Tutorial: Summer Maxi Dress, t-shirt refashion

T-shirt Maxi Dress Pattern – so easy it’s sewn using a t-shirt and some fabric. A great DIY upcycle fashion project!
T-shirt Maxi Dress - so easy it's made using a t-shirt and some fabric. A great DIY upcycle fashion project!

I got an idea to make a girls maxi dress from a t-shirt. Last Summer after I made my daughter this dress... she “requested” another one but this time with JUST fabric on the bottom… So to keep my little fashionista happy, I drew it up in my sketch book and promised to make her one this summer.

I decided to make it from Voile this time.  I love the light airy fabric and thought it would be perfect for summer.

T-shirt Maxi Dress - so easy it's made using a t-shirt and some fabric. A great DIY upcycle fashion project!

I saw that Lindsey at the Pleated Poppy has a tutorial on her site for an Adult size made from a tank top-   If you’re looking for an adult size of this dress, she uses a different method to attach her skirt to the top.

To make this dress you’ll need the following:

– t-shirt.  It needs to fit snugly, but not tight- if you’re not sure of the size, go down a size. Mine is from Old Navy.
– 2 yards of Voile Fabric- You could also use Velveteen- but try to stick to something light and airy, otherwise the dress will get heavy- if you want to make it for a taller than a size 10 you’ll need more yardage.
– 1/2 yard of Voile Fabric for waistband

T-shirt Maxi Dress - so easy it's made using a t-shirt and some fabric. A great DIY upcycle fashion project!

The measurements for this dress will make approx a size 10- but you can adjust them easily to make other sizes.

Seam allowances are 1/2″

On your t-shirt make a mark  approx 2″-3″ down from the bottom of the arm holes.

Cut off the bottom of the t-shirt.  You don’t need it so you can save it for another project if you like.
Take the waist measurement of your model.  Then double it- My daughter has a 25″ waist… in her case each piece would be 50″ wide- and the Voile is 54″ wide… I decided to just “go with” the extra fabric- and not cut off the extra 4″.
To figure the length, measure down from just under their armpits to the floor-  Add about 1″ for hem and seam allowance.  It turns out that 36″ was the perfect length to use on my daughter- if yours is taller or shorter adjust here.
You’ll want 2 pieces of fabric that are double the waist measurement by your height measurement.
In my case they were 2 pieces 54″ wide by 36″ long.
Stitch the 2 pieces together along the 36″ sides. Press seams open.
Run 2 rows of gathering stitches along the top edge.
Fit the skirt into the t-shirt, right sides together- adjust gathers so that the skirt portion fits into the t-shirt portion.
Pin well.
Stitch skirt portion to t-shirt portion, being careful not to pull on the t-shirt as you sew (you don’t want it to stretch out too much)
Turn right side out, and press well.

To make the sash.

Cut a piece of fabric 6″ wide by 54″. (it was 54″ wide since it was a Voile fabric).

Fold in half, miter corners. Stitch together leaving a 2″ opening in the center.

Turn right side out- slip stitch opening closed.  Press.

T-shirt Maxi Dress - so easy it's made using a t-shirt and some fabric. A great DIY upcycle fashion project!

Be sure to send me links to your t-shirt projects!! I’m going to do a round up at the end of the month! (thanks to those of you that have already sent them).
post signature

Follow on Bloglovin    Follow me on Feedly

Melissa Mortenson is the author of the Polka Dot Chair blog which is in its 7th year of sharing fresh and creative ideas with readers. She is the author of “Project Teen, Handmade Gifts your Teen will Actually Love”. Her first fabric line “Derby Style” debuted in January 2015 through Riley Blake Designs. A mom of 3, she considers herself lucky to be living in Kentucky.


  1. says

    I love this – it would be perfect for my 7 year old daughter, so I’m going to have a go! Just need to get the right fabric first. Thanks for a great idea!

  2. says

    Love it! I’m going to make one for my grand daughter. She requested a ruffle on the bottom. I’ll send you a pic after. Laura

  3. says

    I made one. You can see it at reidgirlshandmade.blogspot.com
    I included a link back to your tutorial.
    Thanks for the idea. It was fun to make. Laura

  4. says

    This is super cute! I want to use it to make a dress for myself from a t-shirt that fits my shoulders but is too short for my comfort.

  5. says

    So adorable. Love this tutorial!! I referenced you on my blog. Hope that’s ok. ☺http://tayfamilynews.blogspot.ca/2012/09/project-monday-asian-silk.html?m=1 I made this dress last summer and kinda wish I would have seen all of these tutorials out there to help me out. So many great versions. My daughter would love one like this too!

  6. says

    I just loooooove it!!!!! So sweet and cute! I’m featuring this tomorrow on my weekly round up!!! Hope you have a wonderful week!

    Cami @ TitiCrafty.com
    Sunday Bewitch Me & Titi {Link Party}

  7. says

    I want to do this for the two youngest granddaughters. but we are in the middle of moving and my sewing in packed up.
    I would be sewing instead of packing, if it was out. thank you for the pattern
    Hope to make it soon


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *