How to DIY a Sexy Denim Tank

The DIY Designer
by The DIY Designer
6 Materials
3 Hours

I became obsessed with a Burberry denim tank top with low cut sides. I tweaked the overall design into a top that I knew I could wear all year round. A friend gave me a stretch denim jacket that was perfect for this project.

If you're really skilled at tailoring, you could make this from a 100% cotton upcycled jean jacket.

For most people (including me!), using stretch denim is a lot easier and means you can make it super tight and it will hug your curves beautifully.

Tools and materials:

  • Denim jacket, preferably stretch
  • Scrap denim piece
  • Button
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
Removing sleeves

1. Remove the sleeves

Cut out the sleeves, leaving the seam attached to them. 

Put them aside to use later for the belt.

Cutting shoulder slit

2. Cut the shoulder slit

Button the jacket and lay it flat. Identify the shoulder fold. This is not the seam, but the area of the shoulder that sits on the top of your shoulders in wear, or the top of the jacket when it's lying flat.

Mark and cut along that line from the armhole edge up to the collar, leaving the collar intact.

Fitting tank top

3. Fit the tank top

I used a dress form for this, or you could do it directly on your body.

Wear the jacket, or put it on the dress form, and button it up.

Fold the sides of the cuts you just made diagonally under the jacket, from the collar to under your arms, at the front and the back.

Bring the back of the jacket forward to overlap the front and pin it so that the lower bands are aligned.

Fitting tank top

Take your time over this step. Keep the edges angular and straight. You're making a series of triangles on the inside of the jacket.

Most importantly, make sure the folds are even on the left and right sides.

Don't just eyeball it. Take the jacket off, lay it flat and take measurements on each side. 


4. Sew along the folds

I used thread in the closest color I had to the top stitching on the jacket for this step.

Sew the triangles down on the inside of the jacket, approximately half an inch from the folded edge.

If your jacket is stretch denim, pull the fabric as you sew to create an even more fitted effect.

Making waist dart

5. Make the waist dart

I took in an inch at the waist on the center back, to make the tank top even more fitted.

I made a long dart, one inch wide at the waist line and tapering to nothing at each end.

I started sewing from the top of the dart just below the collar, increased the width in the center and tapered it back to zero at the top of the lower band.

Final fitting

6. Do a final fit

Wear the tank top and re-wrap it, adjusting the position of the pins as necessary.

Make sure to keep everything absolutely even on both sides.


7. Sew in place

Sew the wrapped sections down, half an inch from the folded edge to cover the previous stitching line.

Press or steam all the seams.

Top stitching

8. Top stitching

Top stitch on the right side as close to the edge as possible.

This not only matches the original jacket seams but prevents the new seams from lifting at the edge.

Making the belt

9. Make the belt

Cut the curved tops off both sleeves.

Making the belt

Make a tube from scrap denim, the same width as the new sleeve tops.

Making the belt

Tuck one sleeve, right side out, inside the denim tube with right sides facing and sew around the raw edges. 

Making the belt

Repeat with the other sleeve so the denim tube is attached between them, making a long Obi-style belt.

DIY denim tank

DIY denim tank

This is such an incredibly versatile top.

DIY denim tank

You can button it up completely, unbutton the first few or last few buttons, or wear it completely open as a vest.

DIY denim tank

I've styled it with jeans, a maxi skirt, black leather pants and even over a short dress.

DIY denim tank

DIY denim tank

For an even closer fit, you could catch the center back together at the waist and add a button, as I did.

I didn't think I'd wear it much with the belt, but it actually looks super cute worn that way as well.

I really hope you make this one, and now that I've finished it I'm even more convinced that using stretch denim will make all the difference.

I would love to hear what you think of this in the comments. I think it looks amazing - how about you?

Check out my post on How to DIY a Cute Embroidered Hoodie for Spring.

Suggested materials:
  • Denim jacket, preferably stretch
  • Scrap denim piece
  • Button
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