DIY Tiny Tank Dress

It’s been a hot summer here and I have been meaning to make Bella some dresses for a while now.

I finally drafted up a pattern for an easy tank dress that is perfect for warm summer days.

The beauty of this little dress is it can be made with just about any fabric.

I loved my first version so much that I made 6…  all out of different fabrics.

Tiny Tank Dress Main Image


I bought this regular weight cotton fabric from The Fabric Store in LA.  It is down the street from Mood and it is a gorgeous little shop.  Isn’t this vintage cherry print the cutest? The straps were made of this adorable navy polka dot voile that I originally purchased from Michael Levine, seen also here.

Tiny Tank Dress Cotton

Tiny Tank Dress Close Up

Tiny Tank Dress Smile

In the spring, I bought a few half yard cuts of some gorgeous voiles from Michael Levine.  I just love this dress in voile.  So cool, and because a baby is wearing it, it doesn’t matter if it is sheer.  In fact, I think it is super cute.

Tiny Tank Dress Back


Tiny Tank Dress Voile

I used some prepackaged bias tape for the straps on the navy and white tulip print, and made my own for the other two.  These prints are liberty-esque but without the steep price tag.

Tiny Tank Dress Profile

I also made a couple out of knit.  I love these too.  They were a bit trickier to sew, but I generously used knit stay tape on the casing and hem and it really helped.

Tiny Tank Dress Knit

This bird print is from Girl Charlee and it was so nice to sew with. The weight is just perfect.

Tiny Tank Dress Knit Tummy

Tiny Tank Dress Knit


The floral is from Angel Fabrics in the LA Fabric District.

Tiny Tank Dress Knit Tummy Smile

So I feel that we are good to go for dresses for a little while…

I created a free PDF pattern in size 6-12 Months.  You could easily use it for a toddler tank or dress by lengthening the elastic and straps, and lowering the hemline.  You wouldn’t have to change the actual pattern.


  • Pattern (Size 6-12 Months)
  • 1/2 Yard Fabric
  • 1/2″ Elastice
  • 3/4 yard purchased or hand-made bias tape
  • Optional: Knit Stay Tape

Pattern Map:

Pattern Map


  • Print (no Scaling, use Adobe Reader) out your pattern pieces and tape them together.
  • Cut out your pattern pieces




1. Make (or use prepackaged) bias tape (tutorial here) and cut to dimensions noted on pattern.  If you make your own, cut your strip 1 3/4″ wide.  You could use 1/4″ or 1/2″ prepackaged, depending on what you like better.  For knits, just cut your strips in the direction of the stretch, instead of the diagonal.

2. Fold down your neckline toward the wrong side 1/4″ and press.

3. Fold down neckline again 3/4″ and press.

4. Stitch casing closed (1/16″ away from bottom edge) and again 1/8″ away from the top edge.  Make sure you can fit 1/2″ elastic in between your stitches.

5. Cut 2 pieces of 1/2″ elastic to dimensions noted on pattern.

6. Using a safety pin, thread your elastic through your casing.  Repeat all steps for both front and back.


7. Stitch the edges of the casing (and the elastic in place) closed on both ends, about 1/8″ away from the edge.  Repeat for both front and back.

8. Open up your bias tape, place it on the right side of your fabric at the armhole edge and stitch along the creased line closest to the edge.  Go all the way to the top of the arm hole.

9. Attach the back side to the other end of the bias tape strip the same way.

10. Trim the seam allowance at the armholes to 1/8″

11. Fold over the bias tape and stitch all the way from the bottom of the front armhole at the side seam to the same place on the back, creating the strap in between the front and back.

T9 copy

12.  With right sides together, stitch the sideseams with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Finish seams.

13. Fold seam allowance toward the back at the armpit seam, and stitch seam allowance down so it doesn’t poke up.

14. Hem.  Fold over 1/4″ and press.  Fold over 1/2″ and press, then stitch around edge.  Or serge the bottom edge and fold it up 1/2″ or 3/4″ and stitch.

Happy Sewing!


28 Responses to DIY Tiny Tank Dress

  1. I love this!! I want to make some for me while I’m at it 🙂 That is the perfect summer outfit, thanks for sharing!

  2. These are PRECIOUS, and Bella is a true BEAUTY!!! Those big eyes and long eyelashes. . .lucky girl! Would you care to take a “stab” at how much it would need to be altered for a newborn?

  3. Erin says:

    This is darling! Thank you, this will get lots of use in my house.

  4. Farah says:

    Thanks Jen! What a beautiful and yet quick sew. With a newborn baby girl I don’t have time for time consuming projects. But this I can do! By the way, your baby girl is precious. God bless her!

  5. Anne says:

    Pretty pretty dress!! I can see how you’d have to make one after another after another… I’ve got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for tomorrow that links to your tutorial:

  6. These tank dresses are the cutest! Thanks for the link back.

  7. JOY says:

    Thanks for the pattern! So cute and the model is too.

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  13. Donn says:

    I have been wanting to try make some dresses for my little niece. She is growing so fast. This is perfect and looks super easy. Thankyou.

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  16. Oh my God! What a lovely baby and her little dress:):)
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  17. Sheila says:

    Beautifully described! A really nice project.
    You could also make it with even more room for growth by doing the bias tape armholes in two (much longer) pieces which would tie in a bow at the top.

  18. Patti says:

    Obviously, hitting “print” doesn’t work. The page with the pattern piece on it- he pattern wouldn’t fit a baby doll! What do I need to do to print correctly?

  19. Hannah says:

    Hi, I am curious, would 1/2 yard of fabric be enough to make the dress, bias tape, AND a little diaper cover? I am ordering some fabric online and I’m not sure if I should add on a few more inches or if the 1/2 yard will give me some extra. The 6-12 month is the perfect size for my girl this summer – Thanks!

  20. Jacqueline, Singapore says:

    Great pattern and clear instruction. I made 1 for my little one and it’s perfect. I do find the bias tape 11″ might be too fitting, no issue for me as I can sew on an extentsion and make it a tie in bow at the top. Love it !!!

  21. Heather says:

    Beautiful dress. Can you remember the name and manufacturer of the floral knit fabric from LA?
    Many thanks

  22. Mars says:

    Thank you for posting this pattern, I have made 3 of these and they are darling. I made one with jersey and fold over elastic instead of bias tape, worked great.

  23. Julie says:

    Hi there, I made a dress using this pattern and it came out soo cute! Now someone I know wants one made in a 3T size! I’m not sure how long the straps should be and how much longer and wider it would need to be…. Please help! Thanks.

  24. Jess says:

    Love this…my little girl is itty bitty. How does this compare to a standard 3-6 month measurement?

  25. Rochelle Gross says:

    Lovely!!! Must give it a try for charity.

  26. Lexy Harness says:

    It would have been extremely helpful if in the materials list it had said double fold bias tape instead of just on the pattern. When I was in the store I was referring to the list of materials and not the pattern in order to know what to buy.

  27. Marga says:

    Estoy haciendo este vestido para mi nieta Alma de dos meses , espero mostrar una foto cuando lo estrene. Saludos

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