Sep 22, 2011

Thursday Threads: Tank Dress Tutorial

I have recently oooo'd and ahhh'd at the lovely clothing by Matilda Jane. A modern, but also girly and frilly touch. Too bad the MJ dresses cost a mint! I could not justify spending the moolah for a dress Miss C will quickly grow out of. Keeping with the famous words of my Mother, I made it for less!

Wanna learn how? Of course you do!

You will need a few materials:
  • Ready to wear cotton tank or shirt
  • 1/4 yard of fabric for the skirt, cut 2 pieces each 9.25" x 22"
  • 45 inches of ribbon or finished trim for skirt hem
  • 45 inches of fusible lightweight interfacing, 1/2" wide strip
  • Rotary cutter or scissors
  • Matching thread
Quick note: This tutorial is for a 18-24 month dress. Adjust measurements accordingly to fit your desired size.

Start by pre-washing all of your fabrics, including the purchased cotton tank or shirt. This will pre-shrink all materials to prevent your finished product from becoming wonky after its first laundering.

Now it's time to get crazy and cut your tank! I cut across the top 3 inches below the underarm seam. Be sure to allow for seam allowance.

I applied a 1/2 inch strip of interfacing to the raw edge of the chopped top to add more structure to the bodice/skirt seam. I used DecorBond {from my stash}, but a lighter weight interfacing can be used.


Next prep your skirt! Place both pieces right sides together and stitch each side seam using a 1/4" seam allowance. Finish your raw edge with zigzag or interlock {serger} stitch.

Time to add some volume! Baste the top edge of your skirt leaving long thread tails for gathering. I tested my sewing machine's ruffler foot and was amazed at the awesome gathering that resulted in less than 2 minutes! Once you baste, pull up your bobbin threads to create gathers.

Fit the skirt {right sides together} to the interfaced edge of your cotton tank. Be sure to line up your side seams!

Pin and stitch 1/2" seam allowance. The more pins, the better! Over pinning will help ease the gathered skirt. Slow and steady to make a lovely gathered skirt seam.

Once the skirt is sewn to your cotton tank, turn right side out and top stitch. My seam wanted to roll a bit due to the stiffer interfacing. The top stitching will add stability and will prevent raveling. You can also add zigzag or interlock stitch to the seam allowance.

You're almost finished!! Lay out your dress on a flat cutting surface {make sure it's even}. Now with your scissors or rotary cutter, even up the skirt hem.

Position your trim or ribbon {right sides together} along the skirt bottom raw edge. Pin and stitch 1/4" seam allowance. Top stitch in place.

Ta da!! You did it! So easy, so cute, and best of affordable!

Miss C wore this to Mr. E's Third Birthday Party. She looked absolutely adorable toddling around in her pretty dress!


  1. What a very nicely written tutorial! The dress is adorable! I hope to use this soon for my great-nices.

  2. very cool. I could do that. well I am in the process of doing that with a shirt. thanks for showing me how to finish my project.

  3. That's just adorable! My to-do list just keeps getting longer and longer!!! :D Thanks for sharing :)


  4. Cute little dress and a great tutorial.

  5. Wow this looks like a little designer dress! Super cute!!!

  6. You did a great job! Such a cute little dress and what an inspiration! Ms C looks like a little doll!

  7. Love this Alyssa. I can always do with more ideas for cute kids clothes. Do you want another follower? Check out my blog and if you like, I would love you to follow me too :-)

  8. This is just so so adorable. Definitely the perfect party dress!

  9. So cute and the dress is nice also.

  10. Oh my gosh, how cute is that?! It's adorable!

  11. Too cute girl!! Great job!

  12. Such a beautiful dress! I really love your fabric and colour choices.

  13. This tank dress is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!

  14. I love changing old tops into other tops or dresses...this one is beautiful! And so is the little model!

  15. Super cute!

  16. ADORBS!! i could faint!! this dress is so cute but but the model is even cuter! ♥

    newest follower!

  17. Your dress was super popular on my link party this week! Thanks for linking up to the Creative Genius Link Party! Hope to see you next week!

  18. Hi Alyssa! Thanks so much for linking up - I featured your tutorial on SewHappyGeek Feature Friday!

  19. I love the skirt fabric! It is adorable :) I saw you on Sew Happy Geek and I'm now following - would love it if you followed me back :)

  20. what an adorable dress! And we love it that you made it for less! ^^) We love this project so much we are featuring it on the blog today. Have a lovely weekend!


  21. this is SO cute! I love this little dress! Thanks so much for linking up to Tuesday Talent Show! I would love to have you stop by and link up again tomorrow with more great projects!

  22. The votation for he final round starts today!

    ^^) TSWL Ladies

  23. Sewing is a rewarding skill to learn especially if you have a daughter. In today’s economic crisis, buying a dress is not the most practical thing to do. Your child will soon outgrow that dress and in no time. Thus, it will leave you with a rarely used dress. But if you learn how to sew a dress, you can make the dress for you child yourself and in your own home. Nice one mate.


Leave a Note...