T Shirt Dress Tutorial

If you missed my post yesterday take a little scroll down and you’ll see plenty of action shots of my lil ruffled dress. Here’s some more detailed instructions so you can make your own. Although I probably won’t have time to make her another one with all of the steps that are featured in this one I’ll definitely be making her several simpler ones for Spring!For this dress you’ll need:
3 men’s white undershirts (I used XXL to make sure I had more than enough)
2 packages RIT powder dye
fabric paint
freezer paper (if stenciling)

First thing’s first, let’s dye us some t-shirts! I followed the package directions and working in a big plastic storage tub I placed all three shirts in. After 10 min I took out the first one & rinsed thoroughly. This will be the body of the dress. For the next step it took a bit of trial and error but here’s what I came up with. Go ahead and pull the top part of the shirt out of the dye & drape it over the side of the tub, leave the main body in. (it’s best to be working in a stainless steel sink) After another 20 min I pulled it out another 5″ & then another 5″ after another 20. At this point it seemed like the bottom of the fabric needed some more help to get to a really dark saturated shade of purple so I mixed up the 2nd packet of dye and added it in. I let the last part sit 10 min and then took it completely out and followed the directions for rinsing & washing. Dip dyeing really is just that, dipping fabric at different levels for different amounts of time to achieve different saturation. Honestly, it was pretty darn fun.

Once my shirts were all dry and done I took them upstairs to begin the sewing. The pattern is really simple to follow, I cut out all my pieces from the 1st solid color lighter shirt & assembled away.When the dress was completed I went ahead and moved on to the freezer paper stenciling. You can read more detailed ones on my post here & also download the mum template. I just made these a little smaller than the painted panel ones. I also think it’s neat to make sure one or two blooms wrap from the back to the front of the dress or are only partially done at the top of the shoulder…makes it look more like a print to me.Once it’s all painted & dry you can finally ruffle it up. By this point I was so excited to see the end result that it felt like I couldn’t cut & ruffle fast enough! On your other two shirts that are dip dyed you’ll simply want to cut out 1 & 1/2″ wide strips from each color section. For me that was 6 strips total. Two light, two medium & two dark. The nice thing about working with a XXL shirt is it’s roughly double the width of a toddler dress. This meant I could leave the strips connected at the side hems (so they’re each a circle tube shape) and they would ruffle down to width of my dress. To ruffle them I simply set my machine to the widest stitch setting and stitched a line straight down the middle, then if you hold onto the bobbin thread you can push the fabric along the thread so it ruffles. You can also ruffle by using a gathering stitch on your machine but I just feel like this way gives me more control. Once I had gathered a strip I carefully pinned it around the dress until it looked right, you’ll have to more some gathers here & there but once you get it the way you want go ahead and stitch it on. Afterwards pull out your original ruffling stitch so you don’t have an unnecessary stitch line across your ruffles. Continue this process for all six rows and then guess what? You’re done my dear!

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  1. Michelle

    So cute but I am not sure if I am that good at sewing yet lol! I will have to save this one and practice my skills, I love the color!

  2. Amanda@ISewDoYou

    Super CUTE!! Next time, i'd suggest using Dylon dye cause it holds it color lots longer than RIT. I used Dylon to dye all for my daughter's diapers and they still look great after 1+ year of wear and washing frequently. I think Dharma dye is even better, but not as readily available as Dylon. Walmart, Hobby and Joanns all carry it.

  3. Shelly K

    You did a great job! Funny thing…I had the same idea in mind for my submission :( The turkey dress with the LBB top.
    Thankfully mine is not the same, but just so you know, I promise I did NOT steal your idea :) I have my dated sketchbook from a month ago right here!! I ADORE the mum stencil. Oh, and one of my other submissions is purple died fabric too. Jeez louise……obviously we were seperated at birth….

  4. somedaycrafts

    This is ADORABLE!!! I was waiting for this post to feature it at somedaycrafts.blogspot.com! This will be a big hit and a definite contender to win the LBB contest!!! Great talent!!!

  5. Gabby

    I would love to make something like this someday!

    I'm not 100% sure I know how to make ruffles, but I love love love ruffles (anything girly) and am going to try this weekend. I want to make some ruffly bloomers because I think they're way overpriced, especially after shipping and the wait. Plus I can't wait. I want them for baby pictures coming up soon.

    Thanks for posting this!

  6. Andrea @ TheTrainToCrazy.com

    I love it! Love the idea of dying it. I have a new weekly link up carnival called Make it, Wear it and this would be perfect for it. Stop on by and check it out!

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