Repurpose T Shirts: Layered T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

tshirt onesie dress1

Although I love crafting and upcycling, finding the time to do so can be a challenge.  Most of my free moments I can steal are when the kids either have quite time or are tucked into bed.  (Hence the darker photos, sorry!)

And wouldn’t you know that we are working on our closet/office/crafting space, so do you want to guess where my sewing machine has been living?  On the kitchen table!  Not the proper place for a sewing machine but you do what works, right?

I had several projects I have been wanted to accomplish before the baby was born and one of those was to repurpose t shirts to create a layered dress.  I have played around with a few styles and I really like how simple this was to create and just how cute it turns out!  The best thing is that it works with a regular t-shirt if you have a toddler or with a onesie if you are making it for your little one!

This project is perfect because you can truly use what you have on-hand!  Do you have a stained onesie?  This is the perfect way to cover up the stain and still get plenty of use from it!  Do you have old t-shirts that have spots or somehow ended up with a hole in it?  Here is the perfect project to use those pieces and turn it into something totally adorable!

Again, please excuse the pictures being dark!  Most of my free craft time is at night when the lighting just is not that  great!

Repurpose T Shirts Layered Dress Tutorial

Supplies Needed

  • Onesie or T-shirt
  • 2-4 Colored T-shirts
  • Scissors & Pins

This is another really cute way to upcycle or repurpose old t-shirts.  This even works if they have patterns on them or even stained as you only need one strip of material.  You can choose as many colors as you want or do this with as few as two colors.

First determine how long you want to make your dress.  You can do this by measuring another dress or deciding how much longer you want it to be over your onesie.

Onesie Dress 1

I decided to use four different colors but you can use two and alternate them or use three and then make them a bit wider.  Since I was going to use four different colors and wanted to make the dress twelve inches long, it made each tier three inches long.  You can stagger the tiers different sizes as well, that is totally up to you to customize it.

To save time, use the bottom of one t-shirt for your hem!

Onesie Dress 2

Next measure the width of your onesie or t-shirt directly under the arms where you will attach your dress.  In this case it was 9 1/2″ wide and you want to add 1/2″ for seams so my first tier was cut 10″.  Cut each additional tier 1″ wider so you can create an aline dress.  At this point you will have two pieces of each color.

Onesie Dress 3

Next facing the wrong side (or backside) of the fabric together, sew your tiers together using a 1/4″ seam.  I started by sewing the top two tiers together and then worked my way down to the bottom tiers.

Onesie Dress 4

Although it looks like this should be your inside seams, this is actually the outside of your dress.  Take your fingers and smooth your seams open.  You can also iron it if you would like but with the jersey material of the t-shirts they open very easily.

Onesie Dress 5

Now you are going to place your right sides of your fabric together, which is the side with the seams pressed open.

Onesie Dress 6

Pin both sides of the dress together starting at the bottom, being sure that the seams line up.

Onesie Dress 7

Sew your sides with 1/4″ seam at an angle.

Onesie Dress 8

Trim off the excess material on the side of the seams so it is smooth.

Onesie Dress 9

Turn your dress right side out and pin the top of your dress to your onesie under the arms.  Sew a 1/4″ seam around the dress.  With your fingers, fold the top of the seam down so it looks like the other seams.

Onesie Dress 10

I made several onesie dresses for the new baby in various sizes and then made a matching dress for the baby and Addie!  If you are going to use a t-shirt, simple cut the shirt off under the arms where you will sew the pieces together.  Press the seams apart just as you did the other seams and then you will be good to go.

Do you think you would tackle making this simple layered t-shirt dress?

9 thoughts on “Repurpose T Shirts: Layered T-Shirt Dress Tutorial”

  1. This is a great idea! I love onsies but am not a fan of all the white and children lol. Such a great way to add flair to clothes with not spending a bunch of money when you can just make at home!

  2. This is absolutely adorable! These are the types of projects that make me wish I could sew! Maybe I’ll ask grandma to make these for the girls the next time she visits – she’s always looking for projects!

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