Vashon Tank


Vashon Tank

First, let me apologize for not posting for a few weeks. This is my first summer blogging and although none of my kids were in school full time yet last year, I greatly underestimated how much I get accomplished in those few hours they were in school. My posts may be a bit spotty throughout the remainder of the summer, but I should be back to posting more regularly once summer is over. I will definitely plan better for next summer!

I’ve been planning this one for awhile now. I wanted to create an outfit for my daughter for the 4th of July that consists of simple basics that can be worn any other day of the year. Something All-American and classic. I decided on the City Gym Shorts by the Purl Bee. The pattern is a great elastic waist short pattern with a classic tulip hemline. The super great thing about this pattern is it is free and there’s a childrens pattern in sizes 2 years to 11 years and a womens pattern to fit hip sizes 33″ to 46″. So you can create a mommy/daughter matching pair! The style is very on trend and the pattern comes together very easily. I made the shorts in Robert Kaufman’s Brussels Washer Yarn Dye Linen/Rayon blend in Chambray. I absolutely LOVE this material. It has the perfect feel. It’s lightweight, but substantial enough for a pair of shorts. The fabric breathes really well; the perfect summer material. And, the yarn dye is to die for. I trimmed these shorts with Riley Blakes 1/4″ mini pom pom trim in white. I simply attached the trim after applying the binding to the hem and before attaching the shorts to the waistband. 

City Gym Shorts with Pom Trim

For the top, I drafted a simple a-line tank with a deep V back. I used Robert Kaufman’s Cambridge Cotton Lawn in white. The material alone would have been too thin, so I created an underlining on the front and back. It drapes better than had I used a single layer of a broadcloth cotton. The hemline has a slight high-low effect with a slight tulip shape. The neckline and the armholes are finished with bias tape. I decided to share with you the pattern I used for her tank. I named it the Vashon Tank because I wanted a name that started with a V for the v-back feature. Although I currently live in southern California, I grew up in Washington state. Vashon Island is a beautiful town back home and I thought the name would be perfect for this tank. My daughter is 22″ in the chest and 48″ tall. She’s usually a size 4 in the chest with a size 7 in length. If your daughter is a size 4, but not as tall as my daughter, you can simply trim from the hemline. The finished top has a length from shoulder to front hem of 16.5″, with the back 1″ longer at 17.5″. Shorten, or extend, from your pattern pieces by simply following the original hemline. Someday I would like to offer this pattern in various sizes, but for now I hope you’ll enjoy this free pattern in a size 4 tall. Keep reading for the full photo tutorial.

V-Back Tank

Side View V-Back Tank

back closeup

V-Back Tank

Materials Needed:

  • Main Fabric: 3/4 Yard woven (you will need twice as much if you will be doing an underlining)
  • Bias tape (Neckline: 1 1/8″ x 28″   Armholes: 1 1/8″ x 14″ (x2)
  • Coordinating thread
  • The usual sewing tools (sewing machine, scissors, pins, etc.)
  • Serger (Helpful in finishing the hem, but not necessary)
  • Vashon Tank Pattern (Download PDF Pattern Pieces Here)

Step 1: Print out the PDF pattern and tape together, matching up the colored circles. Cut out the pattern pieces. All pattern pieces already include a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Step 2: Cut out your pattern pieces on your chosen fabric. If you are using an underlining, you will need twice the amount of pieces.

Step 4: If you would like to add an underlining, now is the time. Stack you front pieces and either hand sew or using your sewing machine on a long stich to attach the pieces. Stitch 1/8″ from the edge all the way around each piece. I recommend doing one side at a time and making sure you iron out the pieces before pinning the next side. A little trick: I find doing my pinning on an ironing board works really well to prevent the material from sliding around. This is especially helpful when adding an underlining. This will help prevent any bubbles of extra fabric. If you use your sewing machine, don’t worry about backstitching. Go ahead and repeat this process for the two back pieces. You should now have just 3 pattern pieces.

Shoulder Seams:

Step 5: I will be using french seams throughout this tutorial. You are free to use whichever finish you prefer on your seams. Just remember there is a 1/2″ seam allowance in the pattern. Line up one of the shoulder seams, wrong sides together, making sure the side seams are lined up as well. Sew 1/4″ away from the raw edge.

Vashon Tank shoulder step1

Step 6: Trim the seam allowance down to 1/8″, making sure there are no loose threads.

Vashon Tank shoulder step2

Step 7: Iron the seam open.

Vashon Tank shoulder step3

Step 8: Turn the shoulder inside out, placing the pieces right side together. Pressing the shoulder seam flat along the sewn seam. Again, make sure the side seam edges are lined up before you pin the shoulder seam.

Vashon Tank shoulder step4

Step 9: Sew the shoulder seam 1/4″ from the sewn edge.

Vashon Tank shoulder step4.5

Step 10: Press your beautiful french seam towards the back of the tank.

Vashon Tank shoulder step6

Step 11: Repeat on the other shoulder.


Step 12: Open your tank right side up with the neckline lying nice and flat.

Vashon Tank shoulder step7

Step 13: Pin your neckline bias tape (1 1/8″ x 28″) to the neckline, right sides together. Make sure you have extra (at least 1″) extending beyond the v-back pieces. You’ll need the extra when you fold the bias tape over. Sew a 1/2 seam allowance, being cautious not to sew a fold in your main material.

