I have a weakness for super soft, retro style tshirts. Unfortunately 8 mths postpartum and half of them still are a bit too snug around the pooch for my taste. Instead of letting them sadly sit in my overstuffed shirt drawer I found a super easy way to reuse/recycle & make them into rockin’ dresses for my little one.You should even have enough leftover fabric to make a matching headband. Aside from the fabulousness, this dress is awesome because it will grow with your munchkin. As she gets taller just loosen the drawstring ribbons at the top to increase the length. Or wear it next summer as a top!
Green AND stylish, move over Fergie.You’ll need:
Favorite T- new or vintage
1/2″ satin ribbon (around 50″ worth)
lighter (no, this is not for singing rock ballads, at least not only for that.)
The pattern here is a take on the “pillowcase dress” style. Since the goal of my crafts is to have them be easy enough to complete during naptime (although Samster’s been napping like crap lately, well, not that crap literally naps but you get my drift.) I always try to sew the least amount of seams as possible. We’re going to use the bottom and side seams of the tshirt that way all we have to do it make armholes and a casing for the ribbon at the top. SO EASY. Trust me.
Step 1- Lay out tshirt and a dress that you like the length of. You could measure the length of your little one from the shoulders down but if I’m sewing my model’s sleeping.
Mark the shirt with pins where the top of the dress is and cut straight across. Save the top half of the shirt though, we’ll use that later to make the matching headband.
Next you’re going to want to cut out a “J” shape for the armholes on each side, you can measure a dress you have or for a 6-12 mth old I’d go around 3.5″ from the top of the fabric, in a straight line, to the bottom of the armhole. Here’s what you’re left with:Now we need to seam up the armholes. It’ll make life a lot easier if you press the seams with a steam iron first, I hate pinning and find I can mostly eliminate it with a good pressing. Make a fold about 1/4″ and press.
Stitch down seam, reinforcing the ends by going back and forth a few times. Repeat on other armhole.
Now we’re ready to make the ribbon casing on the top, this is last step. I know! Easy, right?!
First you’re going to want to fold down about 1/4″ and press. Repeat on other side of top as well.
Now fold down another 3/4″ and press again. By doing this you make a nice neat finished edge for the casing.
Stitch down the edge of the last fold you did. See how that creates the case for the ribbon to slip through? Repeat on other side.
Now cut 2 strips of satin ribbon that are about 1/2″ wide. I cut mine extra long because I wasn’t sure how much I’d need since the model was still napping. I ended up using 2 16″ strips but had cut 2 26″ strips to be safe. I’d rather trim off the excess than not have enough!
If you didn’t know this already than you’re SO about to thank me. To keep ribbon from fraying simply burn the edges BRIEFLY with a lighter. It melts down the edge and stops all fraying. Go ahead and do this to the ends of your 2 strips.
Here’s another trick you probably already know but if not you’re SO gonna love it. To thread the ribbon through the casing (or the drawstrings back through the waist of your fav pajama pants) simply attach a safety pin to the end. This will give you something to work through the casing. Easy. Just how I like it. Work one ribbon through one side and the other, well, through the other side. Gather the neckline and tie ribbon in bows on shoulders. It should look something like the pic below.
Once you can try the dress on your little rockstar you’ll be able to see where you need to trim the ribbon. Just remember to leave some excess so you can loosen the dress as she grows. Oh, and if you do trim the edges reseal them. Obviously not while on child. While I’m giving out common sense advice, when making this dress or any pillowcase dress you should monitor your child while wearing it. Double knot the bows since any string around a neck can be a choking hazard if a kid is left to themselves.
Still want more? How about a rockin’ headband to complete the look…
From the top half of the tshirt cut out 2 strips (catching the front and back of the shirt will make both strips at once) that’s around 3″ wide and 18″ long. If you don’t quite have this much but come close you might want to try anyway, there’s some wiggle room in there.
Next cut out 2 of the ‘bowtie’ shape shown. (also, cut front and back of shirt at same time for both pieces) I was going to scan and post this pattern but it’s SO easy. Fold a piece of paper in half and draw half the bowtie, cut out, open it and wah-lah. Bowtie pattern. It’s around 8″ long and 2″ at it’s widest points. You really don’t have to be too exact with this one.Now place the two sides of the headband right sides together, sew down the length of the headband. Once along the top, then across the bottom. Around an 1/8″ in. Turn tube right side out with safety pin trick.For the bow also lay two pieces right sides together. Pin where needed & stitch around edge 1/8 ” in leaving a small hole so you can turn it right side out.
Once turned handstitch turning hole shut.
Back to the headband, measure size of one of your child’s current headbands or I find around 8″ (folded in half, 16″ total) is good for a 9-12 mth old. Tshirt material naturally has a bit of stretch so you have some wiggle room there too. Mark with a pin and stitch back and forth several times. (I did it 6 times)Trim excess. Tie bowtie tightly around seam of headband to cover it up. Double knot if you like. Slip it on your girlie and hit the road!