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Refashion for a little girl: Tank Dress Tutorial

Green crafts, Recycle, Sewing  |  September 28th 2011  |  0 Comment


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 all…so affordable!


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

Refashion for a little girl: Tank Dress Tutorial