How to make a t-shirt dress (sew version): What I’m Makin Monday

I didn’t use to like t-shirt dresses all that much, but then I fell in love with some on this etsy shop. I bought several from her. Then she got pregnant again and I felt bad asking her to make me a billion dresses while she’s got two kiddos and one on the way, so with her encouragement, I decided to start sewing.

I wanted to go all in and learn how to make dress bodices myself, so I skipped trying the t-shirt style right away. But since Lil’ J is wearing something Christmas themed to school every day until the 25th, I needed to speed up my dress-making process, so I decided to give these a whirl for her to wear while I’m working on the more elaborate patterns.

Sumos Sweet Stuff has adorable tiered t-shirt dress patterns and tiered ruffle t-shirt patterns that I own, but before trying those I decided I’d just wing it and try a solid fabric on the bottom with a little hem band.

It doesn’t take so long, and it’s easy because you don’t need to worry about making the top half, other than any embellishments you want to add.

This is a lot like my no-sew version I posted last week except without any elastic, and obviously with sewing instead of Heat N Bond.

 What you’ll need:

Fabric (I used 1/2 yard of the main skirt fabric and 1/8 yard fabric for the trim band and sash. )
Coordinating thread

Step 1: Sew hem band to the skirt piece. I used the longer side to be the width of the skirt area.

Step 2: Roll the bottom of the hem band twice toward the inside of and sew across it to create a finished-looking hem.

Step 3: Add a ruffle stitch across the top of the skirt piece (or sew two parallel lines with a long stitch and pull the top stitch to make it gather.

Step 4: Cut across t-shirt about two inches below arm opening.

Step 5: Connect skirt and shirt by matching like-sides and sew them together. Then iron out hems.

Step 6: Flip the dress is inside out and sew up the side of the dress to close it off.

I gave sash instructions here. 

There you have it! Easy enough right? If you have any questions let me know.

If you’d like to add ruffles to the bottom of the dress, or in the neck line, you just sew long stitch and pull. Like you did with the ruffling on the skirt portion. Then top stitch it to the drees

I attempted my first applique and it came out pretty cute. I’ll share that next week if it holds up.

If you’ve made a craft or recipe lately I’d love it if you linked up. I love finding new ideas so link up!
(Excuse any typos in this post. I’m dozing off after being up for 24 hours.)

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  1. I just found your blog when searching the web for a dress I could actually make for my toddler. Your dresses are wonderful!!!
    I would love to make one of these dresses but I am still a little overwhelmed. Does this one have elastic in the waist or did you just sew the skirt to the shirt?
    And the ruffle on the bottom is so cute but I don’t know if I could figure it out.
    If you could clarify a few things I’d be delighted.
    Keep sewing! You are great at it.

  2. Okay! I’M GONNA DO IT! (Psyching myself up here to attempt sewing!) Just a couple of questions, and I apologize in advance as they are probably dumb ones. For the hem band–when you sew it onto the skirt piece, do you fold the top of the hem band down first and then sew it on? Also, is t-shirt material just something like a jersey knit cotton? Where did you go to find yours in such cute patterns? I am COMPLETELY intimidated by our local Joann’s Fabrics. My last experience buying fabric was a tad embarrassing, as I was completely clueless. I’m going to need a lot of practice. 🙂

    Thanks for your help!

  3. Yall are sweet! Her bows are from all over!

    No elastic in the waist, it’s just the fabric sewn to the top.

    The ruffle is just sewing striaght lines across the fabric (long lines, not short stitches) and then pulling them at the ends (leave a lot of extra string to pull from).

    The shirts I just get at Walmart or thrift stores.

    Kim, I didn’t fold it down first, I just sewed it both right sides together. Going back and reading these/looking at these photos made me realize I need to do another, more clear tutorial very soon.

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