Thursday, June 12, 2008

Simple project to pass the time: Making a t-shirt dress!

Ok, since i'm so hugely pregnant and don't feel much like getting out these days, my husband and I thought it might be nice for me to do one fun project a day until baby comes. Today I decided to make matching cute t-shirt dresses for my two youngest girls. They make great play or going out dresses and are so cheap to make.

I thought I would put a tutorial up for those who feel adventurous. I am usually pretty bad about putting pictures up, but I do realize that many people, myself included, are visual. They just need to see it.

All you need is basic sewing skills for this project.

Supplies needed:

  • 1 t-shirt (I payed $2.00 each for the tshirts i'm using)
  • 1/2 - 1 yd of material (For my 5 yo daughter I am using 1 yd, for the 2 yo I am using 1/2 yd. I bought the material for $1.00 yd.) *If making for a bigger girl you will need to add more fabric. Up to about 2 yds.*
  • Matching thread

Step 1:
Put t-shirt on your little one. Mark or measure how many inches right to the belly button. After taking it off, cut it where you marked. You can cut it a little shorter than this if you want, I like the way it falls cut a little shorter so I usually go 1 inch above the belly button.

Step 2:
Fold fabric in half, lengthwise with the selvage edges together. Selvage edges are the edges that have not been cut. *If you are making a dress for a bigger girl, fold fabric in half with the cut edges together instead of the selvage edges. Sew down the long sides.*

Step 3:
Sew sides together to form the skirt. I usally like to make a french seam here, but that's just to keep it from fraying on the inside. If you want to learn how to do a french seam, go here.

Step 4:
Mark the center front and center back of the shirt and skirt with pins.

Step 5:
The skirt will have the right sides facing eachother now. Sew a basting or gathering stitch (which is basically a very wide stitch), at the top of the skirt.

Step 6:
Pull the gathering threads to make the gather of the skirt.

Step 7:
Turn the shirt inside out and put it upside down in skirt. Match center pins of skirt and shirt together and pin. Now adjust your gathers as needed.

Step 8:
Once gathers are adjusted to fit the width of the shirt. Sew the skirt to the t-shirt. I like to go around twice. Once in a zip zag stitch. It is stronger that way. My first few I had to restitch holes because my girls play so hard.

Step 9:
Turn dress right side up now. Try the dress on your little one to see where you want your hem. Pin it and then sew. I like to do a double fold on the bottom of the skirt because it makes the dress fall better at the bottom and it keeps it from fraying. Once I have it pinned around I just take it and fold it inside itself. Then I sew it. Of course, that is just optional.

The finished product!

I have added eyelet lace at the bottom before to add a little something. You can also take the leftover t-shirt material and make a matching scrunchie or add ruffles on a sock. I like to crochet a matching ruffle on socks to wear with it. So cute! Maybe that'll be my project for tomorrow!

It really is simple to do and can add to your little girl's wardrobe for not much money. After reading Crystal's Frugal Friday post and Jennifer's comment on my blog, I decided to add that you can make this project even more frugal by using up older t-shirts that your little girl may be outgrowing. Reusing them extends their life and saves money. Have fun!


Laura said...

That is so cute!! Now I want to make some of these dresses for my daughters!!

Your instructions are very clear and easy to understand, thank you!

Dani said...

Alrighty, I really need to get learning how to sew. I love it and would love some for Baby Girl.
Maybe once we get settled in the new place.

The Ice House said...

These are adorable! Super neat idea!

Jennifer said...

what a fantastic idea!! who knew something soo cute can be so simple and inexpensive to make:)

Gotta start going through the girls clothes now to find some tshirts, we have plenty of fabric!!

Teresa @ A Life At Home said...

Jennifer, I do this all the time. I like to take the t-shirts that the girls are outgrowing and then make a dress for them! It's almost free at that point.

April said...

Very Cute! A great way to dress up a tshirt.

Kerri said...

I have made some of these for my daughter. She loves them. She is nine, and sometimes she wears hers over jeans. They look cute like this, and sometimes that works as they get a little too short for a normal dress.

Teresa @ A Life At Home said...

That's a good idea, Kerri. Thanks!

Joy said...

They are lovely!! I must try to make one of these one day. I'll need to find a t-shirt somewhere because my dd has outgrown all of hers! Thrift shop here I come!



BarbaraLee said...

That is a really cute idea. I'll have to try that.

Candace @ A Garden of Blessings said...

What a great idea, Teresa!
Chloe would just love one, and it would be sute to make some matching ones.
Hope you are feeling well.