Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Altered Striped Tank Tutorial

When it comes to fashion I am TOTALLY obsessed with stripes- it is actually a little crazy how many different variations of striped shirts I have in my closet. And I also love pairing stripes with florals- there is something a little whimsical about stripes and flowers- they are so opposite they somehow make sense together- at least in my opinion. With summer here I am always looking for different ways to alter a cheap tank top and after finding a $7.00 striped tank at Target I knew I would be embellishing it with hand painted flowers and messy stitching.


I purchased a striped tank top in a size large and while I am a size small, I like room in my tanks. I have also found that if you are buying cheaper cotton tanks, buying a couple sizes bigger keeps them from shrinking after washing to a tiny little tank top that you will never wear again!

Next I painted a bright floral design on fabric with dye and fabric paint.

Variation- if you are not up for painting your own flowers- skip the painting and find some fabric with big, bold and colorful flowers.


Once my fabric was dry and the color was heat set, I cut out the flowers to use as applique on the surface of my tank top.

Since I had so many flowers that I planned on sewing up the side of my tank, I needed something to use for stability, something to keep them in the arrangement that I liked and to make it easier to sew. I had fusible interfacing on hand so I used a piece and laid it down on my tank (so I could see through) and then arranged my flowers in the way that I wanted to sew them to the surface.

Next, I ironed the flowers (lightly and carefully) to the interfacing (not to the tank) just to tac them in the arrangement which again made it a little easier for me to sew and for stability.

Variation- You just could pick one big flower to sew- this would be much easier than lots and lots of flowers - not gonna lie- it's a little challenging!
if you don't want to bother with any sewing you could also use a product like Heat and Bond and just iron on the flowers.

Once the flowers were attached to the interfacing, I trimmed the excess interfacing from the edges of the flowers and set it aside.

Next, I trimmed off the sides and the straps of the tank because I eventually wanted sew everything back together with colorful stitches on the outside- this is optional.


I pinned my floral arrangement to the front of the tank top.

And then I sewed everything down with my darning foot- with lots and LOTS of messy stitches.


The last step was to sew the front, sides and straps back together and with red zig zag stitches on the outside.

And there you have it- a little piece of wearable art that I can add to my collection of stripes!




If you are in the mood for more tutorials, a group of my creative pals are posting tutorials all week long- each day linking to more tutorials- We are calling it a tutorial tsunami!! Today Lyric Kinard has an amazing post about how to transform leather shoes into art- LOVE IT!

Also Diana Trout, Melly Testa and Jane LaFazio have more tutorials to keep you inspired!
I'll be tweeting about the rest of the tutes as they are posted- HAPPY CREATING!


  1. I love it Alisa, it's SO cool and very fashionable. I think I have a striped shirt kind of like yours, I'm looking right now... :-)

  2. ah ha! fabulous as usual, and it never would have occurred to me to take the shirt apart and then resew it. Genius, Alisa--I swear.

  3. Wow, I love it!!
    Fabolous combination.

  4. Too cute! Thank you so much for the great tutorial. I would not have thought to cut the shirt apart and then stitch it back with a coordinating color.

  5. Alisa, I am so blown away by this! Wow, and don't you wear stripes well. And how cool that you opened the shirt up and then stitched it back together. Why is the obvious often not so to me??

  6. wow! that looks great!

    fashion DIY @ AvidAccents.blogspot

  7. Great piece! I'm inspired to try this!Thank You! :) Andrea

  8. This is such a great idea. Very pretty.


  9. I love, love, love your creation! What a great tank top. You did an awesome job!

  10. Wow! I want this I LOVE it..but I'm scared of my sewing machine....I'm going to work on our relationship this summer :-) Thanks for this

  11. thanks very much for this tutorial and mentioning the other ones..great t-shirt

  12. Love your painting-style. Esp. cause its always kinda messy. ^^
    Now I really wanna go and buy paint...

  13. Wow! Awesome! I love it! Going to look through my tank shirts and see if there is one I can use! If not...going shopping! Thanks for sharing! You are incredible!

  14. Its beautiful. I love it.

  15. so cute & full of energy! you're amazing, alisa

  16. oh yes...too cute.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  17. love this on you!!

    I know this may be a bit odd .. but might you be willing to show how and what you use to wrap your hair in that wonderful headband? Love it!!

  18. It was so great to meet you today at JoAnns! This tank top is so cool, I wish you had worn it today so I could see it in person! I think I might try one myself!

    Best wishes to you for your trip tomorrow!

  19. Gorgeous! I love your signature doodled look over the flowers!

  20. Wow, this is so beautiful, a real art!

  21. just beautiful. the flowers and stripes match perfectly together. like it very much!!

  22. Just found your blog. This tank is gorgeous...... I love the combination of stripes and flowers. I could well be shopping tomorrow for the necessary bits to make one for myself.

  23. love this alisa! you are so creative when it comes to sprucing up simple pieces of clothing. happy weekend! ciao!

  24. this is great :)
    what a good idea :)

  25. love what you did to the tank top. i agree with you about stripes and florals, i've always liked to mix them. nice touch with the red stitching on the sides, nice finishing touch. i always enjoy seeing what you are doing next.

  26. Love this. Thanks for sharing!

  27. OMG, I love this tank with all the beautiful red flowers. :)

  28. SO fantastic! Like the tops at Anthro that I can't afford, but better. Thank you, I will be trying this!

  29. The stitching takes the flowers to a whole other level, wow!

    I also nominated you for a blog award over on my last post =)

  30. You amaze me. First, the flowers you painted are just incredible. And I love all of the stitching. Great, great look.
    Plus the pictures are fantastic. The one of you holding the frame is just great!

  31. Beautiful stuff!

  32. So pretty!
    And it is THE solution to "refit" a striped shirt that shrinked (o.k. I might have expanded, too). I am thinking of adding bright red chilis instead of flowers. I can't wait to start, thanks for all the great ideas...

  33. Thank you so much for the great tutorial. Super combination.


  34. This is ABSOLUTELY beautiful! Thank you for this dose of inspiration! :)

  35. a super great way to jazz up anything.
    Lovely tutorial.
    love it.


  36. This is beautiful! I will have to try this! Did you use canvas fabric for the flowers?

  37. wow I love this idea!! You are so creative I love it!

  38. I'm so trying this! Thanks for sharing.:)

  39. That's gorgeous! You are So talented!

  40. OMG THIS IS AMAZING! You are too talented!

  41. That is stunning!! I am in awe of all your skills! :o)

  42. wow, this is AMAZING! I'm definitely going to have to try this. Check out my sewing blog and current giveaway at

  43. wow, this is AMAZING! I'm definitely going to have to try this. Check out my sewing blog and current giveaway at

  44. Wow! I really really love this! However, I can't draw, paint, or sew that well so I came up with my own version:

    I linked to your post from mine. Thanks for the inspiration!

  45. Dagny8:32 AM

    I am a total convert. I love the combination of the flowers and the stripes. I own *tons* of tanks and now I'm totally inspired to spice some of them up. Thanks for the fabulous ideas.

  46. This is amazing, and really gives me incentive to work on my (practically nonexistant) painting skills!

  47. Anonymous10:56 PM

    This is good site to spent time on. allergy

  48. I have that same tank... in a Large too (Love my tanks big). I think I may have to try this out!



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