Friday, March 23, 2012

shirt dress tutorial

Repurpose a men's shirt into a little girl's dress!

Alex put an old shirt he wasn't find of anymore on the help center pile, and I thought it might make a good dress for Audrey. So I looked around the Internet for ideas, and ended up doing my own thing:

First, find a dress the size you'll want the dress to be. Eyeball a quarter inch seam allowance, and mark around the dress shape. (No sleeves--those are later!) Now you know what you are working with for the main body of the dress, and also what you can work with for the extras.

My goal was to make this a relatively quick and simple project, so I tried to use mostly finished edges where I could find them.

Right sides together, sew the shoulder seams together, and up both sides of the body. Finish with a zigzag stitch.

Next, zigzag and hem the neck. (I had to go back after finishing the whole dress, to make the neck bigger. So at this point you might want to decide what kind of neck you'd like. I folded it down to make a v, and re-hemmed it.)

To make the bottom ruffle, cut off about an inch-wide strip the length of the entire bottom of the shirt. Stitch a gathering seam at the raw edge, and attach it to the bottom of the dress. Finish with a zigzag stitch.

For the sleeves, cut off the cuffs of the shirt, plus a triangle shape extra for each sleeve. Remember to keep the buttons in the back, and to cut them the same size! Carefully sew them into the armholes, right sides together. This can be tricky because it's so gathered to begin with, and then you have to kind of gather it back in order to fit it. Finish with a zigzag and turn it right -side out.

This is a great project for up cycling! It's an easy way to be creative. And if it doesn't turn out the way you imagined it, you're not out a lot of money or a lot of time. I tried to make it a simple project. Using the already-finished edges really sped up the process. What also kept it easy was keeping the buttons in the front as the actual way to fasten and unfasten the dress. 

I cut another strip to make a bow for the front, and sewed it on by hand. You could easily make it sleeveless if you'd like, or add a cute pocket or two. I've also seen elastic around the waist, or no ruffle on the bottom. If you try one, please take a picture and let me know! I'd love to see what you come up with.

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