Hello everyone!  Most of you have already seen the cute little t-shirt dresses I made as part of the “Sewing 4 Haiti” initiative.  If you missed that post last week, you may see it HERE.  We continue to pray for the children in Haiti.

While still in the spirit of sewing for little girls, I decided to make more dresses.  This time I enlisted the help of a few little girls, to show you how fabulous the dress looks when styled and worn.  I used their favorite colors and prints to design dresses that they would love.  As you will see, this very simple dress is quite versatile, and the design and styling options are absolutely endless.  With just the right accessories and layers, this is easily an all-season dress.

Looking for a great gift idea?  You will be thrilled when you see how simple it is to sew the dress.  This project is BEGINNER FRIENDLY!!!  It can be sewn up in just 1 hour, making it a great choice for gifts or last minute wardrobe needs for your little princess.  Give it a try! Take your little girl along when you go to choose the shirt and fabric.  Allow her to choose her colors and prints.  She will be so thrilled to know that she had a part in designing her own dress.  Because this is such an easy project, it would be even more fun to allow her to help you put the dress together.  You could make it a mother/daughter, grandma/grandchild, auntie/niece, mentor/child kind of day.  Whatever you decide to do, have fun with it. 

Here are some styling options that the girls and their moms came up with.  The girls did an amazing job and we had a blast working with them.  The tutorial follows the photos.

How to Sew an Easty T-Shirt Dress


How to Sew an Easy T-Shirt DressHow to Sew an Easy T-Shirt DressHow to Make an Easy T-Shirt DressHow to Sew an Easy T-Shirt DressHow to Sew an Easy T-Shirt Dress

How to Make an Easy T-Shirt DressHow to Sew an Easty T-Shirt DressHow to Sew an Easy T-Shirt DressHow to Sew an Easy T-Shirt Dress

How to Make an Easy T-Shirt Dress

How to Sew an Easy T-Shirt DressHow to Sew an Easy T-Shirt DressHow to Sew an Easy T-Shirt DressHow to Sew an Easy T-Shirt DressHow to Sew an Easy T-Shirt DressHow to Sew an Easy T-Shirt DressHow to Sew an Easy T-Shirt DressHow to Sew an Easy T-Shirt Dress

Photos Courtesy of CEMO!

You have two options for this tutorial.

  1. Written Tutorial – For this blog post I am writing a step-by-step tutorial for those of you who prefer to read the steps.
  2. Video Tutorial – For the audio/visual learners, there is a video tutorial at the end of this post.

How To Sew an Easy T-shirt Dress – For Little Girls

What You Will Need:

Easy DIY T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

  1. T-shirt (I used 100% cotton)
  2. 1/2 – 1 yard fabric (I used 100% cotton)
  3. Fusible Interfacing
  4. Fabric Scissors
  5. Straight Pins
  6. Tape Measure
  7. Grid Ruler or Yard Stick
  8. Thread
  9. Tailor’s Chalk or Chalk Roller
  10. Press Cloth (Not pictured) – optional

Optional (but useful)

Easy DIY T-Shirt Dress TutorialStep #1:  Purchase T-Shirts & Fabric

T-SHIRT– I purchased 100% cotton t-shirts from our local T-Shirt Mart, where the shirts are 3 for $10.  If you don’t have a t-shirt mart in your town, you can purchase them from stores like Target and Wal-Mart, or most stores that sell clothing for girls.  You will also find t-shirts at JoAnn Fabrics & Michael’s.  Use a 50% Off Coupon for a great deal.

FABRIC– You will need 1/2 yard – 1 yard of fabric.  I purchased 100% cotton fabric (flannel) from JoAnn’s.  The amount of fabric to purchase depends on the desired skirt length.  For a fuller skirt, purchase more fabric, cut two panels and sew them together.

Easy DIY T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

Step #2:  Prepare the T-Shirt

PRE-TREAT & MEASURE  (See photo below)

Wash your fabric according to manufacturer’s suggestion, printed on t-shirt label.  Dry and iron shirt flat.  Measure from bottom of armhole opening down to where you want your shirt to end on both sides.  I measured 3″ down.  Insert a straight pin at that point.  If you’re not sure where you want to cut your shirt, try it on the girl you’re making it for and mark your desired length with chalk on one side only.  Then after removing the shirt, insert pins at the same measurement on both sides of the shirt.

Easy DIY T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

CUT SHIRT  (See photos below)

(1) Line up your ruler or yard stick with the pins on both sides of the t-shirt.

(2) With your chalk roller or tailors chalk draw a line from one side to the other.  You may also use marking pens for this task.

(3) Using your fabric scissors, cut along the line from one end to the other. 

(4) Check to make sure you have a straight cut.  Remove any jagged edges.

Easy DIY T-Shirt Dress TutorialINTERFACE T-SHIRT – We will apply interfacing to the cut edge of the t-shirt to prevent it from stretching when we sew the skirt onto it. (See photos below)

(1) Using your tape measure, take a measurement from one side of the t-shirt (at the cut edge) to the other side.  Multiply this number by two and add 1/2 inch.  The extra 1/2″ is to allow for the curves at the sides and any shrinkage in the interfacing during application. Write down that measurement. 

(2) Turn your shirt inside out at this point.  Cut a strip of interfacing the length of the measurement you just took and about 1/2 inch wide.  This strip must be cut parallel with the selvage edge of the interfacing, where there is no stretch.  If you pull on your strip of interfacing and it stretches, then you’ve cut it wrong.  Align this strip of interfacing even with the cut edge of the t-shirt, with the glue side facing the shirt.

