DIY tank top dress with in-seam pockets

DIY tank top dress with in-seam pockets made from a basic tank top

Today I am sharing my sewing tutorial to make this DIY tank top dress using a basic tank top from Target. Alright you guys,this project is extra special to me because it features one of my newest patterns from my very first fabric collection (which I’ll be revealing very soon shhhhh!), and I am so excited/nervous to share it with you! This pattern is called “California fields of gold,” and I used Spoonflower‘s new cotton lawn fabric to turn my design into this easy DIY summer dress. I absolutely love the way it turned out and I’m pretty much living in this dress now!

Spoonflower‘s cotton lawn fabric is so light and soft, it’s absolutely perfect yo make this light summer dress. This dress is super comfortable, and the fit is loose below the bust so you can actually wear it pregnant or not. My dear and gorgeous friend Sarah volunteered to model the dress so you could see the regular fit -or maybe I volunteered her?! ;)-, and here I am with my big belly showing you the maternity version :)

DIY easy tank top summer dress with in-seam pocketsDIY tank dress with pockets that you can also wear during pregnancyDIY tank top dress

To tell you the truth, I usually don’t like sewing clothes for myself because I always get lazy around the neckline…hence why I haven’t done a sewing tutorials for this blog! But because this dress uses a basic tank on top, it removes all the hurdles and it’s so easy to make! I made this tutorial using French seams, it makes the whole finish that much nice, but you could totally change that to regular seams to save yourself time. This dress has a long sash to make it more elegant – I attached to my dress using bonding tape because really, I can’t be trusted not to loose a sash 😉 Another favorite thing about this dress: the in-seam pockets! Gaaaaaaaaaah do I love me some pockets on my dresses…’s addictive, you guys! The pockets make this dress feel so comfy and casual, and you can barely notice them since they are in-seam.

DIY tank top maternity dressDIY tank maternity dress that you can wear after beforeDIY tank top dress with in-seam pocketsDIY tank top dress using a basic tank topDIY easy tank top dress with in-seam pockets

What you need
What you do

1. Before you start making your dress, make sure to wash and iron – better than me 😉– your tank top and fabric.
2. Cut a long piece for the sash – I simply cut a piece that was 8 inches wide and as long as my piece of fabric, 3 1/2 yards. I shortened it a bit later on, but I like a long sash. You can make it shorter, or skip it altogether if you don’t want one. Tip: try to use multidirectional fabric if you are going to make a sash, this way the sash will blend with your dress much better.
3. Cut the front and back panels of your dress. Height of the panel: Measure from right below your bust to the floor, then add 4 inches to that to have a bit of margin. Width of panel: measure right below your bust, all around, then multiply that measurement by 1.5 and divide by two. For example, my bust was about 36 inches, so the width of my panel was 36 x 1.5 = 54 /2 = 27 inches. My final panels measured 27 inches x 50 inches.
DIY easy tank top dress step 1
4. Cut out 2 pairs of pockets using this pattern for the pockets – you can also use your own pocket pattern if you’d like, just make sure it has a 1/2 inch allowance on the side. Tip: these pockets have a 1/2 seam allowance because we’ll be sewing them in two phases to make a french seam. If you do not want to do French seam, you can reduce the seam allowance to 1/4 inch.

DIY easy tanp top dress step 2
5. Take one of your pocket piece and pin it about 9 inches from the top of your front panel, wrong sides together. Sew a 1/4 inch seam, trim fabric a little bit as needed then flip so that the right side are together and press with an iron. Sew another 1/4 inch seam – you made your first french seam. Repeat this step on the other side of the panel, and then sew the remaining two pockets pieces on the back panel. Make sure to match the pocket pieces! When you are done, slightly cut the fabric (about 1/4 inch) at the very top and bottom of each pocket piece to make sure the panels don’t wrinkle.

DIY easy tank top dress step 3DIY easy tank top dress step 4
6. Match the front and back panels, wrong wide together (again, we’re doing French seams here), and pin along the long edges and the pockets. Saw all along the long edge with a 1/4 inch seam, stopping and turning your fabric as you go through the pockets. When you get to the top of the pocket, you’ll want to give your seam a nice curve. At the bottom of the pockets, I simply stopped my seam, repositioned my fabric and started the seam where I left it off – the angle is just too sharp.

DIY easy tank top dress step 5DIY easy tank top dress step 6
7. Trim any excess fabric so that it doesn’t get caught in your French seam, then flip your shirt, right side together and sew another 1/4 inch seam all along the side + pockets. You pockets are done!

DIY easy tank top dress step 7
6. The top part of the skirt calls for elastic thread to make it easier to put the dress on and take it off. If you’ve never used elastic thread before, don’t be scared, it’s easy! All you do is to prepare your machine is that you manually thread your bottom bobbin loosely (no tension) with the elastic thread.

