13 August 2013 ~ 0 Comments

How to Recycle Old T-Shirts into a Dress

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

What could be more comfortable than a casual summer dress made out of recycled t-shirts? We can’t think of anything better! Breezy and becoming, this simple t-shirt dress is as easy to make as it is easy to wear.

Time to Complete: 1 hour

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

What You’ll Need:

  • One v-neck t-shirt for the top of your dress in your usual size.
  • One t-shirt for the bottom, 1-2 sizes larger than your usual size. The larger size shirt will supply additional fabric needed for the length of the skirt, especially if you’d like to be below the knee.
  • 2” elastic that compliments your shirt colors. The elastic will be visible.
  • A rotary blade for cutting fabric.
  • A straight-edged ruler.
  • Measuring tape.
  • Pins.
  • A sewing machine (not pictured).

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

1. Choose a v-neck in your favorite color for the top of the dress. The fit of the shoulders to waist is the most important part, as you will eventually be cutting off the bottom portion of the t-shirt. Put the t-shirt on and mark it with chalk at your natural waist.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

2. Using the rotary blade and straight-edged ruler, carefully cut below the chalk mark indicating your natural waistline.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

3. Discard the lower half of the shirt, or better yet, use it to create another fabulous DIY project, such as these upcycled t-shirt bangles!

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

4. Next, prepare and cut elastic waistband. Elastic should be 1” – 1.5” shorter than the width of your top. You may add 1/2” for the seam.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

5. Sew the ends of the elastic waistband together to form a circle. A zig-zag stitch is recommended for stretch fabrics.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

6. Quarter the waistband into four equal parts and pin at the quarter marks. This is easily accomplished by pinning the ends first which gives you two equal havles. Then line up these two pins in the middle to find the other two quarter locations.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

7. Divide the shirt top into four equal parts by first pinning the side seams. This will divide the shirt into two halves. Fold these two pins together in the center. Then pin the sides again. The shirt will now be pinned in quarters.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

8. Now, it’s time to start creating the skirt! Measure from your natural waist to the desired length.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

9. Now that you have your desired skirt length, it’s time to get to work on turning the second t-shirt into a skirt. Be sure to add 1/4″ to the desired skirt length to accomodate for the waist band seam!

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

10. Cut the skirt portion of your dress from the bottom of the t-shirt and discard the top, or retain the material for other projects.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

11. Place your elastic loop inside the skirt with right sides together, pinning the waistband to the skirt with the quarter marks matching up.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

12. Attach skirt to waistband with a zig-zag stitch and a 1/4” seam, backstitching the beginning of your sew.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

13. As you sew the zig zag stitch for the waistband and skirt, stretch the elastic slightly so that it performs and gathers when worn. Remove the quarter mark pins as you reach them and backstitch the end of the waistband when you reach it.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

14. Flip the elastic band up and out of the top of the skirt. The result should look similar to what you see in the image above.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

15. The final step is to attach the t-shirt top onto the elastic banded-skirt. Quarter the waistband again by pinning the waistband into four equal parts as you did earlier. Place your top inside the skirt and pin together again at marked quarters with the right sides together.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

16. Sew the top and elastic band together with a zig-zag stitch in the same way you sewed the skirt and elastic together.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

17. If the elastic band and top do not match up, simply stretch the shorter of the two, so they are flat as you sew them together.

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

18. Your new dress in complete! We decided to use a skirt and top of the same color, but feel free to mix it up with various colors, shirt styles, and elastic types! What other ways have you found to refashion plain t-shirts into stylish summer dresses? Let us know!

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