Monday, February 13, 2012

Because The Girl Needed A Dress.

So. Lately, Kee has been insisting on wearing sun dresses every day. Which is fine, despite the fact that it's the middle of winter, because she has no problem wearing pants under the dress when we leave the house. She may only be three, but she's certainly not an idiot.

There is only a problem when we run out of dresses.

Half of the ones from the summer don't fit her anymore, since she's decided to grow about three inches in the past few months. Some of Beege's would fit her at this point, but it's just not worth the sibling aggravation.

Solution? Make a dress. Why not? And I have come up with the easiest toddler dress ever.

OOooooh! AAaaaah!

I happen to have some T-shirts that were my grandpa's that I've been planning to turn into clothes for the girls.

I originally sat down with all her measurements, ready to draft a pattern*, but in looking at the T-shirt I was going to use, realised something; my kid's whole torso will fit in that sleeve.

So, first things first. Find a suitable shirt; the sleeve width needs to fit around your kid. The one I used was a men's XL, and the sleeve fits loosely around (three and a half year old, generally wears a size 3-4) Kee's torso. Cut straight across just below the armpit (or farther down for a shorter skirt).

Cut one sleeve off of the top bit that remains.

Sleeve/bodice, shirt bottom/skirt, and the two pieces I cut for the bias tape. I didn't bother to cut it on the bias, and found that cutting straight across the extra fabric left in the back gave me more than enough length.

This is what you should have now: a sleeve to use as the bodice of the dress, and the bottom of the shirt which will become the skirt.

Use the finished edge of the sleeve as the top of the bodice Cut straight across the "bottom". If you look at the picture above, you'll see that I've cut semi circles to make up the bottom half of the arm hole - it'll just make it fit a little better.

Sew a line of stitching across the top of the skirt to gather it for fitting into the bodice. Turn the bodice inside out and sew the bottom of the bodice to the top of the skirt, right sides facing. (I like to do two lines of stitching here, but I don't think it's entirely necessary.)

Cut two strips from the remaining fabric that you will use as binding around the armholes, as well as the straps - these should be at least two inches wide so that you can turn them into bias tape. Once you've folded your tape, pin it in place around the arm hole and sew it up. You can either sew it into a fixed circle as an "arm hole", or you can make it long enough to center at the bottom of the arm and leave it open at the top, then tie to fasten.

One of the great things about using a T-shirt for this is that the bottom hem is already done, as is the top hem of the bodice - yay!

And, you're done! Easy, right?

*Which I'm still planning to do eventually, and will most likely post when I do it as well.


  1. so cute! you're really clever.
    I used to do things like that.
    I bought some material to make summer dresses for myself when summer started. I've become indecisive lately though (a condition that comes and goes, thankfully I don't live with it constantly) and I take the fabric out now and then and think about it and then put it away again.

    1. Thanks. :)
      I almost never sew for myself - the girls are easy, they're still shaped like rectangles. :\

  2. Now you're just showing off. I'm dropping all my shirts missing buttons in the post today. Look for them.

    1. That could get a little expensive... but I found this for you:

      Make your kids do it - it's a useful life skill, after all.