Imagine the freedom of wearing a tank top without the worry of the straps of your bra peeking out, or the discomfort of the elastic band digging into your skin. Imagine a world where your tank top offers the support and coverage of a bra without actually having to wear one. That world is possible, and today, we're going to make it a reality together.
This tank top design is a perfect fit for various activities, from lounging around the house, doing yoga, running errands, to even a night out on the town – depending on the fabric and style you choose. This piece promises the freedom to move with ease and confidence, free from the constraints of traditional bras. Furthermore, it contributes to reducing your laundry load, simplifies your wardrobe, and minimizes dressing time – who wouldn't love these benefits?
In this tutorial, we're going to walk you through the process of making your own built-in bra tank top. You don't need to be a professional seamstress to follow along; we've made it simple enough for beginners, and engaging enough for seasoned sewists.
I will be the first to admit it is not truly a bra but it is something that will support you while keeping you cool in the summer.
A bra strap for easy adjustment.
- 2 yards of Cotton spandex, rayon or bamboo knit
- Elastic 1″ or 3/4″ wide,
- 2 1/2″ to 3″ yards of 1/2″ fold-over elastic or make your stretch bias tape
- Rotary Cutter or Scissors
- Jersey Knit or Ball Point Sewing Needles
- Serger or Overlocker (Optional)
- Cover Stitch (Optional)
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
You should be familiar with and confident working with stretch fabric to succeed in this project.
I suggest making a bralette or a pair of underwear to familiarize yourself with stretch fabrics.
Fabric Recommendations From Amazon
How To Download And Print Your Tank Top Sewing Pattern
We will continue using the new Payhip web store to distribute our patterns.
Our patterns are still free, but now you have the option of making a small contribution if you like our work! We'd appreciate it, and it will help us keep going with new and fun designs like this. Even a dollar or two goes a long way.
Thanks so much in advance for helping us out. You can use any credit card, and you don't need a Paypal account, although you can use one if you have one.
How To Sew Your Tank Top Pattern
The pattern has no seam allowance. Add the seam allowance according to the size of the double-sided elastic you get. My elastic is 1/2″, so when I fold it, it will be 1/4″ per side; that is the seam allowance I will add.
I also recommend buying two yards of the same fabric to make a muslin do the alterations, and then make the final tank top. You will want to make a few once you have the correct pattern for your body.
Use a Jersey Knit or Ball Point Needle to sew the tank top.
Step One: Sewing The Bra
Place the bra front right side up, then pin the back print side down.
Sew the sides.
Pin the soft part of the elastic facing the print. Sew using a medium or three-step zigzag if your machine has it. You can also use your serger without the knife.
Sew using a medium zigzag.
Trim the seam allowance of the bra in half.
Step Two: Sewing The Tank Top
Place the front print side up,
and place the back of the tank top on top. The print side faces each other. Sew the tank top at the side seams, and serge or zigzag the seams.
Step Three: Attaching The Fold Over Elastic
We will join the bra to the tank top using the fold of elastic. Pin the bra to the top wrong sides facing each other. You know it is correct; when you look inside the top, you will see the print side of the bra.
We are starting at the arm holes. Sew the elastic front to back on both sides.
We will sew the double-sided elastic and make the strap simultaneously.
Measure 13-17 inches;
Note: 17 inches for me was too long, so I suggest 13-15.
add the measurement of the neckline (minus 2 inches)
plus another 13-15 inches.
You should be left with a strap at each end of the front of the top.
Step Four: Adding The Slides And The Rings
Adding The Ring
Slide the ring at the end of the folded elastic. Sew at the bottom of the ring using a small zigzag. Use the yellow pin below as a guide.
Adding The Slide
Add the ring to the end of the strap.
Insert the strap over the ring through the whole towards the inside of the tank top.
We will continue to work under the strap. Insert the end through the first hole of the slider.
Insert the end of the strap over the bridge and through the other hole.
Zigzag the end of the strap; use the pin below as a guide.
Step Five: Heming The Tank Top
A cover stitch is a perfect machine to hem a garment like this tank top; however, if you do not have one. Serge the hem and turn it 1/2″ using a tiny zigzag, or sew using a double needle.
Finally, iron the tank top using a lot of steam.
Ready to be worn, I made Size L for me because I wanted the waist area not to be so close to the body.
Next time I will make a medium. I have lost 15 pounds walking my dogs every day for 40 minutes.
Can this top be made with rayon that doesn’t stretch?
Hi Susan, no it can not since you need the stretch to be able to pass it through your torso.
love this. so fun to make and very comfor
It is indeed, thank you!
Mayra, the very pattern I needed. Thanks. Your instructions are top notch as always.
My pleasure Sherine! Enjoy! Will appreciate a feed back if you have the time. Kind Regards, MC
I love the material. Does anyone know where I can buy it from?
Loving this. I’ve been trying to do my own built in bra for a couple of years now with varying success. I’m looking forward to having a go at yours and hopefully get something that works better than my idea. I like this idea on sundresses for summer as bras don’t work for me anymore, especially as I am older and bigger all over these days.
Hi Julie, the build on bra is for modesty purpose and light support but it will not support you like a bra. However, I recommend to use a wider double elastic for the straps. I would like to tell me in terms of sizes to understand your needs.
I love this but its really frustrating I can’t print the instructions. When I select the pages to print, it prints a garbled version. Same for when I tell it to print the whole. The downloaded pattern printed just fine.
Fantastic! I’m going to play with this and see if I can modify the top area to adjust the back strap attachment more towards the middle (my straps always fall off). If that works, I wonder if it would work to make the bra part in stretch fabric and attach it to a a non-stretch fabric shell. Any thoughts on that?
By doubling the bra fabric, I hope to create a pocket I can stuff with fiberfill for a comfortable post-mastectomy bra alternative that restores a normal look. This will take some experimenting, but I’m confident it’s doable.
How much of the 1in elastic is needed
This is great! A perfect summer staple. Do you have any suggestions on how to make it a bit more flowy and not as fitted? Thank you!
yes all you have to do is add to the sides without touching the armhole and neckline. The explanation will require a video. Let me see what I can do. I am off on a business trip next Friday and am working on my wardrobe, so it will have to wait when I have a a couple of hours free.
As a plus size woman, I would really like to see extended sizing as an option!
OMG- can’t wait to make this- since breast cancer/surgery this is a staple in my wardrobe.Thank You so much
Hi Lori, it is my pleasure to be able to help you built your wardrobe. If there is any thing else I can do please send me a note.