How to Restyle a T-shirt into a Tiered Tea Dress

comments (9) October 28th, 2008     

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CalPatch cal patch, contributor
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Transform old T-shirts into new clothes, such as this three-tiered dress.
Youll need three shirts of different sizes.
Cut the shirt for the top of the dress about 1 inch below the armhole.
Transform old T-shirts into new clothes, such as this three-tiered dress.

Transform old T-shirts into new clothes, such as this three-tiered dress.

Photo: Cal Patch

Revamping old T-shirts into new styles is one of my favorite ways to get new clothes without spending a dime. When you make them into a dress, you've got a whole outfit. You'll need three tees to make this project: one that fits, a second that's a few inches bigger than the first, and a third that's bigger than the second. You can try all sorts of color combinations, or use three tees of all one color. If you can't find three that match, you can always overdye the shirts.

You'll need three shirts of different sizes.

Here's how to go about it:

1. The shirt that fits will be the top of the dress. You can cut the neck and sleeves off or leave them on. To make the yoke of the dress, cut across the shirt about 1 inch below the armhole, which will allow for a 1/2-inch seam allowance.

Cut the shirt for the top of the dress.

2. Next, cut the other two shirts across the chest at the bottom of the armholes. For the medium shirt, which will be the middle tier, cut off the hem, too. For the largest shirt, which will be the bottom tier of the dress, cut off the hem or leave it on, depending on how you'd like the bottom edge of the dress to be hemmed. At this point, you might want to pin the pieces to a dress form, or pin them together and hold the dress up to you, to determine whether the lengths of the pieces need adjusting. Trim if needed so that the proportion is right for you. Be sure to allow for a 1/2-inch seam allowances.

Cut the other shirts for maximum length for the tiers of the dress.

3. Run two rows of gathering stitches along the top edges of the middle and bottom tiers, 1/4 inch and 3/8 inch from the edge. Cut notches at the center front (CF) and center back (CB) on each piece. With right sides together, pin the middle tier to the top dress piece along the yoke seam and gather it to fit, matching side seams and center front and center back notches. Seam the pieces together 1/2 inch from the edge using a stretch stitch or tiny (1.5 x 1.5mm) zigzag. Repeat this process to attach the bottom tier to the middle. You can edgestitch both seams above the seamline to help the gathering lie flat.


posted in: dress, pink, shirt, tshirt

Comments (9)

toniponi writes: This is a great idea! I have a lot of t-shirts that don't quite fit, but they are from places I want to remember. A slight modification on this may work for that goal.
Posted: 11:36 am on December 3rd
RUFUS50 writes: This is a great summer dress. Cotton is the way to go! Thanks!
Posted: 7:00 pm on March 19th
sophiecai writes: great idea...maybe i could buy some discounted t-shirt and make this....
Posted: 10:47 am on February 15th
Killdoomkid writes: I literally created an account just to tell you how much I like this! :) Wonderful idea!

-Be blessed.
Posted: 4:14 pm on December 18th
gracie_girl writes: This is cute. It would make a nice dress for a little girl...especially decorated with some ribbon, flowers, rhinestones, etc.
Posted: 4:20 pm on February 10th
sigridsoto writes: I just left u a comment on the tee shirt restyle and thought i should look to what other restyles u have and found this one i will be making this one to thank u
Posted: 4:36 am on January 24th
CalPatch writes: hi rachel! this dress is an above-the-knee length so it's not a problem, but adding triangular inserts (godets) is a great way to add more flare when you need it! and i usually prefer the cut-off rolled hem look too; i just left this one on because some people like a finished hem, and it happened to be a nice one. thanks for your comments!
Posted: 11:42 am on November 10th
RachelPhilips writes: What great fun, I enjoy to work with t shirts into to dresses and wear them most days. In regard to your fitting, do you find the given shirt width at the bottom to be wide enough for taking big steps? I have to add triangles to each side from the left over sleeves to make a wider stride for added walking ease. I also choose to chop off the store bought hem as it seems so stiff and heavy and I like the cut to curl look better than the Hanes hem look.

Happy sewing
Posted: 1:59 pm on October 31st
itry writes: Very cool way to recycle and get new looks.

Posted: 12:11 pm on October 28th
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