How to Make T Shirt Dresses

    by M.H. Dyer

    About the Author

    M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.


    T-shirts have been a wardrobe staple for many years, but if you want to put a new spin on that old favorite, pair a T-shirt with coordinating fabric and create a T-shirt dress. T-shirt dresses are easy to make, and by simply adjusting the amount of fabric for the skirt, they can be worn by girls of any age. Purchase a brand new T-shirt for the project, or pull an old one out of your closet and give it a new life.

    Things You'll Need

    • T-shirt
    • Fabric
    • Ruler
    • Fabric marker or pencil
    • Rotary cutter or scissors
    • Straight pins
    • Matching thread
    • Sewing machine

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    Pre-wash the T-shirt and press out any wrinkles. Try on the T-shirt and decide where you want the waist of the finished dress. It can be belly button length or even lower, or it can be a higher for an empire-style waist. Mark the T-shirt with a fabric marker or a pencil, 1/2 inch below the level at which you want the skirt to join. Cut away the bottom of the shirt using a ruler and a rotary cutter or scissors

    Lay the skirt fabric on a flat surface. Measure the circumference of the bottom of the T-shirt. Cut a rectangle of fabric that is 1.5 to 2 times the circumference, and the length you want for the skirt. If you are using a knit fabric for the skirt, the stretch should go across the width of the rectangle, not the length.

    Sew the short edges of the fabric rectangle together, creating a large closed circle. Use a narrow zigzag stitch. Fold the circle in half so you can see the centers and mark the centers of the front and back with straight pins, fabric marker or pencil. Fold the T-shirt in a similar fashion and mark the center front and center back.

    Sew two parallel rows of basting stitches around the upper edge of the skirt fabric. Match the center front of the T-shirt with the center front of the skirt and pin them together. Repeat with the T-shirt and skirt back, matching centers and pinning them together.

    Gather the skirt evenly by pulling the basting threads, and pin the gathers to the T-shirt as you go. Stitch the skirt securely to the T-shirt leaving a 1/2-inch seam allowance, and then remove the basting stitches. To prevent fraying, zigzag around the finished seam edges.

    Try on the T-shirt dress to determine the desired length. Allow enough fabric for a hem and trim the skirt accordingly. Create a double-fold hem and stitch it securely. Press the finished T-shirt lightly, and it’s ready to wear.

    • If you have a T-shirt with a stain near the bottom, don’t put the shirt in the rag bag. Just cut away the stain and turn the damaged shirt into a T-shirt dress.