You can never have too many comfy, casual summer dresses right? Today, we’re going to refashion old t-shirts into a dress for the warm weather ahead! This dress is the perfect casual dress or even a swimsuit cover-up. It’s just as comfortable as your basic old shirt, can be worn with a regular bra, and can even be completed in an hour if you use a sewing machine or 15 minutes without. I’ll walk you through both options.
T-shirts became a popular clothing item during the 1960s and 1970s, particularly due to their association with counterculture movements like the hippie and rock ‘n’ roll scenes. People began customizing their T-shirts with tie-dye techniques, fabric paints, and embroidery to express their individuality and make a statement. So go crazy, redoing old t-shirts or new tops is a time honored tradition!
Check out my other t-shirt refashions HERE and HERE. Now, you can either buy an old plain t-shirt, or use old tees you might already have. Either way, this diy t-shirt is your new favorite easy way to stay cool on those hot days the summer season brings.
My supply lists for upcycle tutorials are shoppable for your convenience! Just click any (affiliate) link below to get everything you’ll need to complete this project without adding extra errands to your day.
How To Refashion T-Shirts Into A Dress
You’ll need two t-shirts to complete this little black dress. I used large ones, but realized it would have been significantly easier if I started with shirts that fit me properly. I’ll walk you through the process I used to fit the t-shirts to my frame just in case. This means that you get all the different ways to give new life to many types of shirts: a few thrift store t shirt finds, a men’s shirt, any oversized shirts or boring shirts: any old garments really. You’re welcome!
Here’s the basic idea we’ll be using to create this dress.
Start out by taking one of your t-shirts and cutting the neckline and sleeves off. If your t-shirt fits great and you like the look of the original sleeves, feel free to skip this step. Since the t-shirts I started with didn’t fit, I had to resize them.
Either way, cut the bottom of your t-shirt off at the waist.
If the t-shirts are huge on you, add pins to the sides and sew into place, creating a new silhouette for your t-shirt.
Since t-shirt jersey doesn’t fray, you could leave your edges raw or if you’d prefer, you could finish them off. To finish the edges, cut 2″ strips from the leftover scraps of your t-shirt, fold the 2″ fabric strip in half and sew onto the raw edge around the armholes and neckline. Again, if you start out with a shirt that fits, you won’t have to do this step.
Cut a small hole in the center of your shirt. This is were you’ll tie the skirt in place. At this point, you should have a cropped shirt that looks like this:
Next, to create the skirt portion of your dress, cut the bottom of your second t-shirt off just below the armpits with a pair of sharp scissors to get a clean line. Here’s where you decide the length of your skirt. I found the actual length of the shirt was perfect for me. Keeping it that length also means the shirt hem becomes the bottom hem of your dress. Smooth!
Cut a small 2″ slice from the middle of your skirt down. The last step, just use these 2 ends of the skirt to tie a knot (or sew) through the hole in the front of your top.
Your dress should looks like this. With the top and skirt connected in the middle:
This t-shirt tutorial dress is so crazy-comfortable I hope you really love it! My favorite part of this project is how you can make it a simple design or as complex as you like. You could just slice two t-shirts and go with a no-sew option or finish your edges and resize your shirts to make a more advanced project. That’s the fun of a DIY sewing refashion project right? Now with this info you can upcycle t-shirts in more and more clever ways!
If you liked this little black dress DIY, check out my other ones HERE and HERE.
As always, if you have any questions while you are doing this project, let me know in the comments below! I’d love to help out!
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