Friday, July 17, 2009

Summertime Sewing: T-Shirt Dress

I've seen these dresses all over the boutiques. But until I saw Stephanie put one together on her blog, I never thought about making them myself! Thanks Stephanie for the great idea! You are turning out some really cute stuff these days!!! (Side Note: Stephanie is the step mom to my niece an nephew!! So that's how we know each other)

I had to wing it and just figure it out (because I didn't have directions to follow), but I think it turned out just right for my girls. This dress is the perfect amount of "work" for me to start and finish them quickly. I just don't have time/desire/energy to read/cutout/assemble patterned outfits these days. These don't need lining and trim/embellishments either which takes out about 50% of the time and effort!


T-shirt in appropriate color and size

I ended up buy 1 ½ yards of fabric not knowing how much I was going to need for TWO dresses. I found out I probably could have gotten away with 1 ⅛ yards for both dresses (and probably a yard).

But you figure the amount of fabric by the width of the shirt. I did 1 ½ times the width of the shirt!

Step 1:

Wash and dry the shirts and fabrics!!!!!

Step 2:

Cut t-shirts about 1½ - 2 inches below armpit hole. (I did 2" for Olivia's dress and 1 ½" for Lillian's dress)

Step 3:

Measure 1 ½ times the t-shirt on the fabric and cut that amount for the bottom part of the dress. You can also measure the length of the dress. Obviously, I took a few inches off the end of Lillian's dress.

Step 4:
Sew up sides with a french seam and hem bottom of dress.


Step 5:

Set machine to the loosest stitch and sew (without back stitching) around the top of the dress - where it's to meet the t-shirt.

Setting 5 for my machine.

Step 6:

Gently pull the loose ends of the thread that you just sewed to gather the dress until the circumference matches that of the t-shirt. Then pin to together.

TIP: Pin the side seams of the dress and t-shirt together FIRST then evenly pin between the seams.

Gently work the gather part evenly around the dress.

Step 7:

Using the french seam technique, sew the bottom part of the dress to the t-shirt! This will mean that you push the t-shirt down into the dress so that the WRONG SIDES are together. After you stitch around that edge, you pull the dress right side out. Then fold it so that the RIGHT SIDES are together, press, and sew around again - enclosing the raw edges that you just sewed. (I sure hope this is making sense! It's really easy once you get it!)

Here is where I folded the shirt down into the dress - wrong sides together and pinned it.

Here is what it looks like but pulled right side out - same as above just different view.

Sewing the WRONG sides together.

TIP: In between these 2 steps, it's good to trip the excess raw edges. Trim pretty close to the seam you just made so it's easy to enclose in the next step! And not so bulky.

Folding the dress so that the RIGHT sides are together but now going to enclose raw hem.

Sewing around the same part of the dress RIGHT SIDES together enclosing the raw edges. No need to zig zag the flap down this time.

And VOILA!! You should be able to pull the dress right side and have nice neat edges and seams! No raw edges that will fray when you wash it!

At this point, you can do SOOOO many things with this dress! Monogram it, add fringe or pom poms to the hem. You could even make a ruffle with complementing fabric and attach to the hem. Hey, maybe add some pockets!

Also, this is a great "pattern" for winter dresses too. Use long sleeve shirt or turtle necks and then a heavier fabric at the bottom!! I'm getting SO many ideas from just typing all this.

I think this may be my new favorite sewing project for my girls! And after completing a couple dresses, I figured out I could start and FINISH one in about 30 minutes! Thanks quick and easy sewing people! And cost was about $6 per dress!!!!! Ummm...I'll take 20, please.

Here's a sneak peak of the next 4 dresses!!! ;-)

Ok, so by the time I posted this, I had already sewn the next 2 dresses....2 more to go! :-)

Maybe I'll even throw in some fun embellishments this time!!

Happy Sewing!!

Thanks again Stephanie for jump starting my sewing again!!! :-)


  1. wonderful job! I will have to keep these in mind for my next projects.

  2. AnonymousJuly 17, 2009

    Okay, so I don't sew, and don't ever think I'll learn how...but these are adorable! Can you make one for a 4 month old?!?

  3. Super cute! Easy for you, out of my league. However, I'll have to send this link to my mom. She could whip this up since it doesn't take so long. THANKS!!! :):):)

  4. Are you serious? Wow! Just amazing. I'm with Annie.

  5. You are so welcome! I am glad that you made your girls some. They look precious as usual.

  6. Thanks! Great pictures too, so helpful!

  7. Thanks! Great pictures too, so helpful!


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