My mom adventures in Fort Collins

Gettin’ Crafty: Tank top to child’s dress
April 14, 2012, 6:06 am
Filed under: Crafting, Family

In my world, I’ve yet to truly accept that I’m not really that good at being crafty. You see, I love it so much that it breaks my heart to think of not doing it. I envision a whole home devoted to inspirational ideas gleaned from pinboards. Is it so wrong to long for gift cards to Hobby Lobby and Joann’s Fabrics? I look at jam jars and toilet paper rolls and think only of how I might someday be able to put them to good use in a reincarnated craft.

For better or worse, I have passed this trait down to my children. They, like most pre-school age kiddos, love to CREATE! Glue, glitter, fabric, thread, scissors, yarn, stickers, crayons, paper, paint, chalk, markers, etc. The obvious advantage in their crafting world vs. my crafting world is their ages. At 2 and 4, I think most people are not expecting Van Gogh. Whereas when you are 35 and your work looks interchangeable for your pre-schooler’s, it can seem defeating.

Yet I persist. So, here’s a little creation that you can whip up if you too care to tame the wild crafting beast that lives inside you.

Start with an old tank top (Do you see the look in her eyes? Mom, WHAT are you doing with your sewing machine?)


Old Tank Top (yep, the one in your Goodwill pile will work nicely)




Fabric Scrap* (optional, but helpful esp. if your tank top is  a v-neck)

Approximately 2 feet of ribbon

Heat-n-Bond Adhesive tape* (optional, but helpful)

Sewing Machine* (optional, but will make this project go super duper quick)


1. Cut out the side seams of your tank top.Then, cut the top straps. You should now have two generally tank-top-shaped, separate pieces of cloth .

Two separate pieces of cloth

1.5 If you have a v-neck, you may wish to add a little insert into the V. Even Toddlers in Tiaras don’t need cleavage showing. Dress that little fabric scrap up really cute, and apply it to the cloth from the wrong-side with a decorative stitch if you like.

A little insert into the V

1.75 If you fear that the dress is too wide, cut back the back straps area. Using a fusible adhesive (like heat-n-bond tape), make a hem. No sewing necessary! Just watch your iron so that you are following the directions of the adhesive, and use an iron cloth (adhesive on your iron stinks both literally and figuratively).

See how I trimmed back the back to make it a bit smaller?

There's my lovely heat-n-bond seam in the making. Heat-n-bond tape is to sewing what cake mixes are to baking.

2. Keeping your two separate pieces of cloth wrong-side out, you will pin up new straps–taking them up a few inches as necessary. Then, measuring against your model, pin a new side seam. Considering you now have sharp pins sticking all over your dress, carefully remove it from your model.

3. Lay out the dress and straighten your seams. If your tank top has an empire waist (as mine did), re-pin to account for bunching and fit. The empire waist area–an inch or so down from the chest–is a great area to put in a tie back which you can easily create with a ribbon. Pin your ribbon in 12-in (approximate) lengths to the interior of the dress. You’ll want about an inch of fabric sticking out when you sew it all up.

4. Sew  up the seams. Be mindful of the ribbons, because you only want to catch them in the seam where you pinned them!

5. Press seams. Try it on your model and see what you’ve created! (If it’s still too long, you will also need to pin and hem your dress.) Have a fun fashion show!

The tie-back bow

Another shot of the dress

Everyone will want to try on the dress.

Someone help me. “Ma’am, step away from the sewing machine. Keep your hands where I can see them.” Seriously, it’s just a matter of weeks before I cut up the old curtains to make cloth-diapers for Baby Alive. Wait, I’ve already done that.


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