It’s a t-shirt…it’s a dress…

it’s a t-shirt dress!

I saw an adult a-line version of this in a catalog and decided to make some for the kids.  Are they back in style?  This was pretty easy and inexpensive.  You could add a matching appliqué to the top.  And I think it would be extra cute in plaid.  This will work for adults or kids.

Here are the basic instructions:


  • tee
  • 1/2 yard fabric (for kids)
  • thread
  • scissors
  • measuring tape

Step #1: Wash and dry tee and fabric.

Step #2: Try the tee on to see where you want it to hit.  Mark that spot and cut neatly across the bottom.

Step #3: Measure the width of the hem of your t-shirt.  Double that and cut your fabric to that width in two pieces.  You can decide the length according to your needs.  (I used about 10″ for my three year-old and 12″ for my five year-old).

Step #4: Turn under bottom of one piece of fabric 1/2″ and press.  Fold 1/2″ again and sew hem.  Repeat for the other piece of fabric.

Step #5: Right sides together, pin the two pieces of fabric together and sew one of the side seams (1/2″ seam allowance).

Step #6: Sew a basting stitch along the top for gathering, leaving bobbin thread long.

Step #7: Right sides together, sew the other side seam, starting at the bottom and leaving about 1/2″ at the top so that you can still adjust the gathers.

Step #8: Turn tee inside out and insert skirt section into the inside of the skirt upside down, with right side of skirt facing right side of tee (see photo below).

Step #9: Pin seams of skirt to seams of tee.  Pins should be on the inside of the skirt.  Then pin around, adjusting the gathers evenly as you pin.

Step #10: Sew in place along the basting stitch.

Step #11: Sew overcasting stitch along all seams.

If you make this project, be sure to post a photo to the Flickr Make it Monday page.

29 comments to It’s a t-shirt…it’s a dress…

  • Oh, I love this! Thanks for the tutorial.

  • Oh, I am so gonna do this! This is such a great way to re-use a t-shirt that has a stain, or just has gone to the wayside…with boredom! Thanks for sharing this wonderful ideas with us!

  • helen

    Thanks – this is perfect! My 4 year old just out-grew most of her clothes and is very specific about what she will or won’t wear. I think this will fit her criteria and make me happy at the same time!

  • This is fantastic! I love any project where I can reuse things I already have. I’ll be sure to link to this project!

  • I think they’re still in style – absolutely. I made a few for my daughter this spring, but with polo shirts. Great idea.

  • Thanks so much for the ideas! I know in Zara I’ll find many cheap tshirts that I can use to make any of this and, of course I have tons of fabrics to match, lol… Or may I buy any more???? lol… There’s always a good reason for more fabric in the stash! isn’t it?

  • A ribbon along the waist would spice this up a bit too. Maybe a cute bow attached to the ribbon…

  • These are very cute! They remind me of these little kilts we used to have as children, attached to a little satiny vest so you’d just pop a polo neck over the top. Such a good idea, as most little girls I know hate to have tight waistbands, I have no idea why they don’t make them any more.

  • laurie a

    cute! M received a dress like this from a friend who bought it at a garage sale. It has vintage fabric with scenes of kids playing on a playground. I always wanted to try it. she loves wearing it. Comfy & cute.

  • Adorable and you could applique a shape from the same fabric on the top or make a hairband to match. Get the child involved in making the hair band or barrette and have a great time. Always need to motivate the next generation of sewers!

  • This is too cute! Thanks!!

  • These are go-to outfits in our house. 4 yo DD will only wear dresses and I was hoping that I’d find a tutorial for these at some point. Thanks a Ton!

  • ooo, my daughter is 11 and loves this (of course she’ll wear it over her jeans)! She’s all about recycling and having funky one-of-a-kind clothes so this is perfect for her. Thanks so much.

  • this is great… sadly, sewing is not my forte… but i love this tutorial, such cute recon.

  • How cleaver! Thank you for the tut.

  • Love this tutorial!Little girls are going to look precious in them.
    Thank you for shareing this with all of us.
    hugs ginger

  • So funny I made these 14 years ago for my new baby, but I had a boy so my best freinds daughter had many fun gifts.

  • Aim

    I love this kind of thing. I made the cutest skirt for DD about 20 years ago, by sewing a gathered strip of fabric to the bottom of a cut-off body of some jeans, making the cutest jeans skirt DD ever had! So cheap, and so cute. I need to dig around to find the pic of the 4 yo wearing it…Thanks for posting this!

  • Love these! I bought shirts and fabric for a Halloween and a Christmas t-shirt dress. I’m new to sewing, so I hope mine will turn out as well as yours! Love your site – I check in often because I love Make it Monday!

  • Brandi

    I would like to try to make a dress like this for an adult. Do you know how much fabric I would need for an adult?

  • Melissa

    I bet this would be a cute way to make a maternity dress. I saw one like it recently. A form-fitting top, cut at an empire waistline, then chiffon- type material was sewn on making it a full length super-comfy dress. I’m going to try that.

  • K

    I had an idea to do a dress like this for my grand daughter. This made my day because I didn’t have to re-invent the wheel.

  • I’ve made this for my little daughter. So easy and cute too! Thanks a lot for the tutorial.

  • Thanks for your sharing…

  • Light

    You give me new hope for not throw away my favourite t-shirt since its fit at stomach area.Thank you very much…^_^

  • Jessica

    Thank you very much for sharing this. I have made my first t-shirt dress and it’s gorgeous! I’ve been scared to go near knits so this was a perfect way to ease in.Such a quick (1/2 hour) easy dress “pattern”. I think my twin daughters’ wardrobe will be filled with these!
    Thanks again.

  • How much materal for a nine year old.She wears like an 18 top in tees.Thanks.I made one a long time ago but almost forgot how):

  • Kim Smith

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. I received my first sewing machine this Christmas and this dress was my first project, EVER! It came out adorable.

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