DIY easy tank top dress step 9
7. Sew the top of your dress with long stitches using the elastic thread in the bottom bobbin and regular thread on top – as you sew you will see your fabric start to ruffle :) Tip: if you have a Brother machine, you might have the issue that your fabric stays flat using this process. Not to worry, just make sure to not use back-stitching at the beginning/end, and when you are done sewing all along the skirt you can simple create the ruffles by gently pulling on each end of the elastic thread – do a little bit of ruffles at a time, go gently so you don’t break the thread!

DIY tank top dress step 10
8. Match the bottom of your cropped tank top with the top of your skirt, and pins right sides together – I didn’t do French seams here, but you could easy do that if you want to. Sew 1/4 inch along the side of the seam you made on the top of the dress, using the elastic thread in the bottom bobbin again. Flip you dress right side out and hem the bottom of your dress at the right length for you.

DIY easy tank top dress step 11
9. Now for the sash: Fold your piece of fabric along the long edge, right sides together, press and sew. When you are done, refold along the long edge for the the seam is in middle of the back of your sash – as pictured above. Press again, then saw one end of your sash – I angled mine with an 45 degree angle. Flip the sash inside out, press again, then close the other end of the sash. Tip: I used a bit of fusible bonding web to attach the sash to my dress because I hate loosing sashes :) Simple cut a small piece of tape and place it between the dress and the sash – right where the tank top and skirt meet. Make sure to measure how long the sash need to be in the front so you don’t end up with a sash that that’s too tight :)

Disclaimer: Spoonflower partnered with me for this project and provided the fabric. All ideas in this post are my own. All pictures by This Little Street. When sharing this tutorial, please only share a picture or two and link to this post for the full tutorial – thank you!

DIY tank top dress that you can wear during pregnancy and after

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21 Responses to “DIY tank top dress with in-seam pockets”
  1. Nina says:

    Alors là, ton tuto pouvait pas tomber au meilleur moment : je suis en mode couture à fond en ce moment! Mais comme j’ai peu de temps, il me faut des projets simples, donc le tien est juste parfait! Elle rend magnifiquement bien cette robe, pile ce qu’il me faut pour affronter la canicule qui arrive! Et mon coeur s’est arrêté quand tu as dit “collection de tissus”!!! Je suis au moins autant excitée que toi là, j’ai trop trop hâte de voir ça! Celui-ci est magnifique, et le California Dream me plait beaucoup aussi! Je crois que je vais en acheter des mètres et des mètres 😉

    Et comme d’hab, tu es radieuse sur les photos!

    • audrey says:

      Coucou Nina! Contente que les tissus te plaisent – je continue la collection et je me fais bien plaisir :) Si tu fais des choses avec mon tissu surtout il faudra me faire voir! 😀 Bises!

  2. Kristina says:

    So cute! I’ve always been intimidated to make clothes but you make it seem so approachable. Maybe this will be my first project!

    • audrey says:

      You should definitely try! If this is one of your first clothing project, replace the French seams with regular seams and this project will be even easier! Let me know if you need more direction on that :)

  3. This dress is so adorable! Looks like the perfect summer dress! And don’t even get me started on how cute that pattern + you are :)

  4. Ummm…SO CUTE!!! And LOVE the print, lady!!!! Major heart eyes! And you look so adorable! 😀

  5. Amy W says:

    This is stunning! It looks so light and comfortable, too! The fabric is perfect. Pinning!

  6. Cyd says:

    This is gorgeous and so are you! Further proof I really really need to learn how to sew. 😉 The styling and photos are stunning, too!

    • audrey says:

      You really should Cyd! Start with small projects for your home, they are more “forgiving” and then you can move on to clothing etc! :)

  7. Rubi says:

    I specially here for nice printing outfit. I liked its design and color. So simple but attractive.

  8. Ju says:

    I won’t lie: I’m pretty sure I’ll never get time to sew again before ages (at the moment I focus on trying to find some time to sleep. Do I love baby teething… 😉
    BUT I absolutely want to congratulate you: this fabric looks GREAT and the dress is lovely, it really is. I love the fact it suits a ‘regular’ (?!!) lady and a (beautiful) pregnant lady (God, you look big !!! can’t wait to see this little girl’s face in a few weeks !).
    And I also can’t wait to see the other patterns of your fabric collection. As the French say: “Non mais quelle classe !!!”

    • audrey says:

      Can’t wait to show you the rest too :) Someday, my dear, someday you’ll have more time…..I know I might be delusional to think to, but as the French say “L’espoir fait vivre” 😀

  9. Pauline says:

    This may seem like an odd question, since the dress you posted is so beautiful but what really caught my eye was the lovely blue patterned rug in the background. Just wondering where the rug is from. Thanks!

  10. You are nice but your simple dress made you more gorgeous, Really like the dress and love you.

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