So, I got this hairbrained (harebrained?) idea to get some shirts for my daughter off the clearance rack at Target…and then turn them into fabulous dresses. (In theory, it’s a great idea. In practice…make sure you don’t get pajama tops, sized big for your daughter to grow into. The neckline of this dress has come close to slipping over her shoulders a few times. Live and learn, eh?)
Anyhow, start with a t-shirt that fits your child well across the chest and shoulders. Maybe something with a stained hem that you thought they couldn’t wear again? The, pick out three coordinating cotton fabrics. (A light weight cotton would be really great here. I just used what I had in my stash, and it made a very structured skirt.)
Cut your tee shirt off about 8” down from the top of the shoulder, and play with your fabrics to figure out the order you want to go with.
Figure out how long you want your skirt to be. I needed about 15”, so I cut my fabrics into pieces 5” wide. (You can definitely play with proportions here, as long as you get the total skirt length that you’re looking for. My tip is to measure your kid in all sorts of places so that you know how long you need to make things like skirts…without dragging them out of bed to try things on. Measurements like neck to shoulder, shoulder to belly button, shoulder to hip, hip to knees, hip to ankle…I now have a list of about 20 measurements for my daughter so I can play around and draft patterns after she’s gone to bed.)
I wanted an A-line skirt, so I did some kind of fancy footwork with my ruler and disappearing ink pen. Basically, each tier of the skirt was 5” wider than the previous tier.
Let’s use the purple tier as an example. My shirt was 11” wide, so I cut two purple pieces that were 5” tall and 16” long. From each end, I measured in 2.5” and put a dot at the top edge of the strip. Then, I used my straight edge to connect the dot to the lower corner, and cut there. Does that make sense?
If it makes sense, continue on with your other two tiers, adding 5” to each one.
Sew your skirt tiers together, but not to your tee shirt for now.
Now, here’s the part that’s a little weird. We’re going to make a little fake “sash” around the middle, with ties. Make your ties by cutting two pieces of fabric that are 6”x 15”. Make each piece into a sash by folding it lengthwise, sewing the raw edges, and then turning it right side out. Press and set aside.
To make your sash, take two pieces of cotton, 4” tall and a few inches wider than your t-shirt. Sew one to the front of the shirt (wrong sides together) and then one to the back. When you sew them on, center the t-shirt on the strips, like so:
What you’ll end up with are little flaps sticking off of either side.
Fold the flaps back so that you have right sides together…
and then sandwich your ties into it and sew it up.
To finish your dress, turn your skirt inside out and fit it over your t-shirt section, right sides together, wrong sides matching. Sew around the entire perimeter, turn it right side out and you’re done!