Open Pleat Back Tank Top

This is a fun and funky tank top perfect for summer.  You can do this modification to any tank top pattern. I like the look of the higher neck line for this style.  I feel it makes the back that much more special and fun.  Kinda like mullet-  “business in the front, party in the back…” Ha!  inspiration can strike almost anywhere and from almost anything.

To start you need to cut your neckband/ binding, straps, back band pieces, and all your strips.

  • To find the front binding measurement, simply measure it and subtract 1″.  cut the band to this length x 1.75″
  • For the straps, measure the sleeve side of the front bodice and down the back bodice piece.  (see Pic)  that will be your length, cut that by 2″.
  • The back band is going to be 2 pieces 4″ wide  and slightly wider than the back bodice.  I used the back bodice of the size 2x smaller than my front, for a tighter fitting back band.
  • Cutting the strips for the back you need to measure the back bodice pattern to find out how wide it is (3.5″ under the side seam/ sleeve point). Then divide that by 3- since you are cutting your piece 3″ wide.   You will need to cut 2 sets.  I have 5 white and 4 red for my back bodice.

Your cut fabric should look like this:  1 bodice front, 2 straps, 1 neckband/ binding, 2 back bands, and all your strips, bottom band if desired.   Now you are ready to start assembling your top.

Start with your front bodice binding.  This is super easy!

Now you add your straps.

  • Fold your strap in half and pin to front bodice
  • Starting at the side seam/ sleeve point sew your band to your front bodice.  You can stop after the neckband, but I like to keep serging all the way to the end of the strap.
  • Top stitching here is a must!  With the seam pressed toward the band,  top stitch with a twin needle or cover stitch the whole length of the strap.

Your front bodice is done.  Now you need to add your straps to the back bodice.

  • Add you straps right sides together to your main back bodice band.
  • Place the liner (or second back band piece) on top.  Basically making a sandwich, with the straps in the center.
  • Sew/ serge the straps and back band together.
  • Open up and top titch if desired. I recommend doing this.

The strips for the back are a bit time consuming, but not hard to do.

  • Serge the sides of the straps.  Optional- but I recommend doing this if possible.
  • Fold edges over and top stitch with a twin needle.
    **If you have a cover stitch machine, you can do the first 2 steps at once.
  • Do not finish one of the edges on 2 of your top stripes- these two will be sewn into the front bodice later.
  • Layer your strips to the length of your back band, and spaced evenly.
  • Pin or clip them securely in place.
  • Sew/ baste them together on top and bottom

Once your strips are secure with  the baste stitch match up the back bodice and outer stripes.  Trim to fit the shape of the back bodice.

  • Pin your strips to the back bodice
  • Serge/ sew
  • Top stitch – This is a must!

The last thing to do is to match up sides – front bodice and your new funky back bodice.  Sew the side seams.  Secure the top to the side seam with a few straight single needle stitches.  Now add your bottom band just as the pattern instructs. And you are done!

This back is so fun with the hint of openness and little peeks of skin.  It screams summer fun!

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Like my fabric?
Panel and faux sparkle fabrics are from Pink Zeppelin Fabrics
See my full fabric review of Pink Zeppelin Fabrics

Related hack you might like:
Raglan tank top hack
Tshirt Upcycling 101
Basic tips for sewing with knits
How to choose the right needle for your project

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