Before & After: Turning a Man's Shirt into a Child's Dress

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Things You'll Need

Turn unused men's shirts into dresses.

Does your guy have a favorite shirt that has a worn collar or cuffs and he won't give it up? Does he have work shirts with logos that are no longer appropriate? Has he changed sizes and now there's a closet full of unwearable shirts? Did you know that you can turn those unused men's shirts into cute, easy-to-make dresses for your (or someone else's) little girls? It's actually incredibly easy, quick and timelessly cute!


Step 1

Clip the threads holding the pocket in place.

Most men's shirts have pockets, but if yours doesn't, you are in luck. If it does, no problem, just carefully cut the threads holding it in place and remove it.

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Step 2

Cut the pattern pieces from the shirt.

Download the pattern for the dress at the following URL: Tape the pieces together aligning the arrows. Choose the size needed and trim out the pieces. Place the front/back piece on the centerline of the button front. Cut one half, flip the pattern piece to the other side and cut the opposite half. Cut the sleeve pieces from the shirt sleeves using opposite sides of the pattern.


Step 3

Press a casing into the sleeve hems.

Press a 5/8" seam in each of the sleeve hems. Turn in a 1/4" fold and press in place.


Step 4

Stitch down the casing.

Stitch the casing in place leaving a 3/8" pocket.


Step 5

The pieces stitched together form a circle.

With right sides together, stitch one sleeve piece to the front dress piece on each side. Again with right sides together, stitch the back dress piece to the other side of each sleeve forming a circle of the pieces at the neck. Finish the seams with a zig-zag stitch.



Step 6

Press a 5/8" casing, just like the one in the sleeves, in the neck edges. Turn under 1/4" and stitch in place, leaving an opening about 2 inches long to insert elastic. Cut 2 pieces of 3/8" elastic 7 to 7 1/2 inches long for the sleeves and another one 16 to 17 inches for the neck. Thread the elastic through the sleeve hems and stitch in place at each end. Thread the neck elastic through the neck casing and stitch together. Stitch the opening closed. Sew the side seams from the shirt hem all the way through the sleeve hems. Finish the edges with a zig-zag stitch.


Step 7

Dyeing the fabric is easy.

You can change the color of the dress using fabric dye. Fill a large stock pot with about 2 gallons of water. Add 1/2 cup of salt, one tablespoon of detergent and the fabric dye. Bring to a simmer. In the meantime, wash the dress to remove any starch residue and rinse in hot water. Lower the fabric into the stockpot and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Step 8

Wearing gloves, rinse the dress in increasing cooler water until the color stops rinsing out. Wash the dress in a regular wash with similar colors and dry.


Use a safety pin clipped to the elastic to thread it through the casing.


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