How to Turn a Girl's T-Shirt into a Dress

Here's a quick and easy sewing project, perfect when you only have a half hour to sew. It's also a wardrobe-stretcher - a terrific way to use T-shirts that are too short for your daughter, or have stains along the hemline.

What You Need:

* A T-shirt that fits, although it may be too short

* Fabric for a skirt (instructions for calculating how much you need are found below)

* Sewing machine

* Thread

* Pins

* Iron

* Ironing board

How to Do It:

1. Begin by measuring the width and length of the shirt.
2. Multiply the width by 4; this is the width the skirt fabric should be. Divide the length by 2; this is the length of the skirt. (Naturally, you may make the skirt longer or shorter, as you see fit.) Cut the fabric into a rectangle following these measurements.

3. Fold the skirt fabric in half, right sides together. Sew the two short ends together. Finish the seam edges with a zig-zag stitch.

4. Run two rows of gathering stitches along the top edge of the skirt. (To do this, use a long stitch length and stitch one row about 1/4 from the edge of the cloth. Break the stitching at the seam. Run another row of long stitches a scant 1/2 from the edge of the cloth.)

5. If the T-shirt has a thick hem, cut it off.
6. Pin the center back of the skirt to the center back of the shirt. Pin the center front of the skirt to the center front of the T-shirt. (Hint: Lay the T-shirt on a flat surface. Turn the skirt wrong side out. Slide the skirt, waist side down, over the T-shirt and align the edges of the two pieces of cloth.)

7. Gather the skirt fabric evenly and pin it in place. Stitch the skirt in place. Finish the seam edges with a zig-zag stitch.
7. Lay the skirt on an ironing board and turn under the hem of the skirt a scant 1/4 inch. Press. Turn the folded end under another 1/4 inch and pin in place. Stitch the hem in place.

Variations: If desired, the dress waist can fall at the natural waistline. To find this location, have your child try on the shirt; mark her natural waist with a pin. Trim the T-shirt to this length, plus seam allowance. Or, make the waist higher than the natural waistline. You can even make this garment a shirt by cutting the skirt very short.


  1. Okay, I *so* know what I'm doing this week... My daughter almost refuses to wear anything but dresses lately, so this'll get her T-shirts to actually have some use rather than collecting dust!

  2. Great, Liberty! It's a fun little project :)

  3. To learn how to sew is also very efficient. It can also be your source of income. You can start a store that offers altering servises; or make made to order clothes; or start your clothing line. It is truly a great investment especially now that the economy’s a little down.

    1. I've been sewing for years.. and sorry JADE, it's not that easy.. to do... I'm an excellent seamstress, make all the clothes my granddaughter would ever want, follow the trend. Tried your scenario... lost money , time and confidence... It looks great on paper, but in reality does not work.
      Yeah, I hem pants, and alter dresses, but it doesn't pay that much...

  4. Thanks! This is exactly what I was looking for!

  5. Thanks! This is exactly what I was looking for!

  6. Simple, well-thought-out dress layout and page layout also. Beautiful work.

  7. Thank you so much ! Someone posted this in a sewing group. My daughter wanted a birthday princess dress and I used an old pajama top! Saved her birthday!

  8. I do a lot of sewing including t-shirt dresses for my grandchildren and charity. To make the dresses professional looking I use a strip of iron on interfacing on the bottom of the cut t-shirts to stabilize the knit fabric otherwise it stretches badly out of shape when sewing.