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The best thing about Summer clothing is how casual it is. No one expects formal, structured clothing when it’s hot outside, so simple cotton tee shirts and flowy fabrics become the new uniform. We all have that one tank top that we always reach for, so why not make more of them in a few different colors?
Using a tee shirt or a tank top that you already own and love as a pattern is a great way to create new clothing patterns for yourself that you know will fit. You can even take portions of a shirt and add your own fun details to it, which is what this peplum tank tutorial does. Using a tank top, a pattern piece is created. Then the bottom is removed from the shirt and a peplum is added. It’s as simple as that!
The easiest way to try out this method is by using a stretch tank top as the pattern and some of Fabric Wholesale Direct’s cotton jersey material. Once you master it, patterns can be made using more complicated shirts, pants, or skirts. Get ready to master pattern making and start making your own, custom-fit wardrobe!\
1. Start by turning your tank top inside out so that you can see the seams. You will notice that there are two distinct pieces of fabric that were used to create it: a front bodice and a back bodice. Since the shirt is symmetrical on the left and right sides of your body, the front and back bodices can be created on the folded edge of a piece of fabric to make sure both sides look the same.
Fold the shirt in half and place the folded edge on the edge of your paper. Trace around the neck, shoulder, arm hole, and down the side of the body with a 1 inch allowance around it. If there is a dart on your shirt, add about 3 inches to the bottom of the shirt instead of 1. If you need to, add more paper to the pattern by taping a piece to the first piece.
2. Next, fold the shirt in half again so that you can see the back of the shirt and place this on another piece of paper. Repeat what you did in step 1 for the back bodice.
3. The paper patterns you created in steps 1 and 2 are perfect for recreating the tank top that you own, but to make this into a peplum top, you will only need the top half of the pattern, so you can either fold the pattern up about 6" (so that you can reuse it again to make a full shirt) or cut 6" off the bottom.
4. Now that you have these pieces traced, write "FOLD" on the edges of the paper that you had folded edges on so that you know where to fold your fabric. Write "SEW" along edges that had seams connecting two pieces of fabric on them and "HEM" along edges that were openings for your body like the neck and arm holes. Also, label each pattern with "Front" and "Back" so you know which is which. Cut around the patterns you just made.
5. Now you can use these patterns just like you would a normal pattern. Line up the "FOLD" with a folded edge of a piece of the jersey fabric, pin the pattern down, and then cut your fabric. You will also want to cut a rectangle that is 8" x the measurement around the bottom of the shirt multiplied by 2 (this can be made as two separate rectangles if the width of the fabric is not long enough).
6. If your shirt had darts, add in darts to your FRONT bodice about 1" down from where they started on your original tank top. If there are no darts, skip this step.
7. To assemble the shirt, start by sewing the shoulders of the front bodice and back bodice together. Sew the sides of the shirt closed. Turn the shirt right side out.
8. To make the hems nice and tidy, I cut pieces of fabric that match the size of the openings and are about 1" wide to sew along them. Create patterns for the arm holes and front and back neck pieces, cut out your fabric, and pin it along the right side of the shirt. Sew along the edge of the fabric about 1/4" from the edge. Then, flip the 1" fabric to the back side of the fabric, pin down, and again sew it 1/4" from the edge of the fabric. Cut any remaining fabric on the backside of the shirt.
9. To finish off the shirt, you will just need to add on the peplum ruffle. Sew a basting stitch along the top of the long edge of the rectangles you cut out in step 5. Then scrunch it by holding one of the end thread and pushing the fabric away from you. Do this for both pieces of fabric. Once they are each the same length as the width of the shirt, place one on top of the other with the right sides of the fabric touching and sew them together along the short sides.10. Place the ruffle inside out on top of the tank top with the ruched edge lined up with the bottom of the shirt. Sew along the seam you made to create the ruching in step 9. Fold the ruffle back down to the front. Finish the shirt by hemming the bottom of the peplum edge