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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
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
- 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.
Add a seam allowance, emphasising generously the armhole size and shoulder size.
I then used a french curve sewing ruler to draw a symmetrical deep scoop neckline to the dress pattern.
I cut out the 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)
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.
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.
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).
Finally I sewed the elastic ends together and closed the neckline hem.
And the dress is finished!
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.
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?