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!