Basic tank top

This tank top is a custom pattern I made for myself. I wanted a full coverage tank top that wasn’t going to lose its shape after a few washes. This style is comfortable, simple, and great for casual wear. Below are the construction steps, along with additional information about the making this garment.

Garment information

Fabric: Has decent stretch horizontally, slight stretch vertically, with ribs vertical. Specifically used: Ribbed knit from Hobby Lobby.

Fabric amount: 3/4 yd. of 59” width. This includes enough for bindings.

Pattern: Self-drafted from knit block.

Serger settings:

  • All tension: 4
  • Differential: 1.8
  • Stitch width: 2-2.5
  • Stitch length: 6

Sewing machine settings for topstitch: Triple straight stitch 6 (best) or a regular 7 zig-zag stitch

Additional notes: Doubling the front adds modesty and protection from sweat showing. Adding 1/4” plastic swimwear elastic to the neckline, shoulder seams, and armholes adds some bulk and potential rolling, but also stability against long-term wear and sagging.


  1. Cut out pieces.
    • Cut 2 front pieces if doubling the front. Make 1 front piece 1/2” shorter on the bottom to avoid fold-over bulk.
  2. Serge shoulder seams together. Optional: include 1/4” swimwear elastic when serging.
    • Order of layers if doubling the front:
      1. Long front (outer)—RS up
      2. Back—WS up
      3. Short front (inner)—WS up
  3. Serge side seams.
  4. Cut binding pieces. Add 1/2” seam allowance to length for connecting.
    • 17” x 1 1/4” for armholes. Cut 2.
    • 26” x 1 1/4” for neckline. Cut 1.
  5. Bind armholes and neckline. Optional: include 1/4” swimwear elastic when serging.
    1. Serge ends of binding together. Pin RS of binding to RS of tank top evenly around armhole and neckline. Serge around each perimeter.
    2. Fold binding over, leaving excess out. Topstitch next to fold.
    3. Trim excess fabric.
  6. Finish hem.
    • Fold up 1/2” and topstitch. Trim excess fabric.

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