(3) Press interfacing onto the shirt all the way around.  (I highly recommend that you use a press cloth during this task to prevent getting glue onto the sole plate of your iron.  If there is extra interfacing at the end, just trim it off.  If there isn’t enough interfacing, just cut another strip, in the length you need to fill in the gap.


Easy DIY T-Shirt Dress TutorialDIVIDE T-SHIRT INTO FOURTHS – This will help attach the skirt to the t-shirt evenly. (See photos below)

(1) Insert straight pins into the sides of the shirt at the cut edge.

(2) Bring the side edges together and lay the t-shirt flat in front of you to create folds at the center front and center back of the shirt at the cut edge.  Insert straight pins at those two folds.  Your shirt is now divided into four equal sections.  Put your shirt aside while we prepare the skirt.

Easy DIY T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

Easy DIY T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

Step #3: Prepare the Skirt

MEASURE SKIRT (See photos below)

(1) Open your fabric and place it in front of you with the printed side facing up.  Using your fabric scissors or rotary cutter, remove the border from the selvage end(s) of your fabric if there is one present.  Some fabrics have this white border with information about the fabric printed in the white space.  Some have a blank white (or colored) space.  We’re removing the border to ensure that none of the border shows on the right side of the fabric after we sew the seam together.

(2) Place the top edge of your fabric at the bottom edge of the t-shirt.  Using your tape measure, measure down to the desired length.  Add 1 1/2″ to that measurement and this will be the length that you cut your skirt.  Write this measurement down.

Easy DIY T-Shirt Dress TutorialCUT SKIRT: We will use the measurements taken above to cut the skirt. (See photos below)

(1) Fold fabric in half lengthwise, lining up selvage edges.

(2) First, establish a straight edge at the top of your fabric by cutting across the width of the fabric, using your rotary cutter or fabric scissors.  If using scissors, use your ruler or yard stick to draw a straight line across fabric first, then cut on that line.  Using measurement from above, measure from the top edge to your desired length and cut across width of the fabric.

Easy DIY T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

SEW SKIRT SEAM: (See photos below)

(1) Fold skirt together with the right sides of the fabric facing (lengthwise).  Using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, stitch from bottom of skirt to top, backstitching at beginning and end.  Finish raw edges of seam allowance with your chosen method.  I will use my serger to finish all seam allowances.

(2) Press seam flat on both sides.  I suggest using a press cloth whenever pressing your garment.

(3) Open skirt and press seam to one side on inside of skirt.

(4) Turn skirt to outside and press seam again

How to Sew an Easy T-shirt Dress - For Little Girls

PREPARE HEM:  (See photos below)

(1)  Using a 1 inch seam allowance, stitch around bottom edge of skirt, backstitching at beginning and end (guide stitching).

(2)  Fold raw edge over along guide stitching.  The stitching should show on the wrong side of skirt.

(3)  Press on the fold.

(4)  Open out fold and bring raw edge up to fold (at guide stitching)

(5)  Fold over again.  You will now have a double fold.

(6)  Press the double fold all the way around the skirt.

How to Sew an Easy T-shirt Dress - For Little GirlsSEW HEM: (See photos below)

Using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, sew the hem in place, backstitching at beginning and end.  You may sew from the back side of the fabric or the front side.

How to Sew an Easy T-shirt Dress - For Little GirlsPREPARE GATHERING: (See photos below)

(1) Using a basting stitch, insert two rows of stitching to the top edge of the skirt.  Sew first row at 3/8 inch seam line.  Sew second row about half way inside of seam allowance.  We are using a 3/8 inch seam so that we don’t have to remove basting stitches that may show on right side of skirt after attaching it to the shirt.

(2) Divide skirt into four sections, using same method used for t-shirt.

How to Sew an Easy T-shirt Dress - For Little GirlsATTACH SKIRT TO SHIRT  (See photos below)

(1) Insert t-shirt into skirt until edges of both meet. 

How to Sew an Easy T-shirt Dress - For Little Girls(2) Pin center back of t-shirt to center back of skirt (seam).  Pin center front and sides of shirt and skirt together, matching pins.

(3) Pull up gathers on one half of skirt and distribute gathers evenly, pining along the way.  Repeat on other half of skirt.

(4) Distribute gathers evenly, pining along the way.  Repeat Steps (3) and (4) on other side of skirt.

(5) Sew skirt to t-shirt, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Finish edge with your chosen method of seam finish.

How to Sew an Easy T-shirt Dress - For Little Girls

FINISH DRESS: (See photos below)

(1) Press seam flat.

(2) Press seam toward t-shirt on inside of dress.

(3) Press seam on outside of dress.

(4) Topstitch on t-shirt, catching in seam allowance underneath, sewing 1/4 inch from seam.

How to Sew an Easy T-shirt Dress - For Little GirlsYour dress is almost complete.  Give it a final press and embellish it with your choice of cuteness.  Buttons, bows, flowers and pins all give it a final touch that your precious little one is sure to love.

Sewing 4 Haiti - T-Shirt Dress

Tutorial Photos by Anita Morris!

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember: When you live in your DESIGN, it is from there that God SHINES!


Click Here for Video Tutorial

How to Sew an Easy T-Shirt Dress




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