Friday, September 30, 2011

T-shirt to toddler dress!

Have you been to the  Prudent Baby blog?  I recently discovered it (that's where I found the tutorial for the business card case that I made too), and there are SO MANY great projects on there.  I am particularly in love with the nap time projects section, for obvious reasons.

This is another project from that section, called the Two Minute T-Shirt Dress.   I knew as soon as I saw it that this would be a perfect repurpose for one of my former favorite shirts that was all stretched out and baggy from doubling as a nursing top.  Because of the stretched-out neckline, I did need to adapt this tutorial a bit, as I will outline below, so it was a bit more than two minutes.  Also, this marked my FIRST EVER SHIRRING with elastic thread!  I am in love with this method.  I am already looking for other things I can shirr (is that right?) because it is so fun--easy, forgiving, and instant gratification, all things that are high-priority for me in a sewing project.

This is the shirt I started with.
Before I get to what I did here, you must know that there is a strange story about this shirt.  You know you want to hear it.  We had a dinner party once where lots and lots of dungeoness crab was served.  While one guest was attempting to pass the large bowl of crab to another, the bowl was tipped and the poor guest was doused in crab water.  I lent her this shirt and a pair of shorts since she was totally soaked and smelly.  Her girlfriend, who had had quite a bit to drink by this time, was going on and on about how much she loved this shirt and offered me $75 to let her girlfriend keep it.  While it was a tempting offer for this Old Navy masterpiece, I told her she should sleep on it, and if she still wanted it for $75 the next day, it was all hers.  Well, the shirt and shorts were back on my porch the next day, and no moolah.  Ah well, if she had still loved it so much when sober, then this dress wouldn't have come to be.

So moving on, the tutorial uses a typical crew-neck t-shirt, and this one was a fairly deep scoop (rendered deeper by my stretching it out for baby feeding), so I had to start by shrinking the neckline.  I used a favorite dress to figure out about how big the neckline should be:

You've seen this dress before in my refashions--it gets pulled out for template purposes frequently.
Then I cut off the top of the shirt, including the sleeves, to make the neck opening the right size.  However, I wanted to have the trim that was still on the front of the neckline to go all the way around, so I cut the strip of trim off the back of the original shirt and reattached it to where the top of the back of the dress would be.

strip of trim removed from original shirt and pinned to the back of the dress
(curved up slightly at the ends so it would meet up with the neckline in the front)
The new neckline in the back
Once the new piece of neckline trim was attached, I turned the whole thing inside out and just sewed the tops of the sleeves together.  Then I was ready to follow the tutorial I linked to above!  I did decide to have my waistline a bit higher than pictured in the tutorial--one of the great things about making your own stuff is the ability to customize, am I right?

Here's the finished product. The pattern continues on the back, too. I love it!  It's still a bit big for my 18-month-old, but next summer it will be PERFECT!

She picked out her own socks and shoes.  She's very opinionated that way.


  1. i love this. maybe i make some dresses out of t-shirts for indy. he is running low in that department:)

  2. I bet a regular t-shirt would come out to the perfect size for Indy--you wouldn't have to do the altering I did, and it probably would end up being a 2-minute project!


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