Vashon Tank Neckline step1

Step 14: Trim your neckline seam allowance down to 1/4″. Then, cut notches about every 1/2″ along the curved neckline making sure not to cut into the sewn line.

Step 15: Iron the bias tape away from the tank, with the seam allowance going back under the main fabric.

Vashon Tank Neckline step2

Step 16: Fold the raw edge of the bias tape toward the wrong side of the tank, lining up to the sewn line (white stitch in picture below). Then fold again and pin. Moving your way all around the neckline.

Vashon Tank Neckline step3

Make sure the the bias tape is completely on the underside of the tank, so it is not popping out on your finished garment. You’ll want your main fabric to show just a tiny bit on the wrong side like the picture below.

Vashon Tank Neckline step4

Step 17: From the wrong side of the tank, sew an edge stitch along the edge of the folded bias tape, making sure to go all the way to the edge of the back seams raw edge. If you like you can add another edge stitch on the outer edge of the bias tape. I opted not to on this tutorial, but included the stitch on the white tank.

Vashon Tank Neckline step5

Vashon Tank Neckline step6

Back Seam:

Step 18: Sew the french seams for the back seam, using the same steps you used for the shoulder seams (Steps 5-10). Remember, to start with the wrong sides together. Make sure your V is lined up. You can always trim the hem if things aren’t matching up perfectly. I have no idea what happened to cause my back seams not be the same length at this point. I must have cut wrong, or one of my shoulder seams was slightly smaller than the other. It’s an easy fix though, although now all my work to make the fabric pattern line up is lost. Sigh…

Vashon Tank Back Seam Step1

Vashon Tank Back Seam Step2


Step 19: In order to create the inverted angle on the side of the tank, we will be hemming the bottom of the tank before finishing the side seams. This tank has a narrow hem. A little trick I figured out to easily create a narrow hem is to use my serger. If you don’t have a serger, you could use an overlock stitch, or fold and pin as usual. Go ahead and serge the edge of the hem with the most narrow edge you can make on your serger.

Vashon Tank Hem Step1

Step 20: Fold the hem edge up towards the wrong side of the tank, using the serged edge as your guide. Fold again and pin. You can iron the hem flat over your pins.

Vashon Tank Hem Step2

Step 21: From the wrong side of the tank, sew an edge stich along the folded edge of the hem. Finish the hems for the front and backsides of the tank.

Vashon Tank Hem Step3

Side Seams:

Step 22: The side seams will also be finished with french seams. Place the wrong sides together matching up the raw edges of the sides. Because the back of the tank is longer, it has a deeper slope from the side. In order to match the front and back hemlines, you will need to place the back piece about 1/8″ higher than the front piece. This way, 1/2″ from the raw edge the hems will be flush. Complete the steps for a french seam (Steps 5-10). Repeat for the other side seam.

Vashon Tank Side Seam Step1

Vashon Tank Side Seam Step2


Step 23: The armholes will be finished with bias tape just as the neckline was finished. The difference is the armholes are a closed circle, so there will be a few additional steps. Start by pinning the bias tape to the edge of the armhole, right sides together, starting at the side seam and working your way around back to the side seam. Leave an extra 1-2″ tail on both sides. Sew 1/2″ from the edge starting about 1/2″ from the side seam, working your way around and ending about 1/2″ before you hit the side seam. Do not start trimming yet!

Vashon Tank Armholes Step1

Step 24: Next you need to close up the bias tape at the side seam. Mark your bias tape where it would line up with the side seam on both of your extra tails.

Vashon Tank Armholes Step2

Step 25: Line up your marks together and make sure the bias tape edges are lined up as well. Pin. Sew a line along the marks that is perpendicular to the edge of the bias tape.

Vashon Tank Armholes Step3

Vashon Tank Armholes Step4

Step 26: Trim the edges from the perpendicular stitch you just sewn down to 1/8″. Press open. Pin the closed bias tape, matching the raw edges and the seams. Sew over the pins 1/2″ from the edge, starting and ending on your original stich.

Vashon Tank Armholes Step5

Step 27: Complete the bias tape around the armhole just as you did the neckline (Steps 14-17). Make sure the trim the edge and cut lots of notches, especially since the curve is so tight.

Step 28: Admire your finished piece! I would love to see your finished Vashon Tanks! Use hashtag #vashontank on Instagram.

Finished Tutorial Piece

*If you create this pattern, I would love to hear any feedback you may have for me. Positive or negative! I recently started taking a class on grading patterns and I would love to offer more patterns in various sizes in the future, so feedback would be so helpful in helping me grow. Thank you!

Much Love,


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5 Responses to Vashon Tank

  1. Melanie Christensen July 12, 2015 at 9:39 am #

    Love that deep V in the back. Bet it is nice a cool during the hot summer!

  2. Kathy E. July 18, 2015 at 8:02 am #

    The free-flowing, modern style of this top is very nice! I would love to have one in “my size” (meaning adult). Thanks for the pattern!

    • Sarah Beth July 20, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

      I’m so happy you like it Kathy! I think an adult version would be great too! I may just have to make that pattern some day!

      • Sharon August 30, 2015 at 7:37 pm #

        Yes, please do. I would love one.

        • Sarah Beth September 3, 2015 at 11:53 am #

          Thanks Sharon! I’m definitely thinking about it, maybe even with an option with sleeves.

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