Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday Tutorial - T-Shirt Dress

I'm starting a Michael Grace blog tradition - a tutorial on Tuesdays. Every week, I'll do a sewing tutorial and post it. Hopefully I will be able to keep this going, I might run out of ideas. :)

So, here's the kick off, huge tutorial, I know... but maybe it will provide some sewing mojo for you. The T-Shirt Dress.

Step One. Assemble Materials; onesie, rotary, ruler, ipod and wine. :)

Step Two. Use Ruler to create a strait line to cut the onesie and cut the onesie. I usually cut right above the leg holes, but you can use your creative license here.

Step Three. Prepare skirt. You need twice the size of the onesie to create a good ruffle here. My onesie is 9 inches side to side, so 18 inches around. I used a piece of fabric 40 inches. I decided the length of the skirt would be around 8-9, so I cut 10 inches. If you don't mind not being accurate/anal here, you can probably use a piece of fabric 40 inches by 8-10 inches for pretty much any size dress. You might want to add length for an older toddler or child.

Step Four. Create the skirt. Put the skirt fabric together to form the tube of the skirt. Put the fabric WRONG sides together. Sew.

Step Five. Trim the seam down as best you can.

Step Six. Now turn the skirt, so that the RIGHT sides are together. You are going to sew the seam again, this time enclosing the seam that you just created. This is known as a french seam.

This is what the completed french seam looks like. You can see that the first seam is completely enclosed. The skirts looks no different on the outside than with a normal seam.

Step Seven. Sew the hem on the skirt. Iron if you must. Pin if you must. Otherwise, just fold your skirt in twice and sew the hem.

Hem is done:

Step Eight. Create the ruffle on the skirt. There are two ways to do this. You can use a gathering stitch aka big loose stitches and gather the skirt. I have done this, but it made the dress hard to put on my daughter because there was no give around the gather. I use elastic, that's what this tutorial is going to do too.

Measure your elastic out to be about the same size as your onesie. I used lastin here because I'm out of elastic. I'm sorry its so hard to see.

Change your stitch on your sewing machine to a 3 point zigzag or a normal zigzag - but the zigzag is important. :)

Sew on the elastic, stretching the elastic as you go.

Here is what the inside of the skirt now looks like.

Here is what the outside of the skirt now looks like.

Now make sure you are taking breaks. This is fun. I shouldn't have to remind you. Take a drink of wine. Or water. :)

Step Nine. Attach the cut onesie to the skirt. Line up the onesie.

Put the onesie inside the skirt WRONG sides together. (that's right, we are doing another french seam)

Sew the skirt and onesie together.

I like to have the skirt on top, so I can see the zigzag better, because you want to make sure you are sewing on the left side of the zigzag.

Voila! Almost done! Here is the dress.

Step Ten. Finish the french seam on the skirt and top stitch.
Turn the dress inside out.

Pinch the seam together.

Make sure to change your stitch back to a strait stitch. Or you will curse.

Sew the seam again.

Now, you could stop here:

Or you can top stitch the skirt.

When I top stitch the skirt, I like to create a flat seam, by catching the french seam in the top stitch.

So the final dress seam looks like this:

Please forgive the funky thread colors. I was running out of bobbin thread.

And now - the final VOILA! A new dress!


  1. i wish i were this talented + crafty...

    just stopping by to thank you for the comment on my guest post on tiffany's log last week...thank you!

  2. No problem - it was a great post. Good for me to reminder for the day.

  3. Great Tutorial! Thanks for sharing! I will have to try this soon!

  4. Very nice tutorial. What kind of sewing machine do you have? My is so basic...

  5. Jackie, I have a Brother Pacesetter ULT 2001. My mom gave it to me about 4 months ago. Before that, I sewed on a BASIC singer... I know about basic. :)

  6. Perfect! I used to make these when my girls were babes!

  7. Very innovative! And you did a good job.