Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ruffled Nautical Tank Top Tutorial

Today I'm sharing a tutorial on how to turn a basic $5 tank into a nautical-inspired top by adding a simple ruffle detail! This is a quick, simple, and inexpensive way to add some fun to a basic tank!

ruffled tank top tutorial diy

nautical ruffled tank top tutorial diy

All you'll need for this top is a basic tank (mine was actually marked down to $3 at Walmart) and 1/3 of a yard of 44" wide fabric (I used a striped seersucker fabric). Here's how you make the tank:

Step 1:
Lay out your fabric (folded in half) and cut two strips that are each 5 1/2" wide (44" in length after you unfold each piece).

Step 2:
Open up each strip and sew them together, wrong sides facing, at one side of the short ends. Your are doing this in order to make a strip long enough to ruffle around the neckline of your tank as only one strip isn't long enough.

Step 3:
Take your long conjoined strip, lay it out flat and fold it in half, 'hog dog style', right sides facing in. You are going to sew down the length of the strip using a 1/4" inseam. Leave a small opening half way down the strip so that you can turn the strip right side out later on.

Step 4:
One each end of the strip, create a point by sewing two angled seams...this isn't a science...I just found the center of each end each sewed down from each side meeting the point. Cut the excess fabric around the angles, then turn your entire strip right side out (which is why you left a small section of the seam open). 

Step 5:
Now that your strip is right side out, you need to iron your strip flat...the seam should be in the middle of your strip as you iron, not to one side. The picture below shows where your seam should be but isn't entirely accurate because your raw edges should be inside your strip, FYI (but it was the only picture taken while I was ironing, ha!).

Step 6:
Now you are going to create a pleated ruffle around your tank. Lay the tank flat with the back side up. Start by matching the middle of your strip to the middle of the top of the tank, seam side down. You are going to fold the strip and create pleats that are about 1" wide (this is just approximate...the key is simply keeping whatever pleat size you use consistent all the way around) pinning each pleat as you go around. Work your way around and down to the front on one side of the tank only, then stop. Then start at the back again and work your way down to the front on the other side of the tank and stop when you reach the front (but make sure you pleats are all facing the same direction). You will leave space to tie the ends into a knot.

If you find that the ends are too long once you're done with the pleats, you can always adjust the size of your pleats to make the ends shorter (or vice versa). Just play around until you are happy with the placement.

Step 7:
Now it's time to sew! Start at the front bottom of one side of your ruffle and top stitch through the center of your ruffle, all the way around the neckline. Go slow and be VERY mindful of your pleats so that they remain flat and don't get caught as you sew. Back stitch at both ends of your stitching. Once you're done securing the ruffle, tie the ends into a knot and rock it!

 I paired my tank with some red skinnies...which is now my outfit for the 4th of July!!


  1. So darn cute! I just found your blog, and I am loving every minute of it!