How To Upcycle A Shirt Into A Child’s Dress

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Here is a great idea for if you have some old shirts that you need to get rid of. I hate throwing any old cloth away, don’t you? So why not repurpose those shirts? Here is how to upcycle a shirt into a child’s dress.

 

How To Upcycle A Shirt Into A Child’s Dress

 

How To Upcycle A Shirt Into A Child's Dress - repurpose a man's shirt into something cute and summery. This step by step sewing tutorial shows you how to make an old shirt into a cute little girl's dress. Reuse old clothes.Reuse, repurpose and recycle fabric with these thoughts and patterns. Upcycle your old clothing and cloth to make fabulous new things #upcycling #sustainablefashion #sustainable #upcycling #upcycleclothes #upcycledclothes #zerowaste #recycleclothes #upcycledshirt

 

It is coming to the end of the school year. And each year, my teacher other half has a bit of a clear out of his work shirts. He always has a few that have stains around the collars and cuffs. And whilst he really wants to throw these out, I prefer to think of the planet and bee more sustainable by reusing them.

I have lots of ideas for reusing old clothes, but this is a perfect idea for shirts. And particularly if you have shirts that are too big or too small. 

Really, unless your shirts are really oversize, you are probably not going to get a shirt for a child older than about 5 or 6. But it is a perfect way of reusing most of the shirt, and a quick way of making a brand new pretty dress! 

You Will Need

  • An old shirt – this was a size large
  • A heat erasable pen
  • A sewing machine and iron for pressing
  • Coordinating sewing thread
  • Pins
  • Some 1/4 inch elastic and a small safety pin

 

Start by laying the shirt flat. Lay a dress that fits well over the shirt front. (This is a Geranium Dress I made for E a little while back) This is going to act as a template. Actually this dress is quite flared and wide, so there’s no need to add a seam allowance to the main skirt of the dress, But you will need to add a little allowance around the armpit.

Lay the shirt flat with a dress to act as a dress template

Add a seam allowance, emphasising generously the armhole size and shoulder size.

Drawing a seam allowance around the sleeve and body area

I then used a french curve sewing ruler to draw a symmetrical deep scoop neckline to the dress pattern.

Draw a deep scoop neckline

I cut out the dress.

cut out dress

 

Next, place the front and back right sides together and sew the shoulder seams together with a 3/8 inch (1cm) seam allowance. Trim or serge the edges ( I pinked then pressed open)

Sewing shoulder seams

Then, I sewed a 1/4 inch (5mm) double hem to the sleeve edge. I actually ended up sewing this a little further down the body of the dress.

Hemming the sleeve

Next, I placed the back and front right sides together and sewed a 3/8 (1cm) seam down each side.

The dress is nearly together. But the front placket was quite flappy, so I sewed down both sides to keep it shut. This dress is going to be able to be put on over the head anyways, so this just makes the thing look neater.

Sewing the placket shut

Finally, I sewed an elastic channel hem of 3/8 inch (1cm)  around the neckline, into which I inserted some 1/4 inch (6mm) elastic.

It can be quite hard going sewing through all the layers at the placket area.

I sewed almost all the way around the hem, leaving a small opening, and backstitching at the start and finish. Then I inserted the elastic (I used 21 inches for my size 5 dress, but you may need to play around to find the perfect length for you).

Making a neckline elastic channel

Finally I sewed the elastic ends together and closed the neckline hem.

And the dress is finished!

How To Upcycle A Shirt Into A Child's Dress - repurpose a man's shirt into something cute and summery. This step by step sewing tutorial shows you how to make an old shirt into a cute little girl's dress. Reuse old clothes.Reuse, repurpose and recycle fabric with these thoughts and patterns. Upcycle your old clothing and cloth to make fabulous new things #upcycling #sustainableliving #sustainablefashion #sustainable #sustainability #upcycling #upcycleclothes #upcycledclothes #zerowaste #fastfashion #zerowastelifestyle #ecofriendlyideas #recycleclothes #upcycledshirt

 

Alternatively, you could just use a pattern and cut the pieces out from the shirt front and rear. But I think this method above is really quick and easy.

And what to do with the rest of the shirt? Well, see my post here on what to do with your fabric scraps.

Maybe at the moment a matching face mask would be a good idea? Here is my pattern.

How To Upcycle A Shirt Into A Child's Dress - repurpose a man's shirt into something cute and summery. This step by step sewing tutorial shows you how to make an old shirt into a cute little girl's dress. Reuse old clothes.Reuse, repurpose and recycle fabric with these thoughts and patterns. Upcycle your old clothing and cloth to make fabulous new things #upcycling #sustainableliving #sustainablefashion #sustainable #sustainability #upcycling #upcycleclothes #upcycledclothes #zerowaste #fastfashion #zerowastelifestyle #ecofriendlyideas #recycleclothes #upcycledshirt

 

Do you like this idea? Think you could be doing this in the future? I would love to see your makes. Show me on social media, or comment below.

And why not pin this for later?

How To Upcycle A Shirt Into A Child's Dress - repurpose a man's shirt into something cute and summery. This step by step sewing tutorial shows you how to make an old shirt into a cute little girl's dress. Reuse old clothes.Reuse, repurpose and recycle fabric with these thoughts and patterns. Upcycle your old clothing and cloth to make fabulous new things #upcycling #sustainableliving #sustainablefashion #sustainable #sustainability #upcycling #upcycleclothes #upcycledclothes #zerowaste #fastfashion #zerowastelifestyle #ecofriendlyideas #recycleclothes #upcycledshirt

How To Upcycle A Shirt Into A Child's Dress - repurpose a man's shirt into something cute and summery. This step by step sewing tutorial shows you how to make an old shirt into a cute little girl's dress. Reuse old clothes.Reuse, repurpose and recycle fabric with these thoughts and patterns. Upcycle your old clothing and cloth to make fabulous new things #upcycling #sustainableliving #sustainablefashion #sustainable #sustainability #upcycling #upcycleclothes #upcycledclothes #zerowaste #fastfashion #zerowastelifestyle #ecofriendlyideas #recycleclothes #upcycledshirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Replies to “How To Upcycle A Shirt Into A Child’s Dress”

  1. Jade @TheParentingJungle says:

    I am a huge fan of buying second hand clothes and not wasting fabrics when clothes are falling apart or no longer fit, I usually turn them into rags or fabric wreaths! This looks so good I think it may be time to invest in a sewing machine. You make it look so easy which I am sure it is not but with a bit of practise I am sure many people would enjoy the challenge. I love the way the shirt buttons look on the dress. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time x

    Reply
  2. ohmummymia says:

    What a lovely idea! It’s so much better than just giving it away and so much cheaper than buying a new dress! #KCACOLS

    Reply
  3. Rob - Paternal Damnation says:

    Brilliant! I’ve got loads of old shirts that don’t fit me anymore after I (ahem) graduated to the next size up. This would be great for my daughter. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time

    Reply
  4. Melissa Jiggetts says:

    Wow this is an amazing idea! Imagine all the clothes we have lying around that we now how a useful reason to use them for. That dress is so cute and simple. Thanks so much for sharing this I am saving this and sharing it now!

    Reply

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