Wednesday, May 19, 2010

refurbished t-shirt dress tutorial

so in my other etsy shop, hemmed in vintage, i used to specialize in vintage tee refurbishing and gameday dresses. these dresses were the first thing i learned to sew and so i think they are super easy. i hope they end up being easy for you too! 

you can also do this same cut out and tutorial with cute designer fabric and make just a cute summer dress, like this

i'll probably show how to make one of those with straps or a halter strap next week! :)

(i apologize for the flash being used in the photos...this was done later yesterday afternoon and my studio didn't have enough light for the camera!)

what you'll need is two tshirts. one for the top, one for the bottom. typically, when i do custom orders i ask for two Large to XL shirts. the more fabric you have to work with, the easier it is. i usually use the "logo" for the top and the "blank" for the bottom, but wanted to switch it up for this one. 

you will also need two strands of elastic, safety pin, scissors, thread, a sewing machine and....THAT'S IT!

let's do this!

step 1: cut out your shapes. on your "skirt" piece, use the complete bottom hem of the tshirt, find the middle, go up 20-23 inches (depending on how long you want it) and mark. from that mark, make a horizontal line anywhere from 16-20 inches, depending on your size. i typically do 17...and make sure it is centered! from the edges of those lines, make an a-line to the bottom hem corners. 
 (please don't use green chalk, i just wanted to make sure you could see it!)

on the "top" piece, make a rectangle the same length as your skirt top and anywhere from 7-9 inches tall. i typically do 7.5 inches and am a small B cup. when i am making dresses for girls with C or D cups, i do at least 8"

step 2: serge or sew the sides of both pieces, wrong sides facing out and right sides facing in. 

when you are done with this step, you should have these two pieces:

step 3: this part is tricky & not easily photograhed so read carefully. turn your skirt piece RIGHT side out & your top piece INSIDE OUT. if your top piece has a logo, then make sure it is upside down. line up the edges like so:

sew ALL the way around with about a 5/8" seam.

now flip the dress totally inside out and lay the flap DOWN. 

sew that all the way around, but leave an inch or so opening. this is your elastic casing for the waist.

step 4: now sew a top hem/casing on your top piece about the width of your elastic & leave an opening to feed the elastic through.

it should look something like this at this point:

step 5: feed your elastic through both hems

 making sure they aren't twisted anywhere, sew them flat together, overlapping about an inch or so. i do a zig zag stitch forwards and backwards about 6 times.

step 6: add any straps, embellishments, patches, etc. 

step 7: put it on, put on some boots, admire your work and look stinkin' cute! :)

there ya go! anyone know anyone who would be in the market for a roger creager dress? haha

if you have any questions, please email me! i'll be happy to answer them :)

we are leaving for texas today! 



  1. this tutorial is adorable, kim! i can't wait to try it out! i will be sharing your store and blog on mine today, so look out for it! i will also be emailing you later this week! have fun in texas! :)

  2. awww i LOVE this! thanks soo much for the tutorial! how do you get that bunched look around the elastic? is it b/c you forward and backward zig zig stitched 6 times?? does that mean 6 times all the way around?? haha sorry i have soo many questions, i'm still a pretty beginner at sewing... i think i need someone to like walk me through everything, boo.

  3. oops i left that part out! it bunched because it is shorter than the width of the dress. i measure/stretch it around myself until i feel like it will be comfortable.

    you don't zig zag all the way around, just on the inch overlap of elastic.

    does that make sense? i've done it so many times its so hard for me to explain it well!

  4. oh my word! That is so adorable. I love this post. I have so many old tshirts that I could do this too. thanks for posting this.

  5. This is so cute! I may have to "borrow" some shirts from my husband.

    Texas? I wish it was me. Texas is my home! Have a great trip.

  6. Just great!


  7. what a fun idea!! i would love to show up at a tigers baseball game dawning a cute tigers dress rather than a boring t-shirt! thanks for the tutorial -- i will definitely keep this in mind for when i finally get around to teaching myself to sew!

  8. OMG I love these! I have to get one from my self and my kidlet! These would be great when we go cheer on our local school teams! Nothing short of fabulous!!

  9. This is so cool!
    I recently bumped into the book Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt.
    Check it out, I think you'll like it (they have also a nice website)

  10. the dress is SO very cute :)

  11. I knew I already loved your blog, but then I saw you were a Theta! and fell even more in love :)

    Theta Love,


  12. Well, I still love your blog and I think you are adorable :) Hope all is well overseas!

  13. I am confused in step one where you say, "on the "top" piece, make a rectangle the same length as your skirt top and anywhere from 7-9 inches." What does that mean? I am very new to this and your tutorial is the only one I have found that makes the most sense to this beginner..LOL. Thank you so much for sharing!!! I really hope I can pull this off:)

    1. looks like it's missing the word "tall" at the end. fixed it and shot you an email explaining it in a bit more detail :)

  14. Really want to make this dress but I want one I can wear my regular bra with. Can you tell us how you made the Cleveland browns dress?


    1. Usually most of the band t-shirts are quite inexpensive because they have a promotional purpose. After all, anyone
      with a band t-shirt promotes their product for free every time wearing it.

      design a t shirt
      print on shirts
      digital t shirt printing
      custom tee shirts
      create t shirts

  15. We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. Great work. t shirt printing houston

  16. Thank you so much for sharing this great blog.Very inspiring and helpful too.Hope you continue to share more of your ideas.I will definitely love to read. Speciaali

  17. As I recently mentioned in the introduction of this article weaving is truly not a printing procedure but fundamentally you are putting a picture on to a promotional t shirt, so I have chosen to incorporate it, if to no end more than explaining the procedure used to weave promotional t shirts.shirts

  18. Great job for publishing such a nice article. Your article isn’t only useful but it is additionally really informative. Thank you because you have been willing to share information with us. t shirt printing Toronto

  19. Nice blog. offers the perfect selection of black tie dresses, engagement party dresses for wedding & exquisite evening gowns. Visit us on black tie dresses adelaide

  20. I admire this article for the well researched content and excellent wording. I got so involved in this material that I couldn’t stop reading. I am impressed with your work and skill. Thank you so much. Best online clothing

  21. Thanks for sharing this beautiful clothing. Shop for the best wedding dress designers online from To know more about us you can visit on designer dresses for wedding


comments are fun. leave one if it's nice.