How to copy your favorite tank top and make a sewing pattern

Hey there! Welcome to the first post on my brand new blog. I’ve completely redone Making Something Rad - both in look and content. I’ve tightened up the focus to the subjects I’m most passionate and knowledgable about - Sewing, design, style, art, and creative lifestyle. I’ll be posting every weekday about those topics, in that order.

Making Something Rad 2.0 will be a resource blog, with a strong focus on teaching. I’m planning some big things, especially in the sewing instruction department! Sign up and I’ll keep you in the loop about upcoming tutorials, classes, and workshops.

For the first post, I’ve made a video tutorial about how to trace a sewing pattern from a tank top you already own and love, so you can make as many versions as you want!

I’ve chose a tank top pattern because it’s a very simple pattern to make with only a few parts. It will be a great introduction to making your own patterns.

I’ve made tons of tank tops for myself, my friends, and my family by making a pattern from existing tank tops.

I made the pink tank top by creating a pattern from the blue tank top.

I made the pink tank top by creating a pattern from the blue tank top.

My husband Jeff wearing a tank top I made for him to yoga this morning!

My husband Jeff wearing a tank top I made for him to yoga this morning!

I love teaching people to sew, but one of the problems with having in-person classes is that it’s hard to schedule, and I can only teach so many people at a time. Video tutorials are a great way for me to teach a bunch of people. And this way, there’s no scheduling issues!

This tutorial is only about creating the sewing pattern from a tank top. I’ll be making and posting a sewing tutorial with helpful tips for beginners later this month. Again, if you want to stay in the loop, sign up for my email list.

Get your sew on!

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Here’s the tutorial - I’m learning what the best ways to shoot are, so they will improve as I go! My sewing space is located in our family room, so I am working on figuring out the best ways to film. We have a full house of teenagers and pets, so it’s a challenge to find quiet time, haha!

As I state in the video, I’m using professional pattern drafting paper. I highly recommend it, especially if you want to start making your own patterns often. A roll lasts me years, and I sew quite a lot. It’s an investment, but it’s worth it. You can buy a roll here.

You can also use a large roll of tracing paper, which is cheaper - however usually tracing paper is not as wide. You can certainly tape pieces together to make it large enough.

The other tools I use in the video such as the see-thru plastic ruler, measuring tape, pins and awl are all standard sewing tools that you can buy at any Jo-Anne’s fabrics or similar sewing supply area. Or, they are certainly available on Amazon.

For the pens and pencils, any basic supplies will do.

In the video, I describe making marks and notations on your pattern as you are going. Don’t skip this step! I’ve been sewing for years and I still forget things if I don’t write them down.

Here’s a helpful guide of what to mark on each pattern piece -

  1. The name of the pattern. If you are making a pattern from a garment, write a description of the garment.
  2. Mark what piece of the pattern it is - the front, back, sleeve, sleeve binding, collar, etc.

  3. Mark the width of the seam allowances and the hem.

  4. Mark the measurements of the neck edges, and the armholes too if you like.

  5. Mark the direction of the grainline.

  6. Mark how many of each pattern piece you will need to cut.

  7. If the pattern piece has a fold, mark the fold.

As I said, I’ll be posting a tutorial for how to sew together a tank top from the pattern we made. Tank tops are a great project for learning to sew knits.

If you have any requests or questions about the pattern tutorial, or the upcoming tank top sewing tutorial, leave me a comment or shoot me an email. All emails come to my personal inbox.

I love teaching people how to sew, so don’t hesitate to ask me anything!

I’ve taught a lot of people how to sew, and I get a lot of satisfaction out of it. There’s something magical and empowering about creating your own clothing. It’s a fun and relaxing skill as well.

My main problem up until now has been time. Not only is it hard to schedule time to teach people (we all have busy lives) but I can only teach so many people at once in person. Since I have a job and a family, my schedule is pretty full. I’ve considered trying to teach sewing in-person full time, but I’m not convinced it’s the most useful and efficient way to teach sewing for me or my students.

However, I believe that I can teach sewing through online classes and workshops.

My goal for the future is to make a comprehensive series of workshops and classes that I can use to teach people how to sew, no matter where they live. If you think that’s awesome, and you’re interested in online sewing courses, please give me your feedback so I can plan the best possible classes!

Again, leave a comment or shoot me an email with your questions and ideas. I really want to hear them!

Have a great day, and happy sewing! - Rachel