How to Make the Perfect Wardrobe Staple: the Tank Top

tank top on hanger

Tank tops are the best. When it’s hot, a tank is the only shirt you need; when it’s cold, you’ve got the perfect under-layer. You can wear a tank top with shorts to weed the garden, or you can throw on a necklace and go out for drinks. Did we mention tank tops are also super easy to whip up, and a great beginner sewing project?

You can find lots of patterns for tank tops online, or you can make your own by tracing a tank or blouse in your closet. Just be sure that if, say, you’re planning to sew your new tank with a woven fabric, you pick an existing tank in the same fabric. Then off you go.

How to Sew a Tank Top

Level: Easy

What You Need

  • Tank top pattern (we used this pattern from Wiksten)
  • Fabric
  • Iron
  • Sewing pins
  • Thread
  • Instructions

    1. Wash and Iron

    Fabric can shrink with the first wash, so never, ever skip this step.

    2. Cut Out Your Pattern

    tank top pattern pieces

    The pattern here has five pieces total to cut: front, back, one neckline facing and two armhole facings. If you’re drafting your own pattern, don’t forget to cut the facings on the bias so they can stretch. The front and back should get cut on the fold (unless you want a seam down the front and/or back of the tank).

    3. Pin

    pin fabric for tank top

    Pin the front and back sides of your tank top together. Do this with the right sides facing each other, and match the shoulder and side seams. Sew using a ⅝” seam allowance. Turn the tank right side out and press. Finish the shoulder and side seams (here we’ve used pinking shears, but a French seam would also work well).

    4. Hem the Bottom

    rolled hem

    Pin the bottom of your tank into a hem. We did a narrow rolled hem, but a blind hem is another option, depending on the shape of your tank.

    5. Sew the Short Ends

    With the right sides together, sew the short ends of each facing together with a ⅜” seam. Press the seam open.

    6. Pin the Facing to the Neckline

    Make sure the tank is right side out, and start pinning the facing to the neckline. If you want, you can try to match the seam on the facing with one of the shoulder seams. Now sew, using a ⅜” seam allowance.

    7. Press

    pressing tank top

    Press the facing toward the inside of the tank. Then top stitch along the neckline, using a ¼” seam.

    8. Repeat for the Armholes

    tank top arm holes

    Repeat the neckline facing process for each of the armholes.

    9. Finish

    Finish the facing seams and press. Bam! There’s your first DIY tank top!

    But why stop at one? Once you have a pattern that works for you, you can create all kinds of variations on a basic tank top: add a pocket, change up the neckline, lengthen the tank into a dress or make it out of a sheer fabric. Once you know how to sew a tank top, you’ll want one in every color — and every style, and just about every fabric — for every single day of the week.

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