Basic Summer Tank Tutorial

Whether you’re dreaming of warmer days — or smack dab in the middle of them — here’s a tutorial for a basic summer tank. It comes together quickly, and has loads of room for showcasing your boy’s personality!

Let’s begin:


*An old tee shirt (a men’s M was used here to make a 3T)

*rib knit for finishing arms/neckhole

*a well fitting tee to draft your pattern

*paper to use for your pattern

To begin with, use a current tee to rough up a basic tank pattern onto freezer paper. I just omitted the sleeves when tracing, and created two necklines-one for the front, and a higher one for  cutting out my back piece. Don’t forget to add seam allowance on the sides and shoulders, and extra length for hemming.

*There are so. many. tutorials. on drafting up your own patterns, so I won’t reinvent the wheel here. If you need more information, Google or your favorite tutorial blog will have a lot of thorough info for you!  

Then, fold your men’s tee in half, laid your pattern on top and traced it right onto the shirt. I added both neckline, and cut everything out using the highest neckline (back of the shirt).

Once your front and back pieces are separated, cut on the remaining collar line to get your front piece.

Pin the wrong sides of your tank together at the shoulders and the sides. Sew the shoulders, and then sew up the sides.

Now, this next part is far from scientific…if that bothers you, feel free to do it your own way! Use a tailor’s tape measure to get a rough estimate of the length around the collar and the armholes, then added a half inch to those lengths.

 Then cut out one neck piece and two armhole pieces of rib knit using those (not at all precise) measurements. Here, the arm pieces were about an 1″ wide, the neck piece about an 1.5″.

Pin your rib knit around each arm hole. To make it simple, you can plan for raw edges, and just sandwiched the tank arm into the rib knit.

At the end of  pinning, fold the rib knit back under itself, and pin it down into place.

Sew into place. Repeat for your neckline, and ta da! If you want to leave your hem raw (love that knit material!) then you are done! If not, a quick hem and you are ready to go!!

For some simple variations:

*When tracing out your pattern, add extra length at the bottom of the shirt. Cut the shirt off just under the arms of the tank so that you have two front pieces and two back pieces. Then, pin the top of the front to the bottom of the front, and sew together. Finish it with a twin stitch over the top using contrasting thread. Repeat for the back. Now you have some sharp detailing!

*When cutting out your pieces, use the hem of your existing men’s tee for a finished hem on your tank without the work!

*Use fabric paint and/or heat transfer material to personalize your shirt with any designs…use your imagination. Make it unique to your boy!

Quick and easy, fun and cute!

Happy Sewing!

(This post was originally published over at Bluebird & the Boy)

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