Toddler T-shirt Tutorial

When I was in kindergarten, I remember wearing some t-shirt dresses that my mom had made and I remember feeling so cute in them. So I decided that I would make a couple for some gifts. This one in particular is for my niece who is the cutest red head ever! --- and she's in LOVE with Fancy Nancy. Those books are the CUTEST! Check them out here.

  • 1- t-shirt – old or new (that is what is great about this)

  • 1- 44” length of 1/4 yard fabric

  • Matching Thread

  • Tulle and jewels for flowers
I found this 5.00 shirt at Target. I liked it because it had a cute neckline compared to some of the t-shirts that are at a craft store. I made my daughter’s out of one of my Down East shirts that shrunk (another story).
I took one of my daughter's t-shirts (size 4t) and laid it over the top of the shirt. Then I traced with a pencil on the white shirt where the sleeves meet the shirt and then down the sides in an a-line fashion.
Then I cut the shirt on those lines like this just outside of the lines to give room for a seam allowance (I used about 1/4 inch for this dress).
Then with the right sides together, take the shirt and sew up the two sides from the arm hole down. (I used a zigzag the whole time on the knit to give a little more stretch for the finished product).
For the sleeves, I took the original sleeve and used this tutorial to help me cut out and sew the sleeve together. It was nice not to have to do the hem on the neck or sleeves because I used the original ones on the shirt.
With both sleeves and shirt inside out, pin the right sides together and sew around carefully. This was the most challenging part for me.
Finished sleeve inside
Then I cut about 8” off the bottom of the shirt. This length is totally up to you for how long you want it for the dress. For my niece's dress it will hit mid-calf. So here is the top of the dress put together.
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Now for the skirt… I found some Fancy Nancy fabric for 1/2 off! What is great is that you only need 1/4 of a yard for this dress. I took about 8 inches of my Fancy Nancy fabric and pressed the bottom 1/4 in up and then another 1/4 to hid the raw edge. Then I hemmed the whole 44” length of the piece. I decided to do two stitches to give it some uniqueness.
Take the two short ends and with right sides together, straight stitch them together. (forgot a photo of this step)
Then I folded the material every few inches to make some pleats. This took some time and I had to adjust them a few times. You need to make the skirt width the same as the bottom of the t-shirt. Then I pressed them flat. Next, sew 1/4 inch around the top of the skirt.
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Then I took the top of the skirt inside out, and pressed the skirt down 1/4 in and sewed around that to make a nice finished seam. 
Attach the top of the skirt to the bottom of the shirt with pins (right on top) and sew around to secure.
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So your dress part is done and you can leave it like this if you so desire. However, Fancy Nancy is never plain… so I had to add some frills. I got into my scrap box and found some tulle.
I folded some pieces over and pinned a flower template onto the top. Then you cut in a circle around the tulle.
Then I light up my candle and melt the edges. Be careful though because tulle melts really fast. It just takes a little heat. You may want to practice a couple of times.
After I melted my circles, I stacked them in different arrangements of about 6-8 circles to see what I liked best.
Then take and arrange on your shirt still in stacks.
Then hand sew each stack using a needle and thread. You will have to sew each one in an X shape so your tulle doesn’t tear.
Then I found in my odds and ends these acrylic jewels and glued them to the center of the flowers.
And there it is! I cannot wait to see L in this dress.
I am going to make a bag to go along with it next week since I had some fabric left over.

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