Tuesday, March 27, 2012

T-shirt to a dress {with ruffles}

Hellooooo refashion season! Winter is over, and that means shorts, skirts and dresses. This past weekend, I dug through my kids' clothes and put away all the long-sleeved shirts and brought out the summer stuff. It was like Christmas morning. I get just as excited about putting my kids in new clothes as I do when I buy new clothes for myself. Is that weird? Clothes for kids are just so much cuter than adult clothes sometimes! I wish I could rock a pair of glittery shoes like my daughter. Sigh.

Along with the new clothes, I also pulled out some thrifted shirts and pants for the kids that needed a few alterations before they could be worn. One shirt in particular, a cute Bambi shirt that I got at a garage sale last year, was a bit too long to be worn as a long shirt over leggings, but a bit too short to be worn as a dress. Solution? Ruffles. Made from cutting the bottom off of men's undershirts, because you know how I love using men's undershirts to refashion clothes.

You can see how I utilized men's undershirts in these other projects (click on the picture to be taken to the link):

Here's what you need to make a ruffled t-shirt dress!

  • Shirt
  • Men's undershirt (the larger the better)
  • Dress to use as a template
  • Disappearing ink marker
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine and sewing supplies
Step 1: Measure your shirt.

First, you'll need to figure out how long you need your ruffle to be. Using the dress you have as a reference, lay your shirt on top of the dress to determine how many more inches you need to make the dress nice and long.

Add 1 inch to your measurement for seam allowance. I needed about 3 inches of ruffle to make my dress long enough plus 1 inch, so I needed a total of 4 inches. 

Step 2: Cut your ruffle fabric out.

Now, lay your undershirt out and measure the amount of fabric you need (in my case 4 inches). Use your disappearing ink marker and ruler to draw a line straight across your undershirt from one side to the other.

Cut out your strip of fabric, and it should look like this. See how the bottom is already hemmed for you? Yay for shortcuts!

Step 3: Make and attach your ruffle.

Now, you're going to sew a basting stitch (which is basically just a really long stitch.) Set your sewing machine to the highest number for stitch length and width. Sew a straight line across the top of your fabric strip about 1/2 inch from the raw edge of the fabric (don't backstitch at the beginning or end!)

Pull one of the threads and push the material away from you to make the ruffle. Make your ruffle the same length as the bottom of your t-shirt.

Next, turn your ruffle inside out and pin the raw edge of your ruffle to the bottom edge of your t-shirt all the way around. The right sides of your shirt and ruffle fabric should be facing each other. Set your machine's stitch length and width back to normal, and stitch your ruffle to your shirt.

Ta dah! Super cute new ruffle dress.

Haley was even kind enough to model it for me without much bribing. She's finally getting to the age where she puts up with my photo sessions and (dare I say) enjoys them. I'm loving it.

And she even struck a pose! Check out that sass! Do I have a 3-year-old or a 13-year-old? Sigh....I'm sure it's only a matter of time before Bambi shirts will be replaced with Bieber shirts....

Check out my sidebar to see where I link up each week!


  1. Brilliant! So easy and fun! I'm totally going to slice up my husband's shirts! :)

  2. Great minds think alike! Although minds like mine haven't gotten around to actually making the dress yet. I have a bunch of giant (XXXL) t-shirt hems that would work great for this. They're left over from my bag-making project. (http://ogno.blogspot.com/2012/02/week-9.html)

    I've also thought about taking the long sleeves from one t-shirt and adding them as an under-layer to the short sleeves of another to create the layered look my younger one wants.

  3. Done!! Here's the link! :)


  4. Very cute, I love to refashion clothes for myself and my kids!

  5. Super cute! I love using old shirts, too, because they are already hemmed! So many possibilities with the white shirts... : )

  6. You have amazing style and talent! Want to link up to another party??? I hope so- I found you at Serenity Now. Tonight I am hosting "Cowgirl Up" and it is a linked linky, share your post once and it appears on 4 awesome blogs. Hope you'll come party with us!!
    :) Samantha @ Crafty Texas Girls

  7. Thanks for the tuto! It's so cute and doesn't seem so hard.
    I'll remember that good idea.


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