Double Front Smoothing Tank and MMM18

Well that was a May that was – my first properly executed Me Made May. Lots of daily outfits on Instagram @sewniptuck and it’s clear I have little reason to dress up and a boring wardrobe full of navy blue. All cake and no frosting in my winter wear – onto it!

Enough of the navy blues (!) this post is a little how-to. A technique that has no doubt been discovered and used by sewists ever since the invention of spandex/lycra.

I’m calling it the ‘smoothing top’ after a proprietary brand of poly/lycra tank top I own – but better! The proprietary one is black and a little more snug across my high hip than I’d prefer – it keeps riding up around my waist – uuugh. The beauty of this top though, you can wear it under anything and there’s no show through and very few underwear bumps. But apart from the ‘too tightness’  poly/spandex is hot in summer, especially when worn under something else as is the fate of a ‘smoothing top’. May, btw is cold here in Sydney, so no ‘smoothing tops’ were worn for Me Made May! But this might be useful for you if you’re planning summery sewing, as I am. Off to Germany and the Czech republic next week, we’ll be cycling from Berlin to Prague and I’ve done no preparation – eek!

Just use any old tank top pattern, Vogue 2220 was close to hand.

Cut 2 fronts and overlock them together RST around the neckline and armholes. Now they’re all clean finished and pretty.

serge fronts RST around neck and armholes

Finish the neckline and armhole of the tank top back using your preferred method – coverstitch or you might prefer zigzag.

Turn the fronts right side out and align the front and back shoulders like this, back is on the left, front is on the right.

align the front and back shoulders

Reach inside the doubled fronts and wiggle your fingers up inside the shoulder. Grab the back shoulder and drag it into the lair of the front shoulders. Pull them all the way through together.

wriggle your hand up inside the front shoulders grabbing the back shoulder

Now you have the shoulders ready to stitch. Make sure they are aligned at the edges.

align the shoulder ends and stitch

Once sewn, it will look like this

stitched shoulders

When it’s pulled through it will look like this on the inside. NICE!

inside the tank front joined to back

And on the outside – double thickness front – so smooooth.


outside smoothing tank

See the cobbled piece upper right? This is a toile and was donated ‘cos it needed a lot of fitting tweaks – the bust actually, always the bust!

You would notice the side seams are also finished internally if I’d taken a photo of that – but I didn’t! The best finish is achieved by inserting the back side seam (SS) between the 2 front SS’s = no visible seam on the inside – it’s a nice touch! To hem, I treated the 2 fronts as one – there were no turn of cloth issues.

There was an apparent need for a dart after the first toile and I loathe darts in knits, but aaaagh, unavoidable. I tried easing the dart allowance in this second red version, but that just looked a hot mess. So darts were added which in any colour other than white isn’t a problem. There were also a few tweaks of the armhole shape to cover a bra. Tanks worn with Style Arc Wallis pants as leggings.

red tank tunic dart eased

After the red version came the white. But the horizontal darts do shift being as there are 2 of them – one on top of the other. I have to remind myself these tops are designed to be worn under things and are long enough for bum coverage. Nonetheless, I’m not that comfortable with this look on the street or even in the gym. I wore my hoodie through an entire yoga class which wasn’t Bikram, but certainly was under the hoodie!

white smoothing tank with horizontal darts

I hope you noticed I’m fondling the dog’s ‘tennis’ ball – so pro. White is an unforgiving colour to photgraph and “no” I will not make an even bigger dart!! Watch the drag lines dissapear like magic if I just adjust my posture!

A final version, lengthened to a too short dress length, in fake suede – let’s call it ‘suedette’. My Princess will no doubt nab this one when she comes home in a couple of weeks.


I’d love to know if you’d try this double fronted approach. It would also be great for tee shirts and swim tanks where extra coverage is required and did I mention how NEAT the inside looks?! The downside? Viscose/spandex is a heavy fabric and a double layer of that fabric is doubly heavy; any wonder the proprietary ones are poly/lycra.






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  1. This is very interesting, Lesley, thanks. The sewing tips are interesting. I have to admit that my workout preference is always for a tight sports bra that ends right under the bust under a loose, light singlet or tee, to keep the torso aired out, so no long tanks for me, but these look great on you. The dress looks great on you too! There is no reason to not wesr something sexy like that but I know I would feel self-conscious. Not sure why I’m so modest. You really do look terrific and why not flaunt it if you have it!

  2. I lovevto wear rayon, spandex fabrics and they would be fabulous to wear when visiting tropical climates but oh the weight!!! They also take longer to dry. I haven’t found any other fabric that works as well and this always makes packing a nightmare.
    Love the enclosed seams on your double front tank and will be making one

  3. I copied a RTW made in the same way ages ago and had completely forgotten it. Thanks for the reminder. You are probably being a bit harsh on yourself with regard to fit. After all, most people have to cope with just a RTW option.

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