Make a Little Girl’s Dress From A Man’s Shirt

dress from shirt tutorial

Whilst going through a bag of clothes ready for the charity shop, we found a couple of mens shirts that were too nice to get rid of.  We decided that we would snip them up and turn them into dresses for our little girls, using the buttons down the front as the buttons on the dress. We’re big fans of upcycling and this seemed like a pretty straightforward project.  It took us a while – toddlers are not the most willing of models – but we were so happy with the outcome.

For this project you will need:

  • 1 men’s shirt
  • sewing machine
  • simple non-stretch dress (for sizing)
  • tracing/baking paper
  • Matching sewing thread
  1. To get measurements for the dress, take a non-stretch dress that fits and lay it out flat. Outline and cut out tracing paper.

dress from shirt tutorial 1

  1. Lay the shirt flat, remove the pockets and cut off the arms and collar.

dress from shirt tutorial 3

  1. Lay your template onto the remainder of the shirt and line up the buttons so they run down the front of the dress. Allowing space for a 3/4 inch seam allowance, pin to the shirt and cut around the template.

dress from shirt tutorial 4

  1. With right sides together, pin and sew the side seams and shoulders. Iron out the seams flat.

dress from shirt tutorial 6 dress from shirt tutorial 5

  1. Try the dress on your toddler to check the sizing is right then press. Use pinking shears to tidy up all the seams.

dress from shirt tutorial 13

  1. Snip all around the armholes and neck hole. To create a neat edge, press the snipped fabric out onto the wrong side of the fabric. Pin then sew 5mm from edge.

dress from shirt tutorial 7

  1. Trim off any excess fabric.

dress from shirt tutorial 12 dress from shirt tutorial 11  

  1. To make the ruffle sleeves, measure the top of the armhole the length you want the sleeve to be (from top seam about 1/2 way down on each side).

dress from shirt tutorial 14

  1. Draw a line on paper measuring double the length of this measurement. Then, from the centre of this line measure about 7cm (this will be the length of the sleeve). Then join up to create a curve (see photo below) to each end of the line. Fold and press the seam along the curved edge. Pin the centre of the sleeve to the top of the arm hole on the inside of the dress. To create the ruffles fold over a small segment and pin again – see the picture below for guidance. this will create the ruffle. Sew the sleeve onto the dress.

dress from shirt tutorial 16 dress from shirt tutorial 18

dress from shirt tutorial 17

And your dress is ready. Now you can go through and steal all the shirts from the wardrobe and make loads more. Whoop! We made a couple – a Hawaiian one for Harper and the striped for Amelie.

shirt dress IMG_6525dress from shirt tutorial 3 (2) dress from shirt tutorial 4 (2)

~ Tia & Laura xx ~

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26 thoughts on “Make a Little Girl’s Dress From A Man’s Shirt

  1. Pingback: Tutorial: Little girl’s A-line dress from a man’s shirt

  2. What a sweet little dress. First class recycling.
    There are plenty of mens shirts in charity shops going cheap.
    I wonder if anyone has a basic pattern I could use as I don’t have a little one to take a pattern from but would love to have a go. I make lots of knitted garments, and sometimes sewn ones too even though I don’t have young children. I pass them on to people who do. Making things for little ones is “sew” easy. lol!
    Many thanks.
    Jayne x

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