Threadbanger Post: How to Sew a Summer Tank Dress

The temperature’s rising, but maybe you’ve tired of the ol’ tanktop-and-jeans ensemble.  Maybe you want a go-to summer dress but still want it to be comfortable for when it gets really hot.  Revamp a tanktop with the addition of an old men’s tee,** and live in soft-washed cotton comfort all summer.
**I’ve adapted this recon from the book Kakkoii Kuchuuru Rimeiku [“Cool Couture Remake”], by Hiroko Yamase [Bunka Publishing, 2009].  The book is in Japanese, and I’ve converted the sizing to Western sizing, and changed the methodology here and there.  Hope you like it! 

You Need:




 *1 tanktop that fits you well
*1 men’s t-shirt (preferably XL)
*thread matching t-shirt
*fabric scissors
*marking chalk
*measuring tape

*velvet or satin ribbon (1″ – 1.5″ wide)
*pronged studs, sew-on jewels, hotfix nailheads, or fancy trim

How To:

Prep Time

1. Wash and dry both your tanktop and t-shirt if they haven’t been washed before.  Turn the t-shirt inside out and cut off the label at the back of the neck. (not pictured)  Cut off the shoulder seams all the way to the sleeve seams.

Start Sewing

2. Sew the ends of the t-shirt’s sleeves closed, just inside the sleeve cuffs.  These will become pockets.

3. Fold down about 1/2″ along the slit shoulders (the raw edges) of the t-shirt, all the way around, front to back, neck ribbing to neck ribbing.  Stitch down, creating a 3/8″ hem.

4. Turn the t-shirt right side out, tucking the sewn sleeves inside.  Fold in half and mark the center front and center back at the neck ribbing.  Do the same with the tanktop.

5. Measure 4″ straight down from the mark you made on both the front and the back of your tanktop.  Make another mark at each point.


6. Place the tanktop inside the t-shirt.  Line up the center front of your t-shirt on top of the mark you made on the center front of the tanktop.  Pin in place.

7. Pin the neck ribbing of the t-shirt to the front of the tanktop, following the natural curve of the t-shirt’s neck.  (I folded the edges of the t-shirt under about 1/2″ again, since I liked the way that looked.)

8. Repeat Step 6) and Step 7) to pin the back of the t-shirt onto the back of the tanktop.

9. Stitch the t-shirt to the tanktop, following the lines of the neck-ribbing of the t-shirt.  Sew TWO lines of stitching to secure: one line at the very top of the neck-ribbing, and one line at the point where the ribbing connects to the t-shirt.  Do for both front and back of your piece.

Embellish It! (Optional)

9. Use a piece of ribbon as a tie for the waist, stitching at the back to secure. (not pictured)

10. Add studs, hotfix embellishments, sew-on jewels, or fancy trim to the the tanktop neck, the t-shirt ribbing, or the hem of the garment to doll your piece up.

You’re finished!

Without the belt, hands in pockets.

Belted with a velvet ribbon.

Tip: If you feel the weight of the t-shirt distorts the tank too much, sewing the sides of the tee to the tank will help eliminate the “pulling.”

Wear with some espadrille wedges and a cool pair of shades for a chic casual look as the mercury rises.

I’d love to hear your feedback everyone!


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Portland Fashion Week Day 2: Outfit

(Jacket from Japan; scarf from I forget; Claire’s wristbands, necklace, and armwarmers; handmade studded ring; DIY Chanel tee; Paris Blues Jeans; DIY’d GoJane boots)

It’s that time of year again when the leaves change color, Fall activities are well underway, and Portland Fashion Week presents 5 days of local and sustainable collections, presented in some warehouse practically off the map in a NW corner of the city. I skipped out on attending Day 1, so here I am on Day 2 of the Collections, as I like to say, since it sounds more frou-frou and New-York-wannabe.

I made this shirt the morning before the madness started – with a fabric pen. Because life definitely needs more cavorting! (The real version says “Cavour Roma” in case you were wondering – here’s a piccy below:)
(sorry I don’t remember the site I saw this on)
Actually it was on KnightCat, I remembered, and a reader mentioned it was originally from Thanks Danni!

I know armwarmers went out of style (or never came into style) like a decade ago, but my hands get cold easily and I often add them to an outfit. Yes, inside of me is a fashion-challenged 12-year old. With warm hands.

Even though it’s Fashion Week, when you’re covering the shows my best piece of advice is:

Wear comfortable shoes!

I wrapped a long strip of ultrasuede around these flat, scrunchy boots from GoJane and tied the ends. I’m all tied up!

Fashion Show coverage coming soon!
Have a lovely Friday!


DIY Update: For those of you who were wondering how to make the shirt…

1. Take a white Men’s XL t-shirt and a black fabric pen (I used a FabricMate Chisel Tip). Place your shirt over a piece of cardboard and apply a liberal spraying of Spray Laundry Starch to make it literally “flat as a board.”

2. I used Photoshop to create the lettering (and added my initials as the double-C logo in the middle, haha), printed out the image, and placed the paper underneath my t-shirt on top of the board. Then I simply traced the letters and filled them in with the fabric marker (took awhile).

3. I cut off the hem a little higher in the front and lower at the sides so it makes “side-tails,” cut off the neck ribbing and the sleeves, and stretched the cut edges until they rolled slightly.

4. Then I washed it on the delicate cycle in the wash and laid flat to dry, to get rid of the starch and “set” the fabric marker paint.

So super-easy to make! I’d love to see everyone’s DIY versions!

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DIY Patriotic Punky Iron-On Transfer Safety Pin Tank

I’ve been DIY’ing my heart out over here – and I meant to post this on the 4th of July, but as usual, I’m behind. So here it is, this safety-pinned tank, inspired by one I saw in a Japanese mag of yore:

You need:
*1 white tank top (2×1 rib)
*40 black small safety pins
*20 silver medium safety pins
*2 soft-feel iron-on transfers (I chose a black eagle, not because I wanted to, but because they were the only black iron-ons at the store. Jo-Ann’s, I curse you!!)

Easy peasy. Use a seam ripper and blunt scissors to slash one of the shoulder-straps in the center. Pin the slash and around the neckline of the tank with the black safety pins, haphazardly, crossing them over, etc. Add some silver ones for visual interest (I folded down and scrunched the other side too, just for the helluvit.) Transfer both iron-ons following the directions. Hand-wash. Or never wash. Whichever.

Punk? Yup. Patriotic? Kind of – not intentionally. But I thought it appropo for the 4th, so that’s what I wore.:-)

Hope you guys had a happy 4th! (That is, if you celebrate US holidays…;-)



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