Learn How SIMPLE
Digital Patterns Really Are!

Sign Up to Receive
The Ultimate Guide to Digital Sewing Patterns eBook + a FREE Skirt Pattern!


Last year while I was in Europe I bought a tank top with a laser cut top pleater panel, I love it and wear it all the time! Then I thought I can easily create my own (plus I really wanted another one). All you need is a tank pattern, a small piece of vinyl fabric (or faux leather / pleater), a ruler and rotary cutter or x-acto knife! See how you can make yourself an edgy laser cut tank with this DIY.

For my tank, I used the above right Shift Dress for my DIY, but this Tank pattern would also be a great pattern to use. You can see below how I shortened this dress pattern and created my top panel.

Left: Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Right: Photo by Joe Kohen/Getty Images

Like most trends, laser cut-outs started to appear on the runway. I love the tear drop cut outs from Diane von Fürstenberg (left), and also the intricate neckline cut out from Cushnie et Ochs spring 2013 (right).

Step One
Print, assemble, and add seam allowance to your pattern. I used our Shift Dress pattern (because I love the shape of the neckline) so I needed to shorten the hemline to make it into a tank. I also extended the side seam out 1" because I wanted a looser fit on the bottom half of the tank (I added no additional width at underarm point). Starting at underarm point draw a line parallel to center front, this becomes the seamline where the top panel attachees to the bottom of the tank. This pattern has a dart in the upper of the armhole, I decided I wanted the look of a dart in my vinyl, but you can easily rotate this dart into the seamline.

Step Two
Trace off the different panels of the tank front, and add seam allowance to the seamline. The back can be one piece.

Step Three
Cut your top panel out of vinyl/faux leather, and trace the darts (if needed) on the wrong side of the panel with tracing paper. Now it is time to plot out your cut outs! I found it easiest to place my pattern on a gridded cutting mat and transfer the 1" grid. From there I drew my triangle shapes. Once I established the design on one side, I folded my pattern in half and traced to the other half of my pattern. Place the pattern back onto your fabric panel and transfer the cut out lines with a tracing wheel not using tracing paper! The nature of the vinyl/faux leather will allow the dots on the tracing wheel to make a nice clear line.

Step Four
Using an x-acto knife (or rotary cutter) and ruler, CAREFULLY cut out the pieces on your tracing wheel lines. Now cut the bottom portions of your tank and sew together!

Stay tuned for my completed project of this tank.

Happy DIYing!



  • St_patty_90x90_large

    Jan 15, 2015, 12.46 AMby Mokara

    This is a great post, but is there a picture of the finished garment somewhere?

  • Rose_large

    Aug 19, 2014, 06.56 PMby MissPx

    I love the look of lazer cut decor on tops and dresses and I have been trying to figure out how to create the effect without buying the expensive machine.

    Thanks for the demo, will be using your tip. I will also love to see your finished garment.


  • Article-0-123e326e000005dc-604_634x399_large

    Oct 20, 2013, 06.33 PMby constanteffort

    Ingenious! I have several fabrics lying around that i can use it at!Thanks Meg!

  • Simba_nov_06_large

    Oct 20, 2013, 01.26 PMby nrobson

    terrific and modern! =)

  • Image_large

    Oct 20, 2013, 12.07 PMby JillStraw

    I’m also looking forward to the finished top! Are you using the green vinyl/faux leather for the bottom as well??? My mind is reeling with the endless possibilities for this DIY. Thank Meg!!

    Why did you use triangles instead of cutting your name into the fabric repeatedly to make the design (yes, that is an up-all-night in pain remark directed at alex.wang’s “my name in laser cut” obsession – purely joking, he’s a great designer) – but i do wonder if the delicacy and intricacy of the laser cuts used in his collection could be somewhat copied this way, or do you suggest sticking to less complicated and cut-away/delicate designs? Even if i were to use a cutting machine (blade – not laser) on the leather or vinyl?

  • Img_0221g1_large

    Oct 19, 2013, 02.54 PMby aggelicat .)

    Very nice!! But how do you sew this project?!
  • Ellen1_large

    Oct 18, 2013, 09.13 AMby Ellen Hatteland

    Fabulous! Love it :)

  • Denise_wild_lovesewing_large

    Oct 17, 2013, 11.47 PMby Denise Wild

    This is great!!!!! Can’t wait to borrow the finished tank! (I mean, I can’t wait to SEE it…) lol

    1 Reply
    • Meg_healy_burdastyle_90_90_large

      Oct 18, 2013, 04.10 AMby MegH

      Haha!! Thanks Denise, I can’t wait to share it with you!

  • Ulo_large

    Oct 17, 2013, 10.57 PMby momita

    Love it, love it, love it.!!!

    1 Reply
    • Meg_healy_burdastyle_90_90_large

      Oct 18, 2013, 04.11 AMby MegH

      Thanks !! I love it too, I am going to be making a lot more of these garments.

    • This is a question
  1. Sign in to add a post


  • Editors' Pick
  • Pattern Collections
  • BurdaStyle Academy
  • Burda Challenge
  • Backstage Report
  • Fashion & Trends
  • DIY to Try
  • Tips & Techniques
  • Member Highlights
  • Sewing Projects
  • Outta Town
  • Contests & Competitions
  • Archive
  • Guest Columns
  • Videos
  • Meg's Magazine Mash Up
  • As Seen In
  • Podcast
  • Holiday