Tutorial: Make a Dress from a T-Shirt - Sew My Place
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Tutorial: Make a Dress from a T-Shirt

Do you have a bunch of t-shirts that you don’t know what to do with? Maybe you received a t-shirt you love as a gift, but it’s just a little too big for you to wear. Or maybe you just don’t wear t-shirts all that often.

Well, never fear. There is something you can do with those t-shirts.

Make them into t-shirt dresses.

If you don’t have any t-shirts you can use for this tutorial, no problem. You can buy beautiful, high quality t-shirts for as little as $5 or $10…sometimes even less.

And, best of all, making a t-shirt dress is a quick and easy sewing project that you can complete in no time at all.


What You’ll Need

  • A t-shirt that’s 2 or 3 sizes too big for you. You also want to look for a t-shirt that fits long. Something mid-thigh to knee length is a good choice.
  • Thread that matches the t-shirt.
  • A piece of elastic long enough to fit around your waist. The elastic should be about 1 inch wide. (But you can use “skinnier” elastic if that’s what you have on hand.)
  • A fabric pen or some tailor’s chalk.
  • A ruler.
  • An iron.
  • Sewing pins.
  • A tape measure. (Optional)


Making Your T-Shirt Dress

  1. Turn the t-shirt inside out.
  2. Put the t-shirt on while it’s still inside out, and grab your fabric pen.
  3. Using the fabric pen, place a mark where you want the waistline of the dress to be. When finished, the dress will be sort of gathered at the waist. This is basically what transforms a simple t-shirt into a dress.
  4. There are two ways you can deal with the elastic.
    • Take the elastic and wrap it around your waist where you marked the waistline. You want the elastic to be relatively snug but not so tight that wearing the finished dress will be uncomfortable. Once you’ve settled on a desired length, cut the elastic and take off the shirt.
    • Measure your waist with a tape measure. Add ½ inch to 1 inch to that measurement (depending on how snug you want the waistline to be) and cut your elastic to that length.
  5. Fold the elastic in half, so that the two ends meets. Sew the ends of the elastic together so that you have an elastic loop.
  6. With the shirt still inside out, put it through the elastic loop. Lay the t-shirt out on a flat surface, and adjust the elastic so that it goes around the waistline mark you made earlier.
  7. Pin the elastic in place. Try to stretch the shirt out so that it’s in its natural shape as you add the pins. This part can be tricky so just take your time. If you don’t think you got it right the first time, don’t hesitate to try again.
  8. Sew the elastic in place. If you are using a wider piece of elastic, you can sew a stitch along both the top and the bottom of the elastic. If you are using very thin elastic, you can sew a single stitch right down the middle of the elastic.
  9. Fold the right sleeve of the shirt up about ½ inch to one inch. Lightly press the fold in place.
  10. Fold the sleeve a second time, and iron the fold in place.
  11. On most t-shirts, the sleeves are sewn together at the bottom. Well, sew a line of your own as close to this line as you can get to really hold the folds in place. Since the line will be under your arm, no one will really see it.
  12. Repeat steps 9 through 12 on the left sleeve.

And that’s it. You have turned a t-shirt into a comfortable and fashionable dress perfect for wearing on warm spring or summer days. But what if you want to make your t-shirt dress a bit more stylish?


Ways to Decorate Your T-Shirt Dress

Here are a few things you can do to give your t-shirt dress some extra flair.

  • Tie Dye It. This t-shirt decorating technique is a classic. And all you need to it are some rubber bands, 3 or 4 fabric dyes in different colors, some simple instructions, and  little bit of time. This technique would probably work best on a white or light-colored t-shirt.
  • Use Iron-Ons. You can find iron-ons in a variety of colors and designs, and they don’t cost very much either. Visit your local craft store to see what they have to offer.
  • Paint It. You can use fabric paints and paint brushes to create freehand designs. Or, if you’d prefer, you can use sponge stamps or stencils to add the fabric paint.
  • Embellish It. Use fabric glue to add some fabric gems. Sew on patches. Add some lace around the hem. You can even use fabric scrapbooking embellishments to decorate your t-shirt dress.
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{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Lisa November 23, 2019, 8:19 am

    I really like the idea of making dress from t-shirt and it would be so easy to create this tutorial by following your steps. I am so excited to try this. Thanks a lot for sharing.

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