July 21, 2011

Easy Bandanna Top

If you want to know just how easy this cute little top was, let me just tell you that the entire thing was made by my 8 1/2 year-old daughter.  It was her first experience using a sewing machine and would be the perfect beginning sewing project for you or your older child.  For my rather petite daughter, it was a longer tank top, but could easily be a dress for a little one or a shorter top for a larger child or petite adult.  Oh, and the whole thing will cost you only a few dollars!

My proud little seamstress rocking her new summer top!

Here's how she did it:

1.  Gather your supplies.  You'll need two bandannas, two pieces of ribbon, pins, an iron and a sewing machine.
Our cool tie-dye bandannas were on clearance for just 97 cents each!

2.  On two corners of your bandanna, measure down 6" and press the triangles with your iron.  Repeat on the other bandanna.


Press with your iron.

So it looks like this.

3.  Cut the triangle off on the ironed crease line.  Repeat with all four triangles.

Cutting off the triangle corner.

4.  On your cut edges, fold over 1/4" towards the wrong side of the fabric, then fold over 1/4" again.  Press down your double fold and pin in place.

I helped press the edges so she wouldn't burn her fingers.

But she was able to pin the fold in place.

5.  Now it's time to sew a little bit!  Sew your folded edge down.  She used the edge of the presser foot as a guide and removed the pins as she got to them.  Do the same with all four cut corners.

My old sewing machine is probably 5 times older than she is!

Her seams weren't perfect, and we had to stop a few times to get it back on track, but overall, she did great!

6.  Next, fold down the top of the bandanna (between the two cut corners) about 1" onto the wrong side of the fabric.  You don't have to worry about finishing the edge because it's already the finished edge of the bandanna.  Press down and pin in place.

Press to get a crisp edge.

Pin in place.

7.  Sew along the finished edge, removing the pins as you go.  Do not sew the sides shut, that's where you'll insert your ribbon.  Do the same with your second bandanna.

( No picture for this sewing step, we must have been too excited to finish to stop for the camera!)

8.  Put the two bandannas right sides together.  At this point, you can just sew up the two sides and be finished, but we found that it was just a little too loose and revealing for my almost preteen.  So, we took a shirt from her closet and placed it over the bandannas.  We lined up the necklines and then used it as a pattern to cut a little off the sides.

I marked the lines to cut with chalk.

And my seamstress made the cuts.

9.  Pin your sides together and sew.

NOTE: On our next shirt, we didn't make it quite this tapered and we liked it a little better.

10.  Press open those side seams and then turn your shirt right side out.

11. Using a safety pin to help, guide one piece of ribbon through the channel on the top of the back, and the other ribbon through the front.

12.  Tie the ribbons together at the shoulders and you're finished! 

So cute!

Pretty darn proud of her first sewing attempt!

This was such a fun little sewing project for the both of us and she's eager to sew some more now that she kind of has the hang of it!

Because I'm a proud mommy, I'll be sharing her cute shirt at:


  1. Cool! My daughter is also 81/2 and she made her first sewing project this year - an elastic waist skirt.

  2. Cute! I bet she is SOO proud she made it too!

  3. love it she is awfully pretty but both great at fashions and modeling :)

  4. This would be so cute as a paint shirt for school... Thanks for the cool ideas!

  5. Auww... she did a fantastic job! Tell her to keep up the great work!

  6. Awwww...she is so adorable and what a lovely project! Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing:)
    Hope to see you on my blog:)

  7. Cute! I actually made these for all four of my girls in '09. I got the idea from the Martha Stewart kids magazine! Love the tie-dye twist though!

  8. Your little girl is as talented as her mommy! I would be thrilled if you linked this up to my Tuesday Confessional link party going on now: http://www.craftyconfessions.com/2011/07/tuesday-confessional-link-up-party.html
    See you soon!

  9. That is so cute! I'm thinking you could also use some elastic thread to shirr it and that would also take care of the gaping problem......

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  16. To self-sew a shirt like this must be really fun. Thank you for the idea!
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  46. What guide did the creator use while sewing the folded edges, and how did they handle any imperfections in the seams? Tel U


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