Man’s shirt to sweet dress

Here’s a recent sewing project…. I made a little dress for a friend’s daughter, who just turned one. I used this tutorial,which shows how to make a toddler’s dress out of a man’s shirt. I started by going to a thrift shop, where I found a few shirts for $3.

The tutorial has excellent instructions, so I won’t repeat all the details here. As you can see, I kept it handy for reference while I was cutting the pieces.

I measured the tiny recipient for chest and length, and also measured a few dresses in a store to check proportions and the length for the shoulder straps.

A shortcut I made… for the shoulder straps with their fluttery cap sleeves, I cut pieces from the bottom edge of the shirt sleeves. That way, I didn’t have to make elastic casings – I just used the hemmed edge that was already there, it worked quite nicely. I also made some little cuts on the curved edge to make it easier to fold and iron neatly. The pleated trim at the top of the bodice, and contrasting band at the hem, are from a second shirt with complementary thin stripes.

I left the sewing until the day of the birthday party (no surprise there…. I have been given the nickname “The Procrastinatrix,” after all) but I finished it with half an hour to spare. It was good to get the sewing machine out again and let it stretch its legs, even if I couldn’t remember how to thread the bobbin and had to wind it by hand!

The finished dress, front and back. I’m rather pleased with how this turned out…

….but sweeter than that – here’s the wee girl herself modelling the finished product.


About Kate

An artist and creative living advocate, I blog about Creative Canadian Women at

Posted on September 11, 2010, in crafts and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Adore this type of upcycling. Love it!

  2. I was just thinking about you yesterday, Kate, and sure enough, I noticed you had a new blog entry here today. Of course, you have been up to something vcreative and clever.
    I will have to show this to my daughter(who sews for herself and friends now).

    • Hey Tina, thanks! That’s great Miss R is sewing, she could probably figure out how to make things for herself out of upcycled shirts… 🙂

  3. Now that I have a niece, I wish I was any good with sewing, crochet…anything that involves thread and needles!! This is a very pretty dress Kate!
    have a great day!

  4. Wow! You are so creative!! I looked up the tutorial as well but I would never even think of starting anything like this! But it looks so cute!! I really love how it turned out! And the little girl looks so great in it :))

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