Our little princess is having a birthday in a few days and I wanted to make her a dress. Hoping for a quick project, I thought I’d try converting a teeshirt from my stash. I thought this light blue shirt, men’s size extra small would fit the bill. I also set out a shirt that fits her now.
The neck on the blue shirt is small, so will work fine on a small person. I cut off the sleeves and trimmed a little on the sides of the shirt to make an even line down toward the hem.
Then I folded and pinned two folds on each side, bringing in the width of the shirt more in line with my pattern shirt. These pleats will end just above the waist.
Using purple embroidery floss I stitched the pleats flat in place, with lazy daisies at the end of the center pleats. The back I sewed on the machine. This tee shirt was very warped and it was a little tricky to get it all to lay flat, but using the stretch of the fabric, it came in line. With the pleats going over the top of the shoulder, as the shoulder slopes down, that area needs a little easing.
Using some purple fabric from my stash, I cut out long sleeves following the sleeve from my pattern shirt. Using the total width of the bottom of the short sleeves I cut off the shirt earlier, I cut a curved, short, ruffled sleeve to go over the long sleeve. Make little clips in the tops to mark the middle of all these sleeves so you can line them up later.
A basting stitch across the top of the short sleeve is used to gather it to the shape of the long sleeve, matching the clips. The gathers are concentrated in the middle. I pinned both sleeves together then pinned them to the body of the dress. The clips go on the shoulder seams.
I prefer to sew sleeves on flat as often as possible, so the sleeves were attached, then the long seam up the sleeve and down the side of the dress was sewn. If you’re not using a serger, all seams should be a narrow zigzag (2.5) when using knits. That just left hemming the sleeves. They were turned up 3/4″ (press) and zigzagged (2.5 width).
So, I’m not sure I actually saved any time by re-making the tee shirt than if I’d have started from scratch. I did some hand sewing, some embellishing and I didn’t have to bother with the neck, or hem the bottom of the skirt. It was something I’d been thinking about, so I’ve tried it. Now you can try it, and send me a photo!