Tank Dress DIY

Just to note, this post is super photo-heavy!
I am really excited to share with y’all my tank dress DIY today. I have made this dress a couple of times and decided to just write up a little simple tutorial. Y’all, I promise this is an easy project– perfect time to whip out your sewing machine and sew yourself a pretty Spring//Summer dress!
I sewed this project from some of my VERY FAVORITE anchor fabric from the lovely Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Fabrics (Out to Sea line).
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What you’ll need for this little project:
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A well-fitting tank (mine is from Target, $9), about 2 yards of fabric, elastic thread, coordinating thread, scissors or rotary cutter & mat, ruler, and chalk.
The first step is to try on your tank and mark at the smallest part of your waist. From here, mark down 1/2″.
Using your chalk & a ruler, mark a straight line around the entire tank where you marked 1/2″ from your smallest point.
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Cut along the chalk line.
(this part is totally optional)
Using the bottom part of your tank that you just cut off, cut a 3″ strip. (I used the entire width of the tank).
HAND-WIND your bobbin with your elastic thread, turn your stitch length up to its maximum, and sew right down the center of the long 3″ strip. It will start to ruffle, but when you put heat on it with your iron it will ruffle even more.
Place this ruffled 3″ strip down the center of your tank and pin in place.
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Sew up the center using coordinating thread.
Now, we have to do some measuring. Take the LARGEST part of your behind, multiply it by 1.5, divide it by 2.. and this gives you the width of your skirt. The length is what ever length you want it to be plus 2″. You’ll need to cut two rectangles using these measurements.
(Example: My widest point is 39″. Multiplied by 1.5=58.5. Divided by 2=29.25. I want the length of mine to be about 25″ (with the intention to hem it shorter if I want!), so adding 2″ gives me 27″. SO, I’d cut two rectangles measuring 29.25″ x 25″.
You will take these two rectangles facing right sides together and sew up both side seams (the 25″ sides).
Once you have the skirt formed, lengthen your stitch length to its maximum and sew a basting/gathering stitch along the top of your skirt. You’ll then gather the top of your skirt until it’s width matches the width of your tank.
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Now, keeping your skirt WRONG-SIDE OUT and your tank RIGHT SIDE OUT, stick your tank inside your skirt matching the side seams and raw edges.
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Pin and sew all the way around. Be sure you aren’t stretching your tank to fit the skirt, stretch (or re-gather) the skirt to fit the tank.
Flip it right-side out and you’re almost finished!
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To make a cute sash, you’ll need to cut two 12″ by WOF* strips. Sew those strips short ends together to create one looooong 12″ strip.
Fold them right sides together and sew all the way down the long end, creating a tube. Turn your fabric right side out and tuck in the raw edges on each end, press, and top stitch.
Find the center point of your dress and of your sash. Pin your sash to your dress and hand-gather your sash so its not straight.
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Sew it in place. You can repeat this for the two side-seams, if you’d like.
Tie it in a bow, and voila! You’re finished!]
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PS- I used the same method to make the dress featured in THIS post last week!

22 thoughts on “Tank Dress DIY

  1. Hi Caroline! Thank you so much for posting this! I do have one question. When do you use the elastic thread? Do you use the elastic thread to sew the tank on the bottom. Thanks so much!!!!

  2. I am going to make this as soon as I can!! I have seen other tutorials for dresses like this, but this one seems the easiest to follow 🙂

  3. So excited to try this!! I am actually going to use a tank that’s in my closet already that I love, but is too short now for my liking. This will be perfect! I love your tutorials and ideas! Thank you!

  4. How cute is this?!? My husband was in the navy so this would be perfect! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog today and leaving a sweet comment. Enjoy your day;)


  5. Hey Caroline! 🙂 I am new to sewing and your blog. One question: If I sew the skirt to the tank and make the skirt fit the tank (not stretching the tank to the skirt) how will it fit over my chest etc when putting it on? The tank is super narrow but stretches but I am afraid if I sew the skirt to it the skirt will also be super narrow and won’t fit sense it doesn’t stretch. Does that make sense what I am trying to ask? Thanks so much for any help!! I am excited to try this!

  6. I love this dress! This was a fun way to repurpose an older tank top that was too short to wear alone and thankfully was a quick project. The only thing missing from the tutorial is when/how you finished the hem on the skirt. Someone inexperienced with sewing might need it written out.

    1. Hi Ronin, I pressed 1″ towards the wrong side all the way around the hem and then pressed 1″ again all the way around the hem and then top stitched. This way the raw edges are enclosed! 🙂

  7. Pingback: Wore at Blissdom -
  8. I am a novice sewer, and you used the abbreviation WOF with and asterix by it. I couldn’t find the coordinating asterix for the definition of WOF. So… what is WOF?

  9. Great idea to use a tank top as the beginning and attaching a skirt to mKe a dress. The possibilities are endless! Thanks for the idea. Embellishments can dress this look up or down.

  10. Hi!!!
    I’m a young sewist (I’m only 14) and decided to undertake making this dress for my first sewing machine project! I succeeded, but couldn’t figure out how to make the sash look right and omitted that part. Otherwise, it worked great!! Thanks so much for creating this great dress and I hope to make it again sometime!

    P.S. When I came downstairs wearing it today, my little sister’s mouth dropped and she said to me, “OMG!! That’s GORGEOUS!!”. Cracked me up!

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