Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Upcycled Men's Shirt = Toddler Dress

Upcycling. Recycling. Reduce and Reuse. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have a tendency to like all things "Green". Meaning I have read almost every "Green" book I can get my hands on. Hey, I guess that counts as reading right? I'm obsessed with Sophie Uliano from Gorgeously Green. You can read her blog here: Who wouldn't love her? With her blonde hair and her adorable British accent...
Anyway, when I found out I could MAKE a toddler dress by reusing a man's shirt, I was super excited. Princess is in desperate need of Summer clothes now that she has grown out of everything and if I gave her the choice, she would wear a dress Every. Single. Day. The other day we were going through my husband's closet and just as we were about to throw an old dress shirt away he said to me, "Or you could save it to make something." Um, yes! Score! I had totally not thought of that. Nice work babe. The funniest part of the whole thing though is the reason we were going to throw it away was because it has a huge poop stain on it from when you-know-who was a baby...and now she is going to wear it!!! MWah Ha Ha HA! No, it should be cute. Let's find out.

What you will need is:
An old button down shirt (preferably without poo stains)
Sewing Machine
A dress that fits the Toddler you are making the dress for (this is the "Brooke" pattern)
Here is the before. And the very confused child wondering why the heck Momma is dressing her in Daddy's shirt and laughing hysterically.
Here is the notorious stain.
1. Lay out the shirt and place the toddler dress over it, so you can get an idea how where you are going to cut.
Like so.
2. Take a deep breath and maybe a sip of wine and cut. And remember if you screw up, you were going to throw the shirt away anyway...Hence why its better to use "old" shirts for this project.

I actually tried really hard cutting this.....its better than the napkins anyway.

3. Remove pocket (if applicable. After I was finished with the whole project, I almost wished I had left it on, because it would have worked as a pocket. But I didn't know it would work out that way.

4. Pin both pieces together and cut straight across in order to make an "empire" waist. (You can skip this part if you don't want a waist line).
Cut straight across. I definately used the grooves in our counter to cut straght.
5. Pin and add a little rouching to the top half. I use this term lightly, because I don't do it the right way, but of course you are welcome to do it my way or do some YouTubing.

I basically just bunch it together and pin, making sure that each side is still pretty even.
6. Try on your model. I suggest doing this a lot to make sure everything is going ok. Or as much as your model will allow.

7. Pin to the bottom half of the dress. This is only the 2 front pieces. We will do the back pieces in a bit.
Do your best to line up the buttons in the center.

Here is what it looks like pinned on the inside. Just like the napkin tutorial. You want the pretty sides facing each other.
8. Sew together, bunching the skirt/bottom part of the skirt as you go. So professional I know.
Here is a picture of my "rouching" method.
Now the front is finished. :) Almost there.
9. Then sew the two back pieces together.
10. Pin up the sides, making sure the empire waist seam matches in the front and the back and that the armholes match up evenly.

11. Sew up both sides.

12. There was a raw edge left on the armholes where I cut. So I turned them in a teensy tiny bit and sewed them to make the edge finished. (I should have given myself more room while cutting. But alas, I didn't)
Here is the finished armhole.

13. After trying it on the model again, I noticed there was a little more material in the back than I wanted...Like it was showing in the front. So I added two little "darts"?? Kinda like those you see in other dress shirts.

This is the back where I added the darts. I did them right along the empire waistline.
14. Sew up the hem along the bottom of the dress and you're finished! I really like the way it turned out. Shocked actually, that it turned out to resemble anything. I may add some pockets back in the front or flutter sleeves up top. I don't know though. I didn't know I would like the sleeveless so much. But my model has a way of making anything cute....even my sewing projects.

Here is the after. And a model who is WAY too distracted with shows.

The back

The darts. Probably the most professional looking part.
Model face.

Sucess! Love her!
There are a couple things I should have done differently: I should have added elastic in the waist. Because it was a Leeetle hard to put on over her head. There may have been tears and bribary..... And I sewed it shut in the front, so you can't undo the buttons all the way. Didn't realize that one. Oops! There has to be a way to fix that, but I'm not sure how. Anyway, there it is. Upcycled and adorable!!! From a shirt that was going in the trash!


  1. Oh my gosh you are amazing! This is the most adorable idea ever. She looks so cute and it's so precious that its her dads shirt ❤

  2. Thanks my love! And thank you for commenting!

  3. OMG! Thats AMAZING! how do you do it!? I'm so jelly.

  4. It was a little tough. Honestly, its kind of a miracle that it turned out!

  5. Great tutioral about stich a baby suit from shirt.
    Thank to admin for make a informative post for us.
    Clother Style

  6. the problem with getting it over the head and the buttons being sewed could be fixed by possibly doing the gathers on each side and not making the empire waist. Just a thought.

  7. Thanks! I'll have to try that next time!

  8. your good blog and excellent tutioral regarding stich your baby go well with through shirt.
    appreciate to be able to administrator with regard to create a beneficial article for people like us.dress shirts for men

  9. Anyway, when I found out I could MAKE a toddler dress by reusing a man's shirt, ...

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