Sunday, February 1, 2009

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

A couple of people have asked me for a tutorial for these t-shirt dresses. I've never written a tutorial before, so please let me know if you try to follow my instructions and something isn't clear. Okay? Let's get started.

To make one dress you'll need:

-a t-shirt or onesie
-fabric for the skirt
-thread
-sewing machine or serger

I'm using a plain cotton t-shirt that we had on hand and some fabric from my stash. Look around to see what you have before you buy anything for this project. Onesies that are a bit short work well. You can also use a shirt that fits well but has a stain- cover it with an applique!

Prepare your fabric and shirt by washing, drying, and ironing.


Draw a straight line about 2" below the armpits of the shirt.
Cut on this line. (Let me know if you have an idea for using the bottom half of the shirt-- I just throw mine into my scrap basket.)
To determine the length of fabric you need for the skirt, measure the width of your shirt.
My shirt was about 11" wide. I doubled this measurement to get 22". Then I added about 6 more inches to my measurement to account for seam allowances and the fullness of the skirt. (You can make your skirt as full as you want-- the wider you cut your fabric, the more you'll need to gather your skirt and the fuller it will be). I cut my fabric about 28" x 12". To determine the length of my skirt, I just measured the length of a dress that fits my daughter well.


Set your machine to its longest straight stitch, and stitch along one long side of the skirt. Use a 1/4" seam here. Leave the tails long, and don't backstitch.
Now, gently pull the thread to form gathers along the top of the skirt. Don't pull too hard or you'll break the thread and have to start over. Keep gathering until your skirt is the correct width. In my case, I pulled until my skirt was 23" wide.
After you've done that, fold your skirt (right sides facing) and sew the side seam. I used my serger here, but you can use your regular machine and finish your seams however you like.
Now you're ready to sew the skirt to the t-shirt. Put the two pieces together so that the right sides are facing. Match the raw edge of the shirt to the gathered edge of the skirt. I like to match the side seam of the skirt to the side seam of the shirt, but you can put your skirt seam in the back if you like. I use lots of pins here.
Sew the skirt to the shirt, using a 1/2" seam allowance. Again, I used my serger here, but this isn't necessary.

Now you've got something that looks like this. (We're almost done!)

Turn your dress right side out, hem it, and you're done! You could add some buttons, embroidery, applique, etc.
If you make one of these, I'd love to see it! Let me know if you have any questions!

10 comments:

Amy said...

Great tutorial! I've starred this so that I can make those adorable t-shirt dresses. I love them sooo much on babies and little girls.

Sarah S said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial! I will definitely make one of these soon!

Mommy2Jacie said...

Great tutorial, just what I have been looking for - Can't wait to try it. It is going in my favorites. I have not been able to find one that has the empire waist, and your instructions are perfect....very easy to understand!! Thanks so much :)

dazed said...

I've got the iron on aplied to my shirt, the skirt fabric in the wash... and I am ready to go. I keep telling myself I will wait for my serger to be replaced before I do this, but I don't have much time left till the baby gets here, and it's her "big sister" outfit.... so I think I will be machine sewing. Bah! Thanks for the tutorial. Makes wonderful sense to me!

erin said...

HI! I'm new to sewing and am looking for easy projects to start with. I made this today from an old T-Shirt and an old sheet :) which turned out well because I didn't have to worry about a hem. It turned out very cute and my daughter now has a playdress that she can wear to playground :) Thank you!

Serene said...

thank you! i was looking for a photo tutorial& this is just perfect!

Sophia said...

hi there, thank you so much for this tutorial! I had bookmarked it months ago and was finally able to sit down and make one! I posted pictures on my blog (and referenced your blog of course).
I had a bit of trouble with the gathering though; it was loosening up as I sewed.
Should I have done 2 rows of basting, or tied one end or something?

I plan to make more of these adorable little dresses, thanks for the help!

Sophie

**Erin** said...

I just found your tutorial and wanted to give you an idea for the rest of the shirt. I made a t-shirt dress for a birthday present. I used the rest of the shirt as part of a drawstring bag. I used the fabric from the skirt for the bottom of the bag and the t-shirt portion for the top part. It turned out really cute. :)

Persuaded said...

Thank you so much for this nifty tutorial. I made a dress for my daughter and also... well, I won't tell you what else I made. But I will tell you that I made it from the tee shirt scraps and it was a rather inspired idea if I do say so myself ;)

I posted about it and linked back to you on my own blog today. I do hope you'll come visit♥

Sarah said...

Use the bottom of the shirt to make a matching headband.