Saturday, January 12, 2013


 Anyone remember the Split Back Tiny Pocket Tank that I wrote about way back in July? I had at least one comment requesting a tutorial, so here we go!

The first thing that you will need is Grainline's Tiny Pocket Tank pattern, which is available for purchase online in a print at home format. This is seriously one of my all time favorite patterns. I have used it and altered it more times than I can count and I've never been disappointed with the results. 


The best part of this tank variation is that you really only need to alter one pattern piece: the back. Begin by tracing the tank back face up on pattern paper. Next, flip the tank back face down and line up the center back of the pattern piece with the center back that you just traced. With the tank back face down, trace again along the neckline and up across the shoulder seam.

Using your straightedge, draw a line 3 inches away from the center back, shown above in red.

Using your straightedge, draw a line that is perpendicular to the red line and goes through the part of the pattern where the armhole and side seam meet. This line is shown above in gray. Note where the red line and gray line meet. This point of intersection will be used as a starting point for a curve.

Draw a curve from the intersection point mentioned above, to the bottom of the side seam. 


 Cut 1x center front on fold
Cut 2x altered back pattern piece. Place the original center back on the straight grain of the fabric. Also, make a mark along the neckline of each back piece to represent the placement of the original center back line. These marks will be lined up when we overlap the split back pieces.
Cut 1x neckline binding on bias grain.
Cut 2x armhole binding on bias grain.


For most of the sewing, you can follow the sewing tutorial from Grainline, but I will summarize my steps below.

Sew front darts and press. 

Use French seams to sew the sides and shoulders. 

Follow Grainline's tutorial to insert armhole bias binding on both sides.

At this point you will finish the hem of the tank. Don't forget that the "hem" of this variation runs all the way up along the curve that we made in the altered back pattern piece. I finished this hem using bias binding and Grainline's tutorial, but you can use your preferred hemming technique.

At this point all the edges will be finished, except the neckline, and the back will be open. Locate the marks that you made while cutting the back pattern pieces. Line up the marks and baste along the neckline where the two back pattern pieces overlap.
Finally, follow Grainline's tutorial to insert the neckline bias binding.

At this point you may also sew along the "hem" where the two back pattern pieces overlap. This will keep the split back from flying open.


Let me know if you end up making your own split back tiny pocket tank!
Happy sewing!


  1. Cool! Your pictures are so crisp and make me want to try out your tutorial!

  2. It looks beautiful! I love how neat your inner bind is, very crisp looking. This will be a great tank for this sticky sydney weather of late! great job :)

  3. Thanks so much, I definitely wanted a tutorial for this one!!

  4. Oh thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I fully intend on using this in the summer and I'l certainly come back and let you know...unless I mess it up ;o)

  5. So cute! I love this! Thanks for sharing!

  6. I love your "handmade by NattyJane" tag!!! So cute!

  7. This is so cute! I am going to pin it and def make it for my summer clothes! Thank you!

  8. I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to write up this tutorial. I made my own split back tank based off of your instructions and love it! Thanks so much again!!

  9. what type of fabric did you use? I've never made clothes by myself so i dont know what kind of fabric to buy. This'll be a challenging experience.

  10. Brilliant just what I have been searching for already have the pattern so will be trying it out soon. Could you please tell me which ruler you use I have been wanting one like yours for ages but it is difficult as I don't really know what I am searching for is it a dressmaking or quilting ruler sorry if I sound dumb! Please keep sharing you are very talented many thanks Carole

  11. Hi there! I can't seem to find the pattern that you are modifying, it doesn't look like it's available anymore. Do you have any suggestions for how to make this without that pattern?

    1. Hallie, you should be able to buy a used pattern on Etsy, Ebay, etc. Just Google "grainline tiny pocket tee". (You can only re-purchase a paper pattern as PDF patterns are copyrighted.)