Hello, the 70s called and they want their tank tops back! Tank tops, something I’ve loved for a long time and am so so happy to see come into fashion (not that that’s ever stopped me wearing one before). Perhaps the ultimate tank top, must be the groovy periods granny square icon. I just love these things – the individuality and the work that goes into them, plus the vibes are seriously fun! It’s a yes from me! After seeing how eye wateringly expensive it can be to buy them either vintage or handmade, I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own. And guess what? Success! Now I’m here to save you money and help you live out your 70s dreams with an easy tutorial sharing how you can make your own tank top. Spoiler: you won’t even have to lift a crochet hook! So, what are you waiting for?
You will need: Granny Squares (either crocheted yourself or bought online) | A large eye blunt needle, or darning needle | A small ball of wool or scraps of unwanted wool | Some scrap paper | A ruler | A pencil
Are you making or are you buying?
So to start off making your tank top you have two options, if you’re a crochet pro then you can make your own granny squares, or if crochet is something you’ve yet to master (this is 100% me!) then you can buy them. When buying your granny squares, the key things to think about are colour, quantity and size. With all determining the look of your finished tank top, it is vital to do a bit of planning before purchasing and this involves mocking up your tank top. Whilst it sounds like ‘mocking up’ should be difficult, it is actually far from it and simply involves you looking at the size of the squares you are intending to buy and vaguely making up your tank top out of paper first. It’s essentially making a pattern!
Make your pattern
To make your pattern, (see images below) first work out how long you want the body of the top to be. In the end I went for 3 rows of 4 inch squares. So I drew and cut out a column of three squares and then added more cut out squares to to it either side until I could wrap it around my body and it was about the fit I wanted.
Next you need to decide if you want your straps to lined up with the square pattern or not, if you don’t want to then don’t worry about lining up. I decided that I did want the squares to line up so to do this and to get the straps the right width apart, I left one square in the middle of the back and one in the middle of the front between the straps (see below). Now create two columns of squares out of paper from your starting points, either side of the middle squares. These columns make your straps! To get the right length wrap your paper pattern around yourself and sellotape. Now bring the strap columns from the back and hold to see how they fit, add more or less squares accordingly.
Buy or make your crochet granny squares
Count the squares on your pattern and this is the number you will need to make or buy. It really is as simple as that! Just make sure you make or buy the same size as the squared that you’ve drawn on the pattern. I got my squares on Ebay, there are so many but there are so many places you can get them from and I also often see them in charity shops too! Alternatively, you will find tutorials all over the internet for easy granny squares if you fancy the challenge of making them.
Let’s Get Making!
Now your granny squares have arrived, or you’ve diligently made them (you’re amazing!), it is time to start the main build! This is simple really, you just need to follow your pattern and sew each square together. Honestly, it really is that easy!
We’ll sew it together inside out and then turn it the right way around when we’re finished. This means doing your sewing with the backs of the granny squares facing you throughout the whole process. This keeps any stitching that shows or loose ends on the inside of the garment. Starting with the body, sew each square together to create the flat garment as in the pattern below. Let’s discuss how to sew them!
To sew the pieces together, I used the technique below. Now I am no master stitcher, but this is what seemed to work for me. The internet tells me that if I’d done my research, there is an easy invisible stitch to do, which you can watch the video for here. Maybe that would have been easier, but I was blagging and there we go. To do my slightly less efficient technique, hold two squares together one above the other and catch the back edge stitches of each granny square, then pull upwards (see below) and repeat, always going in from the bottom and through. These stitches are not visible from the front of the garment so can be done in any colour.
Once you’ve sewn your flat pattern, you can now make it into the 3D garment, remember to always have the backs facing you when you are doing this. First sew the two sides of the body together (see wiggly lines on the pattern) using the same technique you have been using, and then sew the straps onto the front of the garment (see ‘x’s on the pattern).
And voila! There you have it, your very own dreamy 70s tank top and I’m 100% sure you look absolutely smashing! I adore mine and it is even more special because it is one of a kind. My favourite ways to wear it so far have been with a colourful long-sleeve underneath but I can also totally see this with a tee or vest top in the summer! I’m so excited!
Will you be making this? Do let me know if you have any questions or need any tips on where to buy your granny squares from. Peace out!