step by step : tiny pocket tank

As promised, here is my photographic step by step.  Aren’t you glad you’re not wasting all this printer ink 4real?!  You can click on the photos to see any of them larger and I have also posted them in a flickr set with the instructions if that’s more your style.  I apologize that one or two of the photos are a bit blurry, trying to take macro photos while posing fabric in low light is definitely not the easiest thing to do.  I had to call in my professional photographer for a few shots that required two hands on the fabric.
1.  Print out instructions + pattern, tape pattern together.
2.  Select your size and cut out the pattern pieces.  You can blend between sizes if needed and lengthen or shorten the top between the lines provided.  Be sure to lengthen or shorten the same amount on each piece.


3.  Lay out and cut pieces according to the diagrams included on the pattern printout.  I always trace my patterns with a pencil, it works just fine.  Be sure to mark the pocket dart placement…I usually just stick a pin in them.
4.  Sew the front darts pressing the dart excess down towards the hem.


5.  Next is the pocket placement.  This is much easier if you do it now than sticking it on at the end.  Fold the top edge over 1/4″ the 1/4″ again, stitch along the folded edge.
6.   Press the 1/2″ seam allowance around the pocket to the wrong side.  I also notched out some of the corner fabric to reduce bulk.
7.  Pin the pocket in place using the pocket placement guides for your size.
8.  Topstitch the pocket down as close to the edge of the pocket as you can comfortably get, probably no further than 1/8″.


Note : Now you will sew the side and shoulder seams together.  If your fabric is thin and you would like to use French seams as I did here to give a good clean finish follow steps 9-14 here, otherwise continue as directed in Step 7 of the Instruction sheet.
9.  Pin your fabric together with the wrong sides together at the side seams and shoulders.
10.  Sew a 1/4″ seam at each side seam and the shoulder seams.
11.  Press the seam open.
12.  Trim the seam allowance in half to prevent any fabric from sticking out of the seam once you seal it.
13.  Fold the fabric right sides together along the seamline so that the raw edges are on the inside of the garment and the right side is facing out.  Pin.
14.  Sew a 1/4″ seam.  This will conceal your edges and put the seam back to the inside of the garment.  Press seam allowance towards the back of the garment.


15.  Now for the hem.  Turn the edge up twice 1/4″ each time, pin in place.
16.  Stitch along the folded edge, this should be a 1/4″ seam.
Now for the armhole + neck binding.  The steps for both armholes and the neck are the same, so start with one armhole as I did here and repeat these steps for each opening.
17.  Take one piece of armhole bias binding and sew the two short raw edges together to make a circle (1/4″ seam allowance).  Press seam open.
18.  Pin the binding to the armhole and stitch around the opening with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
19.  Once the seam is stitched, you will grade the seam.  This is done by trimming the seam allowance of the binding so that it is a bit shorter than the seam allowance of the garment.  This reduces bulk and makes things pretty.  If it makes you nervous you can omit this part.
20.  Clip the seam about every 1/2″ to within a few threads of the stitching.  This part is important because if you forget, your bias won’t be able to lay flat and will start to pitch outward.
21.  Once everything is graded and clipped, press the binding out away from the garment so that it lays on top of the seam allowance to set up for your understitching.  A tailors ham is very useful while pressing these curved seams.
22.  Once your binding is pressed up you are all set to understitch.  Stitch through the seam allowance and binding about 1/8″ away from the seam line.  This will help you neatly bind your edges by forcing the seam to neatly roll just inside of the garment so that no seams are visible on the front of your top.  Dude, it looks so pro this way, I promise. Haha.
23.  This is what your understitching will look like on the right side of the binding.  Almost done now!
24.  Fold the binding to the inside of the top and press.
25.  Fold the raw edge of the binding under so that it is touching the seam and press.  This will leave the binding approximately 1/4″ wide.  Pin in place.
26.  Stitch binding down with a 1/4″ seam allowance or as close to the folded edge as you feel comfortable.
27.  That armhole is done!  Now just repeat steps 17-27 for the other armhole and the neckline and you’re golden.  Press that sucker and wear it out.  Boo yah!

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24 Responses to step by step : tiny pocket tank

  1. Sundayn78 says:

    Hi Miss Jen, I was wondering where you purchased your Black and White Chevron fabric?

  2. jen says:

    Hi, sorry for the delayed response, I got it at mood online just a few weeks ago, so they should still have it!

  3. Ashima says:

    I finally made this top!

  4. Arlie says:

    I’ve been browsing your blog and I think this is so fantastic! Excited to see if you share more patterns 🙂

  5. Tess says:

    Help! What could be wrong? I’m stuck at the armholes binding, I did the steps as shown but the fabric is still pinching… What fouls be wrong?

  6. Rachel R. says:

    Just a question – been reading these instructions and it seems to me that the French seam instructions are backwards? After you sew the wrong sides together on the first seam, don’t you turn it inside out so the right sides are together, wrong sides facing out? Sorry for my ignorance, but I want to make sure I understand this correctly. Thanks!

  7. I love the fabric choice for this project. Also, love that you used binding for the edges, makes everything so much neater in the end. It’s something I had learned the hard way after being lazy and sewing the most simple of hems.

  8. Anna says:

    Stupid question: no lines for the darts?

  9. Pingback: Tiny pocket tank without the pocket | girl with a sewing machine

  10. Kathryn says:

    Thanks so much for this tutorial Jen! I’ve just finished my third tiny pocket tank and for the last two I used the French seams as well – thanks to your clear steps it was much less scary than I thought it would be and I love the neat finish!

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  12. Carole Kus says:

    Jen, love your tutorials and your patterns can you please help I am sure that I have seen somewhere that it is possible to cut out the tiny pocket tank on the bias,although I have kept looking I cannot find it now, was I dreaming? Could you post something about cutting on the bias or how to mark the pattern piece to accomodate this I love bias cut garments ‘cos they cover my ‘jelly belly’ Have just made a variation of scout woven tee for my grandaughter who’s 10 and it fitted perfect without adjustments. Thank you for sharing and inspiringX

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  15. helem says:

    Can you help? I find it hard to attach the armhole binding where the side seam meets the armhole. The French seam is rolling the wrong way and there isn’t a defined edge to pin bias to. Any tips

  16. Johanna says:

    HIya! This is the first item of clothing I have made and would gladly wear outside the house and I have called three people to tell them about it I am so excited!

    One issue I have notice is that there is a extra fabric folding above the darts. I am guessing it mean I should go up a size or down a size….any thoughts? THANK YOU!

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