Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tank Top (or any top!) - Boutique Style {Tutorial}

Finally!!  Here is the tutorial for the boutique style embellished tank I first showed you HERE.  Thanks so much for being patient with me :)  The weather here has finally decided to be GORGEOUS, and it's just so hard to stay in and blog when it's so beautiful outside.  We even got to pull out the swimsuits this weekend!  Yippee!!  Anyhow, on to the tutorial...don't let all the pictures scare you.  It's way easy and takes no time at all!  Definitely great for a beginner too!!  I just wanted to be thorough :) 

P.S.  I like my first one much better (I LOVED the fabric!), but this one's cute too.  Have fun with it and pair up fabrics you wouldn't think to put together!

Materials Needed:
- Scraps of fabric (3 different)
- Fusible web (I use Steam a Seam)
- 3 buttons (to match your fabric...don't have to match each other)
- Basic sewing stuff

Step 1: Creating Your Pattern Piece
Create your "pattern" by tracing the neckline of the shirt you are wanting to embellish.  Then, hand draw the rest of your design in the shape you want.  It really can be anything, because the only part that will have to be a certain shape is the neck :)  You can see my oval-ish shape below.  Cut out your shape, then place it on your top where it will go and make sure you like how it looks and that the neck lines up properly.

Step 2:  Measuring and Cutting Your Pieces
Roughly measure around your piece from one corner to the other, then multiply that measurement by 2 to get the length needed for your ruffle.  Mine measured about 15" so I cut a ruffle piece at 30.5" (added 1/4" on each end because they will be folded in).  Also measure from top to bottom down the middle of your piece and add 1 inch to that measurement for the length of your middle piece.

After measuring, cut the following:
1 ruffle piece 2" x (double the length around your pattern piece + 1/2")
1 middle piece 1.5" x (height of pattern from top to bottom + 1")

Here are your three pieces ready to go! 

Step 3: Pressing
Prepare your pieces for sewing by folding down the top edge of your main piece 1/4".  Make sure to clip along the curve so that it lays flat (as shown below).  I did not take a picture of this part (sorry!), but you also need to fold both of the long edges of your middle piece in 1/4" on and press well.

Fold each end of your ruffle strip down 1/4", then fold your entire ruffle piece in half lengthwise and press.  I don't have a picture of the finished piece, but you get the idea, right?  You can kind of see the fold in the picture below.

Now all of your pieces are pressed and ready!

Step 4: Cutting your Fusible Web
Following the directions on your package of webbing, trace one main piece and one middle piece (with the folds kept as pressed above).  My webbing says to trace in reverse (this doesn't matter in this case, but definitely would if you were cutting out letters, etc.) on the side that stays with the web.  Cut out both pieces.  Set the main piece aside.

Peel off one side of your webbing piece and slide it down the middle of your middle piece on the wrong side (the side that will be attached to the shirt).  Peel off the remaining paper of your webbing and you will have this (middle piece with only the exposed webbing down the center):

The webbing should stick well to your fabric, so should stay put when you pick it up.  Flip that piece over and arrange it in the middle of your main piece and press hard on it so that it adheres well enough to stay put.

Fold the top edge over, and cut the bottom edge even with the bottom of the main piece.  Press well to bond the middle piece to the main piece.

Step 5:  Securing and Finish the Middle Piece
To complete your piece for attaching to your shirt, first topstitch down both sides of the middle piece very close to the edge (shown below).  **P.S. Do this BEFORE you attach the buttons so you don't have to switch to a zipper foot :) **  After topstitching, attach your three buttons to the middle piece by hand.  I like to put my top and bottom buttons on first, then line the third one up between those.  Be sure to place the bottom button at least 1/2" from the bottom edge to leave room to attach the ruffle.

