Create a dress from a singlet or t-shirt. This idea can be used for children’s or women’s dresses, and is a great way to use those clothes that kids have grown out of, as they frequently grow taller rather than wider, leaving you with a perfectly good shirt that reaches above their belly button! Here’s how to make a simple summer dress from a shirt you don’t need any more. By Judy Newman
Step 1. You will need a t-shirt, length of fabric for the skirt of the dress, thread, a length of 12mm-wide elastic (about 10cm (4in)), 3 buttons, sewing machine. Optional: Fabric dye.
Step 2. Work out where you want to cut off your shirt – under the bustline or at the waist, or hipline, then go ahead and cut.
Step 3. Take your hip measurement then add at least 20cm, or more if you want a full skirt – this will give you the length of fabric to cut. Measure the length required for your skirt, adding a seam allowance of 1.5cm and adding a hem allowance if necessary (our fabric had an embroidered edge so no hem was needed). Cut the fabric for the skirt and stitch the short ends together to create the centre back seam. Hem if necessary. Gather the waist edge (sew two rows of long stitches 3mm apart then pulled them to make the gather). Pull up threads to fit evenly around the t-shirt bottom edge, pin then stitch them together.
Step 4. If desired, use a stretch stitch to attach a piece of elastic, stretching it as you go, down the centre front of the t-shirt to create shape. Stitch three buttons over the elastic to complete the dress.
Step 5. If desired, you can dye the garment. This will serve to marry the two colours of top and skirt together. Consider the colours before you dye. We chose a similar dye colour to the t-shirt as we really just wanted to match the shade. The effect of dyeing broderie anglaise fabric was a lovely surprise as the shade complemented the shirt well, and the thread of the embroidery (must have been polyester) didn’t take the dye so it stayed white creating a lovely soft effect.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on your dye packet. Rinse the garment well when it is complete and dry it. Some buttons will take up dye too – it depends on their composition. At this point, my son Zac, spotted the bucket of lovely pink dye. Read the tie-dye post to see what happened next.