Repurposed Denim Shirt Dress

jean dress 2

Am I the only one that goes through the thrift store looking at clothing, patterns and textures and thinks that would be really cool as ….


On a recent trip I saw a jean shirt that I really liked and though would make an adorable dress for Addie.  The sleeves, well those will be cute to but they are being saved for another project to come!


The first thing I did was to cut away the sleeves as close to the seam as I could to save the sleeves.  Next I trimmed off the seams and straightened the fabric by trimming off the material to be straight.


Then I had Addie try it on so I could see where I wanted to trim the waist seam as well as how much extra material I needed to remove from the side seams.  I marked where I wanted the arms to close at with a fabric crayon but you could use a pen or pencil as well.


Then I trimmed away the side seams and excess side fabric.

With the shirt is still inside out, I pinned the sleeves down and sewed them with 1/4″ seam.  I tapered the seam at an angle and then sewed the side seams all the way down the bottom of the dress.


Now you can turn your dress right side out.  It  did look really cute just as it was but the smocking was just a bit too long and we wanted to add in a bit of color.


Then I cut a panel from what would become the waist.  This will be different depending on your shirt size and the size of your child.


Next I cut a strip from a t-shirt that I wanted to repurpose to create the waist.  Again, this will depend on the size you are looking for but I would suggest having at least a two-inch strip, I did about 3 1/2″.  Sew the side seams closed so you can a circle of fabric.


Turn each piece of your dress inside out.  Now pin your bottom piece of your jean shirt to the bottom of your t-shirt strip.  Sew with a 1/4″ seam.


Pin the right sides together of the top piece of your jean dress and the t-shirt.  Stitch with a 1/4″ seam.  Press both seams towards the t-shirt material.

By cutting the middle of the shirt out for the waist, it allowed me to use the bottom seam of the shirt as the bottom seam of my dress.  Makes for one less step!  Even though I sewed the strip of buttons to the strip of the t-shirt fabric, we can still open the top two buttons for easy on and off.

Ruffled Bow Finished

I finished the dress off with making a matching ruffled bow from the matching t-shirt.  I sewed it onto the waist line.  Then I made a smaller matching ruffled bow for a hair clip.

(I wasn’t totally happy with how the sleeves turned out as I wanted to leave extra room to wear as a jumper in the cooler weather but they still need a little tweaking so I will continue to make a slight adjustment to close more of the opening.)

jean dress

Other than the sleeves needing to be slightly adjusted, it turned out totally cute!   Have you ever turned a piece of clothing into something else?

Would you consider making a repurposed denim shirt dress?

15 thoughts on “Repurposed Denim Shirt Dress”

  1. I just cannot get over how adorable that turned out and it’s not all that difficult. Very clever project! Just pinned it to one of my favorite DIY and Craft boards.

  2. So cute! I love finding tutorials like this because then I know what to look for at thrift stores – but if I go in without something in mind I can never see “repurposing ideas” on my own.

    1. I used to often and am just getting back into it slowly but I can’t help but see fabrics or prints and think, that would be so cute as…. Then figuring it out is another process 🙂

  3. How did you get the sleeves sewn that way? Did you fold them in on themselves and then sew it that way? It has been so long since I have sewed! I can’t wait to get back into it!

    1. I will go back and read the post, I may have left that out of the instructions 🙂 After I cut the excess fabric from the sides, I pinned them down and sewed them the same time I closed the size.

  4. Is she working this outfit or what~~~~~ADORABLE!!!
    I wish I had your talent Amanda when it comes to sewing………excellent job!

  5. I wish I knew how to sew! This is so cute and I always find denim shirts at the thrift store that I wish I could turn into cute outfits for my girl. Maybe I’ll try to make it with some heavy-duty stitch witchery. Thanks for the idea!

  6. That is so stinking cute!!! I would definitely have my daughter wear one of those! I completely love it! Now I just need to learn how to sew so I can get making these for her!

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