Upcycled Tank Top Dress Tutorial – Captain America Edition

Captain America Upcycled Tank Top Dress Tutorial - Knot Sew Normal

“I have been asleep for 70 years. I think I have had enough rest.” Steve Rogers, The Avengers
Wake up with this awesome Upcycled Captain America Tank Top Dress.
On Wednesday I showed you how to make your own fabric stamps and now I am going to show you a project you can use those stamps on. I made this dress with an old tank top of Miss G’s, part of an old polo shirt, part of an old red t-shirt and part of a jersey knit crib sheet that shrunk when I first washed them and didn’t fit the bed. The sky is the limit with this tutorial, you could make this whatever your heart desires. You could also use a t-shirt or long sleeve shirt instead of a tank-top. I plan on making quiet a few of these for Miss G.


Captain America Upcycled Tank Top Dress Tutorial - Knot Sew Normal
Captain America Upcycled Tank Top Dress Tutorial - Knot Sew Normal                     Supplies Needed:

  • Tank Top or T-shirt to use for the top of your dress
  • Various old t-shirts or stretchy fabric to make your underskirt and ruffles
  • Dye, paint, stamps or whatever you want to decorate your dress
  • Various sewing supplies, scissors, sewing machine, thread, etc.



Captain America Upcycled Tank Top Dress Tutorial - Knot Sew Normal

First up you are going to want to prepare you fabric. To die my Captain America Tie Dye shirt I followed the tutorial over at iLoveToCreate. They have a great step-by-step to get the Captain America look.  I will change one thing next time I make one of these. I went ahead and cut all my ruffle fabric in strips before I dyed or stamped them. Next time I will go ahead and dye/stamp fabric BEFORE I cut the ruffles.

Captain America Upcycled Tank Top Dress Tutorial - Knot Sew Normal1. Make your stamps or get some pre-made ones
2. Stamp your fabric
3. Let paint dry
4. Have AWESOME fabric.

Captain America Upcycled Tank Top Dress Tutorial - Knot Sew Normal After your fabric is dry you are going to want to cut your skirt piece that you will use to attach your ruffles to. This will be an A-line skirt.
1. Cut your fabric as wide as you want the bottom of the skirt to be and as long as you want it to be. (Mine is 20″x10″)
2. Now you will want to cut diagonally at the top from the edge of your shirt, to the bottom outside corner.
3. Make sure you move your ruler out to give your self a bit of a seam allowance. I gave myself a 1/2″
4. After you make your first cut take the part you cut off and flip it over to the other side to make it easier to cut both sides the same.

Captain America Upcycled Tank Top Dress Tutorial - Knot Sew Normal

You want to make the bottom of your skirt curve. So fold your 2 skirt pieces in half and cut a curve starting at the center and then angling up to the out side edge. Unfold the 2 skirt pieces and place them right sides together and sew with your 1/2″ seam allowance.

Captain America Upcycled Tank Top Dress Tutorial - Knot Sew Normal 1. Next you want to measure, cut and sew all your ruffle pieces together. Since this is an A-line skirt, your ruffle pieces will be longer at the bottom than at the top. To figure out how long your ruffle pieces need to be decide where each ruffle will be placed and cut that ruffle strip 3-4 times the width of that spot on the skirt. For my skirt I wanted (10) 2″ ruffles that were 4 times as long for plenty of ruffles. My ruffles measure: (Starting from the bottom and going up)
Row 1 – 80″ (20×4)          Row 2 – 68″ (17×4)
Row 3 – 68″                     Row 4 – 64″
Row 5 – 60″                     Row 6 – 60″
Row 7 – 52″                     Row 8 – 52″
Row 9 – 48″                     Row 10 – 40″
2. Lay all your ruffles out in the pattern you want. On your very top ruffle, fold it over 1/2 inch and press that way you will have a clean edge on your very top ruffle. You don’t have to do this for the rest of the ruffles since their tops will be covered by the ruffle above it.
3. (optional) Knit does not fray so you do not have to finish your edges, but I am currently addicted to lettuce-edge hems so I hemmed all my ruffles.
4. Use your preferred method to gather each ruffle to the appropriate length. There are lots of ways to do this. You can place a basting line 1/8″ and 1/4″ away from edge and pull the bobbin strings to gather. For me I set my machine to the longest stitch length and a loose tension and stitch 1/8″ away from edge and gather that way. I have also heard of people setting to longest stitch length and tightest tension to gather or using dental floss and sewing over it with a zig-zag stitch and pulling the floss to gather. I know if I make another dress with this many ruffles I will get a ruffler foot.

Captain America Upcycled Tank Top Dress Tutorial - Knot Sew Normal 1. Mark on your fabric where you want each ruffle to go. I just marked around my skirt in a few places in pencil so I could make sure I was staying in a semi-straight line while pinning. Starting at the bottom pin your ruffles to your skirt. I pinned 2 -3 ruffles at a time and then sewed them on. (You can sew each ruffle into a circle, but I just decide to slightly overlap my ends since knit doesn’t fray and it was easier for me to pin it on that way.)
2. Sew each ruffle onto skirt using a zig-zag or straight stitch. This will allow your ruffles to stretch some and not pop out your stitches when your child is wearing the skirt.
3.  Keep pinning and sewing. I watched a movie while doing this because it took a little bit.
4. When you get to your top ruffle you can finish it off with a double needle to give a neater finish. Don’t have a double needle that is ok, you can still use a zig-zag or stretch stitch.


Captain America Upcycled Tank Top Dress Tutorial - Knot Sew Normal 1. When you are all done your skirt will look like this on the inside. As you can tell not all my lines are super-straight, but I am a little crooked so there ya go.
2. Flip the skirt right side out and the tank top inside out and slide the bottom of tank over the skirt so the right sides are touching and the bottom of the tank top is matching up with the top of the skirt.
3. Matching side seams, PIN, PIN, PIN. I used lots of pins because mine kept shifting on me.
4. After you get everything pinned, either serge or zig-zag your top to your bottom using 1/2″ seam allowance. After sewing seam together press seam towards skirt and topstitch.




Captain America Upcycled Tank Top Dress Tutorial - Knot Sew NormalGive a girl a super-hero dress and see her smile!! I also whipped up this super-quick Captain America shield, because every Captain HAS to have a shield. If there is any interest I can post a quick tutorial on how I made mine.

5 thoughts on “Upcycled Tank Top Dress Tutorial – Captain America Edition

  1. Pingback: Easy Fabric Stamp Tutorial – Make your own fabric stamps | Knot Sew Normal

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