Don’t you love the comfort of a t-shirt dress? They’re stretchy and soft; they’re casual yet pretty. And even if you’re a beginner they’re really easy to make. If you’ve never made one you’ll find that, as long as you know how to make a basic straight stitch, you can easily make a t-shirt dress. There are a couple of different ways to make them so you choose the style you feel will be easiest for you or the style that will look best on you.
One way to make the dress is to use different size t-shirts. This works especially well if you’re making a t-shirt dress for a little girl. Start with a t-shirt that fits her then use a larger and a larger shirt to make the skirt. With this method the hems are already in all the shirts and all you have to do is sew the two shirt pieces onto the main shirt. Cut the second largest shirt off across the middle or a little lower. How long you cut each shirt is dependent upon how long you want the finished dress to be. It’s a good idea to measure from the hem of the main shirt to the area down the leg where you want the dress to go. Take this measurement and cut it in half to decide how much to trim off each additional shirt.
Since the second shirt piece is larger than the first you’ll have to create puckers in it to make it fit onto the main shirt. First mark the two sides of the shirt. Stitch across the cut edge of the shirt using a long, basting stitch. After removing the piece from the machine slide the fabric down the thread, holding the thread at one end and sliding the material to the other, as the fabric gathers. Arrange the gathers to that they’re evenly spaced. Pin the gathered edge of the new piece to the hem of the main shirt. Pin it so that the cut edges of the second shirt are against the hem of the main shirt, and underneath it. Make sure the marks on the sides of the main shirt align with the side seam marks on the tier. Stitch around the main shirt, sewing the second shirt to it, by using a straight stitch just above or just below the hem stitch of the main shirt. Follow the same procedure to attach the next section of the skirt. Use the largest shirt, trim off the piece you need, then gather it. Pin it in place, with the cut edges of the new piece going under and against the hem of the second shirt piece. Stitch just below or just above the hem of the second shirt to attach this final piece.
Make the dress a little different by using pieces of fabric rather than pieces cut from t-shirts. Cut the length of fabric for the first skirt part then cut the second skirt piece even longer. Stitch along one edge to create the hem for the first skirt piece. Hem the side seams then stitch along the top. Gather the stitches then pin the fabric to the underside hem area of the main shirt. Sew it in place. With the second, longer piece, hem, gather and stitch it onto the first skirt piece. You can make these skirt pieces as long as you want. The longer you make them the fuller the skirt of the t-shirt dress will be. You can also add another and another tier until the dress reaches the floor, if that’s what you want. Just remember to decide on how long you want the dress then divide that number by the number of tiers you want to make so that each tier is as wide as the one before it.
Make a different design when you cut the main shirt shorter than it originally was. Cut it to an empire waist level and then add the desired tiers to it. For this dress, you’ll cut off part of the main shirt and then hem it. Add each hemmed tier until the dress is as long as you want. Make different dresses by the amount of tiers you make and the embellishments you add. Glue on buttons or satin bows, draw on the main area of the dress with shirt paints or even glue on fake jewels. Or, cut the sleeves out of the finished dress and hem around the armholes to make a sleeveless number. You can even sew lace or other trim to the hemmed areas of each tier to give it a totally different appearance. There are lots of ways to make each dress look unique.
You don’t have to learn any fancy stitches or tricks to make a t-shirt dress. They’re comfortable in the summer and are perfect for girls or women. If you know how to do a straight stitch you can make lots of different t-shirt dresses. After you’ve made a couple of them you’ll be ready to move on to a little harder sewing project. Soon, you’ll be really good at making dresses but you’ll still want to make even more of those comfy t-shirt dresses!