Step 6:  Creating and Adding the Ruffle
No pics at first, sorry :)  To create your ruffle, sew a long basting stitch, about a 1/4" from the edge, down the long open edge of your ruffle strip (opposite the fold).  DO NOT backstitch at either end.  Then, gently pull one thread at one end of your strip and gently slide your fabric to the opposite end to gather it up.  Gather it evenly, and kind of lay it around your main piece to get an idea of when it is the correct length/gathered enough.  **No, your eyes aren't deceiving you, I have pleats instead of ruffles.  I broke my gathering thread and didn't want to re-do it.  Pleats work great too if you don't want to ruffle!**

Once your ruffle is gathered (pleated), pin it around the edge of your main piece matching up raw edges, making sure the fold is toward the inside (as shown). 

Once pinned well, sew ruffle in place around the edge using a 3/8" stitch so that your stitch line is just inside your gathering stitch (so it doesn't show when you flip it back to the right side). 

Flip your ruffle/raw edges under and you should have something like this:

Press well (but not so well that you scorch your fabric like me...and then are working so fast you don't even realize it until it's sewn on your shirt...ugh!  Haha).  **Notice when you flip the ruffle you have some extra fabric peeking out at the corners.  No problem, just tuck it under and press.**

Step 7:  Finishing and Attaching to Shirt
Did you think we forgot about the main piece of webbing?  We didn't!  Now that your entire piece is as it should be and pressed well, attach your main piece of webbing to the back, and adhere it to your shirt where you want it to lay (lining up the top edge with the neckline).

Press well to adhere to shirt (gasp!  how did I not notice that scorch spot......) 

To completely finish, topstitch around the entire main piece (including across the top curve) with about an 1/8" seam allowance, as shown.  Clip your loose threads, and enjoy!

You can pretty much apply these steps to create embellishments for any top!  Have fun and let me know if you make one :)


  1. Amazing! I didn't think it was so simple and easy! My favourite kind of projects: easy, quick and great result! Thank you once again.

  2. What a great idea! I am going to have to make my little girl a top like this, thanks for shareing!

  3. Very cute! I am saving this tutorial to make some matching tops for skirts!

  4. Great tutorial! :) I loved this when I featured it a couple weeks ago and I still love it! Very cute!!

    I am a new follower now!


    PS- I am hosting a giveaway on my blog right now for free hair accessories and would love for you to come enter!

  5. That is adorable! Stop and take a look at my newest post

  6. The tank is way cute. Where Oh where did you get that dog bag? LOOOOOVE it!!

  7. so cute. Come link up on my blog.

  8. what a cutie... the shirt is fantastic as well!


  9. So cute!! I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


  10. Thanks for sharing! I just discovered your page and will have to go through it to see what other goodies you have shared! I'm looking for really pretty peasant tops (3/4 length sleeve) in particular. ;)

  11. Oh man! These are so beautiful! Found you through Sundae Scoop!

  12. This is so adorable! Love the bib style and the ruffle. Too cute!

    Gwenny Penny

  13. This is precious. I am bookmarking this one. Thanks for sharing.

  14. I love these little shirts! So adorable and great tutorial! I would love for you to come link up to my Sew Crafty Party !

  15. You were featured over at Today's Top 20! Woot Woot! :)


  16. following you from backless shirt! love this idea. am going to try it for my little girl!
    thanks for sharing.

  17. Hi, I added your project to my Saturday Stumbles post!

    ~Jamie @

  18. Love this! I'm so making this for my kiddos!!

    Found your blog from Creation Corner.

    Love your blog and signed up to follow...


  19. Incredibly adorable, I'm your newest follower!!

  20. Congrats! You are in the top 10 at Today's Top 20! Voting will end tomorrow at Midnight! Good luck! And Congrats! :)


  21. so so cute!!! i am going to make a few of these to dress up my little girl's shirts!!!

  22. I just followed your tutorial and embellished a cute t-shirt for my granddaughter. thanks!

  23. SUPER CUTE! Check out my blog...


  24. this is so cute! its a matilda jane diy!

  25. so creative and easy, i like your ideas, Im newest follower :)

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