I know, I know. It sounds too good to be true, but you really can make a fun, summer maxi dress in 15 minutes or less when you start with a T-shirt and add some knit fabric to the bottom. It’ll seriously take you longer to choose the fabric than to make the dress.
First, choose a T-shirt that fits in the shoulders and bust and 1 1/2 yards of coordinating knit fabric. Make sure the width of your fabric is at least 6 inches larger than the width of your hips.
You’ll also need pins, sharp scissors, a measuring tape, 1/4-inch elastic, coordinating thread, a ballpoint needle, and of course, your trusty sewing machine.
Start by measuring where you’d like your new waistline. Add a half inch to the measurement for a seam allowance and using your measuring tape, mark this new line around your T-shirt.
Cut off the bottom of the T-shirt using the chalk lines as your guide.
Measure the distance from your waist to the floor, and use this measurement to cut the length of your knit fabric. Add extra inches to this length if you plan on wearing high heels.
Next, measure around your hips add 6 inches. Use this measurement to cut the width of your fabric.
With right sides of the fabric together, sew a 1/2-inch seam along the length to form a long tube; this will be the skirt piece of your dress. The seam will be the center back of the skirt piece.
Set your machine to the longest stitch length, the basting stitch.
Using the longest stitch length, sew all around the top edge of your skirt piece.
Mark the center front and sides on the top of your skirt piece. Also, mark the center front and back on the raw edge of the T-shirt.
Pull the bottom thread of your basting stitch to gather the top of the skirt piece. Try to keep the gathering as even as possible between your marks.
Place the T-shirt upside down inside the skirt piece so right sides are together. Match the center front, center back and the sides of the skirt piece and the T-shirt. Pin the raw edges together. Move the gathering around if needed to make the skirt fit the T-shirt, and to make sure the gathering is as even as possible.
Use a zigzag stitch to attach the top raw edge of the skirt piece to the bottom raw edge of the T-shirt.
Measure your waist. Subtract 2 inches from your waist measurement and cut a piece of 1/4-inch elastic to that length. Mark the center and quarters of the elastic.
Pin the center of the elastic to the center front mark on the seam allowance. Pin the quarter marks of the elastic to each side of the seam allowance. The ends of the elastic will meet at the back center seam allowance.
Using a zigzag stitch, start sewing the elastic onto the seam allowance at the back center. Pull the elastic gently as you sew to meet each pin you placed.
Now, turn your dress right side out and check your watch. See, 15 minutes. No need to hem since we used a knit and it won’t fray. You can even cut a slit up the front like I did.
Now take that extra time you saved, go to your happy place and enjoy your new summer maxi dress.