Sewing instructions for a cotton tank

Tank top

Most of my DIY’s are really easy, but this one requires basic sewing skills. And you need to make your own pattern.

Pattern making is an art, but I have tried to make it as easy as possible. This is a simple top without complicated shaping and fittings.

My first attempt worked, so hopefully yours will too. Just follow the steps carefully.

I used a medium weight cotton for my top. I wouldn’t suggest anything too flimsy and light. I made a second top from the same pattern in silver pleather. Look out for that in an upcoming post. And I want to make a version that is wider at the hips to create a trapeze top.

You need: –

a tank top that fits
newspaper or a large piece of paper to cut a pattern
a marking pen
paper and fabric scissors
matching colour thread
sewing machine

You do: –

Use a basic tank or sleeveless tee as a basis for your pattern. Fold it in half and lay it on a

Cut a pattern

piece of newspaper or large piece of paper.

Trace the outline of the tank/tee. Make sure to add at least 1.5 centimetres all round EXCEPT for the sides where you need to allow much more. Allow about 3 centimetres at the sides.

The reason is the material used to make T-Shirts is a stretch cotton which has a lot of stretch or “give”.

Cut back and front pieces from fabric

Usually the back neck area of a top sits higher than the front on a top. If you don’t cut too deep a neckline then it will be fine to have the back and front pattern pieces the same.

If you want a plunging front neckline, then make sure you cut your back higher.

Next, place your pattern piece on your chosen fabric, pin and cut out your top.
Stitch the side and shoulder seems together. Fit your top and check you are happy. If need be, take in side or shoulder seems, or let them out to get the perfect fit.

I wanted a pocket on mine. No reason, I just did. You can omit this step.
Cut a square, rounded or oval pocket from your fabric. Stitch the top end to neaten the edge. Fold the sides back and pin them in place.
Pin the pocket to your top. Fit and if you are happy sew the pocket in place.

Sew top and sides, then sew hem

Next you want to fold back the neck hole and arm hole edges and make a hem. Since these are on a curve, you won’t be able to make a wide seam so aim for close to 1 centimetre and stitch the hem back.
You may have to make small snips only after you have sewn the seam to allow them hem to lie flat.

If for any reason your neck or armholes have come out too big, then you will not want to fold them back to make a hem, as that will only make the holes bigger. Rather finish the edges with bias-binding. It’s easy to find in most haberdasheries and there are plenty tutorials with instructions on-line.

Fit your top once more and decide where you want the hem to be. Pin it and remove your top.

Check your hem is horizontal all round and pin in place.
Stitch your hem.

And that’s your new tank top complete.

You will find more FREE sewing patterns and inspiration in the Greenie Galleries at the top of this page.

Pin and sew pocket – optional

See you next week.