Sew a simple tank top for yourself or a family member. Get a free sewing pattern and video tutorial for the project here.
Hey y’all, today’s project is a video update of a popular older tutorial on how to sew a tank top. This is a knit tank top pattern with woven fabric bias tape trim, and I love the little pop of color and contrast the bias tape adds. And this is exactly the type of top I like to sleep in year round, though there’s no reason this top has to be for bedtime only. Wear it with these boxer pajama shorts or with jeans. It’s a great pattern for warmer weather or under a cardigan when it gets cooler – a wardrobe workhorse. In fact, it might be tempting to make a closet full of tanks using this pdf sewing pattern.
Now you might think that sewing woven bias tape to a stretchy knit tank won’t work, but it totally does. You just need a few tricks that I’ll show you in the video below and you can have a fun print at the neckline and armholes of this tank. While I wouldn’t recommend this project for absolute beginners, an adventurous sewist with a few makes under their belt can tackle this. The fact that this free pattern has only 2 pieces is probably why it’s one of my top sewing patterns on this site.
Supplies to make a tank top
Want to make your own? You’ll need
- 2/3 yd of knit. Cotton spandex rib knit or jersey is my favorite for this pattern. You want the knit to have at least 50% stretch and good recovery for this pattern. That means that you should be able to stretch a 10″ long piece to 15″ and have it snap back to 10″ long. I also like a medium weight fabric for mine. Learn more about knit fabric here.
- 1/2″ wide double fold bias tape, about 1 1/2 yards of it. I made my own and you can too. See the bias tape tutorial here.
- The pattern, see below for info on sizing and how to get it.
How to get the tank top sewing pattern
The free tank pattern is sized for about a 34″ bust. However, since it’s stretch knit, it would probably fit down to a 32″ bust. If you need to make the pattern bigger or smaller, check out this post. Or, you could do this technique on the Texana Tank pattern available in my shop (in sizes XXS up to 3X). Note though that this tank has negative ease, where the Texana has no ease/slight positive ease (in some parts of the pattern) so they’re not exactly the same. More about pattern ease here.
To get this pattern, you must either be a free newsletter subscriber or have purchased a gallery access pass. Then click your preferred option from the buttons below. Existing newsletter subscribers should look at the bottom of the most recent Friday newsletter for the current free pattern gallery password. If you purchased the all access pass you’ll log in to your shop account to download the pattern. Note that the free version of the pattern does not have printable instructions so you’ll need to refer to this post for instructions.
Please note that all my free patterns are licensed for personal use only (no selling items made from this unless you purchase it) and by downloading you are agreeing to this license.
Sewing and Construction
To sew, watch the video below. Or, if it doesn’t load for some reason you can watch it on YouTube here. If you prefer a written tutorial with pictures, I’ve got one here. If you just want a construction cheat sheet, I’ve got that below the video.
Time needed: 1 hour and 30 minutes.
How to Sew a Tank Top
- Print and assemble the pattern
- Cut out of fabric
Cut one front and one back, making sure there is at least 50% stretch horizontally across the tank.
- Stitch shoulder straps and side seams
Place the front and back right sides together and stitch across shoulders and down side seams using a stretch stitch.
- Steam iron bias tape into curves
It helps if you watch the video above for this step – you’re going to pre-shape your bias tape to follow the curves of the neckline and armholes
- Stitch the bias bindings on
Unfold the bias tape, keeping the curves in the same places, and then stitch on to the neck and arms to finish those raw edges.
- Hem the bottom.
Check out this post for knit hem ideas.
Once you’re done sewing this easy tank, it’s time to wear it on a hot summer day!