T-Shirt Sun Dress Tutorial from Polka Dot Chair

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Melissa from the Polka Dot Chair is here to share her adorable
t-shirt to sundress tutorial
for Funner in the Summer today:

Hello! I’m so happy to be guest posting on Thirty Handmade Days today!! Thank you so much Mique for having me! Today I’m sharing a tutorial on making a cute summer sun dress from 2 t shirts! I picked up the t-shirts at Walmart on clearance, but any t-shirts will do.  Just make sure that they are mostly “straight” and not the fitted variety!

For this project you will need:

  • 2 t-shirts, both the same size,
    if you are not sure of sizes estimate UP 2 1/2″ band of fabric
    (just cut 2 1/2″ off the edge of one of your favorite fabrics, so the piece will be 2 1/2 x 44″)
  • 6″ band of fabric Ribbon

The first thing you need to do is try one of the t-shirts on your model and mark the natural waist. This is usually at the belly button.

Next cut off the bottom (after you take it off your model *wink*)… of  t-shirt #1 just below where you marked the natural waist.

On t-shirt #2, cut off the bottom off, just below the arm holes.

With right sides together- stitch the bottom of t-shirt #1 to the top of t-shirt #2. Press seam.

On your 2 1/2″ wide strip of fabric, stitch 2 button holes in the center. Turn under edge of strip 1/4-1/2″ on both sides and press.

Pin strip over seam where t-shirt 1 meets t-shirt 2.  Use the seam as a guide so that you will stitch the waistband on straight. Beginning at the front and working to the back, topstitch waistband in place. Topstitch the top and bottom of the strip.  At the back, end one side of the strip at the center back, and leave the other strip with a 1″ overhang.

Put a safety pin on your ribbon and string through the waistband so that the 2 ends are coming out of the 2 button holes in the front.

To close the back seam, fold under strip overhang and stitch down. You will stitch through the ribbon (this also keeps the ribbon attached to the dress for safety reasons). Press waistband well. At this point I think the dress is a bit too short- but if you want to make a swim cover up you can skip the next step as the dress is already hemmed (you kept the hem on t-shirt 2). If you wish to add the lower band: Cut the band the same size as the bottom of the dress, allowing for a seam allowance. Stitch together at short sides. You will have a circle of fabric that you can pin to the bottom of the dress. (it should fit perfectly, no gathering)

Pin this band to the bottom of the dress and stitch in place with 1/2″ seam. Press seam towards skirt band.

Turn band under 1/2″ and press. Fold band so that the pressed edge of the band matches the seam between the skirt/band.  Pin in place.

On right side of dress, topstitch band in place. You’re done!!

I have been so lucky to have Melissa share lots of her fun ideas here on 30days.
In her spare time (ha!) she posts at  the Polka Dot Chair .
And she’s the owner of fourteen may – an adorable online pattern shop.
I only wish she lived closer so it’d be easier to meet up-
we WILL meet someday (soon I hope!).
Thanks for another fantastic post Melissa!


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  5. says

    Oh my gosh, what a cute little dress. I need to either shrink to the point that I could wear something like this or have a girl…

  6. says

    EEEKK!! I LOVE the PolkaDot Chair! One of the first blogs I ever followed. Not kidding!
    Think of the color combos and possibilities with this idea! I love it. And heaven knows I have tons of plain t’s lying around. I always think I’ll do something fab with them. And, well, I’m a liar. I love this Melissa! Thanks for the great idea!