Tank top upcycling tutorial

I’ve been working on some simple sewing tutorials. Ways to upcycle clothing you already have, into more interesting items. First up is a tank top, which I have shortened and shaped and turned into an asymmetrical top with exposed seams.

Start with a tank top that is one size too big – it will become smaller in the sewing process.

Cut off the armhole hems if they are bulky.

Then cut 2 curves from the arm holes down to the hemline – it’s fine to do this by eye. You can divide it into thirds like I have done here, or make the middle panel a bit wider (I think that looks better). Just make sure that after the initial curve, you cut straight down. This will help the seams align later on.

A simple upcycling tutorial - turn a tank top into an asymmetrical top with exposed seams. Read more at gumnutmagic.com/blog

Sew these curves back together on an overlocker, with the seams on the outside. Overlock the side seams too, straightening them up if they curve out like this one does. Try it on – if it is still too big, you can take it in more at the side seams.

Cut across the body of the top at the true waist, and again about 5-10 cm above the bottom hem line.

A simple upcycling tutorial - turn a tank top into an asymmetrical top with exposed seams. Read more at gumnutmagic.com/blog

Remove the centre strip (it could be used as a cowl or even to make a matching hood for this top). Align the top and bottom pieces. You can sew them together like this…

or rotate the bottom piece to create an off-centre look:

Sew these two pieces together and you’re done!

A simple upcycling tutorial - turn a tank top into an asymmetrical top with exposed seams. Read more at gumnutmagic.com/blog

Here’s a photo of the side, to show you how some of the seams align and some don’t.

This top is destined for the dye pot – I’ll post the results of that soon, once I decide whether to scrunch dye or eco-print it.

Here’s another version I made using an old terracotta-coloured top:

A simple upcycling tutorial - turn a tank top into an asymmetrical top with exposed seams. Read more at gumnutmagic.com/blog

It’s the same basic shape, but I made the middle panel wider which gives it a different feel. I love wearing it with this silk dress that I eco-printed with eucalyptus leaves.

A simple upcycling tutorial - turn a tank top into an asymmetrical top with exposed seams. Read more at gumnutmagic.com/blog

Please let me know if you try this out – I would love to see your results! And also let me know if you would like to read more of these little tutorials. They are pretty simple, but they are designed with my younger self in mind, who didn’t have many sewing skills but wasn’t big on sewing with patterns. Hopefully this tutorial inspires you to create a funky futuristic top from something you already own.

5 thoughts on “Tank top upcycling tutorial”

  1. Thanks! That gives me some inspiration for upcycling other garments and inspiration to get out the scissors and start to play. Very much appreciate your generosity in sharing your technique

  2. Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve been upcycling for years but was never sure about jersey fabrics, so yes, I’ll definitely try this. I’m thinking of making a dress using this method. I’d absolutely love to see more tutorials!

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