Wednesday, July 23, 2014

it's refashion month at house of estrela

Today, as part of Refashion Month at House of Estrela, I have a free tutorial for turning an oversized t-shirt into a dress or tunic using all the existing hems. In other words, no scissors are required except for cutting your elastic!  This is a great way to use all those t-shirts from your misspent youth without having to cut them up :)

When you're done with the tutorial, be sure to scroll down to the end of this post and enter the giveaway for a whole bunch of free sewing patterns!

I know at our house we always have a plethora of outgrown t-shirts and normally someone smaller just waiting to grow into them.  But sometimes I don't like to wait for the growing to happen, so instead I turn the clothes into something new :)  For this particular dress I used one of my oldest daughter's t-shirts in a girls size 14.  As you can see in this picture, the before isn't a very good fit ;)

Just a few tips before I get to the tutorial:
  • Make sure the neck line of the oversized shirt fits - the tutorial does not alter the neckline at all
  • Have the child or their measurements handy - you will need waist-to-knee, upper arm and waist circumference measurements
  • Depending on the starting size of the child and the size of the shirt, the finished product could end up being a dress or a tunic - in order to end up with a dress, the shirt should start out longer than mid calf
  • This tutorial should work for any size from baby to adult as long you start with an appropriate sized t-shirt

Tutorial - Elastic Waist
  1. Using the waist to knee measurement, mark a line around the shirt perpendicular to the hem
  2. Draw another line 3/4" up from the first line
  3. Fold the shirt along the top line tucking the neck down inside the shirt and press well
  4. Sew along the first line you drew to form a tuck
  5. Pull the neck back out of the shirt and press the tuck down.  Pin all around the shirt
  6. Topstitch 1/8" from the edge of the tuck leaving a 2" opening for inserting elastic.
  7. Insert the elastic, overlap the ends and sew together.  Topstitch the opening closed (not pictured)

Tutorial - Sleeves
  1. Take a piece of elastic cut to the upper arm measurement and pin the center of the elastic to the center of the sleeve to keep the elastic even
  2. Align one end of the elastic to the underarm sleeve and stitch the end down with a straight stitch, making sure to backstitch for strength
  3. Use a 3-step zigzag stitch to attach the elastic to the sleeve stretching the elastic as you go.  Backstitch when you reach the end of the elastic
  4. I sewed along the overlocking stitch to create a small frilled hem - you can attach the elastic wherever you want to adjust the width of the frill

Tutorial - Creating Shoulder Tucks
  1. On the first shoulder, make two parallel lines (or more if needed) that are each 3" long.  The first one should be 1" away from the neckline, and the second line should be 1" from the first.  The lines should be parallel to the curve of the armscye.  Repeat for the other shoulder
  2. Repeat step one for the back of the shirt as well, making sure that the front and back lines meet on the top of the shoulder
  3. Press the shoulders along the lines you drew and sew 3/8" from each line to create tucks
  4. Press the tucks toward the sleeve and topstitch close to the edges to secure them

Congratulations!  You are done with your t-shirt refashion.  Hopefully you are as happy with the results as my little Mae is :)

Here's a quick view of the back of the dress as well so you can see how the tucks continue over the shoulders:

Too large t-shirt
1/8" Elastic
1/2" Elastic

Be sure to add your own refashions to the Flickr group and don't forget to check out all the other great contributors to Refashion Month:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. An easy refashion that looks great, Teri!!!

  2. The tucks are genius. A good way to control the extra bulk.

  3. I will definitely try this! Thank you.

  4. What a great refashion - I'll never look at an adult t-shirt the same way! (Btw - I'm visiting through Inspire Us Thursdays)

  5. This is inspirational. So little to alter and such a major change in the final piece. Loved it but I had told you that before =)
    Thanks for being part of this season's.

  6. Ooh I love a good upcycle/refashion! Looks great and comfortable to wear ♥