Sunday, March 13, 2011

T-shirt Dress Tutorial

A friend of mine asked me to post step- by- step next time I made an appliqued shirt. So here it is!

Another friend of mine told me I really needed to check out the blog Prudent Baby . Thanks Ash! (So I did.) I now have about 15 new projects added to my "want to do, but probably won't find the time" list. HOWEVER. I saw THIS super cute horse appliqued hoodie... and HELLO! I had a cowgirl themed birthday party coming up for my oldest... it was perfect. I had to make it happen. So below is how I did it.

First, I went to the link above and printed the applique template, copied and pasted it into my word processor and resized it according to my needs (since I was making it for a toddler and not an infant). Then I printed it out and traced it onto some iron on transfer paper. 

I then measured the bottom of the shirt so I would know how much material I would need for the ruffle skirt. I decided on 3" and 6" wide ruffles. The shirt was 12" across so I new I wanted at least 36" around to get a decent gather. I think I ended up doing about 42" to be safe. 

So I folded the material in half and cut the top ruffle at about 4" for seams. Then I did the same with the bottom ruffle but made it 7". 

Since now I knew how much material the skirt would take, I ironed on both of the transfer templates to the wrong side of the material and then cut them out. Then I ironed the horse silhouette onto the oval and then ironed the oval (and horse) onto the shirt. 

After they were securely ironed, I put the appropriate color thread on and ironed around in a straight stitch outlining each but leaving a tiny edge. (Since this was a cowgirl party, I wanted the edges to fringe a bit. You can do any kind of stitch you want...zig zag, blanket stitch, applique stitch see the T-shirt  post... etc,etc. It's up to you.)

Now we are ready for the skirt. 

Remember I previously cut the ruffle material out. So I re-checked them to make sure they match up correctly and trimmed where I needed to in order to have straight and even sides and edges. Then I lined them up on top of each other to make sure I liked the size of the ruffles. 

After this I ironed down a 1/4" seam and then folded it and ironed another 1/4" seam for neatness. After I ironed the seam straight and even I hemmed the bottom of each piece of ruffle material, as seen above. 

I realigned them on top of each other and did two basting stitches (one at 3/8" and one at 5/8"). My gramma said it helps the gather to be smoother. And what gramma says, goes... because I really don't have a clue about any of this... 

After I pulled the tops of the basting stitches to get the gather I liked... (this took me a while, I was close to a mental breakdown at this point. Also, one of the basting stitches broke and so part of it wouldn't stay gathered... I later learned that you can tie a small knot in the end of the thread to help keep it from straightening back out. FYI.) 

Where was I? OH. After I liked how it was gathered and remeasured to make sure that it would fit the width of the shirt, I folded it in half (right side to right side) and stitched the side seam (starting after the basting stitch, in case I sucked and needed to redo it, it'd be easier). 

So, because I wanted to throw it all out the window and cry like the hormonal psycho chick that I am right now, my lovely, patient and understanding Gramma took over as I tried not to lose it.

Gramma, this is the world. 
World, this is Gramma. 

So basically what she is doing as I crumble under pressure... Is marking a straight line in pencil across the part of the shirt where I want the skirt to be sewn on. She is lining up the gathered edge and pinning it in place to ensure that it's straight. Because she rocks. 

So I sewed on the skirt (with a basting stitch, in case I screwed up)with about a 1/2" seam. Then I lined it up and pinned the ribbon on, said to hell with any more basting stitches, I was going for it. I Sewed on the bottom side first, since it was an uneven surface and would be easier to keep the top part down as I sewed it. Then I sewed the top seam of the ribbon. 

The end. My baby is upstairs crying and choking on phlegm. I must go and love and squeeze him so he makes it until the morning and then off to the doctors, we go! 

Good night, and good luck! 


  1. CUTE! This may also be the most entertaining tutorial I have ever read :) Bailey is ADORABLE and so it her cowgirl dress! WAY above my talent-level though...maybe one day :) Love you!

  2. You did such an amazing job baby. We're lucky to have you as a mommy. Love you.