Any adult sized t-shirt will do for this dress.
Cut it a little shorter and make it a tank instead!
1/4 in. elastic (forgot that one on the pic below)
double fold bias tape
basic sewing supplies
I made this dress to fit a size 3T. The t-shirt I used is a size small, so I didn't have to sew any side seams. There is banding at the bottom of this t-shirt, but it is not a requirement for this tutorial. I just liked the way it looked.
You will also need 1 package of double fold bias tape in your color choice.
Lay your t-shirt out flat. Measure your child from where you want this dress or tank to end up to just below the neckline. Transfer these measurements to the t-shirt. That sounds a little backwards but you are using the existing hem of the t-shirt for your bottom hem. There is no need to add extra for a hem allowance. Cut across the t-shirt.
Fold the t-shirt in half. Free hand or use something circular to mark your armhole. My favorite arm hole marker is a roll of tape. (The big cans of baked beans works well too.)
I am always tempted to make my armholes deeper. It never looks like it's going to be big enough, but trust me, it will be.
When you open your shirt, it should look something like this.
Working with the front of the t-shirt: Find the center of the top. Moving about 1 inch to one side of the center, make a fold and move the peak of that fold towards the imaginary center line. Pin it in place.
Move to the other side of the center and repeat. Now you have two folds of fabric that fold towards the imaginary center line.
Repeat two more times on each side of the center. You will have a total of 6 pleats. Make sure your pleats always fold towards your imaginary center line.
Sew a straight stitch 1/4 inch from the top to hold your pleats in place.
Cut off a piece of double fold bias tape the length of the front of your t-shirt.
Turn your t-shirt inside out. Unfold one side of the bias tape. Line the edge of the unfolded bias tape to the edge of your t-shirt. Pin it.
Sew the bias tape to the t-shirt with a straight stitch.
Fold the other side of your bias tape over the top of the shirt so your top of the shirt edge is encased in the bias tape.
Sew a straight stitch across about 1/8 of an inch from the open end of the bias tape.
Repeat the process for the back side. Your piece of bias tape should be much longer than the front because there are no pleats.
Cut your elastic to be about half the length of the back of the t-shirt.
Thread your elastic into the bias tape opening.
Don't pull your elastic all the way through yet. When the end of the elastic and opening meet, pin it in place to hold the elastic. Sew a zig zag stitch or multiple straight stitches down the side of the bias tape to hold the elastic in place.
Now that one end of your elastic is secured, continue pulling it until the other end of the elastic is stretch to the other end of the bias tape. Pin it in place and sew either multiple straight stitches or a zig zag to hold in place (these stitches are getting covered up, so if they are not perfect, you won't see it)
Cut two pieces of bias tape of equal length. They should be long enough to cover the armholes and serve as tie straps. Attach the unfolded edge of your bias tape to the inside raw edge of your armhole. Stitch it across.
Fold the other side of the bias tape over the edge to the right side of your t-shirt so your armhole is encased in the bias tape.
Starting at one end of your long piece of bias tape, sew a straight stitch about 1/8 inch away from the edge. Continue down around the armhole to the other end of the tape. Repeat for the other armhole. I like to finish my straps by folding the ends of my bias tape and stitching it.
Put it on your girl, tie the straps and your done!
If you make this dress, please share it with the rest of us on my Flickr page.
I will be sharing this tutorial with some of the outstanding link parties listed at the very bottom of this page. You can also find their buttons in the "linked to" section on the navi bar.