inside the skirt. The bottom of your tank top should be closest to you. The right side of the tank top and the right side of the skirt should be facing each other. Find the side seam on the tank top and the skirt on each side. Match them up and pin them together.
Then pin together the rest of the tank top and skirt. If the tank top is really stretchy pin it every inch or so to keep it from stretching while you are sewing. Sew together the skirt and the tank top. Use your gathering stitch as a guide and sew 1/4 inch below your gathering stitch all round the skirt to attach the skirt to the tank top.
Zig zag or serge around the waist seam to keep the fabric from falling apart in the wash.
You can add ribbon, ruffle or ric rak to the skirt, but my daughter wanted it plain.
Similar dress with ruffle and paired with a t-shirt.
These dresses make great play clothes!